All I can say is, “wow!” After hovering around the front door for a couple of days – occasionally having dark thoughts of neighbours signing for my special delivery and not handing it over – it arrived. My Foodie Penpal delivery.
My second package through the fantastic Foodie Penpals was a tiny bit late (hence the hovering and suspicion), but this month’s penpal, Kate, was moving house. That’s a pretty good excuse. And as I tore open the beautifully wrapped parcel I was all the more blown away that she had time to put together just the most perfect package of goodies.
The really lovely thing about the whole project is that when you are matched up you ask your recipient (and new friend) their likes, dislikes, and other information to personalise the experience. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people who, like you, are mad about food, as well as receive (and send) a bespoke food parcel. If you want to get involved in this monthly food affair, contact Carol Anne over at This Is Rock Salt who covers the UK and Europe, or founder Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean who takes care of all of North America. Here is my first post on Foodie Penpals, with more details on the whys and hows.
Also in my kitchen this week is a new toy. And like the big kid that I am I will indulge in a little Show and Tell. Did you ever do that at primary/elementary school? Maybe it is no longer PC, seeing as the rich kids always brought in ballet slippers and the ‘normal’ ones brought in oddly shaped rocks. Anyway, it is show and tell time at food to glow, and I am bringing to the front of the class my shiny new SPIRALISER.
I love, love, love this little gadget, and have been driving my family nuts with plates of spirally vegetables doused in various concoctions. They are getting other food too. A big shout out to my friend David who recommended this mini microscope-shaped gadget. I had contemplated getting a spiraliser for awhile, but had seen such mixed reviews for the brands I considered that I settled for a couple of cheapo, low-tech julienne peelers – which are NOT satisfying in the least. Needless to say I am adding quite literally mounds of vegetables to my already veg-filled life. I even have Andrew hooked. This is one gadget that is not going in the cupboard. It is sitting right next to my beloved Froothie to get used every day. Sometimes, er, five times a day. Obsessed much?
Oh, I guess I should tell you what brand. It is Benriner Cook Help. Here is a charming video to show you how easy this well-made Japanese product is to use. I’m very impressed, and that doesn’t happen very often. I’ve been using it as a pasta/rice/carb replacer for some meals, although Andrew has to have these – or at least some random bread – as well…
And to tempt you a little, here is the little snack-salad thing I have been spirallising any time I get peckish. Perfect with meals too. This would go well with Kimchi and Carrot Pancakes and my Sushi Made Simple (one of my first posts).
Instant Japanese Pickle
1/4 cucumber (English)
1 tsp rice vinegar (or mirin)
pinch each of Himalayan pink salt and raw sugar (leave out sugar if using mirin)
1/2 tsp each toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds
Spiralise the cucumber without adding any of the three extra blades, and pop the strands into a bowl. Mix in the rice vinegar, salt and sugar, and leave for a couple of minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and top with seeds. Deee-licious. Be adventurous (!) and add in spiralled carrot too. Those who are sadly spiraliser-less, thinly slice cucumber with a knife, or with a mandoline slicer.
PS I just wanted to share a pic from my glorious Victoria plum harvest (or start of, rather. Still many more to pick). I said last week (for the Plum-Berry Skillet Cobbler recipe) that I have in the past needed a laundry basket. Well, I definitely need one this year. Mother Nature has been very kind.