Foodie Penpals – July reveal

Sorry I’m a little late with my reveal for July, I’ve had such a lot going on in the last week and not found time to open my parcel let alone write my post up. 

Anyway, my parcel this month came from the lovely Kelly in Scotland. I received my parcel a little late this month as Kelly was going away and I had such a lot going on that I replied late, so I had to wait until she came back – though totally my fault, not hers! It was worth the wait anyway, as always. Though I haven’t had chance to try a lot yet, but looking forward to doing so. 

I received a lovely little card and a handwritten note this month, explaining what all of the products were:

Here’s a peek of all the goodies. Lots of variety as usual from my penpals!: 
I love to receive international foods and different flavours I haven’t tried before, and that’s what I got this month. Kelly lives in a very multicultural area so she wanted to give me a ‘taste’ of it, so to speak.
So, for the savoury things:

– Some chilli & lemon toasted corn. I’m looking forward to trying this as I love chilli and lemon flavours, but I haven’t had them together as of yet. I am assured it is lovely and moreish though!

– Henderson’s Sauce flavoured crisps which Kelly picked up in Yorkshire whilst she was away. I love locally made crisps as they usually have that amazing crunch to them; the same goes for these, they’re a lush flavour too, a little like Worcestershire sauce.

– A packet of duck flavour noodles, a favourite with the students apparently as they’re nicer than Pot Noodles! I love duck so I’m looking forward to trying these.

– A pack of biryani masala mix. This is one of our favourite takeaway dishes so I’m already planning when to use this. 

– A sachet of marinade for pork ribs. Ribs are a bit of a delicacy for us so I’m looking forward to trying this too! 
– And some ‘Holy Basil’ seasoning paste – Kelly sent me this because she loved the name of it! I have to say it is a rather cool name! I’m thinking it might be nice with some kind of chicken & tomato dish. 
And now for the sweet goodies:

– A peanut flavoured Lion bar. Kelly had never heard of these until she visited her local Polish deli; I had and they are really yum, so I was delighted to find it in my package.

– A ‘Ba!’ cereal bar. Again I love the name! It was delicious too, little man can also vouch for that…

– Some Tunnocks Caramel wafer biscuits. I’m sure everyone knows what these are, again, delighted to find these!

– Some Pepero chocolate sticks, a Korean version of Mikado with almonds, so a nice light snack. In fact I’m munching on them right now!

– And finally, some mint tea from a local company. I always like finding local produce in my packages, just in case I ever happen to visit the area my parcel came from. 

I won’t be taking part in the swap for August, but if you would like to find out more and join in, take a look over on the Rock Salt blog.

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Foodie Penpals – June reveal

First up, sorry I’m a little late again, I have had lots going on! So June’s parcel came from the lovely Michelle from Scotland. As always I cannot wait to open it; this month was no different. And again as always, it turned out to be a fabulous parcel. I like it when the goodies are hidden like this as it’s even more of a surprise!


I also loved the cute envelope which my note came in.

So here is a look at the full contents of the parcel. There was a good mix of sweet & savoury things, which I always like to have. And a few Scottish goodies which was fabulous as I love everything about Scotland. 

Here are the savoury goodies I received. Some balsamic dressing – yes I know it says ‘sweet’ on it  but it’s chilli flavour. I haven’t tried this yet but it will be lovely with some chicken I think. Some oatcakes – I love traditional oatcakes, these ones are sundried tomato flavour. Again, not tried them yet, but I will be certain to be snacking on them sometime soon. Some ‘proper’ popcorn – I’m saving this for when hubby and I have a date night, staying in! Haggis & cracked black pepper crisps – all the times I have been to Scotland, I’ve never tried haggis even though I’ve been meaning to. Well I’ve kind of tried it now! These are yummy, I love the Mackie’s brand too. Some togarashi seasoning. I’ve never heard of this so will be trying it on a dish for hubby & I as it’s quite spicy. And some grown your own chilli seeds! I need to get these planted. 

