Yet again, I found myself traveling at the time of month when my Foodie Penpal parcel was due to arrive. I thought I might not get it in time for the reveal day, but the postman made the delivery just under the wire. Receiving these packages each month makes me feel like a kid at Christmas; it's exciting to anticipate what they will contain and then see what surprises are in store.
My partner this month was RoB Molloy, who is one of the few people (so far) to send me any potables. These included a mini can of ginger ale and a small bottle of prosecco. I had intended to follow RoB's suggestion and use the Canada Dry for a cocktail of some sort, but I happened to develop a migraine later in the day and the ginger ale was just the ticket for sorting out my stomach. Not the most gourmet of uses, but certainly a very noble one.
Inspired by some comments he'd seen on Twitter, RoB included a bag of soft licorice. Amazingly, this is the third time I've received licorice in a Foodie Penpal parcel, though each time it has come in a different form. I find this really interesting because it is not at all a common or popular candy in the US; here in Europe, though, feelings toward licorice are obviously a bit different. I actually quite like the candy--it's another thing that's very good for settling stomachs--so keep it coming, penpals! The other main sweets component of the parcel was a jar of popping candy. My finger was resting across the label when I first picked up the bottle, such that I could only see what it contained, and not what brand it was. My husband and I have watched a number of Heston Blumenthal's TV specials, so of course I immediately thought of him when I saw this ingredient--and then I moved my hand and saw that the candy was, in fact, from his line at Waitrose! I don't think I'm quite capable of Heston's level of innovation, but I can certainly try to whip up something interesting with these nonetheless.
On the savory side of things, I received a bag of olives and a bottle of white pepper. Although I've cooked with olives before, I've never used them in dry format, so I will have to do a little research to find out how best to utilize that ingredient. I think Sasha will be particularly pleased with the white pepper since he is such a fan of pepper in general (adding it to everything I make, no matter how much I have already seasoned it!).
Thanks very much to RoB for his thoughtful parcel. If you're curious about what I mailed to my own penpal, Sam Hoey, you can visit her blog here and read about the predominantly Cornish foodstuffs I sent her way. If you want to participate in Foodie Penpals, head over to Rock Salt and read about it here.