Monday, December 19, 2011
ARE WE THERE YET?
2011 is sliding off the edge of the globe! I don’t like willing time away, but I’m happy to see the rear end of this year as it nears the horizon. Actually, I feel like giving it a boot in the butt to boost it on its way!
In 1992 Queen Elizabeth surprised everyone when she restored life to the Latin phrase “annus horribilis”. Liz had us diving for our dictionaries. Google had not yet arrived on our desktops. Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary-General, resurrected the phrase in 2004; not one to miss the boat, Juan Carlos of Spain threw a spanner into the works by dragging it to the surface again in 2007.
Now it’s my turn!
It’s all Greek, Double Dutch and Latin to me - so in plain old, sometimes uncomplicated English, this year has been, minus embellishment or exaggeration, a horrible year; one filled with never-ending tragedies; devastating disasters and anxieties; one awash with tears. 2011 has been a year scarred by natural and unnatural disasters; blotted by man’s unconscionable inhumanity to man; pointless violence; senseless cruelty to animals; hate and prejudice.
I have one all-encompassing Christmas wish - for everyone to have a safe, happy, peaceful, stress and strife-free time; whether you’re with family, friends or alone.
Please ensure whatever you’re doing isn’t detrimental to the safety of yourself or others. Borrow the Hippie-Flower Child ideals - they won’t mind; they probably won't even know - spread love, goodwill, peace and happiness. Don’t cease when the Christmas season ends; continue through 2012 and forever thereafter. Everyone, including you, will reap the benefits!
After all the devastating, terrifying, horrific, heartbreaking events of 2011; the unending sadness, loss and despair suffered by far too many in our own country and elsewhere in the world, smooth waters upon which to sail are due; tranquil, serene conditions through which to glide are in arrears. Grief became an uninvited, unwelcome visitor far too often in 2011.
Once again I’ll be joining the Griswold family for their “Christmas Vacation”. Not a Christmas goes by without my doing so. What’s Christmas without Chevy Chase aka Clark Griswold and his crazy, dysfunctional family? They make me feel at home. I’ll enjoy their company as I always do!
And, as always, I refuse to be politically-correct! MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Happy New Year, as well!
May 2012 overflow with kindness and love. Stay safe; chill out; stay cool; be grateful for all that is good in your life!
Cheesy-Christmas Chick: Combine 150g garlic and herb creamy cheese, 1 crushed garlic clove, 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios, 1tsp chopped sage, grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, salt and cracked pepper. Carefully ease your fingers, then hand under skin of large chicken at neck end, freeing it from breast meat; smear mixture under skin; tuck in skin flap. Arrange 8 bacon rashers over breast; drizzle with olive oil; season. Place in roasting tin on top of some fresh rosemary springs; cover with foil. Calculate cooking time 16mins per 450g; remove foil last 45mins. When cooked, transfer to warm platter; cover; rest 20mins. Skim fat from pan; place on low heat; blend 4tbs dry sherry with 400ml chicken stock; bring to boil; season.
Christmas Left-Overs’ Macaroni & Cheese: To 1/4c butter; add ½ onion, chopped, minced sage leaves, 2 minced garlic cloves; sauté 5mins; add 1/4c flour; stir; cook 5mins; add 1.4lts milk; whisk until it boils and thickens. Whisk in 1c mascarpone, 1c grated cheddar and 1c grated gruyere. When melted and sauce smooth, fold in 450g shredded left-over turkey meat, 3c diced, cooked kumara, 1c cooked peas and 450g cooked macaroni; season; transfer to oven dish; sprinkle 2c grated cheddar on top; bake at 176C, 20-25mins; place 1tbs cranberry sauce in centre; serve.
Cream Cheese Christmas Biscuits: Cream 1c butter and 240g cream cheese; add 1c white sugar and 1/2tsp vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Combine 2-1/2c plain flour and 1/2tsp salt; gradually add to creamed mix, beating until well-blended; add 1/2c chopped pecans; cover; chill 15mins. On 4 sheets foil, shape dough into 4x6-inch rolls, 1-1/2-inches in diameter; tightly wrap each in foil; chill over night. Line baking trays with foil; remove rolls from fridge one at a time; coat each roll with red or green sugar crystals (food colouring added to sugar); cut dough into ¼-inch slices; place on trays; top each biscuit with pecan half; bake 15-18mins in preheated 165C oven.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!