Eating Jamaican Black Cake With Ron

The first batch (of five) Jamaican Black Cakes are out of the oven. They get soaked in rum until, a) we think they’ve had enough or, b) we run out of rum.

We cut into the first cake because we had to test the batch and make sure it’s good enough to give to anyone else. My perfectly cut parchment paper bases did the trick. The cake is excellent.

I like the fact that “Rum” is “Ron” in Spanish. I’m just having some cake with Ron (even though my friend Ron lives in Nova Scotia).

Yesterday’s blog post inspired me to get the other box of holiday decorations out of the closet so I can display them all.

I haven’t done it yet, but at least I’m inspired.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d show you some more of the handmade ornaments I’ve already set out.

(Click the images… because they get bigger.)

LEFT: SOAKING UP THE RUM.
RIGHT: ALMOST IN NEED OF MORE RUM.
ENOUGH RUM.

One set of ornaments was created by dear old friends in Connecticut. They have two daughters and we all used to love to play Pictionary Junior together. As a going-away gift when we moved to San Diego, California, in 1993, Don and Bev, and Laura and Sarah each created an ornament from one of the Pictionary cards. We will forever cherish the gift and all the memories.

More of San Geraldo’s handiwork…

MADE FOR ME IN 1982.

In the Kitchen/Holiday Spirit

NORWEGIAN JULENISSEN PURCHASED IN BERGEN, 1998.
A NISSE IS UNDER 4 FEET TALL AND IS THE [SHORT-TEMPERED] GUARDIAN
OF THE HOME AND FARMSTEAD. 

I’m still in the kitchen. Or maybe I should admit San Geraldo is still in the kitchen while I’m relegated to my office to cut parchment paper into circles for the bottoms of baking pans. Ten pans. Two circles per pan. That’s twenty circles! (No need for intelligence briefings for me. “I’m, like, a smart person.”)


(Click any image and get in the spirit.)


JAMAICAN BLACK CAKE, DAY THREE, STAGE ONE.
THE GROUND-UP FRUIT (AND BOOZE) MIXTURE. 

Every year, San Geraldo asks me if I want to cut the paper circles for the baking pans. Every year I have been conveniently busy doing something else. He always tries to make his request sound like he wants me to feel a part of the baking process. But I know the truth. He hates cutting these frickin’ circles. This year I wasn’t prepared to say “no” when he asked. Ten minutes of my life gone, just like that! (OK, you’ve heard it here; I’ll do it from now on.)

SAN GERALDO NOW SAYS THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT.
TOO LATE! OF COURSE, THEY’RE PERFECT.

Meanwhile, although we do not have a Christmas tree (we wouldn’t want the cats to have too much fun), I’ve emptied one of our two Christmas boxes and have strewn (well, carefully placed) decorations around the house. I’m now considering taking out the other box.

SANTAS GIVEN TO US OVER THE YEARS BY OUR NEPHEWS (I.E., THEIR MOTHER).
BUT, WE BOUGHT OURSELVES THE TWO FATTER ONES.

ONE OF MANY ORNAMENTS HAND-MADE BY SAN GERALDO.
(SUSPENDED FROM HIS CROWN OF GENUINE GOLD-COLORED ALUMINUM
AND GENUINE FAUX RUBIES AND EMERALDS)
.
BOBBLE-BODY SANTA FROM BERGEN, NORWAY.
JULENISSEN HAND-MADE FOR US BY COUSIN ELLEN IN BERGEN.
ANOTHER JULE NISSE FROM COUSINS INGER AND JAN OLAF.

Sweet memories and maybe I’m just a bit more in the holiday spirit.

They Like Birds

While San Geraldo idly stirs his dried fruit and booze mixture for a couple of days (see yesterday’s post), I’ve been very busy in the kitchen.

I’ve outdone myself by creating a brilliant and unusual breakfast (pictured below; click the image to view the recipe’s multiple steps in better detail).

I KNOW!!! GASTRONOMIC GENIUS, RIGHT?

The cats watched me at work, very briefly, and decided to go outside to try and catch something fresh. The jerks!

