Exotic South African Exchange

After a very long hiatus I finally am posting the first article of the New Year. Wow 2010 was tumultuous to say the least and the one thing that certainly helped stay a little more sane has been this blog. I am not big on resolutions but I will make one here: no more blog backlog! I have about 10 posts overdue so I hope to clear them out and stay on top of things for 2011. The bets are open for how long my resolution will last!

This one is WAY overdue and should not have been neglected so long as it is in reference to my last received Foodie Exchange. I honestly have to say this is on my top 3 favorite not only because Nicola of the Wots for Lunch? ,with whom I exchanged, is just wonderful but because she is in South Africa. Talk about the exotic and the unknown!

I received my package and could not wait to explore its contents. Inside I found 2 boxes of spices and herbs for recipes, Kudu paté, candies, a fruit roll and 2 kinds of Roobios Tea – my favorite kind of tea. Oh and a decorative handmade rooster!

Now who can I invite who is adventurous enough to try an exotic South African meal? Why my friend Johanne of course. We had the Kudu paté as a starter to our meal. Yes I had to Wiki the Kudu: it is a type of antilope. And I must say spread of the freshly cut slice of French bread it is mighty tasty!

The main dinner was the preparation of one of the spice box recipes, Bobotie. This is basically a South African meat loaf with wonderful spices and is topped with an egg-baked layer. It is not a spicy dish but rather a complex mix of spices which include curry, sugar, marjoram, tumeric, pepper and more. We followed the box for the full recipe but in mainly consisted of beef, bread, spices, fruit chutney, onions and milk with eggs for the top which if baked after the meatloaf is cooked.

The result was a very tender and delicious meat loaf that I pared with a Banana Flower Salad. Odd combo but it worked well. We finished of our wonderful meal with a Parisian cake my friend had brought and a cup of Roobios tea. We were both quite content!

Foodie Exchange is a group for foodies from around the planet who wish to exchange their local food specialties as a care package with other foodies.

Homemade Speculoos Spread

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A while back I mentioned how I fell in love with a particular product I received from a Foodie Exchange with Mathilde who resides in Bordeaux, France. This product was a sweet spread to be used on toast and it is made of a very popular cookie called Speculoos.

Speculaas is a type of shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ Eve in the Netherlands (December 5) and Belgium (December 6). Belgian varieties use no or less of the spices and are sold as Speculoos. I wrote a post about these cookies so click here to read more about them.

I went gaga over this spread….like finished it with a spoon in the jar! I did find some here but at 6.99 a jar it is a luxury treat. But what if I could make my own? Well I found a recipe here on the Seitan is my Motor blog. I can buy the cookies for about $3-$4 and most of the other ingredients I already have at home. Let’s see how it compares to the store bought version…

Homemade Speculoos Spread

150 g speculoos cookies
1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or regular sugar + 1/2 t vanilla extract)
50 g (a bit less the 1/4 cup) coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp canola oil or more if needed (I needed WAY more)


Grind the cookies into a fine meal using a food processor.

Melt the coconut fat and let cool down until luke warm. Mix speculoos meal with the sugar and cinnamon  in a bowl. Stir in fat and oil. Mix until well combined.

This spread will harden in the fridge and it is best to let it stand 30 min at room temperature when serving.


– Experiment with the oils: play with the quantities or types of oils. if you cannot find coconut oil try using butter, shortening, vegetable oil, etc.
– If the spread gets too oily/runny and one or two additional processed cookies.

OK so it is not quite like the original thing as there is no way a home kitchen appliance can grind the cookies down enough but still it is quite delicious. Warning: this is very addictive stuff!

UPDATE: After retesting the recipe just now following Indigonat’s comment, my version is the crumbly spread version here. Still good but crumbly. For a creamy version check this post at cuisine de Gaelle in French. See the dirrefence in the resulty below when I tried hers.

Bordeaux Exchange, Round 2

Quiet on the blogging front this weekend as it is a long one with Labor Day celebrations. Enjoy!

Remember Mathilde from Bordeaux with whom I had an amazing Foodie Exchange? Well a while back she contacted me asking for a very specific product (real maple extract, really hard to find actually)  and we agreed to a small exchange again. And Again she went out of her way which a huge amazing package….

  • Merlot wine confit
  • Chili Mustard
  • Foie Gras
  • Cherry jam
  • Tea

I will have to send her a little something again….whether she likes it or not 😉

Thank you so much Mathilde for an amazing exchange. Would you like to do such an exchange with a fellow foodie? Then join us on the Foodie Exchange right now. We are a group for foodies from around the planet who wish to exchange their local food specialties as a care package with other foodies.

Super Filipino Exchange

When Mhe-Lhanee of Pens, Pans, and Puns said she did not want to send things to exotic to scare me my answer was simple: Bring it on! And boy did she. There are a couple of really unusual items in this package I cannot wait to try with a touch of unknown apprehension. Its definitely a phenomenal exchange. I love it. I have mostly tried the sweet stuff so far, hey I have a sweet tooth.

