DECEMBER IN MY KITCHEN

Ah, December and summer madness reigns supreme. Despite dire warnings from the finance gurus, people are spending like there’s no tomorrow. Even crazier is their behaviour in traffic, every lunatic and his dog seem to be on the roads. Mercifully, from next week they will begin their pilgrimage to the coast to infuriate the locals there and leave Johannesburg a tranquil corner of heaven.


My kitchen has been the beneficiary of gifts lately, First Sighting’s six little monthly soldiers arrived right on time in the form of a mixed case of Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. This was to thank me for my recipe for their November newsletter. I had experimented with rosewater and chocolate and was very pleased with the result. The recipe can be found here.


I also got down to starting on Christmas hampers for the shampoo ladies at work, by baking cookies and puddings. I am not sure the stash will last in this house …

My dear friends, Mel and Linda, gifted me with a darling set of spoons with sweet inscriptions on them: A pinch of joy; a dash of tenderness; a spoonful of affection and a heap of love. Too precious, thank you both.


A work colleague asked me a few days ago what I consider to be the definitive starter cookbook for a busy mum. I said I’d think about it and get back to her. I arrived home to find that the new PicknPay ‘The Best of Fresh Living’ cookbook had been delivered to me by the publishers for review. This book is possibly the only book my colleague will need.


It’s a delightful, sunny book and useful for any level of cooking skills. I found the inclusion of a shopping list of larder and freezer ingredients a great bonus. The book has solved the eternal wearisome problem of working mothers the world over, by dedicating an entire chapter to weeknight suppers.
All the recipes are concise and relatively easy to make. My first try from the book left a heap of very clean bones …

Jamaican jerk spareribs

Sweet, sticky and delicious
Sauce:
1 chilli halved and seeded
4 spring onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbs (45ml) grated ginger
2 Tsp (30ml) thyme leaves
1-2 tsp (5-10ml) ground allspice
Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
½ cup (125ml) tomato sauce
½ cup (125ml) pineapple juice or tomato juice
½ cup (125ml) soft brown sugar
Spareribs:
1-2 racks of pork ribs, halved to form riblets
Salt and milled pepper
Chopped spring onions and chilli, for serving

Blits all sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Season pork ribs. Pour over half the sauce. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours before cooking.
Place ribs on foil-covered baking tray and cook under a hot grill, basting occasionally with remaining sauce, until cooked through and slightly charred.
Serve with chopped onions and chilli.

Et viola! Better than I have eaten at any steakhouse and pretty as a picture to boot!

For more contributions to Celia’s challenge theme of monthly kitchens, click here.

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72 Comments Add yours

  1. slpmartin says:

    How perfect…I have been looking for another rib recipe to try and as always you’ve saved me….I can sleep well now. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad to be of service, sleep well, Charlie 😀

  2. leigh says:

    Great post, almost didn’t get past the opening photograph – naturally! Have a lovely day from one of your not at all secret admirers 😉

  3. Sparkle says:

    On Monday the N1 was a breeze and I thought until the 9th when “they” return from COP17 we will have a good flow, naa Tuesday they were back on the road. I give up with Joburg traffic! Even sunday mornings when we go to Cresta there are people on the road already! I will never leave Vaal for Jozi just because of the conjestion on the roads.
    Have a lovely day and will surely purchase pnp mag.

    1. theonlycin says:

      The traffic is just insane, Sparky!

  4. SidevieW says:

    On Sunday at 5am there was a constant flow of cars on Jan Smuts. My excuse was fetching people from a flight that landed at 5. But the others? Though when I got back Old Parks had a huge multi-level road race underway, so maybe they were all heading there (or going home from clubs?)

    The rosewater sounds delightful in the meringues. Maybe, just maybe I should try them….. but again I’m no good at squeezing stuff into coils.

    We thought the spoons said what we feel

    1. theonlycin says:

      I look out onto Beyers Naude Drive from my desk at work. On Tuesday the lights were out at Lifestyle Nursery and the road rage, as the traffic backed up, was quite comical 😀

  5. dearrosie says:

    I love the photo of the roses and lavender. Is the granadilla from your garden?
    even though I have eaten dinner I’d do anything (well almost anything) for a bite of one of those ribs? they look deelish

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Rosie, sadly my garden has no fruit trees 🙂

  6. bluebee says:

    What a lovely post, Cin 😀

    Any recipient of your December activities is a very lucky person, indeed. Love the shot of your flowers,.and those chocolate-covered figs (will have to give them a go when my Mum comes over to visit – she is a figaholic)

    1. theonlycin says:

      I am also dilly over figs 🙂

  7. yadayadafishpaste says:

    What’s delightful about Christmas cookies is that SOMEone always eat them; it is one gift that NEVER goes to waste 🙂 Maybe I should do something like that myself this year… Whatever I end up doing, I’m definitely into the personal touch.

    1. theonlycin says:

      The cookies last a long time too, Lee 🙂

  8. I love those measuring spoons.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Aren’t they beautiful, Linda 🙂

  9. adeeyoyo says:

    I fancy the ribs, Cin! Love your flowers – too beautiful for words!

