Well, no posts for a week and now suddenly two posts in a day! Who would have thought. All I can say in my own defence is that I’ve been really busy at work, plus putting in long hours at the gym (ahead of a high school reunion, the full Romy & Michelle phenomenon). So once I get home and make dinner, I am so exhausted that blogging just does not sound like an attractive prospect… :-(
But that’s not to say that I’m not doing foodie-related stuff, like meeting up with David Lebovitz and Johanna at Borough Market 2 weeks ago, lunching at the Fat Duck with Johanna for my birthday, hosting a little birthday dinner at home, meeting up with the charming Pille, and of course, receiving a parcel of joy in the form of my Euro Blogging by Post parcel! As you probably remember, EBBP is the event conceived by Andrew where European food bloggers are each given someone to whom to send a parcel, while each is in turn assigned a "secret Santa" by the organiser. So everyone who participates sends off a food parcel and receives a parcel from somebody completely different! What can be nicer than receiving a little unexpected food-filled gift??
This time round, the timing was particularly fortuitous for me, with the parcel’s expected date of arrival falling so close to my birthday. And I was not to be disappointed!! Last week I got to work to find a blue posting box sitting on my desk just begging to be opened. Who was it from? What was inside?? I managed to contain my curiosity until I got home and then the fun part started: carefully unpacking every last item. As it turns out, my parcel was from Cindy of Cindy’s Kitchen, who has had a French foodblog since August and recently also launched an English version of her blog so that more people can share her delicious recipes. Go check it out.
So what was in the parcel? Well, aparty from a charming explanatory letter from Cindy and a very unexpected birthday card (I suspect Andrew may have dropped a hint or two!!), we have (from top right, moving clockwise:
- a big bag of Carambars – delicious individually-wrapped chewy sweets in a variety of flavours ranging from praline to pomegranate. Nick has already got to work on these and is munching his way through a couple of flavours a night. Seriously addictive.
- a big slab of Nestle milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts, which takes Cindy back to her days of studying in England.
- another slab of chocolate, this time Poulain 1848 Pralinoise, which Cindy says is great for cakes & muffins – mmmmm!
- an intriguing bag of red things that look like candied, glazed raspberries. According to Cindy, these are Amandeous "red pralines" from Montpellier and they’re great in brioches and chocolate cakes, as well as a tart made with these pralines and cream for a filling. Mmmm. Will have to have a quick nibble on one to see what they’re made of as I can’t find much info on the web, apart from the fact that they are good in brioches…
- next to my very EoMEoTE-appropriate birthday card is a tin of Malongo free trade Arabica coffee. Can’t wait to get this into our plunger for a lovely weekend cup of coffee.
- to the right of that is a packet of Panzani coquilettes – like teensy macaroni! Too adorable. Can’t wait to try these with a nice creamy sauce on a chilly spring night!
- And underneath the coquilettes is a tin of Clement Faugier creme de marrons de l’Ardeche (sweet chestnut paste from the Ardeche). This remarkable product has been made to the same recipe for over a hundred years. The company never advertises, keeps its recipe secret and has not changed the packaging – recipe for disaster, right? Nope – recipe for success. They have an eighty percent market share in France! It’s made from all-natural ingredients and Cindy recommends eating it with yoghurt, but she has also promised me a cake recipe. Mmmm, yes please!!
And that’s all folks! All that remains is for me to say a big THANK YOU to Cindy for her thoughtful and delicious parcel, another big thank you to Andrew for organising this month’s event, and to try and grab some Carambars before Nick eats every single one!