“Christmas is not a date, it’s a state of mind.”
Mary Ellen Chase
You saw the crust last week, now have a look at what’s going IN it!
Typically I go on and on about healthy eating, clean “real” food, reducing refined sugar, sensible choices, fresh, seasonal and local ingredients… then December hits and I become completely demented!
I have cooked approximately 13 trillion calories (many of these empty calories I might add!) over this past weekend alone. I’m not really sure what it is that happens to me, but I will choose to blame my youth… notice how I said my youth as opposed to my Mother? Clever no? (she reads this blog… I’m not completely demented!)
But listen I could rattle on about the Christmases of my childhood and how they have shaped my current holiday traditions, but instead I want to share with you a really sweet, funny and charming story written by a dear friend of mine. He writes a weekly article under a pseudonym for a newspaper in his part of Ireland so I can’t tell you his name, but I will link the paper’s blog at the end in case you want to read more by this very talented writer.
And so I leave you with a recipe for this delicious apple cranberry pie and a most endearing story that is well worth the read!
Enjoy & Namaste!
It’s getting close to the big day and the old fellah with the beard has been working hard. His elves have moved over to a new, high-tech, digital manufacturing facility, built with EU structural funds. I know some of the young ones are on Job Bridge, but as it’s all in a good cause we’ll not say too much on that front. If you’re looking to hand-deliver those last minute letters, Elves Workshop Teo. is that big grey building on the right hand side, half a mile past the lake of the shadows.
Santa has moved with the times too. This year he’s using cloud based servers for the naughty and nice lists. I just hope his passwords are stronger than last year. That unfortunate hacking caused all sorts of problems with deliveries to the far-east.
The sled has been upgraded, with a new integrated satellite-navigation and entertainment system, LED running lights and a hand-finished, two-tone spray-job. It also has a Wi-Fi uplink to the cloud servers and a new, semi-articulated, hands-free delivery system. It can hit a 6 inch wide chimney at 500 yards… just think Luke Skywalker and you’ll get the idea.
Rudolph’s been on a diet since January to get him down to racing weight. He’s been at the gym three times a week and you can really see the difference from the selfies on his Facebook page. As for the other crew, they’ve been avoiding the fermented berries and sticking to the lichen only diet after that unfortunate night in June. Those Midnight Sun parties can get really out of hand when the Bilberry Mojito’s are flowing and there were some very embarrassed reindeer doing the walk of shame in July.
As for Mrs. Santa, she doesn’t age at all and I think the new tattoo really suits her. She’s had the old fellah on statins, green tea and a low-cholesterol regime and he’s looking well on it. She was telling me he isn’t too keen on his new lycra wardrobe but if it stops the chafing then he’ll have to jolly well put up with it.
I had a chat with Mr. and Mrs. Claus last week and they’re full of the joys of the season, especially as they’ve just booked the Mediterranean cruise for January. Even magical folk need a break from the pixie dust and tinsel.
As for the local shopkeepers, I hear there’s been a run on checked tea-towels again and angel-wings are a hot item on the main street right now, with black-market pairs exchanging for hundreds of euro. Meanwhile the Pound Shops are doing a roaring trade in batteries and screen protectors… it’s not like it was in my day.
There have been mutterings from the usual suspects about the Real Meaning of Christmas (RMOC). After doing some research, I’ve noticed slightly divergent views on the issue; from Jesus, through Love to Hope and last but not least, the Bottom Line. I can see the first three are reasonable enough but the last seems to be a modern addition that’s not so much to do with Prophet as Profit.
If you ask me, I’d have to go back a few years and remember the utter joy on my children’s faces and the uncontained excitement when they laid out the mince pie, carrot and brandy for Santa’s visit. Christmas morning was almost an anti-climax to the magic and potentiality of Christmas Eve. So the RMOC for me is that simple childlike joy. There’s plenty who won’t feel it this year, plenty who are going through hard times. If you want to find your own RMOC, drop a few euros in the SVP box and light up a child’s face. Charity begins at home and in your heart.
- ¼ Foolproof Pastry recipe
- 5-6 Gala apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cranberries (raw work although I prefer dried)
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3-4 TBSP flour
- ½ tsp nutmeg (or cinnamon if that is your preference)
- 3 TBSP lemon juice
- ½ stick unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
- CRUMBLE TOPPING
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup oatmeal
- ½ tsp nutmeg (or cinnamon)
- ½ stick unsalted butter coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- Roll out ¼ of the Foolproof Pastry recipe (it makes 4 single crust pies or 2 doubles)
- Line pie plate and neatly crimp edges... or not neatly if that's your thing!
- Combine all ingredient for filling in a large bowl gently tossing.
- Dot top of fruit with ½ stick cubed butter
- Mix all ingredients for crumble topping in a small bowl
- Gently press onto fruit filling
- Loosely cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes
- Reduce heat to 375, remove foil and continue to bake until topping is golden brown, approximately 45 more minutes