January 23, 2006
European Blogging By Post III

post.jpgFor the last three or four days a bright yellow box has sat on our dining table, taunting me. Open me, open me, it called to me. But I couldn't. You see, when I had lunch with Pascale of C'est moi qui l'ai fait and Johanna from The Passionate Cook before Christmas I agreed enthusiastically to participate in the next European Blogging by Post, which Johanna was due to host. I'm a procrastinator by nature. So when Johanna's message asking if I wanted to participate came, I forgot to answer for well over a week. By the time I came back to it, the deadline was past. I wrote her a message to apologize and to say that I was still interested if, by chance, there was still the possibility. And like the very sweet person she is she went to the trouble of finding a few other participants so that I could still play. I don't deserve such patient friends. Especially when I repay them by - again - procrastinating on the follow-up. My package arrived three or four days ago. And I swore I wouldn't open it until my contribution to the project was sent.

To be fair, we have been living through a particularly nasty Age of Gastroenteritis. I won't go into details (don't want to ruin your appetites after all) but let's just say the washing machine and dryer have been going pretty much non-stop for the last four or five days.

But as I left the post office today with my package posted (as well as the one to the winner of our prize in the Menu for Hope, by the way) I glowed with satisfaction and looked forward to the joy of opening up my box of comfort once home.

Did I mention the theme of the project was Comfort Food? It was and is. My box was full of comfort. (And somewhat similar to the box I sent out, as my recipient will see, proving that some things are universal in the world of comfort.) The boy tried to help me explore these goodies. Given the fact that he is the one suffering from upset tummy, he didn't keep hold of the chocolate bar for good. (Full points for good instincts on what was the most interesting item in the box however!)

My package from Angelika from The Flying Apple had a very sweet note, explaining her choices:

First of all, the "comfort food" - I have chosen Risotto Alla Milanese, thus I am sending you a packet of risotto rice (from Piemonte) and some saffron. If you want, you can also add some finely diced sausage...

And what can I recommend to eat when cuddling up in front of the fireplace? CHOCOLATE of course...what can be more heart-warming???? So I am enclosing artisane ("hand-torn") chocolate bars made in Austria (by Zotter). He is famous for using very unusual marriages of flavours as you can see and taste ;)

And last, but not least, there are still some of my "Panforte Senese" which obviously have been spared for sending them to Paris...

She included dried sausage, in case I want to include it in the risotto, which I probably will. And the chocolate bar is marked with "ZimtApfel + Honig" which I am proud to say my very basic German was up to translating as "Apple Cinnamon with Honey" (I confirmed it in the English translation of ingredients on the back of the bar). Interesting indeed! I'm glad I salvaged it from the grasp of the Boy.

As if the universe was in some way conspiring to make me a happy cook, I had already planned to make a roast chicken with garlic and lemon for dinner tonight (another great dish for comfort food, by the way) and so I will have the wherewithal to make a delicious chicken stock for my risotto. Can I confess I have never actually done a proper risotto with saffron? I am so looking forward to this. Check in later in the week for the result!

As for the "Panforte Senese", they are delicious - a chewy mixture of fruit and nuts with a nougat flavour. I'm going to have to do some research on these and will probably start with Angelika's blog. They are extremely comforting and delicious. And the best part is that the Critic has shown no interest in them at all, so they are mine, all mine.

Many, many thanks to Johanna (for hosting and organising and allowing me to participate in spite of being a terrible procrastinator) and Angelika (for the wonderful goodies). Austria is certainly being good to me this week, which is quite fitting as this girl had two Austrian-born grandparents.

(For those who are curious, my maiden name is Liebezeit. Love time. Or, if you are Germanic, you will undoubtedly recognize the phrase "Ach, du liebezeit!" which apparently what you say as you hit yourself in the forehead after doing something stuipd. Quite appropriate, really.)

Posted by Meg in Sussex at January 23, 2006 3:09 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Dear Meg, how happy I am to read that the box arrived safely - and even more delighted I am to feel that you like the goodies I have stored in it for you. And I have just posted a story around this package, also for me it was somehow unusual how it went this time, but better read ... and since I had such a bad conscience for not enclosing a recipe I have posted it as well ! So whenever you have time, please check out. Meanwhile I have added your beautiful site to my "daily feedback", at least in my mind, since I wanted to keep the secret... so I hope from now on we will keep in touch. I hope you are better by now, take care - a kiss to the little boy and a BIG HUG to you from your grandparents' homeland, angelika

Posted by angelika on January 23, 2006 at 4:37 PM

What a lovely package! It's lucky the Boy didn't unwrap the chocolate before giving it the wet kiss... The Panforte Senese sound fabulous. I now will be adding angelika's site to my round of online haunts.

Posted by Monica on January 23, 2006 at 4:50 PM

Thanks, Angelika - I'll certainly be using your recipe and will report back! I've also added links to your site. Sorry, but it was late when I finished writing last night and I was tired...

(Also, my Mac doesn't allow me to lazily click on a button to create a link; I have to actually type the text out...which means looking up the code...)

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 24, 2006 at 6:01 AM

hi meg, glad you received it and were happy with the contents... i think it's time we organised a culinary trip to austria at some point, i've had so many foodbloggers who're interested ina little tour there - wine tasting, eating, culture... but before we do that, i am waiting for you to come to london as promised!
hope you're all feeling better now...

Posted by johanna on January 27, 2006 at 7:20 AM
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