And now for the sweet goodies! A jar of ‘creme de marrons’ – this is a chestnut puree. Michelle sent a lovely looking recipe for a chocolate chestnut roulade which she makes at Christmas, so I’m going to save this for then. Some fruity porridge in a pot. I haven’t tried this yet but I do love the pot as it’s pink! Some Lotus caramelised biscuits – I never dare open biscuits when hubby is around as he’s a biscuit fiend so I’m scared he’ll eat them all! But I NEED them all now, right?… Finally, some traditional Scottish tablet – you cannot go to Scotland and not have some tablet, so I was delighted when I saw this. I’ve only eaten half of it already though as I do find it quite sickly, but delicious & creamy. And then, the non food item, some cute ‘eat me’ cupcake decorations. I’m going to use these for some of my fundraiser cupcakes next month! 

If you wish to find out more about Foodie Penpals and join in, go and visit Rock Salt for more details. 
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Foodie Penpals – May reveal

My foodie penpal for this month was Rebecca over at Really Nice Food. And guess what, she sent me some really nice food! Through our emails, I was intrigued as to what I was going to receive, as I said I like spicy food, and she asked me if I like really spicy food…

When my parcel arrived it was a huge box, so I was even more intrigued! I guessed there was a  few breakable items as everything in there was well packed.

Asian & Caribbean foodie penpals items

I was excited to see Asian and Caribbean products in there, it’s the type of food I just love. 
Asian & Caribbean foodie penpals products
All of my items

Asian & Caribbean foodie penpals itemsSo the biggest item in there was a bag of Panko breadcrumbs. I have actually come across recipes before that require these, but I didn’t know what they were, or where I could buy them, so I avoided the recipe! I’ll have to be trying them out now. Also in there was a big tub of paprika. Now this is really handy as I sometimes coat our homemade chips in paprika before baking them (I currently have a tub open already though so will be saving this for future).
Asian & Caribbean foodie penpals itemsI also received a bag of mild Caribbean curry powder, which I used tonight. I usually just use a Levi Roots sauce if I make a Caribbean curry, so its nice to have this in to make one with now. There was also some tamarind sauce. I tried tamarind for the first time when we visited Market Kitchen a few years ago, and it was so nice, so I’m delighted I received this. And it will be all mine as hubby isn’t keen! A little tub of Thai chilli seasoning powder was in there, we like Thai so will look forward to using this. Now for the really hot stuff – a jar of hot pepper sauce… I’ve been meaning to try some of this for ages but have been putting it off – a bit of the wuss factor I think! But as someone else bought me it, I thought it was the perfect time. I used it to season grilled chicken, and baked chunky chips. At first it was SO hot, but I soon get use to spice so it was quite fine then, but think I’ll just be using it for dips etc. in future as it’s way too hot for hubby. Finally, some chipotle jalapeno chillies. I will be attempting to make this sauce with it, as I was a bit stuck what to do with them but somebody pointed me towards it. All in all, a lovely hot box! 
To find out more about Foodie Penpals and to request to join, pop over to Rock Salt.

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Recipe – Chocolate lover cake

Many of my friends know I LOVE to bake. I regularly make chocolate cakes as my husband is a chocolate addict, and of course he loves my baking (who doesn’t?!). This one I made at Easter to take friends for after dinner, and it was so delicious, but a little sickly! 

Chocolate lover cake

Serves 8


(for the cake)
2 eggs
135g self raising flour
160g butter
160g caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk

I have stated 2 eggs on this recipe as a guide, but what I usually do is weigh my eggs in their shells, then use the equivalent amount of flour, butter & sugar, and it makes a light & fluffy cake. 

(for the butter icing & decoration)
500g icing sugar
250g butter
cocoa powder (replace some of the icing sugar with cocoa powder, to your taste)
1 tsp milk
18 two finger Kit Kat’s or 9 four finger Kit Kat’s
4 large bags of Mini Eggs

Instead of using Kit Kat’s, you could use chocolate fingers or cigarillos, and Smarties instead of Kit Kat’s, or even strawberries if you want to pretend it’s healthy! 