    1. theonlycin says:

      The roses are so abundant this year, adee, must be because of my talking to them so much 🙂

  10. Oh my, every item was festive and beautiful, until I got to the last photo, which just blew everything else away! What a fabulous looking plate of ribs! And thanks for playing this month – it’s very gorgeous and colourful in your kitchen, Cindy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Celia, I have grown to really look forward to doing the monthly post and reading those of the other bloggers 🙂

  11. earlybird says:

    Those ribs look amazing… better go and find some breakfast…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hiya earlybird, wish I had some leftover ribs for breakfast too 🙂

  12. colonialist says:

    An exclamation mark hovered over my head at reading the pineapple juice option. That simply seems to much of a clash with the tomato sauce, and not in keeping with what I expect from a set of reserve ribs!

    1. theonlycin says:

      The combination of the two is a regular feature in Jamaican food, Col 🙂

  13. Leeswammes says:

    Have a great summer, Cindy! Those biscuits look divine – you’ve got some very lucky ladies at work!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I consider myself lucky to work with them, Judith 😀

  14. souldipper says:

    I may be 95% vegetarian, but I sure could hone in on the 5% with those ribs. They look delicious, Cin. And I like your “I love being me” post!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Haha, sorry to tempt you, Amy 😉

  15. MaanKind says:

    Njammies! I’ll keep this one, thanks!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re welcome, MK 😀

  16. What loveliness in your kitchen Cindy! Rib recipe printed and ready to go to the kitchen.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Enjoy, Mandy 😀 xxx

  17. Tilly Bud says:

    Oo, yummy. I might even try that one.

    I love your personal hampers, btw.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wish I could send you one, Tilly 🙂

  18. Tandy says:

    lovely – and I also want those measuring spoons *walks off to sulk*

    1. theonlycin says:

      Don’t sulk! Where would you put them??? 😉

      1. Tandy says:

        Ha ha, I know my kitchen in full *wonders if Cindy is in cahoots with Dave*

  19. suzicate says:

    Yummy, yum, yum, yum! I want to join one of those wine of the month clubs…but only if it includes chocolates, too!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Choc and wine club … what a fine idea 🙂

  20. Tammy says:

    I love your descriptions of December and I’d forgotten how gorgeous your cookies always turn out. Honestly! You’re amazing. I’ll save the rib recipe for the man-boys in the house.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Tammy, I am still a novice cookie decorator 🙂

  21. Spectra says:

    I’m with Tandy here…those measuring spoons are adorable!

    How is it that you manage to get the publishers sending you free books? I want in on that action!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I have no idea how they find me, Spectra, but I feel blessed by the free books 🙂

  22. nrhatch says:

    What a delight-filled post . . . seasoned with a pinch of joy; a dash of tenderness; a spoonful of affection and a heap of love. 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      I am feeling heaps of love all around, Nancy 🙂

  23. o wow. i’m happy knowing u occupy that space on the other side of our globe. u spread joy-energy and it reaches this far. hugs

    1. theonlycin says:

      Trying to pay it forward, Doc 😉

  24. ceciliag says:

    darling.. ROSES!! I am making the spare rib thingy tomorrow, john loves them and will be so grateful if i use a proper recipe!!!c

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hope you post a pic, Ceci 🙂

  25. Ruth says:

    Those spareribs look delicious, and what a darling spoons set – lucky you! You must be doing something right to be at the receiving end for all those gifts… 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      I guess I must be, Ruth 🙂

  26. I always enjoy your posts, Cin!!! You deserve all the nice gifts!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, Pinky 🙂

  27. Your Summer sounds divine, Cindy, and that recipe a must-try. Love those little spoons!

    1. theonlycin says:

      They are too pretty, Kate, I am going to frame them 🙂

  28. How fabulous. What a treat being so spoilt. 🙂 Drooling over the figs. Wish it were fig season now.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Figs are so expensive, it is a treat to splurge when they are in season and cheaper 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Pseu, very 😀

  29. bandsmoke says:

    A happy summers post – gorgeous on the eye and on the tongue 🙂 not to sure about the influx of your migrants to our part of town though, we long for January ;(

    1. theonlycin says:

      LOL, I can imagine you do 😉

  30. Tes says:

    Your kitchen makes me feel like holiday 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Lovely comment, thanks Tes 🙂

  31. Oh, everything is so lovely, I just don’t know where to begin! Thank you for sharing your kitchen. Especially love those cookies!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the visit, Lizzy 🙂

  32. The Hook says:

    I’d rather be in your kitchen in December than the lobby of my hotel!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You have my sympathy, Hookie 🙂

  33. heidi says:

    I am loving all the pictures of summer in full bloom!
    And the heart shaped cutouts-?
    Lovely- thanks for sharing – I’d like to really visit your kitchen- the fresh fig is very tempting!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’d love to have you visit, Heidi 🙂

  34. Your kitchen is a lovely place to be in every month of the year. December is particularly tempting and I love the smell of lavender, chocolate and grilled spareribs. Those spoons… what a gorgeous gift. Happy December to you and yours, Cindy.

  35. Tokeloshe says:

    Oh I love Spare Ribs!
    Great photo!

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