Here is the truth, in red and white, in case you remain uncertain. On the off chance you’re still asking the question...it is the porky of all porkies that Santa is a porky. Santa might be a bit on the porky side; more than a bit portly, even, and in some quarters there are some – those who enjoy being picky - who believe he should seriously consider going on a diet, but saying Santa doesn’t exist is a big fat porky. If you fall into the latter category - cut it out… stop being a party-pooper!
Santa doesn’t follow any of the new-fangled fad diets. Seriously, who can blame him? New diets appear as regularly as the morning sun. Most of them go out fashion before you (and me) have time to write a shopping list for the special ingredients! On the other hand, personally, I take little notice of diets, new-fangled, old-fangled or otherwise. Everything in moderation is the way to go, I believe; and fresh is best whenever and wherever possible. And the few processed foods and those filled with preservatives the better...but enough of that for now....
Don’t stop leaving out a can of beer, a Scotch or a wine (a soda, if you must) for Santa. He needs as much hydration as he can get, and you have to offer, to help him battle through a long, long night.
Santa’s taste is as broad as he is; and, let’s face it, he’s always got the Christmas spirit. He won’t knock anything back. On second thoughts, he’ll knock back whatever is offered so as not to offend. He’ll graciously accept whatever you leave for him. Santa’s like that. It’s how he was brought up; and, of course, he does have Mrs. Merry Claus on hand to remind him daily of his manners throughout the year. He’s naturally a good-natured, well-mannered gentleman; one with a generous frame of mind.
And, as well as hydration, Santa needs sustenance. Whatever you do or don’t do, please don’t forget to leave him a thick slice of Christmas cake. Rum Balls, White Christmas; maybe a couple of Fruit Mince Tarts wouldn’t go astray, either. Don’t go all health-conscious on him. Any gesture and all gestures will be gratefully accepted.
Being Santa at Christmas is hard, tiring work, travel-wise, anyway; and particularly during the heat of summer down here Down Under. Put yourself in his boots. Try getting about in a fur-trimmed red suit while lugging a heavy, loaded bag over your shoulder! You’ll soon understand what I’m saying. Yet, we never hear a word of complaint come from his mouth, but who knows what he says to Rudolph behind our back! Maybe that’s Santa grumbling up high in the sky beyond and not thunder after all. Nevertheless, whatever is said between Santa and Rudolph stays between Rudolph and Santa. They share an everlasting bond and understanding. If Rudolph broke their secretive pact the light bulb in his nose would explode! Perhaps he's using LED these days.
Santa isn’t politically-correct. How could he be when he goes around the world shouting out at the top of his lungs - “Ho! Ho! Ho!”? He may offend some as he goes about “Ho-ho-ing”, but words are often misconstrued and taken out of context to the point of becoming totally ridiculous, aren’t they? Some folk are overly-sensitive. They need to grow a tougher skin (and some commonsense). Santa means no discourtesy, nor does he discriminate. So don’t take umbrage when you hear him calling out “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Wave and smile back at him. It’s not personal - it’s his way of spreading goodwill to one and all.
If St. Nick is on a diet and doesn’t partake in what’s left out for him someone else will drink the beverage and eat the cake…just you wait and see.
Even if Santa is trying to lose an inch or two from his waist he won’t let the goodies go to waste.
Let’s not kid ourselves - Santa wouldn’t be Santa if he wasn’t on the portly side of porky. Who would want a skinny Santa, anyway? Not me! He’s lasted this long without having a heart attack. He’s infallible. Santa will be around until eternity. After all, he only works one night a year, and even then he’s chauffeured about. The rest of the year he sits back with his feet up, tossing directions at his elves. The elves do all the hard yakka.*
*(Hard yakka: Aussie slang for hard work; or bloody hard work; strenuous labour)
Because early indications hint many areas in the Land of Oz are in for a hot Christmas perhaps it would be advisable on the off chance Santa has forgotten where the fridge is - (after a few thousand houses they all begin to look the same – particularly after sundry liquid refreshments here and there along the way) to leave him a note with a map showing directions to the kitchen so he can help himself to a glass or two of ice-cold water. He might only need some ice cubes, of course; in case his preferred drink is scotch on the rocks or rum and cola. Every base needs to be covered.
