Strength by brownie


Recent brownie successes have apparently heralded a new bountious era for our kitchen. (The cracked brownies, by the way, were not definitive. They were so sweet that they haunted me in my sleep and the next day I got up and baked a new batch of my own – heavily intertextual – invention. This second batch was properly good. So good that I dubbed them my “F**k the rest, we is the best” brownies).

The other day a friend slipped me a brown paper full of fresh turmeric (as friends do). That night’s nightmares resulted in a batch of what I consider to be my best muffins yet. I call them my coconut-ginger-cardamom-turmeric muffins, because that’s what they are.


There’s a nice little muffin top there. Good flavour too, moist with coconut, lightly gingery, bits of crunch and a funky egg-yolk yellow from the turmeric, and not too sweet. The only complication was that they all stuck in the tin so I had to decapitate them to get them out. But since I could put them back together again fairly neatly, that turned out to be a happy convenience: you don’t have to spend all that extra energy pulling the top from the body, because it’s done already! (I think I could sell that tip to Rachael Ray).

Then there was the proper christening of the pasta machine, the result of which is hanging like an ethereal veil at the top of this post (now I sound like Nigella Lawson!). Pasta technique still needs work, but we were well-fed last night with fresh tagliatelle and springbok ragu.

This afternoon the kitchen smells of ribs. Smoked ribs from Joostenburg, a surprise (and very welcome) gift from my brother-in-law. I rubbed them with cajun spice then put them in the tagine with a bit of red wine and orange marmalade, and four hours later, this:


It may not look like much apart from a blackened, sticky mess. Which is exactly what it is, but of the very best kind. Break one of those open, and the bone falls right off to reveal a pink, smokey, salty and supremely delicious piece of pig. Very soon that meat (which has now been freed of its bones) will make its way into a righteous sandwich, methinks. Good ciabatta, slather of mustard on butter, hunks of sticky rib meat, a couple of slices of cucumber. I’ll call them my Sticky Mess Smoked Rib Sarnies. (Now I sound like the one who will not be named).

Because tonight we’re having KFC. Or, as I like to think of it, my “Wipe That Smug Smile Off Your Face, Colonel Sanders” Home-Fried Crispy Chicken.

Yes, we have our own brand of smugness in this kitchen.