|20 days to go. That's two lots of ten or four lots of five. Whichever way you cut it, we ain't got long|
I spend most of my life feeling like a freak.
I dress differently to most people (for 'differently' read 'scruffily'), I'm a little offbeat and I am the queen of the inappropriate comment in polite society. (I'm still squirming over a comment I made at a swimming gala last weekend. Whole other story.)
And never do I feel more out of step than at Christmas.
I watch in amazement as sane, rational peers - who presumably grew up like me in the '70's when Christmas meant a Tiny Tears and a Chocolate Orange - drop bone shuddering amounts of cash on their offspring for Christmas.
This isn't me being a fiscal prude, I am talking £500 per child. At least £500 per child.
To put this in context, £500 would buy me a week long ski pass to the Quatre Vallées and still give me change for vin chaud at the top of the Veysonnaz. A much more reasonable way to spend £500, I'm sure you'll agree.
Does no one else feel a little bit sickened by an iPad here, a Wii there and a pair of Ugg boots over yonder? All ripped open and cast aside with a careless thank you and a shifty look under the tree for the next expensive present.
I know I sound humbug-ish and of course I'm going to treat my kids, (and the music teachers, swim coaches, class teachers, babysitter, neighbour and the postman) but the gifts are going to be modest.
Because - news flash - my kids will still have a lovely Christmas with a good stash of thoughtful gifts, a hearty family meal, crappy crackers, a silly hat and a box set of Mr Bean. Yes they might wish for an iMacpadAir (or whatever) but if wishes were horses...
So is it impossibly whimsical and schmaltzy to say, 'Christmas is about family rather than greedy consumption'?
Well I've said it anyway and that's what I truly believe.
Apart from when it comes to chocolate.
When it comes to chocolate and Christmas, it's perfectly OK to gorge until you are actually sick. (In fact vomiting might even be necessary so that you can carry on consuming.)
So to facilitate your chocolate excesses, I've made some gluten free, dairy free Rocky Road.
More critically-minded readers will see that this is an easy way to get a festive post in before the grim reality of Christmas hits and there'll be no more blogging from me because I'll be rocking in a corner in the foetal position.
Gluten free Rocky Road
Although Rocky Road is usually made with ground up biscuits, I pretend to myself that using rice cereal makes this healthier. Tesco does a gluten free rice cereal, although the 'May Contain' lists nuts and soya. You could opt for your usual brand of 'safe' biscuits instead, or you could bake a batch of my GF, EF, DF ginger biscuits and crunch them up.
125g dairy free margarine
300g gluten free, dairy free chocolate
3 tbsps golden syrup
200g gluten free rice cereal (or GF, DF, EF biscuits)
festive gf sprinkles
Line a brownie tin with baking parchment and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt the dairy free margarine and chocolate over a low heat. Add the golden syrup and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and spoon about five tablespoons of the chocolate mix into a bowl and set aside.
Add the rice cereal/biscuits and marshmallows to the saucepan and stir until everything is coated in chocolate. Yum! Scrape the mix into the brownie tin and level with the back of the spoon.
Drizzle the reserved chocolate onto the surface of the Rocky Road and use the back of a spoon to spread it around. Don't worry if you don't coat the surface evenly, no one is going to care.
Sprinkle the surface of the Rocky Road with pretty, festive sprinkles and place the brownie tin in the refrigerator until the Rocky Road has set.
Slice into squares and cram into your mouth to alleviate Christmas stress and the horrors of Western consumption.
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