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Update Your Bookmarks!


If you have a bookmark for Rock Salt, the new URL to use will be https://rocksaltuk.wordpress.com

You can change it any time, and from the start of next year the current URL will no longer work.

I may not be blogging any more, but I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of the blog altogether!

I’ll also be building a new, dedicated site for Foodie Penpals – more on that when it’s ready.

That is all.

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Foodie Penpals August 2015


This month, my parcel came from Margaud in France. I didn’t ask for anything specific, as usual, instead letting her know the few things I don’t like, and asking for things that are ready to eat, rather than ingredients. Margaud sent me a beautiful box – let’s take a look:

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I think the letter might be my favourite item in this parcel! I know it sounds strange, but it was written with such care, and in such cheerful colours. I really loved it, and read it over with care before I got opening. Once I was ready, I proceeded to check out everything in the box – and there was a lot packed in there.

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Pasta from Alsace. Of course, I always think of pasta as Italian, but it turns out that I’m missing out on this specific kind of pasta, made with seven eggs per kilo of durham wheat semolina. I look forward to trying it with a simple sauce, to see if I can tell the difference between this and the pasta I’m used to.

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Galettes Bretonnes – a sweet but light biscuit from Brittany. These are crisp and thin, a lovely snack for tea time – I bet they’d be excellent with Nutella on them. Mind you, so are many things…

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These little parcels hold delicate, sweet cakes – one of them was smashed to smithereens by the post, so of course I had to immediately eat that one… They’re made with wine and aniseed, and again are a perfect tea-time treat. Not too much, but not too little.

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Speaking of tea, I got some new teabags! This is spot on, I’ve been meaning to replenish my stock of tea bags, so the timing couldn’t be better. Ginger and lime green tea sounds like a good pick-me-up after lunch (does anyone else eel the need to sleep for a week after lunch?). Can’t wait to try them.

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Even the name of this fruity snack is gorgeous – BuddyFruits! Margaud says this is a favourite snack of her’s for that dreaded mid-afternoon slump, though I can see me having it as a breakfast treat one day.

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I’ve never tried rillettes, but I already know I’m going to love it. Anything in the pate family is a friend of mine. This will be a lovely lunch for me one day, with some crackers or oatcakes, or maybe a fresh slice or two of bread, and maybe a dorp of fresh salad. I’m looking forward to it already.

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This packet will make a lovely and, crucially, easy butter sauce for cod. All I have to do is parcel it all up and pop it in the oven. Add some mashed spuds, or a baked potato, and a drop of veg, and I have a winning meal. I need more of these easy meal solutions in my life, I spend far too much time trying to make things from scratch but finding I don’t have time and eating cereal for dinner.

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The jewel in the crown of my parcel: Porto Cruz pink port. Another new item for me, and one I’m going to keep chilled and ready for an emergency. You’d be surprised how often there are booze emergencies in my house. Apparently I can serv this over ice, or in a cocktail. I think I need to do some more research before I decide.

Margaud, merci beaucoup pour le merveilleux cadeau. J’aime tout dans la boîte! I’m really looking forward to tasting everything, and I love that so much of it is in small portions so I don’t really need to share…

If you’d like to know more about Foodie Penpals in the UK and Europe, you can check out the drop down menu at the top, or click here. If you are in the US or Canada, find out more on The Lean Green Bean.

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Foodie Penpals May 2015


My parcel this month came from Ingrida in the Netherlands. I asked her to send me snacks that were ready to eat – and she didn’t disappoint!

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She also included a massive wedge of gouda, which is still keeping me going. Generally I don’t know that it’s a great idea to put cheese in the post – though this one did make it unscathed, as did the packet I got last month. What do other people think? Anyway, this one is strong and smoky, it was the first thing I opened – I couldn’t even wait to take a picture before I tried it.

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The next things were stroppwaffles – I’ve had these before, they are SO good. I have one left, I’m saving it (though I’m sure it won’t last much longer. Fact: the happy man on this packet makes them taste even better.

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There were some speculoos biscuits, too – these were just about right for tea time, the biscuits stand up admirably to being dipped in a hot beverage. And that happy man is there again, too!

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The rest of my parcel was full of boiled sweets, none I’d ever tried before. I tried to figure out the flavours even though I don’t speak Dutch. I figured out the two in tins – they’re coffee and butter flavoured. The butter ones are kind of like Werther’s Originals, sweet and buttery hard caramel. Plus there is a lady on the tin who looks like knows what’s what.

The coffee sweets were excellent – I couldn’t imagine how they’d taste, but they were kind of like mild coffee creams, but longer-lasting. I took all the sweets in to work and there were a lot of pleasantly surprised ‘mmm!’ noises going around the office as people tried these.

There were another two bags of sweets, too – Ingrida really spoiled me! We’re not absolutely positive what these flavours are, but we think these ones are cherry flavoured:

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These were kind of like the rock you get at the seaside, but softer. Not as soft as Edinburgh rock – it has a bit of crunch to it, especially round the edges. I’ve just translated all the writing on the package – they are cherry wands, and the bottom of the label says ‘sweets from the old times’. There’s something very charming about roughly translated phrases, isn’t there?

These were also a kind of caramel toffee sweet, which was unexpected – we were thinking maybe pineapple, by the colour.

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They translate as ‘butter wafers’, though I think ‘butter waffles’ might be more accurate. I love the shape of them! I must try making my own boiled sweets some time.

I loved everything in my parcel – and so did my colleagues – so a big thank you from all of us, Ingrida!

If you’d like to get involved in Foodie Penpals, here’s the lowdown:

We have a Facebook page, where you can see photos of other parcels, read blog posts about them and get to know people who take part.

We use the #foodiepenpals hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

In Europe, you can sign up through the drop down menu at the top of the page, or by clicking here. We’re taking a break this month, but we’ll be starting up again in July.

In the US and Canada, you can sign up through The Lean Green Bean.


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