  • Preheat the oven to gas 5/ 375F/ 190C.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy. 
  • Add the eggs bit by bit, adding a tbsp of flour each time. This will help stop the eggs from curdling. 
  • Add the rest of the flour and cocoa powder, and mix thoroughly, then add the milk. 
  • Pour mixture into a tin (I use a 6.5 inch silicone one) and bake for around 30 mins, until a skewer or cocktail stick poked in the centre comes out clean (or with crumbs on). I usually turn the cake half way through so it cooks evenly on both sides.
  • Meanwhile, mix the butter in a clean bowl, until light & creamy. Gradually add the icing sugar & cocoa powder until it is thick & smooth, then add the milk. 
  • Leave the cake to cool, then cut in half. You could also bake in two tins to save cutting. 
  • Spread some of the butter icing inside, then place the cakes one on top of the other. Cover the outside of the cake in icing. 
  • As soon as you have done this, you need to get the chocolate on, so it sticks to the icing to stay in place. First place the Kit Kat’s around the outside, making sure there are no gaps. Then just empty the Mini Eggs/Smarties/strawberries on the top! 
  • You could also decorate with ribbon to hold it further.

Chocolate lover cake
Chocolate lover cake
Chocolate lover cake
Chocolate lover cake
Chocolate lover cake - inside
Chocolate lover cake – inside

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Live Below The Line – Day 5 #livebelowtheline

So here it is. The end is nigh. Well, the end of the day anyway, I’ve actually just had my ‘last supper’. But for billions, this last supper comes every day, and after living it for 5 days, it is completely unjustifiable. How I am feeling today – exhausted, lethargic, shaky, hungry. That’s just physically. I’ve been through many emotions too. I will write more in a separate post on a reflection of the week. I’m too tired to even write this post to be honest, but it’s my final food update, so here goes. 

Breakfast – 10am:

  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 20g cheese spread = 8p
  • TOTAL = 12p

Breakfast was earlier today than it has been, as we had to go out. Didn’t really enjoy it much to be honest, after eating it all week. I mainly ate it because I was so hungry. 

Lunch – 1.30pm:

  • vegetable cup soup = 5p
  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • TOTAL = 9p

Decided to just have a cup soup again today. I quite enjoyed it actually, I’ve grown quite accustomed to these! 

Dinner – 6.30pm
  • 70g rice = 3p
  • 1/2 jar curry of sauce = 9p
  • 2 pieces of chicken = 34p
  • TOTAL = 46p

Didn’t really feel like eating at all tonight to be honest, but knew I had to, as otherwise I’ve barely eaten anything today. I suppose I enjoyed it, being my last supper and all… 

I haven’t had a snack today, if I do it’ll be a piece of chicken as I have no cheese spread left now (and I’ll update this post with the new total)

TOTAL for the day = 67p

Once again, nobody said it was easy.

It’s not. 

(For me, anyway). 

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here. Sponsorship is open until 30th June, so you have plenty of time.
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Live Below The Line – Day 4 #livebelowtheline

Day 4 of the challenge. Nearly there now! I didn’t go to bed too hungry last night, as I had a slice of bread not long before. I was SO tired though and was in bed way before hubby; I was freezing too so went to get little man out of his bed to snuggle as he radiates heat! No waking in the middle of the night either, and I wasn’t very hungry when I woke up – I think I’m getting used to the hunger now as I haven’t actually felt it much today. I have been shattered though. I also cannot stress enough, just how sad I feel that I don’t have to do this permanently, when so many do.

Breakfast – 11am:

  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 20g cheese spread = 8p
  • TOTAL = 12p

To be honest, I wasn’t in much of a rush for this, this morning, as like I said above I didn’t feel that hungry. It still satisfied me though. 

Lunch – 2.30pm:

  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 1 piece of chicken = 17p
  • TOTAL = 21p

Fancied something different today other than cheese spread, so decided to have some chicken. Bit strange without any butter though, plus the chicken kept falling out! 

