November Foodie Penpals Boxes
As mentioned before we’ve joined a Foodie Pen Pals scheme and it seems to be quite good fun! It feels like we’ve waited ages to finally reveal the contents of our first box! Today is the designated reveal day so here we go.
We had a lovely box sent overseas to the UK from Lithuania. The box came from Aiste who has a blog in English which you can find here : No146.blogspot.co.uk Many thanks to Aiste for all the time and thought she put into choosing, preparing and sending our lovely box which we were very happy to receive and totally consume!
Andy exchanged a few emails with Aiste and they discussed the sorts of things we might like or find interesting. Aiste settled mainly on Lithuanian cheeses, which are a very special and rather different to our own. We wondered how cheese would travel unrefrigerated but hey, it’s November and we shouldn’t have worried.
Our parcel arrived and safe inside were an interesting collection of items. There were two cheeses, one sweet and spiced, the other looked to contain garlic and was smoked. The aforementioned jar of beetroot and horseradish, an interesting looking bar of chocolate and a log of something that looked like it might be tiffin. (These last two made me very happy! I need an excuse to eat desserts as I try to be more healthy and this was ideal.) There was also a delightful handwritten letter from Aiste, explaining a bit about each of the items.
Lithuanian Smoked Cheese
Two very different types of Lithuanina cheeses. One had been lightly smoked on the outside to make a garlicy smoky rind with a firm white cheese inside. As Aiste explained, both are natural cheeses without preservatives so it didn’t taste of sulphur or anything nasty like some so called smoked cheeses do. Just a bit of salt and garlic with a soft woodsmoke background. I’ve seen cheeses a bit like this in our local Eastern European shops but I wouldn’t know which ones to buy for fear of getting something overly flavoured. Now I know a bit more about what to look for, which is great.
Lithuanian Sweet Cheese
The other type of cheese was completely new to me – a sweet cheese. What is sweet cheese? Well just that, a cheese that has been turned almost into a kind of confectionary with sugar and aromatic natural flavours such as cinnamon and a bit of lavender I think. The cheesiness balances out the sweetness to a certain extent, and in small quantities I enjoyed a piece of this, in the same way as I might eat just one square of chocolate. The cheese was constructed in an unusual way, with two distinct ends. One end had much more cinnamon in it and was coloured brown on the outside, the other end was white or maybe slightly grey and had far less cinnamon and a bit of something I couldn’t identify. We thought it might be lavender but probably it’s a combination of several flowery or herby aromatics. So slightly odd, pleasantly eatable and definitely achieved that surprise quality of introducing me to something entirely different.
‘Lazybones’ a snack or dessert
I thought I would explain about the ’Lazybones’ items. Aiste said it is called that because it is so easy to make and I had a suspicion when I opened it that it might be very similar to tiffin. I was right. Tiffin is an old favourite tea time treat which produces a quick cake with no need to cook. Mine is a mixture of butter, sugar, cocoa and golden syrup melted together. Add crushed biscuits (digestives are classic but I used to like to use Duchy Originals Organic Oat Biscuits for their oaty texture) and maybe some dried fruit. Pour it into a tray to set & cut into portions. A truly decadent version my Mum used to make also included Malteasers and Chocolate Fingers! Lazybones is obviously a close relative of these concoctions and a small slice was a particularly nice supper time treat for several nights with a cup of our favourite Spicy Roobosh Chai. Yum!
The chocolate was interesting too as it contained bits of ‘gingerbread’. These were not soft like our gingerbread but crunchy like a gingery biscuit. Another very nice supper-time treat. We usually have a piece of chili chocolate with our last cup of tea of the day and this made a pleasant change.
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