Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Foodie Penpals January

Foodie Penpals is back after the Christmas break.
This month It was a European affair for me - I sent a parcel to Vanessa who lives in Greece - she doesn't have a blog to link to, and I my parcel came from the very chatty Susanna in Holland , this is her blog A World in my oven . I had a very funny and chatty initial email from Susanna , she is hilarious and I really enjoyed emailing her.
I asked Susanna to send me some sweet items and especially Speculaas that I had heard of and would love to try - she didn't disappoint!!

This is my box of goodies!!
The Pickwick box is tea which sounds interesting! full of spices - I haven't tried this yet as I am not sure about it ! But will give it a go!!
Ontbijtkoek - OMG this is delicious, its a gingery-bread sort of deliciousness that Susanna says I have to have with butter on which I did and I also toasted it - not sure whether that is allowed !!I have eaten half of it and the rest is in the freezer for an emergency!
The waffles are lovely especially if they are slightly melted- just pop them over the top of a cup of tea (to make a sort of lid) for a couple of minutes.....

According to my foodie pen pal these are Hollands national candy and are a love it / hate it sweet that 99% of the English hate - I really liked them - a bit like salty liquorice.
These are Kniepertjes and are a New Years treat best served with whipped cream - unfortunately I don't like cream so I had them crushed in vanilla ice cream - they are a light wafer with aniseed inside .. mmmm...
The biscuits are the Speculaas cookies that I have heard all about and are sold all year round and are in the shape of windmills. They taste of nutmeg and cinnamon and remind me of Christmas.
The cakes taste of Battenburgs! Fantastic!! they didn't last very long in my house!
Finally this is another Speculaas which is eaten on the 5th December to celebrate St Nicholas day.
I loved this months foodie pen pals box - Thank you very much Susanna!
If you would like to take part in foodie pen pals then click here

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Christmas Chutney

Happy New Year!!
I have a lot of posts in the pipeline as I didn't think about blogging at all for most of December so there are a few festive ones to be posted starting with this one!
I try to make my own chutneys for Christmas presents but always leave it till the last minute and don't have any time to do it -  so this year I pestered my mum to help me as she has a) a big Kitchen, b) HUGE chutney pans and c) all the gadgets that you need to chop ! Chutney is lovely but it is time consuming all that chopping!!! So on one trip that Molly and I made to stay with mum we got down to business!  I am always saving Jam jars and even buy products because I think that the jar would be fab with home made Lemon Curd , Jam or Chutney in it. So one October day armed with my stash of jars and various vegetables  Molly and I arrived ready for action. We were making Harvest Chutney which mum can make with her eyes shut as she makes loads of it for Red Cross sales -its delicious! We had Uncle Peters Marrows grown in his allotment so there was a lot of family love in these jars. Mum and I took it in turns either chopping  vegetables

 ( with this handy implement XXXXXX) or entertaining a wriggly Molly. We were so engrossed in the whole process that I didn't remember to take any photos!
We made Jars and Jars of it!
In the past I have just put a freezer label on the front and simply written Harvest Chutney - not very wild or interesting but to the point - so this year I was going all guns blazing ! I was sure that I could make something that looked professional..... So I spent my evenings half watching I'm a Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing with my laptop searching images for inspiration on labels. After many many nights of research found that the best idea would be to use one of the free printables... But which ones?
These are the ones that I opted for and came from

You just fill in the fields and save them as a Jpeg - Then print.
This is how they have turned out....

I also made some labels for marmalade - I was pleased with these but they were a little dark, will try one of the other labels next time....

Monday, 13 January 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Happy New Year!!
I took a break from my part time blogging over Christmas so I have hundreds of blogs to catch up with - where will I find the time???
I had a lovely Christmas and New Year with friends and family and ate and ate and then ate a bit more just in case there was a food shortage later on... So now I feel as full as a hippo and am really looking forward to eating properly! There are still a lot of cakes and chocolate in the house which is a nightmare...I am one of these people that can't rest until all of the sweet things have gone - I can hear them calling from the cupboard.. eat me Claire......
Anyway back to this week and a fresh new year...This is how I hope my meals will look like this week.

Monday - Root veg and Ricotta lasagne ( December Good Food mag)
Tuesday - Prawn Curry
Wednesday - Out
Thursday - Roasted veg with feta cheese
Friday - Fishy surprise Friday ( basically haven't a clue but something with fish!)

I have discovered that you can read magazines on your tablet from the library which is fantastic ! A lot of the magazines are ones that I would not normally buy but love reading - like Marie Claire, Country Living and guilty pleasure Hello! But there are food magazines too!!!! Hurray ! My Good Food subscription was due to be renewed next month but now that this is on the library website I'm not going to and save myself a bit of money. To read the magazines you have to download a free app called Zinio which is where your magazines are stored - easy peasy... Have a look online to see if your library does it to...

To have a nose and join in with meal planning Monday click here for Mrs M