|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
& Delicious Christmas
Christmas is the time to think of festivities. Apart from gifts and parties, a large part of the celebrations is about eating — from the rich X-mas cake to the pudding and from mince pies to plum tarts. Try out some of these authentic recipes and have a blast. Happy eating, says Sarah Painell
Traditional Christmas cake
Plain flour Four cups
Line the cake container with greased paper around the sides and bottom and pour in the cake mixture. Now put it in a moderate oven that should be 180ºC. After one hour, reduce the heat to 150ºC. Bake for around three hours and then leave it to cool for another three hours. Store in an airtight container. To add the real Christmas flavour, drizzle some sherry or rum on the cake. Even brandy would do.
White bread crumbs Made
from half a loaf
Add about six inches of water in a pressure cooker and bring to a boil. Now carefully place the pudding container in the boiling water. Make sure the water comes up to one-third of the sides of the pudding container. Cover the cooker without the pressure and let the pudding steam for six hours, checking water level and adding to it now and then.
When the pudding is done it will turn dark walnut brown and will be quite firm to touch. Bring to table, along with the warmed rum, which should be poured around the pudding. Ignite it and let it flame.
After cooling, you can sprinkle the tarts with powdered sugar so that the plum filling is seen as a small circle with white sugar coating surrounding it. This is very appealing to the eye.
(For shortcrust pastry)
Roll the pastry out thinly. Cut out 12 rounds with a diameter of 2 1/2 inches and 12 rounds with a diameter of 2 inches (for the lids). Press the larger rounds into well-greased patty tins. Place one tablespoon of a little mincemeat into each. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy and smooth. Brush the edges of the filled pastry and ‘stick’ on the pastry lids. Brush the tops with egg white and make three small holes on top of each pie. Sprinkle with superfine sugar. Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes.
Dear, dear Mario, I never thought I’d be doing this. In the last decade or so our connection was only by phone but you’ve had a good innings and can now make the angels laugh. Guess they, too, need to do so.
It was in the 1980s that this writer spent much time with the great Goan cartoonist and sketcher, who put Goa on the Indian map with his drawings/cartoons set in rustic Goa with the padigar (vicar) playing the lead role and fisherfolk, fat old ladies, aristocratic batkars (landlords), impish kids, and of course his doggie, as part of his wide canvas, which evoked peals of laughter even among the killjoys of this sad, dreary world.
Bori Bunder outside the Irani restaurant was our favourite meeting place, and at times one had to wait for him, punctuality not being one of his virtues. But he was never late for a film, which was probably his first love and claimed to know more about them than myself, a fact which I never contested.
In those distant 1980s, Mario embellished with his great sketches, whether it was the Goan scenario, the wily mother-in-law, Germany in winter time, and even one of myself in the balcony, which now hangs in my Goa saal (hall), much to the euphoria of the visitors, who will most likely be flocking to see it, now that he is no more.
He always called me poder (baker) and we spent one night at his Loutilim home with Bacchus for company. His wife Habiba is a good hostess and is sure to miss him terribly. He was very close to his cousin Lucio who beat him to the pearly gates.
In his corner office at the Times of India, he was plagued by requests from its assorted magazines for his cartoons/sketches, and Mario just could not say ‘no’. My co-villager Polly was like his Man Friday in his early days and they maintained this bond till he made his exit last year. There’s gonna be a big reunion up there, you can be sure. But we will be left so much poorer with his loss. He brought a smile to our face and for all his fame and glory, he was basically and quintessentially a simple guy and his epitaph can well be "brightly fades Mario."
It is Christmas Eve and by now you must have already splurged during the never-ending Navaratri and Diwali parties, and felt guilty about it. There is still time to salvage the situation and strategise so that you don’t continue to eat unhealthily.
Here are some ways in which you can help to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy diet and joining in with the fun and festivities.
Exercise: You do not have to keep aside half an hour for exercises and get bored while the family is enjoying. A 10-minute workout three times a day is equally good. One can play outdoor games with the family and after a party one can offer to help rearrange the furniture.
Eat regularly: If you are going to a big party or dinner, don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation. You’re in danger of arriving there feeling ravenous and eating everything in sight. Instead, have some low-fat, healthy snacks throughout the day. This way you’ll be less likely to over-indulge later. Having a bowl of soup before the party really helps.
Be aware of the high-calorie foods: The greasy curries are more calorie laden than pieces of chicken, roasted, and grilled meats are healthier than fried.
Balance your plate: Don’t be tempted to fill up your plate with rich, calorie-laden food. Instead, have a little of everything, including fruits and vegetables. This way, you’ll still get to indulge as well as receive valuable nutrients and vitamins. Try taking a smaller plate.
Make a choice: At a particular party, choose either a calorie-rich snack or a sweet.
Eat in moderation: This will surely balance your calories.
Drink lots of water: This will reduce your food intake as well as prevent dehydration.
Socialise more: Meet everyone, dance to the music and stay away from the table for as long as possible.
Moderate alcohol intake: Don’t forget that alcohol is fattening too. Try and control the amount of alcohol you consume over the holiday period and, in the same way as food, try not to over-indulge regularly.
Be assertive: Don’t feel as though you have to say ‘yes’ to everyone, who offers you food and drink. If you are not hungry, then simply say so. Do not let yourself be bullied into eating something that you really don’t want to.
Leave what you don’t want: Despite what your parents may have drummed into you as a child, don’t feel obliged to clear your plate. When you feel full, stop eating.
(The writer is a dietitian with the PGI)