Yep, that’s a thing.
A Foodie Pen Pal is a thing, and as of this month, I’m a one of that thing.
The deal is that every month, a group of food bloggers and food lovers who don’t have blogs swap round names and details and end up each receiving a parcel of foodie stuffs from one person and sending a parcel of goodies to another person. Cool, huh? I only hope my recipient can forgive my newbie fumblings at putting together her pack. She said she was into healthiness and gym-nification, so I included a few of these guys for her enjoyment/assessment , as well as sending her lots of slightly childish, hopefully fun, arguably yummy summer snacks.
What we’re really here to talk about, however, is the total amazingness that came my way on my first round of FPP-ing.
This month, I got a parcel from Jade Mellor of Wild Pickings who, among other things, is a professional forager. I absolutely LOVE that that’s a thing one can be. I’d say that being a Foodie Pen Pal thing and a Professional Forager thing pretty much makes you a rock star thing, Jade.
Now, look at this unassuming box.
What could be in this unassuming box?
You will not believe.
I mean, you will believe, because there’s photographic evidence and because I Say So, but I was so, so excited when I unassumingly lifted the unassuming lid of this unassuming box only to discover a beautiful collection of jars and bottles, full of edible Welsh wilderness.
I got some ketchup made with hawthorn berries, some sweet Gorse flower syrup, and some blackberry vinegar – not only delicious in salad dressings etc, but also used as a cold remedy when mixed with hot water (not that it’ll last long enough for me to get a cold).
I also got some wonderful, chunky salt seasoned with garlic and laver, which is an edible algae or seaweed.
Aaaand some delicious looking marsh samphire (or ‘sea asparagus’ – so cool!), pickled in white wine vinegar. The tag suggests pairing with seafood or bread and cheese – yum.
Each bottle or jar has a list of ingredients, as well as some info about said ingredients and suggestions for pairings.
“In awe” is the understatement of the year, I’m truly blown away.
And look at this stunning card! It’s one of Jade’s recipes, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Lizzie Spikes.
It’s a suggestion for what to do with the pot of samphire she sent, and it sounds absolutely delicious (I’m a garlic fiend and bloody well proud of it – no sparkly teenage vampires near this little foodie).
On the back of the card is some text from Jade about marsh samphire, including its uses, how and where to gather it, and general info. It’s such a pleasure to have a little stash of tasty things from someone who is so involved with and passionate about the plants she works with and the food she creates.
Oh, and the cat says thanks very much for the twine – he may not be a foodie, but he’s a serious string connoisseur and he knows when he tastes good twine.
So, from both of us at ‘baking & alchemy’ HQ, a huge thankyou thankyou to Jade and her wild pickings! I’m totally inspired to up my game for next month’s FPP.
Of course, I’ll endeavour to share a recipe or two with you lot between now and then – surely I owe you something involving butter.