Sunday, 1 July 2012

Foodie Penpals - Spicy, snacktime goodness

This month's foodie penpal was eagerly awaited as I'd been paired with Jules of Good Gobble Blog; a local mancunian and fellow blogger that I've been following for a while. Jules lives near my old neighbourhood of Rusholme, that's choc full of Asian stores and little foodie dens, so I was really excited to see what she was going to send me.

I'd told Jules that I've got a bad habit of snacking and that I was looking for something to sate my appitite whilst at work, that wasn't too naughty. I'd also mentioned my obsession with spicy food and that I love unusual things from around the world.

Juls didn't disappoint - when I opened my box, out popped a cornicopia of foodie bits and bobs from around the world. My box was packed full of; Turkish coffee, halva, coconut and pistachio snack bars, tabasco sauce that's not Tabasco, harissa, methi (fenugreek), banana cornmeal porridge and a cosmo mix from Funkin.

Pow! What a full box of food related fun

The coffee is great; really deep, chocolatey flavour off set with a little bitterness. I don't have a traditional Turkish coffee pot, so I had to use my french press and just make sure I didn't upset the fine grounds in the bottom when pouring. This went exceptionaly well with the pistachio bar - I have to find myself a ready source of these; I love pistacheos and this was nutty, sweet and still retained the unusual taste of the pistachio. Forget your salted caramel peanuts/cashews/almonds - pistachios are the way forward.

Turkish coffee and pistachio bar - new snack de jour

The harissa and the chili sauce are firey little cooking companions that I've been adding to everything. The tabasco is quite smokey, whereas the harissa has a wonderful, aromatic flavour thanks to the unusual addition of caraway. None of the harissas I've eaten before have included caraway and this added a fragrant, lifting taste. The old-skool illustration on the package is so asthetically pleasing that I'm going to save the pakage once I've finished.

Old skool graphics on Tunisian harissa

I've not managed to try the porridge yet, my mornings have been a little rushed and all over the place so I've been munching through the halva and bars instead. This looks like quite a random thing to eat, I love banana flavoured things but I'm not sure about cornmeal porridge - is this going to be banana polenta?

And what about the funkin? Well I drank that as soon as I got home. Jules and I are both 'old lady vodka drinkers' as she puts it. Here's one to you Jules, thanks so much for a great package!

What did I send you're asking? I was paired with another Juls, aka Pepper and Sherry the trainee chef. Juls told me she preferred ingredients to whole foods, so I sent her all the bits to make a Punjabi garam masala and a few Punjabi recipes that she could use the masala in. I also sent her some gram flour, as one of the recipes was for pakora and some chana so she could make one of my favourite dishes, chana dal. I included some pomegranate powder - for no other reason than I thought it was really random and I also liked the wording on the box 'NOT curry powder;' just in case you were confused!

Punjabi garam masarla for Juls.

Here's to the next box - why not get involved yourself and head over to RockSalt to join up.


  1. Do I sense your Indian heritage coming out here?

  2. Indeed, it was my inspiration, but I went all punjabi for this one as I couldn't find a calcutta garam masala recipe. Did you enjoy foodie penpals?