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Friday, October 21, 2005

Loot



The idea of receiving a parcel from someone you don't know and never met is thrilling to say the least. Especially when you don't know at all who to expect it from. I am grateful to Nic of Baking Sheet for coming up with this brilliant idea and to Andrew of Spittoon for organising it for us in Europe. Receiving a food package from someone from a different country is wickedly delectable - since you will be savouring a whole different kind of food experience! Because not only you will get food but there is surprise, there is intrigue, there is suspense! It has been an exciting month and a bit -- planning your own package to send and later, waiting for yours to arrive!
This arrived from Edinburgh 2 weeks back. It is from Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox. I may have been to her blog once or twice from hopping from other blogs but I never actually thought she'd be sending me a parcel! The whole box was a delight and my daughter's eyes grew so big as we opened it together and going wow wow wow at everytime we unwrapped something. She was saying, "Your friend must really love you, Mom!"
We both actually ate the whole bag of papadam in 3 seconds! It was a revelation! Though we do serve and fry our own papaddam here when we cook curry and have Indian food, I never knew they are available in this form! Melissa in her note said Curry has replaced Fish and Chips as the English no.1 dish!

I had a Proustian moment with the pumpkin-vanilla-compote on freshly baked croissants the next morning. They were out of this world. The texture brought me back to a custard made of eggs, screwpine leaves and gula melaka (brown sugar) called (Seri)Kaya in Malaysia. My mom used to make Pumpkin Serikaya as well - which was the compote (kaya) steamed in a whole pumpkin and then baked in the oven. I think you can get it sometimes in Thai restaurants here in Europe - but only if you're very lucky. I used some of Melissa's out of this world pumpkin-vanilla compote in my steamed cakes (during the vacation) - recipe and pictures to follow later. Melissa also inspired me to make some of my own pumpkin compote fwith this fabulous jar she sent me!
She also sent a jar of lavender from her hometown in Washington - my head is already swimming with ideas to concoct dishes and cakes from that one ;-)







From the back of her cupboard, Melissa sent me half a bag of Jasmine Tea from her local tea shop. Which I planned to use to make Jasmine Tea Smoked Duck and/or Jasmine Tea smoked salmon and there is another idea of marrying a French classic dish with this very chinese ingredient - sort of a similar dish of how we use Chrysanthemum tea - like the ones I sent Flo of Pumpkin Flower. But we will have to wait!







And for the love of Caramel... how did you know I love them, Melissa? She sent me a package of fudge and Green & Black's Milk chocolate with soft caramel centre.

Lastly, a packet of Orkney Oatcakes which we plan to enjoy with some fabulous cheeses and wine.

Thank you, Melissa for sending us the package and for the thoughts and care and way you chose and wrapped them! It is a true delight and we will enjoy them in many ways and weeks to come!

For the roundout and to read the other parcels exchanged throughtour Europe this past few weeks, go here!
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Saturday, October 01, 2005

a little parcel

No... I haven't received mine yet. But yesterday, I was so happy to hear that the one I sent Fiordizucca of Pumpkin Flower arrived safely! You can see the parcel I sent her here!
It had been 2 mad weeks. Initially, I was given a different address and I read every post of the other blogger and made a special box for her - in fact had it all wrapped and ready to be posted on Saturday.
Since my daughter can't be on her feet at all for a week, I didn't leave the house at all. So the parcel coudl only leave The Netherlands on Saturday the 24th. Alas, on Friday, I spent the whole Friday and Saturday morning vomitting and had to see a doctor in the emergency clinic on Saturday at noon. After the diagnosis - stomach flu combined with ulcer, my husband rushed to the Post Office, since I was too weak - he actually finished the shopping and the packing of the parcel - only to find out in our little town the Post Office closes at 1pm on Saturdays - while we were still at the hospital.
On Sunday evening at 7pm, I received a mail from Andrew saying I have to send the parcel to another blogger. I didn't tell Andrew the drama of what happened with my parcel. Instead I just checked PumpkinFlower and read some of F's interests and taste and thought she was a vegan from all the wonderful Vegan recipes! A few frantic mailings later, Andrew assured me she is not.
I made some changes in the box. Initially I had more fresh ingredients - since my husband went to the farmer's market to get some specialty goat cheeses from this region but they won't make it if we only post them on Monday. I wanted to get more things for Flo, but all the shops here opens only at 1300 on Mondays so I sent her more things that I found in my cupboard - chrysanthemum tea - which I hope she enjoys; noodles in the shape of chignons - easy to wok and actually one of my favourites; and baked a quick tray of shortbread on Monday morning after I sent my daughter to school.
In the quiet cold Monday morning when I was wrapping everything for her, I thought this is it. I hope she enjoys the parcel sent to her and have fun trying out the things I put in that little box - the mundane and the exotic!
And when I finally gave the box to the Post Officer and was given a receipt for it, I was very relieved.
And yesterday, when I received her mail, I felt JOY.
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