Foodie Penpals January 2013

This month I was fortunate enough to receive not only a parcel from my allocated penpal, but also a ‘thank you’ parcel from another of the Foodie Penpals group. Marco sent me an email to say he’d like to send me something, as a gift. At first I thought to myself, ‘You can’t possibly accept that!’. I have been offered an extra parcel before and said ‘Oh gosh no, I couldn’t!’. And then I thought, ‘Why not?’. And I didn’t have a good answer for that. Here is the life lesson:

If someone wants to give you a gift, accept it.

It’s a no-brainer. Evidently I’ve been operating without brain.

So, I’ll give you a brief report on both parcels today! Firstly, my parcel from Glenys. Glenys doesn’t have a blog for me to link to, but this didn’t stop her from doing her duty and sending me a thoughtful parcel of locally made treats. Here it is:


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Wilkin and Sons are a company based in Essex, but known round the country for their gorgeous jams and honey – in fact, I once sent a penpal a wee jar of their honey in their parcel. I didn’t know they do other products, too, so you can imagine that I was very excited when I opened my box to find three new-to-me products from their extensive range. As Glenys explained in her lovely long letter, the products are made in Tiptree, a place known for the quality of its fruit and veg, and a place she’s lucky enough to be able to visit regularly. For the rest of us, there are preserves and sauces, to capture the fresh flavours and have them all round the country, all round the year, all round the clock. Sometimes you just need a midnight jam sandwich, you know?

The three items Glenys chose for me are Mustard Sauce with Honey, an Organic Tomato Chutney and (I admit it, my favourite one) a Hot Apple and Sage Jelly. This last item has different packaging, and is made by Jules and Sharpie – a part of the Wilkin and Sons brand family. They make all kinds of fascinating, spicy jellies, jams, chutnies and sauces, including a spicy brown sauce that sounds divine. I already have some plans for these three beauties: the mustard sauce is going to get fired all over a big round of gammon and roasted for Sunday dinner. The chutney will get served up with my homemade Crowdie (once I figure out what ‘freshly soured milk’ is). The apple and sage jelly… well… it’s pretty much going to go on everything, but in particular Glenys recommends a spoonful in my next batch of gravy, an idea that made me nod my head in mute appreciation of how great it was. Glenys also included a recipe for bobotie, a South African dish that is a recommendation straight from her husband – it’s one of his favourites. I really like that my parcel was a collaboration between them both, I could just feel all the thought and care that had gone into it beaming out at me.


Thank you so much, Glenys, I loved my parcel and can’t wait to try everything and report back!

My ‘thank you’ parcel was from Marco, another non-blogging participant from London. First of all, I want to say again, thank you Marco – I was so touched and gratified that you wanted to send me a gift, it was such a kind thing to do. Now, let’s cut to the chase!


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Marco’s parcel included a recipe for better-than-bog-standard popcorn, including suggestions for different and delicious additions that I could make. This was accompanied by a bag of aforementioned better-than-bog-standard popcorn and a wee pouch of unpopped kernels, so I could make my own! There was also a slab of dark chocolate – usually I’m a milk chocolate kind of girl, but this particular brand is sweet and fruity, with only a hint of the bitterness that usually puts me off.

Next up was a bag of flapjack bites, homemade and cut into gorgeous tiny squares. I could only marvel at how precise and even the squares were – I think this is a talent in itself, separate from the obvious talent required to make them in the first place. I also loved that the bag of flapjack was tied up with twine, rustic, practical and oh-so aesthetically pleasing.

Another little parcel tied up with twine was a bag of reindeer poo. I’ll let Marco explain this:

Don’t worry, it’s just a fun name for some delicious chocolate and cinnamon covered almonds. Wifey has perfected this recipe, just let me know if you want to have it and I’ll steal it from her 🙂

So there we are, not an actual bag of poo. Heavens be praised. I’m not much of a one for snacking on nuts of any kind, but almonds happen to be high on my list of acceptability, especially when coated in a crisp, sweet, chocolatey, spicy glaze. I used these almonds in another recipe, which will be revealed in due course…

My final item from Marco was a pouch of M&S tea bags – he says they’re one of his favourite teas, and I look forward to comparing them to my usual Yorkshire Tea – we take tea seriously in this country, you know.

Thank you again, a hundred thank yous, to my TWO penpals this month. I feel very lucky to have been sent an extra parcel, something I never expected and greatly appreciated.

If you’d like to get involved in Foodie Penpals and live in Europe – check out the info page here on Rock Salt. If you live in the US or Canada, check out The Lean Green Bean blog, where Foodie Penpals all began.

Finally, to see all the Foodie Penpals reveal posts for this month, go here.

Oh, and finally finally – new blog badges! Specific to our Euro Foodie Penpals, with my URL! Exciting stuff. Grab one today for your own blog.




About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

4 responses to “Foodie Penpals January 2013

  • chefconnie

    I may have to get into this foodie pen pal thing…..

  • Emma

    Awesome parcels – The Wilkin & Sons preserves are so yummy (resist the Lemon Curd, I dare you). It never occured to me that they were an Essex brand it’s so famed for all of the wrong reasons!
    I think I’m going to get some of the Apple & Sage jelly, it sounds right down my husbands street!
    The parcel you got from Marcel looks delicious as well. It’s really sweet of him to send it – and you work so hard organising us Penpallers!

    • Rock Salt

      Aw thank you Emma! It is a bit like an extra job at times but seeing everyone’s parcels and hearing what fun people are having, meeting new friends, is really wonderful. I can’t wait to try the Apple and Sage jelly and maybe buy myself one or two treats from the range…?

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