Dinner – 6.30pm
  • vegetable cup soup =  5p
  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 1 piece of chicken = 17p
  • TOTAL = 26p

I’m out of tomatoes now, and I’m saving the rest of my curry sauce until tomorrow! So it was a cup soup for dinner today, with some bread, and some chicken to add a bit more protein and bulk it out. 

I haven’t had a snack today, if I do it’ll probably be a slice of cheese spread on toast, or a piece of chicken (and I’ll update this post with the new total)

TOTAL for the day = 59p

One day to go! 

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here.
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Live Below The Line – Day 3 #livebelowtheline

Day 3 of the challenge! I went to bed on an empty, hungry stomach last night, again. I woke up again, around 1.30am with heartburn and hunger. again, I managed to get back to sleep, after getting comfy from the pain. I didn’t have a headache when I woke up this morning though, but I feel so tired. 

Breakfast – 10.45am:

  • 30g porridge = 3p
  • 1/4 pint tap water = free
  • 1/3 banana = 4p
  • TOTAL = 7p
To be honest it tasted better than Monday’s! That could have been because I used less oats, so could taste the banana more, or it could simply be the fact I was so hungry this morning! 

Lunch – 2.30pm:

  • 3 slices brown bread = 6p
  • 15g cheese spread = 6p
  • TOTAL = 12p
Something similar to what I’d normally have anyway. Had 3 slices of bread to fill me up a bit more. 

Dinner – 6.30pm
  • 100g pasta = 6p
  • 1/2 tin of tomatoes =  16p
  • 50g cheese spread = 20p
  • pepper = 1p
  • TOTAL = 43p

I’m having pasta again today as we’re going to my Mum’s for dinner tonight, and they’ll be having pasta, so I won’t feel TOO left out. They’re having cheesy garlic bread though – argh! 

Snack – 10pm

  • 1 slice brown bread = 2p
  • TOTAL = 2p

TOTAL for the day = 64p

I’m getting used to living on so little now, but it’s still not easy, and I couldn’t do it forever. I am so much more appreciative of good food now. 

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here.

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Live Below The Line – Day 2 #livebelowtheline

Day 2 of the challenge. I went to bed on an empty, hungry stomach last night. Remember me saying that this is the way billions of people go to bed – it is really not a nice feeling. Usually I would grab a quick biscuit or something, but I don’t have any in my budget this week! I woke up around 2.30am with a mega rumbling belly. I eventually managed to get back to sleep. When I woke up for the day though, I had a pounding headache. I’m guessing this is from the lack of food, though I am drinking plenty of water. 

Breakfast – 10.15am:

  • 2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 20g cheese spread = 8p
  • TOTAL = 12p

This is probably similar to what I’d normally have anyway, other than cereal with milk. 

Lunch – 3pm:

  •  vegetable cup soup = 5p
  • 1 slice brown bread =2p
  • TOTAL = 7p
I was actually very surprised, the soup was rather quite tasty! I think I’ll buy some of these for future when I want something quick. 

Dinner – 6pm
  • 1/2 jar curry sauce = 9p
  • 100g rice =  4p
  • 2 chicken portions = 34p
  • TOTAL = 47p

I had been looking forward to this ALL day! It tasted like the best meal ever! The cheap curry sauce is actually quite nice, tastes a bit like the chip shop stuff. I tend to make my own curry sauces usually though. 

I haven’t had a snack today, if I do it’ll probably be a slice of cheese spread on toast (and I’ll update this post with the new total)

TOTAL for the day = 66p

Today has been a little easier than yesterday, now I knew what to expect. I could not do this every day though, and it makes me extremely sad for the billions of people who have no choice. 

Tomorrow will be the hardest day yet, when we are elsewhere for dinner, and the others will be having cheesy garlic bread – one of my favourites! I’ll be taking some cheesy pasta with me though. 

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here.

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#foodiepenpals – April reveal

This month my penpal was the lovely fellow baking addict Rachel over at Jaques, it rhymes with cakes (I love the blog name!). 

