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In my kitchen in December…

December 17, 2011

cheese heartIs December going by in a blur for you too?  Food shopping and cooking through my list of goodies is part of the pleasure for me, but phew I’m busy.  My kitchen surfaces have been taken over by jars, tins and packages…they seem to have a life of their own.  The house is permanently filled with lovely warm and spicy aromas.  I love the ritual of this time of year and hope you do too, so here’s a little taste of what’s in my kitchen…

When food bloggers visit they bring the most gorgeous gifts including Anja’s super-healthy snowball cookies, masala mix from Pickle-in-d-Middle, peppermint hot chocolate mix from Dubai-bites and The Hedonista‘s collection of truffles and rocky road.


Do you get that moment when you bite into a fruit and suddenly remember what it is supposed to taste like?  This happened to me with some beautiful Lebanese navel oranges (from Spinneys) recently and I’ve had to replenish our stocks three times already.


For the first time in 12 years of living in the U.A.E., I took the plunge and made the 50 minute drive to the Northern Emirates because this cheesemaker was in town. He was having a lie-in so sadly I didn’t get to meet him but bought some Tome de Romane, Bleu de Laqueuille and a very cute Coeur de Forges-les-eaux.  Extra long pasta, pink salt and passata also went in the bag.  On the way back, KP and I stopped at Jones the Grocer for really excellent eggs Benedict and I left with some Quicke’s Cave-aged cheddar, a hunk of Parmesan and some gorgeous Coulommiers – they had some tasting samples drizzled in honey…divine.


Elderflower is a flavour that is so hard to preserve sucessfully.  I was given some elderflower Moho organic cider made from organic apple juice which is nice and refreshing and Ikea do the best-tasting cordial that I’ve found (as making my own in Dubai is not an option!).


They’ll be 25 of us round the table for Christmas day at our dear friends’ home and I’m in charge of puddings.  In a panic that there wouldn’t be enough, I made a couple more last week and I’m following The British Larder‘s tip of feeding them to make up for their youth!  Some of the guests are from Spain so I made membrillo to give as gifts.

Click on a photo to view as a gallery.

As always Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has some lovely things in her kitchen.  What’s in yours this December?

  1. December 17, 2011 12:13 pm

    Sally, thanks for playing – so many things in your kitchen this month! Most impressed with the homemade membrillo – I ruined a sieve last time I made quince paste, trying to sift the seeds out! Beautiful photos, as always! I wonder if there’s a Jones the Grocer in every country? 🙂

    Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas, Sally!

    • January 2, 2012 10:59 am

      There are 2 Jones the Grocer here in the UAE and they’ve taken off like a rocket. Their cheese room is a really welcome addition to Dubai. Happy Christmas to you Celia – your blog has been a mainstay in 2011 – so incredibly inspiring.

  2. December 17, 2011 12:54 pm

    lovely pics sally!! i love the eclectic range of goodies in your kitchen in December! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • January 2, 2012 11:01 am

      It’s amazing what you find when you have a look around. Your lovely masala mix is going down fast.

  3. December 17, 2011 1:16 pm

    what a lovely collection of cheeses you got yourself! Have a blessed Christmas 🙂

    • January 2, 2012 11:01 am

      Your comments are always appreciated Tandy 🙂

  4. December 17, 2011 1:27 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post Sally, sounds like my kitchen mayhem 🙂 How warm is all this kitchen action? How nice is it to walk by the house and smell the spices? That is one of the things I like the most about December 🙂
    Loved what’s in your kitchen and enjoyed it thoroughly

    • January 2, 2012 11:02 am

      I don’t believe it’s mayhem in your kitchen – small but beautifully formed and regimented! Warm and welcoming too.

  5. December 17, 2011 1:53 pm

    Many lovely things…

    Have a great Xmas!



    • January 2, 2012 11:02 am

      Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year Rosa.

  6. December 17, 2011 2:14 pm

    ha, I made quince paste too, and just yesterday I made candied quince slices, so today I’m going to temper some chocolate to dip them in.
    I find quince paste goes really well with fresh goat cheese and hard cheeses like cheddar, and in addition – with a fine wine. What do you serve it with?

  7. December 17, 2011 2:57 pm

    You have successfully spread so much cheer around, Sally. Such a feel good post.

    Merry Christmas!!

  8. December 17, 2011 5:32 pm

    Lovely photos–and homemade quince paste…wow!

    Happy Christmas!

  9. December 17, 2011 5:52 pm

    Love the heart shaped cheese 🙂
    I wish you a lovely christmas, it’s snowing here 🙂

  10. December 17, 2011 7:33 pm

    LOL, your kitchen sounds just like mine at the moment. My bench has been covered in jars, cookie cutters, cookbooks, chocolate, sugar, spices and many other goodies for the last week or two. Delicious mayhem. Thank you for sharing your kitchen. Pop into mine too and stay for a cuppa.

  11. December 18, 2011 2:37 am

    Oh what fun you are having! So far only sugar molasses crinkle cookies, and thyme roasted almonds in my kitchen. I’m hitting my list hard starting on Monday- tamales and then lots of baking and candy-making to come!

  12. December 18, 2011 9:06 am

    Enjoy every bite, Merry Christmas 🙂 xxx

  13. December 18, 2011 9:23 pm

    What a beautiful collection, Sally!

  14. December 18, 2011 9:44 pm

    I love this series- Christmas is an especially wonderful time to peek into kitchen around the world!
    Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!
    (LOVE the cheese!)

  15. December 19, 2011 5:37 pm

    I love your pics!! Enjoy and have fun!!

  16. December 19, 2011 10:45 pm

    reached your blog via Fooderati… absolutely love your space and will be dropping in every now and then 🙂

  17. December 19, 2011 11:38 pm

    Monsieur Olivier has been going a long long time. I remember going to the shop in Boulogne as a child. At least 30 years ago. I wonder if which generation of M Olivier was in the Northern Emirates?

  18. December 20, 2011 4:34 pm

    Have a wonderful holiday dear, lots of food and festive cheer. I like your membrillo…and the heart shaped cheese is gorgeous. In my kitchen, there are homemade sun-dried tomatoes, a fruit cake and tonight there will be two or three sorts of cookies, including thin mints! Lots of love and have a wonderful rest of 2011!

  19. December 21, 2011 7:48 am

    Look at that nice assortment of cheese! A few of those some membrillo and a nice piece of bread and that sounds like the perfect meal.

  20. December 21, 2011 4:37 pm

    The large block of cheese up top…wow. Just wow.

  21. December 21, 2011 11:03 pm

    Sweet, ickle cheese! Great post. And I must say you are lucky to have so many food bloggers around to drop by with goodies. They all sounded amazing. PS I make my own elderflower cordial, champagne and even vinegar. We are lucky here in Scotland to have such a long elderflower blossom ‘season’. But I might trade that situation for some of your sun 😀

  22. December 22, 2011 3:50 am

    just love that heart cheese. It’s like a little “I love cholesterol” message


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