A hearty welcome to The Cinnamon Jar! My goal with this blog is to encourage you to be unafraid in the kitchen and to be able to cook up your own delectable, memorable meals and bakes for your nearest and dearest. You won’t be needing any expensive, inaccessible ingredients, nor do you need any special culinary prowess.
My aim is to demonstrate to you that anyone can make anything with uncomplicated, clear guidance and a sprinkle of inspiration.
You will find a bit of everything here regardless of cuisine, course, time investment and skill level. From lightning fast weekday dinners to more involved trophy meals or bakes. My goal is to give you the confidence for any or all of it. My offerings to you are tried, tested ‘’can-I-have-the-recipe-please?!’’ recipes.
That’s the parameter for how I decide what to share with you - only the memorable, sought after, pass-it-down recipes that I hope you'd want to add to your own personal repertoire.
Why ‘The Cinnamon Jar’?
It’s my Proustian trigger. I grew up on a farm in the north of South Africa in the back of beyond with my parents, big brother and two grannies. It was the best of times and definitely not the worst of times: African sunshine, vast landscapes, the smell of the Savannas after the rain. Just a carefree, beautiful life.
We had little, but enough. It’s here on this farm where my mom and grannies inspired me how to cook stupendous feasts out of whatever was available from the land or from the very rudimentary general store in the nearest town, miles away.
These womenfolk took the simplest ingredients and somehow conjured up the finest tasting meals under the sun. They were legendary cooks. They taught me that basic doesn’t have to be presented as basic. Invest some thought, effort and creativity and you can make magic in the kitchen.
My mother also taught me to make a concerted effort, always, even if it’s just a simple cheese sandwich. That lesson has stayed with me for life and it spills beyond the kitchen. Learn, create, present with gusto and you are guaranteed to make someone feel very special.
Anyway, back to the cinnamon story. My mom did not use a vast array of spices but I vividly remember the cinnamon jar. Whenever that jar came out of those 1970’s steel kitchen cupboards you just knew something good was brewing on the menu. To this day the sight and smell of cinnamon transports me back to that sunshine yellow kitchen with the vinyl floor and my mother’s cinnamon sugar pancakes, traditional milk tarts and ‘soetkoekies’.
This simple little jar with its warm inviting aroma is my golden thread back through the tapestry of what is our family’s culinary traditions. My blog is dedicated to that and I will forever cherish the impact it had on my view of cooking and baking.
So yes, to many this is just another recipe site, but it’s one I hope will resonate with YOU.
It’s my wish that you will feel inspired here, where you can learn and expand your skills. I hope that you will gain the confidence to take what you’ve learned and start creating your own memorable dishes and bakes.
There is nothing more gratifying than making people feel special with a home cooked meal, a gift of freshly baked cookies or a show-stopper cake. It’s worth so much more than just another impersonal shop-bought gift. You braved it. You made it. Especially. Just for them. People remember that, even if it's not perfect, it does not have to be.
Please feel welcomed and encouraged here and let’s go on this journey of discovery together. I would love to learn from you too, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected] with any questions, ideas, or just to say hello!
If you'd still like to know a little more about me, here are some of my answers to the Proust Questionnaire...
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Loyalty. It's an admirable trait but not at the expense of integrity.
On what occasion do you lie?
When it will protect someone from harm and where the truth would have no benefit to them anyway. Other than that, always tell the truth
Which talent would you most like to have?
I am rather envious of people who can sing beautifully, play the guitar and write their own songs
Where would you most like to live?
The seaside! Morning walks on the beach sound so idyllic, but I understand that people who actually live by the sea don't really do that (what??!)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
If food had no calories
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I have two of equal measure: Racism and cruelty to animals
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am an Uber-worrier! I would like to worry less.
What is your greatest regret?
Not being old enough in the 80s to have worn the outrageous hair and makeup
What is it that you most dislike?
Bad hygiene (when it can be helped) and a lack of basic good manners.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
An Aurora Borealis - People travel miles to see you, wait for hours for your potential appearance and are brought to tears by your beauty. Basically you just hang around doing nothing, being fabulous
What is your motto?
My motto is borrowed from my dear friend Dom's late dad - Work hard and be nice to people
Can I use one of your photos?
Sure! You are welcome to republish one photo on your website/blog/newsletter - but please link it back to the recipe or blog post you pulled it from.