Seeing Santa’s too porky to slide down chimneys these days, I’m sure he has a master key to the front door. Using the front door saves on the laundry bills, too.
It would be a good idea to leave some food and water out for the reindeers, as well. After all, they have quite a heavy load to tow around; including a sleigh full of gifts! I suppose the grass on the front lawn and the bird baths and swimming pools come in handy even more so on Christmas Eve. Just remember to fill up the bird baths before dark on Christmas Eve. Don’t mow the lawn the week before Christmas. That should do the trick!
I hope a few of Santa’s heavy, huge bags contain rain for our many drought-stricken areas to enable them to can get back on their feet again. Some bundles of cash to help carry our farmers through their tough times until they’ve got their heads above water again wouldn’t go astray, either; with extra as a back-up to see our people on the land through their future hardships. They face many, year after tiring year. Our hard-working farmers/graziers deserve such gifts from Santa. They should never be forgotten, nor should they be neglected; they should always be protected.
It’s no porky I thought Billy Bob Thornton made a bad Santa. I reckon he was pretty good Bad Santa, actually. And it’s true - I’m looking forward to spending time over Christmas with the Griswolds. What’s Christmas without the Griswolds? It’s just not Christmas, I tell you! For many years now I’ve spent a couple of hours over Christmas with Clark, Ellen and the rest of the Griswold family. They’d miss me if I ceased doing so; and I’d miss the laughter. It wouldn’t be a wonderful life if that were to happen!
And as my gift to my Vegan friends out there in Cyber Worlds (that includes you, Riot Kitty)…and for those of you who aren’t Vegans….the Vegan recipes I’ve given here are to all tastes…Vegan or not. If the truth be known, I guess I am a part-time Vegan. I’m a sometimes meat-eater and a sometimes Vegan…the percentage probably leans more towards Vegan these days. However, I will never give up eating meat, but it doesn’t appear daily on my own personal menu. I will always enjoy a thick juicy steak; a succulent piece of pork or lamb, golden roasted chicken etc., et al – but not every day. I've almost joined the Raw Food Brigade, too...particularly in summer.
Either which way, I hope you enjoy the recipes given below. I hope I’ve covered most tastes/choices. And I hope you enjoy them, too, Carol.
Stuffed Pork Loin: Use 1.5kg boned middle loin of pork, skin scored (or more depending on numbers). Combine 1c fresh breadcrumbs, 1/4c dried cherries/cranberries, 1/4c pine nuts, 1 chopped onion, 1tbs finely-chopped fresh rosemary and 2tbs oil (increase quantities where needed). Lay pork out flat; place stuffing along length; season. Roll neatly; tie with string. Brush skin with oil; rub in well with sea salt. Place pork on rack in pan; pour water into pan to cover base, ¾-inch deep, Roast in preheated 200C oven for about 90mins.
Roast Pork with Brown Pears: Grab a boned loin of pork, about 300g per person. Remove and retain skin. Marinate the skinned pork overnight in 2c dry white wine. Preheat oven 240C. Dry pork well; rub meat and skin with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put pork, fat side down. Lay ½ bunch Italian parsley (not chopped) and 1tbs capers down the centre; roll up and tie. Roast pork 30mins with the pork skin placed on top. Reduce heat to 160C; cook a further hour. Drizzle 6 small Beurre Bosc pears with olive oil; add to baking dish for last 30mins of cooking. Rest pork 10mins; then slice meat and crackling; drizzle with cooking juices; serve with pears.
Perfect Crackling: Score skin or have your kindly butcher do it for you; diagonally or diamond pattern; just through the skin not through to the meat. Pour boiling water over skin to open up the cuts; dry thoroughly; then rub the skin with half of a cut lemon; massage very well with sea salt and, (optional) Chinese Five Spice powder. Put on rack in roasting pan; place in preheated 220C oven, 30mins; then reduce heat to 200C for balance of cooking time.
