Foodie Penpals September 2015 Reveal

My foodie penpals package for September is heeere!
I was excited to receive it this month (even more so than usual I mean) because the person sending to me is someone I know pretty well from blogging and even met once – the lovely Charlotte. This month’s parcel was a giant envelope, so on opening it I tipped it all out on the floor:

FoodCheck out those noms! Here’s a more detailed look at what my parcel contained:

Fruit bearsA strawberry bear and a raspberry bear. I’m not 100% sure what these are but I can’t wait to find out!

ChocolateBritish chocolatey goodness ‚̧

GrazeThis is really cool! Chocolate pieces, raisins, dried cranberries and cherries in a little pack. Immediately after I finished taking the photos I ripped this open and devoured it. It was delicious – and it counts as one of my five a day!

Food mixesThe savoury stuff. A sausage casserole mixture and some Jamie Oliver stuffing mix that sounds amazing!

Skittles“The dark side of Skittles”. I’m very intrigued by these.

Green tea Finally, some fruity green tea that says it’s good for my immune system. Charlotte said she included this so I wouldn’t catch another bad cold – how thoughtful is that?

She also sent me this cute pasta postcard (the rules say you must include something written with the food – it is supposed to be “penpals” after all!).

Pasta postcardI’ve been totally spoiled with this months package. So many treats! Thank you Charlotte ūüôā

As for me, I was again sending to somebody without a blog. Alice, from England, told me she’s gluten intolerant, which ruled out a lot of the traditional Swiss things I usually send. This is what I ended up putting together for her:

Swiss parcelAmazingly, I managed to squidge all of that into one rather small box. Check it out:

Food parcel

If you want to take part in Foodie Penpals, you can read the rules and sign up here. (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.). Matches go out on the 5th of each month and the deadline for sending packages is the 20th. It’s a lot of fun and if you do decide to sign up I promise you won’t regret it!

35 Before 35: Eating Marillenkn√∂del in Austria

Number 14 on my 35 before 35 list was to go back to Austria and finally try Marillenkn√∂del! That’s right… despite having lived in Austria for almost a year, I had never tried one of their most typical dishes (although to be fair I lived there from September til June, so not exactly during Marillenkn√∂del season!). Obviously this situation couldn’t continue, so I added Marillenkn√∂del eating to my 35 before 35 list and finally managed to make up for my failure pretty much exactly 8 years after I originally left Austria!

Marille is Austrian for apricot (Austrians speak German, but their own variety of German which has some different words. In normal German, apricot would be die Aprikose), and Kn√∂del means dumpling… in this case a potato dumpling. To make this sweet dish, you remove the core of an apricot, replace it with a sugar lump then form a dumpling from potato dough (or sometimes a dough made with Topfen… the Austrian/Bavarian word for Quark) and place the apricot inside said dumpling. The whole thing is then steamed, rolled in browned breadcrumbs and served with a dusting of icing sugar.Very sweet and incredibly delicious!

Chicken, leek and bacon mashed potato topped pie

I made this delicious pie for the second time the other day, and this time I remembered to take photos, which means you, my lovely readers, get a recipe (and I can actually look up how to do it next time instead of guessing and hoping it comes out as nice as the time before… always a danger with made up recipes!). This is perfect as a comfort food or for a warm, hearty meal on a cold day.

Chicken, Leek and Bacon Mashed Potato Topped Pie

You will need:
450 g chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 large leek, chopped fairly small
1 packet bacon pieces
1 tub cr√®me fra√ģche
4 large potatoes, diced
About 1 tsp tarragon
Salt and black pepper
Nutmeg
Butter, for mash
Optional: Grated cheese

The above amount serves two, but could be stretched to more if you add a side dish of salad or vegetables.

What to do:

1. Heat some oil (I use olive oil) in a pan and fry the bacon bits for about a minute. Meanwhile, place some water on to boil in a saucepan.

2. Add the chicken to the pan and continue frying, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is almost completely cooked through.
Also, put the diced potatoes in the water as soon as it starts to boil.

Chicken and bacon

3. Add the leek to the pan with the chicken/bacon and fry until soft, stirring occasionally.

Pie filling

4. Drain the potatoes then place them back in the pan and mash them with some button and about a teaspoon of the cr√®me fra√ģche.
Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg.

5. Stir about a teaspoon of tarragon into the frying pan with the chicken, bacon and leek (fresh is best, but you can use dried if that’s all you’ve got…
I use a a jar with fresh tarragon in oil), then stir in the remainder of the cr√®me fra√ģche. Add salt and pepper to the mixture to taste.

Tarragon in oil

6. Place the chicken, leek and bacon mixture into two small or one medium-sized oven proof dishes and spread it out so it covers the bottom.

Pie filling

7. Cover the chicken, leek and bacon mixture with the mashed potatoes and spread it out to complete cover the chicken, etc. layer.
You can then add some grated cheese to the top if you want I did – I used Cheddar).

8. Place the pie in the oven on around 180¬įC (350¬įF) until the cheese has melted, then sit back and enjoy your pie. Caution: It will be very hot!

The finished pie

Tasty

So the evil mosquito, the one I failed to kill on Thursday night… he came back and got me on Friday. I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I noticed was that the side of my hand was itchy. Turning on the light for a closer inspection I saw that I’d been bitten. Then over the course of the day I discovered six more bites. That’s seven all together! Little beast had a busy night.¬† And Jan, who was sharing a bed with me, doesn’t have one single bite! Apparantly I’m unbelievably tasty…
I’m just surprised I actually have any blood left!

I’ll be back later to tell you all about my wine tasting experience in Heilbronn. Right now I have to try and find someone to change Euros into 20 cent pieces for me. Jan’s washing machine still isn’t connected so he’s gone home to pick up all his dirty laundry to wash here….