  • Peanut sauce mix
  • Spicy sauce mix
  • Chicken pandan mix
  • sauteed shrimp paste
  • banana catsup
  • mussel chips
  • fried pork rinds
  • dilis (anchovies)
  • dried mangoes
  • honey glazed pilinut
  • coffee sample
  • fridge magnet
  • Durian candies and peanut bars

Even one of my cats, Mickey, was terribly excited to sniff out the new arrivals. And I love fridge magnets, so happy to add this one to my collection. Thank you so much Mhe-Lhanee! Want to do an exchange with someone else in the world. Join the Foodie Exchange

Dutch Foodie Exchange

Quebec is famous for July 1 st moves. Many apartment leases end on June 30th and everybody moves July 1st. So in that spirit the Foodie Exchange has moved, granted a bit before July 1st.

The Foodie Exchange, a place where foodies from around the planet can exchange their local food specialties as a care package with other foodies, has now its very own independent domain:

***please UPDATE your links and badges!***

Now the dust is still settling, not all the boxes are emptied and not all the decorations are up. But the site is ready for some action!

And if you do then you can receive some great food from other countries like I just did with Marthe of Culinairy Delights. Marthe is in the Netherlands. Here is what I got….

  • coarse honey mustard
  • miniature stroopwafels, molasses waffle cookies, so good!
  • Moroccan mint tea
  • chocolate liqueur for coffee
  • coffee cake bars called Ontbijkoek
  • a light rose beer

Thank you so much Marthe! Want to do a similar package with someone? Then join the Foodie Exchange!

Hellish Weekend and Indiana Exchange

I had a weekend from HELL. After an absolutely lovely dinner with the Cheap Ethnic Eatz group I went home. After the initial shock subsided and I confirmed I had not been robbed I realized there had been extensive water damage to my apartment.

I live in a high rise with a pool on top on the 20th floor. I live on the 18th. Apparently a pool pipe burst (actually heard rumors now some opened the wrong valve) and leaked in the building. Apparently visible damage in apartments were felt all the way down to the 6th floor. When I got home 3 area carpets where thrown in the bathtub, the bathroom still had 1 cm of water on half the floor, there were to mystery mops in the hall way, 2 pans where taken from my cupboards to collect dripping water from my pantry in the kitchen, and worse was the bedroom: the bed was pushed across the opposite side of the room, the mattress was standing up pushed against the commodes, my bedding (ALL OF IT) wet AND they used the cat’s liter box as a water collector to for water dripping from the ceiling…a dirty wet liter box!! Thank god my mattress has a plastic wrapping on it. It smelled of dirty pipe water and half my place was affected.

Its 9h30pm on a Friday night. No one even tried to contact me about this during the day! I call the landlord and am told what happened…apparently 6 firemen and 3 employees where mopping up my place for a while. Nothing can be done till Monday we’ll see then. Cats are hiding terrorized. I wanted to cry! Neighbors I met in the hallway over the weekend told me what they witnessed. The guy upstairs had his place destroyed and the firemen had to break down his door to get in.

Tally: I took pics and will see with the Quebec rental board before contacting the building owners. I only lost 10$ worth of food. Everything else is laundry or cleaning. But the apt is damaged in the kitchen, my bedroom floor has buckled up on 1/2 the floor surface, etc.

I was not alone with bad news. One friend had her car stolen Saturday night and my other friend was over for dinner last night got a call and got fired at 10pm from her part-time job. This week-end SUCKED! I twitted to death about all that was going on this weekend. Matt from Menu Musings sweetly offered to help.  Thanks, Matt, that was really sweet!

We actually just did an exchange I did not have time to post yet but this is appropriate now. he had told me before hand, but funny enough instead of getting local products I got all Asian products (not that he is Asian either). I got quite a package from him with unusual items. I got a spice mix to make Kimchi, chop sticks, a spice  mix to make a hot pot…and Jelly Fish.

Yes jelly fish. I have actually already eaten jelly fish before in my life but its the first time I have some in my house. This will be interesting! I had posted a recipe for it a long time ago. It is mostly used for salads. I found this recipe to find out what I had been served at this restaurant…I guess now I can actually do it myself!

Donate to the Foodie Exchange

Another UPDATE: Thank you Indigonat for spreading the word on your blog about the donations!

UPDATE: Thank you to www.barclayswine.com for a generous donation of 175$. Only 25$ to go!
Hi everyone,

the discussion I started a little while back, Ning.com has decided to impose a fee on Ning networks, which is where the Foodie Exchange resides.
We need 199.95 dollars by June 30th to stay here. I have set up a Paypal Donation button on the main page for you to please give a little. If everyone gave 2$ we would cover it no problem. If you want to give more you are welcome to do so.

Sponsorship would be another solution. I you want to sponsor the Foodie Exchange or know someone who would I will gladly add a banner in the Advertise section. Email me directly for sponsorship rates.

If we do not raise enough money the group will have to move. Let me assure you that I will use any donation received for that purpose alone to set up an alternative website.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Evelyne, founder