Vegan Furphy Turkey Roast, Stuffing & Sage Gravy: (Furphy – Aussie slang for rumour, fictious story): Bring 3.7lt water to low boil. In large bowl, whisk together 2-1/2c wheat gluten flour, 1/2c yeast flakes, 1tsp thyme, 1tbs onion powder and 1tsp salt. Add 2c vegetable broth, 1/4c light olive oil and 1tbs soy sauce; stir just until combined. Form into a loaf shape. Place loaf on cheesecloth and roll up – not too tight. Tie each end with string. Place in the simmering water, covered for 1 hour (if making a double batch…two hours). Preheat oven to 163C (325F). Take loaf out of water; cool briefly; remove the cheesecloth. Pour a little olive oil in baking dish; place loaf in baking dish with the stuffing you’ve made while the loaf was simmering (or put stuffing in separate baking dish - suggested). Bake loaf, covered, 30 minutes. Onion, Celery & Mushroom Stuffing: In a large skillet, heat 2tbs x-virgin olive oil and 4tbs vegan butter over med-high heat until melted. Add 1 large chopped onion and 4 chopped celery stalks; cook until softened, but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add 240g (8oz) chopped button or Cremini mushrooms; cook until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Mix in 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leave, 1tbs chopped fresh sage or 1tsp dried sage, 1/2tsp dried rosemary, 1/2tsp oregano, 1/8thtsp nutmeg, 1tsp salt amd 1/2tsp freshly-ground black pepper. Add 1/4c chopped parsley and 8c gluten-free bread cubes to skillet; mix well; moisten cubes with low-sodium vegetable broth until soft, but not wet; remove bay leaf; let the mixture cool. Transfer the stuffing to a large, oiled casserole dish; bake until the stuffing is set and crisp, 15-20mins. Then turn the dish around; cook further 5mins until browned to your liking. Sage Turkey Gravy: In saucepan, combine 1/4c light olive oil, 1/3c gluten-free flour, 1tsp sage and 1/2tsp thyme. Cook on stove top at med-low heat for 2mins, stirring constantly. Add 3c vegetable broth and 1/4c yeast flakes (optional). Increase heat to medium. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently; season to taste. Serve with Vegan Turkey and stuffing…accompanied with roasted vegetables of choice.
Vegetable Lentil Loaf: Preheat oven 175C (350F). Rinse 1c dry lentils; add 2-1/2c water to pot; add lentils (don’t add any salt at this stage); bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer 35mins, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove lid; set aside to cool, 15mins. In small bowl, combine 3tbs ground flaxseeds (linseeds) and 1/3c water; set aside in fridge for about 10mins. Finely dice the following - 1 small onion, 1 small capsicum (bell pepper), 1 celery stalk, grate 1 carrot and mince 3 garlic cloves. Heat 2tbs olive oil in pan; heat over med-heat. Sauté the vegetables for about 5mins; add 1 heaped tsp dried thyme, ½ heaped tsp cumin, 1/2tsp each garlic powder and onion powder, ¼-1/2tsp ground chipotle pepper (smoked chilli powder), cracked pepper and sea salt to taste, mixing well to incorporate; set aside to cool. In blender or processor, blend ¾ of the lentil mixture. Combine sautéed vegetables, the rest of the lentils, 3/4c oats, 1/2c oat flour or finely-ground oats (or any flour of choice) and flax egg**; mix well; season to taste. Place mixture into lined loaf pan; leave paper overlapping for easy removal later. Press down firmly filling in along the edges. Prepare GLAZE: In small bowl, combine 3tbs organic ketchup/tomato sauce, 1tbs balsamic vinegar and 1 tbs pure maple syrup; mix until incorporated; spread over top of loaf; bake loaf in oven, 40-45mins. Let it cool a bit before turning out and slicing.
*** How To Make Flax Eggs (or Chia Eggs): Equivalent to 1 egg: Whisk together 1 tbs ground flax or chia seeds and 3tbs water until well combined; then place in fridge to set for 15mins. Use as you would an egg in many of your favourite baking recipes.
