Success with ribs

Ribs are a strange passion of mine – they’re messy, far from feminine and every time I order a rack of ribs people stare at me with what I’d like to think is a mixture of surprise and admiration. I’ve had many amazing rib meals but I’ve also had a fair share of mediocre ribs, one of which was at a certain local pub (quantity over quality) and another was my own forgettable first attempt.

My boyfriend got some really sound rib-cooking advice from a workmate who use to be a chef and I had been tormented by severe rib cravings for about a month before we finally cooked them last weekend.

We used pork spareribs, with a dry rub of pretty much everything I had in my spices drawer: dry mustard, paprika, chilli, nutmeg, allspice, salt and cracked pepper. I’m not sure why I put allspice or nutmeg in it but it turned out just fine.


Photo: Tao Lin

I dry rubbed the ribs, cling filmed and refrigerated them until it was time for cooking.

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

The oven was preheated to about 225˚C (not fan-forced), which we found out later was probably a bit too high.

We lay down foil on an oven tray, filled the tray with water, placed a metal rack on the tray and then the ribs on top of the rack. We then covered it all with foil and placed it into the oven for 2 hours.

By that time the meat came off the bone really nicely so we started basting the ribs in a honey BBQ sauce – each side twice before we finished the cooking process. I have to admit that we technically cheated with the sauce because it came from a bottle but I guess that’s something to improve on for next time!

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

These were genuinely some of the nicest ribs I’ve had in a while and what made the experience even nicer was being able to go through the process with my partner. There’s definitely something incredibly attractive about a man who can cook!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

I celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday because of a number of inconveniences with Sundays and I tried out my first lemon syrup cake.

Thank goodness it was an easy recipe.

By the time I got around to making the cake, I had already spent the majority of my day making ribs and I wanted to get the cake in the oven while we were all eating dinner. My dad made sweet and sour fish and along with the ribs, I didn’t want it all to go cold.

So on I rushed with the cake – so rushed in fact that I didn’t bother letting the butter soften and tried to cream it with the sugar while it was still rock solid. Add eggs to that and cue lumpy mixture that looked like vomit.

With the help of my boyfriend, I very quickly whipped up a second mixture and popped that into the oven.

The recipe I used wasn’t the one I posted in my previous post but it’s pretty similar. You can find it here.

The result? Pretty decent – my mum really enjoyed it, which is the main thing. It did lack something which I can’t quite put my finger on and which was definitely present in the cake I tried that inspired me to bake a lemon cake in the first place. However, it turned out really light, fluffy and moist.

Funnily, it was the kind of texture I had spent so long trying to perfect in my sponge cake attempts – and which I failed to achieve. I think it’s because I used self-raising flour in this lemon cake recipe whereas I tried to be clever and make my own cake flour with the sponge cake recipes. Sometimes it really is simple that’s best.

Pondering lemon syrup cake

Lemon isn’t usually a flavour I feel any particular tenderness towards, however last week on my last day interning at the local community newspaper, I had the privilege of trying an amazing home-made lemon syrup cake. It was just a bit sweet, tangy and incredibly moist – yum!

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get the recipe but have found a few online. I plan to try it out for my mum on Mother’s Day, based on the following recipe  here.

It looks simple enough but aside from the carrot cake I made a while ago, I’ve yet to really succeed in making a nice moist, fluffy cake. Does anyone have any tried and true recipes or suggestions for a lemon cake?

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