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
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
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.


72 thoughts on “DECEMBER IN MY KITCHEN

  1. 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.

  2. 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

    • 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 😀

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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… 😀

  10. 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 ;(

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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