Christmas Cajun Prawn-Avocado Salad: Preheat bbq grill or grill pan to high. Combine 1kg green banana prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact, 1tbs chopped Italian (flat-leafed) parsley, 2tsp Cajun seasoning and 2tsp olive oil in large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Cook on preheated grill or skillet, 2mins each side or until changed in colour and just cooked through; don’t overcook. Transfer to bowl; cover loosely with foil to keep warm - (don’t cover tightly…you don’t want to “stew” the prawns). Make avocado salad: place 200g mesclun mix, 200g halved grape tomatoes, 2 avocados, halved, peeled, stoned and chopped and 3 chopped green shallots in bowl. Drizzle with x-virgin olive oil and 1tbs fresh lemon or lime juice; season to taste; gently toss to combine. Serve the Cajun prawns with the salad and lemon or lime wedges.
Lemon-Bulgur Salad with Prawns and Spinach: Place 1-1/2c coarse bulgur in bowl; cover with warm tap water; let stand until grains are tender; about 2hrs. Rinse and drain well. In another large bowl, whisk 1tsp finely-grated lemon zest with 1/4c fresh lemon juice and 3tbs chopped dill; then whisk in 1/2c x-virgin olive oil. Add the drained bulgur, 500g large, peeled cooked prawns, 3c baby spinach leaves, 4 thinly sliced radishes, 1 medium red onion, finely diced and 2tbs pine nuts; toss to coat; season with salt and pepper, to taste; serve.
Warm Duck Salad with Beetroot Vinaigrette: Trim stems and leaves from 1 bunch of beetroot, leaving 2-3cms of the stems attached; wash well. Don’t cut off the root. Set aside some unblemished leaves for later use. Place beets in saucepan; cover with salted water with a couple of splashes of vinegar added; bring to boil; simmer approx 30mins or until tender. Cool the beetroot in the cooking liquid; drain; peel and cut into 1cm cubes. Vinaigrette: Whisk together 2/3c peanut oil, 1/3c rice wine vinegar, 1/4c mirin, juice and zest of 1 orange; set aside. To cook duck: Preheat oven 180C. Season 4 trimmed duck breasts with ground Szechwan salt and pepper. Over high heat, in a frying pan with a little olive oil added sear the breasts until they are golden on both sides; then transfer the breasts to a roasting dish and cook for about 5mins in the oven. They should still be soft to the touch. Set aside, covered for 5mins, to rest. To serve: Put some trimmed rocket (arugula) leaves and some of the trimmed beetroot leaves onto serving dishes; toss beetroot cubes in the vinaigrette; place on top of leaves. Slice the duck breasts and fan out over top of salad. Crumble goat cheese or feta over top; serve.
Vegan Mint Choc Chip Biscuits/Cookies: Preheat oven 175C (350F). Place 2c spelt flour, 1c vegan chocolate chips (or carob chips or dried fruits), 1c chopped walnuts (or toasted pecans or macadamia nuts), 3/4c rolled oats, 1/2tsp sea salt, 3/4tsp baking soda, 1/8th tsp cinnamon and a pinch of ground nutmeg in bowl’ mix well. In another bowl, combine 2/3c pure maple syrup, 2/3c safflower oil, 2tbs water and 1tsp peppermint extract. Add the wet to the dry; and mix well. Refrigerate for 15mins. Place 8 scoops on a well-oiled or lined baking sheet; flatten them slightly with your hand. Space them evening so the biscuits/cookies have room to spread. Bake until golden brown, approx 10 minutes. Allow them to cool before you get stuck into them! Variations on a theme: You could add 2tbls of cocoa or carob powder, too, if you so desired…and 1tbs of spirulina if you have some! The decisions are yours to make!
And Chapter Five of my cat tales isn't too far away!
P.S....If the robot numbers annoy anyone...I apologise. I didn't change my blog for that to show up; it just happened overnight a couple of nights ago...and I can't for the life of me change it back, even though others have said how to do it! D'oh! It doesn't worry me, but I'm sorry if it's annoying to you.
**And I've discovered you can post a comment without having to type in the Word Verification digits...so just ignore them.