BUT NO OFFENSE TAKEN REALLY. IT’S MOOSE AND DUDO’S DAILY ROUTINE.
(IF MONK PARAKEET AND SWALLOW ARE TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR, PERHAPS AT LEAST SPARROW?)

It’s alright if you act like a turd, because I like…

The Heat Is On

The weekend was supposed to be filled with sunshine. Maybe this is what “filled with sunshine” looks like in England or Wales. But the Costa del Sol is the Coast of the Sun, and this weekend did not live up to the name. We had perhaps a half hour of undisguised sunshine today. But it’s once again a mix of clouds and sun. And that might be alright somewhere else, but we feel the chill. Besides, the high today has only been around 17C (63F). (I know, I know: I’m playing the world’s smallest violin.)

Dudo doesn’t like the cold (yes, it’s all relative) and insists we turn on a space heater just for him. The minute he hears the click of the switch, he’s there with his face in the works. His position progresses as he and the space heater warm up.


(Click the images to turn up the heat.)

After coffee this morning, I saw a little poodle who apparently doesn’t much like the cold either. He was very chic. I wouldn’t mind having that outfit; I think my tail might look quite good in it.

Leave it to San Geraldo to find the best way to overcome these cold, wintery days. He’s preparing his annual batch of Jamaican Black Cake (click here for last year’s post and the recipe). Even if all the alcohol doesn’t warm us up, it will at least make us think we’re warm.

WHAT HAS, SO FAR, GONE INTO THE MIX.

“Tell me can you feel it…”

A Couple Of Fitness Freaks

SG’S BELGIAN CHOCOLATE & PISTACCHIO.
MY BELGIAN CHOCOLATE & TURRÓN.

December 6 was Constitution Day here in Spain. The holiday was observed on Monday the 7th. Tuesday the 8th was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, another national holiday.

Stores were open Saturday. Or they weren’t. They were open Monday. Or they weren’t. Ditto Tuesday.

I couldn’t find a phone number for our gym, but their website notice board didn’t say they were closed. So we took the 20-minute walk to the gym and found it dark. I said, “Well, at least we’re getting our cardio today. It’s nearly 3 miles round-trip.” San Geraldo agreed.

Five minutes later, we were walking home along the Paseo once again. San Geraldo felt we deserved a reward for our efforts. It had begun to drizzle, so he suggested we get in out of the rain — at the first ice cream shop we passed. I didn’t disagree. (He’s a terrible influence.)

After our ice cream, we continued home. But a few minutes later, the owner of a couple of local restaurants, one of which we frequent, spotted us and insisted we stop for a drink. He had been in Germany opening another restaurant and we hadn’t seen him in months. It would have been impolite to refuse. We agreed to a cup of cafe con leche. We sat with him for about 20 minutes — refusing the shots (chupitos) he offered to wash down the coffee — and eventually made it home.

We were so full that we waited an entire two hours before each having a slice of the Jamaican Black Cake San Geraldo had baked the day before.

Click here for the basic recipe. San Geraldo adapts it. (People who know how to cook can do that.)

TEN POUNDS (4.5 KILOS) OF DRIED FRUIT. (A DOUBLE RECIPE.)
YO HO HO AND THREE BOTTLES OF RUM.
A BOTTLE OF SWEET SHERRY (VINO DULCE).
(AND WE CUT BACK ON THE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL!)
SOAKING IN THE BOOZE FOR TWO DAYS.
PUREED.
MORE INGREDIENTS.
DARK MOLASSES (AKA TREACLE, AKA MIEL DE CAÑA)
STIRRING WAS A MIGHTY WORKOUT (FOR SAN GERALDO).
CHECKING THE FIRST BATCH IN OUR BRAND SPANKING NEW OVEN.
SUCCESS!
SOME MORE VINO DULCE POURED OVER THE BAKED CAKE.
WE’VE ONLY EATEN TWO OF THE TEN CAKES OURSELVES. SO FAR.
C’MON, IT’S FRUIT!!!

Let’s get physical…