I was delighted to open my parcel, once again filled with baking goodies! There were a couple of savoury bits in there too but will go into a little more detail further down.

First thing I noticed were some recipe sheets, all sweet things! One of these was for marshmallow cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Book – now I thought I had this one, but I don’t – it’s Cake Days which I have, so no wonder I didn’t remember coming across it! Of course I know the vanilla frosting one though, one of the other recipes! There was also one for raspberry & amaretti crunch cake – now this sounds delicious! I think it might have to be my first bake after this week’s challenge is over!

So for the baking related stuff – first up some cupcake cases – you can never have too many cupcake cases! And I didn’t actually have these ones, so they were perfect. Also a single cupcake box – she sent this as she thought a single cupcake gift was a lovely idea – indeed it is, now I have to find someone special to use it for! (Teehee). A heart shaped biscuit cutter – these are great too; another thing which I have many of, but not a heart shaped one! Now for the edible sweet things – some pearl decorations – once again, you can never have too many cake decorations! (In actual fact, can you ever have too much of anything cake related?!).

Some yogurt raisins – these are for the little man to enjoy whilst I’m eating a yummy creation, very thoughtful of Rachel! A  big pack of marshmallows – these were obviously for the marshmallow cupcakes! Now, I did attempt these, but I think I must have done something wrong, as they looked nothing like Rachel’s over on her blog! They were still yummy though – apart from the rock hard melted marshmallow – think I need to attempt that one again… Some ground almonds – these are for the crunch cake (my mouth is watering just thinking about even making it!). 
And then for the couple of savoury bits – some Nando’s BBQ chicken seasoning – to go with my love of spice. Can’t wait to try this, think it will be nice on some chicken in a deli wrap, with some salad. And some somaq spice – I’ve never heard of this before, but Rachel says it is nice sprinkled in casserole, so I will have to be trying that.

Thank you to Rachel for another great foodie penpals parcel! 

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Live Below The Line – Day 1 #livebelowtheline

So today is the first day of my challenge. I’m feeling quite good about it at the minute, not sure how that will change throughout the week though! 

Breakfast – 10.15am:

  • 50g porridge = 4p
  • 1/2 pint tap water = free
  • 1/3 banana = 4p
  • TOTAL = 8p

I usually always make porridge with milk, or half milk half water, but today I had to make it all with water. I am going to be honest, I couldn’t finish it. Towards the end the taste of water was just too much and I started feeling sick. 1/3 of a banana doesn’t really mask the taste that much. Already I have realised just how lucky we are to be able to afford milk! (I’ve cut the rest of the banana up and frozen it, to take out as & when during the week).


Lunch – 1.50pm:

  •  2 slices brown bread = 4p
  • 10g cheese spread = 4p
  • TOTAL = 8p

Today’s lunch wasn’t too bad. It’s something like what I’d normally have anyway. Except I’d be using more expensive cheese spread! Hasn’t really filled me up though and I could do with a bag of crisps or something!


Just worked out the cost of meals throughout the week though, and I can fit snacks into my daily budget, from the food which I’ve bought within my £5 – for example a piece of chicken, or a slice of toast, either with cheese spread or dry – I need to make the spread last throughout the week!

Snack – 4.40pm
  • 1 slice brown bread = 2p
  • TOTAL = 2p

I had to have something to eat, I had a headache coming on and felt so hungry! So just a slice of bread it was, to keep me going until dinner. 

Dinner – 7.15pm
  • 1/2 tin tomatoes = 16p
  • 100g pasta =  6p
  • 2 chicken portions = 34p
  • dash of pepper = 1p
  • TOTAL = 57p

I was so much looking forward to this, and it was yummy! I’m so glad I bought pepper in my budget, as it gave it a bit of flavour, which I needed!


TOTAL for the day = 75p

All in all, I haven’t found today as hard as I expected it to be! I am looking forward to dinner tomorrow though! 

If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so here.

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