It’s madness out there and I admit to be one who finds it all too overwhelming. I have tried to have a green Christmas this year. We adults will not be exchanging gifts but instead giving each other details of our favourite charities. While I couldn’t quite persaude my children that the giving of gifts was unnecessary, I have tried not to give in too much to what Oliver James refers to as Affluenza! I have tried not to buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff. Oliver James believes that we in the western world are suffering from a consuming disease which doesn’t make us at all happy and I am with him on this. Having things doesn’t make us happy except for a brief time. Health, love, social interaction, being together, laughter, stories, tears and sharing a good meal – that’s what makes us happy, really, really!
As for our dinner, it will be fusiony eclectic and out there – feta and herb filo parcels, a scotch quails egg in a blanket of sagey, tofu stuffing, a white cabbage & fennel coleslaw with some hopefully sustainable seafood tidbits, followed by a light pavlova dressed with gaiety – pomergranates and vanilla seed cream. Will it all go together, well who really cares – it is a mix of all of our favourite foods and everyone will help to make it a delicious and social day. To finish probably very much later in the day we will have my favourite French brie liberally sprinkled with black pepper on a black sesame rice cracker and my recently made Cranberry Chutney. Making Chutney is easy. It is just throwing together some vinegar, something sugarly (haven’t tried subsitutes as yet but working on it), fruits, onions, and spices. You can use special jam sugar with pectin added to help setting but you cook it all down, tasting for a combination of sweet sourness, adding a bit of this or that as needed. Keep your old jars and sterilize them on a tray at 130 degrees for about 5 minutes and fill them up.
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of sugar
1 packet of cranberries
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
half a cup of cider vinegar or balsamic (or whatever you have!)
half a cup of raisins
2 large pieces of cinnamon/some star anise, some ginger or garam masala/allspice, a pinch of cloves
1 chopped onion
Combine it all and bring to the boil over a medium heatSimmer for approx 10 minutes stirring and tasting. You may like to add more sweet or more sour. Or more spices. If you think it is too thick then add a little more water. When it has thickened to your liking and cooled, pour into sterilized jars and eat with cheese, cold cuts, warm cuts and absolutely anything. Of course the longer you leave it, then better it is but it won’t last long at all I’ll bet!
One last thing – I would like to plug a local business which sells lovely gluten free products. Kamilla sells gorgeous things – see her website http://www.kamterra.com
She says the following: “At Kamterra Foods, it’s our mission to provide our customers with a fine selection of wheat and gluten free products from a variety of fantastic brands – many of which are organic and/or fairtrade.
Being gluten intolerant myself, I know how important it is to have a good choice of nutrient-rich, gluten-free products with which to make healthy, wholesome meals as well as delicious snacks and desserts.
All the products we stock are of the highest quality and are delivered worldwide from our premises here in The Netherlands.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Founder, Kamterra Foods”
Below my favourite shop window in The Hague on Molenstraat – you’ll spot it, there are always loads of kids staring at it full of wonder. Enjoy and be at peace!