Being a foodblogger is a great. Not only do you learn to cook better yourself, you also meet wonderful people from all around the world, and you get given food gifts from all over the world, too. First there's European Blogging By Mail, which has brought me wonderful gifts from Johanna, Shalimar and Meeta. Then there were all those unexpected delightful gifts from Dagmar and Stevi and Eden last summer. And during the last few months I've received other numerous gifts.
To start with, there were those cans of sweet piquillo peppers from Ximena (who, obviously, is the author of that gorgeous postcard as well):
The peppers were wonderful. I didn't even try Ximena's recipe for slowly cooked piquillos, as I liked them so much just on a slice of bread..
Then there are all those gifts from Johanna. I received a much-wanted book, Kaffehaus by Rick Rodgers, some Belgian hot chocolate, fancy coffee spoons and some spices from her in return for writing a Culinary City Snapshot on Tallinn for her. (A rather good exchange, if I may say so. PS Johanna - if you ever need me to write another piece, just give me a shout! :)
I've since received another parcel from Johanna, containing an issue of Delicious magazine, some hand-picked, organic Hungarian paprika (both hot & mild), and some more exotic spices. She had very kindly even included a bag of cheeky peppers de padron, which we had enjoyed so much while in London.
Oh, and of course some Austrian chocolate, which sadly didn't make it to the photo session. Khmm..
AND - not to forget that unforgettable jar of home-made fig jam Johanna gave us in London(picture here).
When in Edinburgh in June, I met Melissa of the Traveler's Lunchbox again, to catch up on the recent gossip from my hometown of the previous seven years. I gave Melissa some suluguni cheese, so she could try my hachapuri recipe and judge how it compares with her previous version (favourably, apparently:). In return, I became a lucky owner of some Hawaiian pink salt (alaea salt), some luscious vanilla beans, and a small jar of ras-el-hanout she had picked up in Morocco recently:
I had a chance to catch with Keiko of Nordljus fame (what's not to like about her dreamy photography!?) and her husband during my trip to London in April. We met in Cambridge on a Sunday afternoon, chatted over a cup of coffee and a large piece of chocolate cake, and she gave me two types of Japanese tea to try:
My sweet Japanese friend from Edinburg, Ryoko, sent me a Japanese care packet, containing some matcha powder (which, you may have noted, I've put to a very good use over the last few months); some dashi powder, ume-cha tea, including English explanations as well:
Last but not least, my friend Liis picked up not one, not two, but three food magazines for me during her recent trip to the US - a copy of fresh (fine cooking), a copy of Australian edition of delicious. and GardenGate's special issue backyard retreat to help me design our 2000 m2 garden. Similarly, my former colleague and now friend Hille brought me a 1977 copy of Carolina Cooking , published by Charleston Post Card Co. Inc., from her roadtrip from Miami to New York earlier this year.
These all should keep me busy & cooking for a while (and I'll be referring back to this post as I work my way through all those gifts and reads).
Thank you, everyone, for making my cooking so much more enjoyable and exciting!!!