ho ho hum

As is no doubt evident by my complete lack of posting recently, this month has been really hectic for me and will only get more so. When I factor in Christmas, presents to be bought and sent to family at home, outdoor fairy lights to be strung (OK so I didn’t need to do that, especially while trying to balance precariously on the crumbling concrete wall) , Black Dog to be taken to vet and worried over unnecessarily while lumps on his side are checked for cancerous cells (all clear – they are fatty lipomas. Mmm! Festive!) , stressful times at home, no annual leave apart from the stat days over the holidays, which means working up until and including Christmas Eve, dog shows/events all weekend (damn the Brown Dog, who is a star member of a very active rare breed dog club), Christmas Day with friends for whom I have yet to find a present … I find the fun of the season escaping me and we’re only halfway through the month. So I will continue reading the Internet, but the Internet will have to live without me posting for a month. (You realise the minute I write this, I will want to post four times a day.)

Have a fabulous Christmas everyone; be sure to update your own sites to show up my shameful laziness even further. I will be attempting to sort through this (completely self-imposed) schedule of Madness and get back to my usual half-assed posting regime momentarily. (I love the word ‘momentarily’. Nobody is quite sure what it means, but it sounds impressive.) And in the same vein, my Christmas present to you is my current favourite word:

ambisinistral
opposite of ambidextrous; equally incompetent with both hands.

Merry Christmas! Don’t chase the cat or climb on the bed while I’m gone!

You know, I think you can just BUY these at the supermarket.

Mission:
Make Christmas biscuits and listen to Christmas music. Why? Because, that’s why. It’s December and Mr. T isn’t here to howl down my love of bad, bad Christmas songs. Onwards!

Select CD. CD seems to be called: “The Best Christmas Album in the World … EVER!”. (Exclamation mark is included.) Feel vague trepidation at the thought of this. Cannot remember where this Christmas album came from. Never mind! Onwards! After brief struggle with the stereo/DVD/MP3 player thing (damn Mr. T and his ongoing obsession with JB HiFi) get CD playing. It is Cliff Richard singing “Mistletoe and Wine”. Hear distant echoing bleat. Realise noise is coming from self, in wailing disbelief. No matter! Onwards! Skip to next song! It is Band Aid, the old (and now so much more bearable by comparison to new) version. Begin to sing lustily.

Find cookbook: Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a Domestic Goddess“. Reflect that since owning the book, house has not become the idyllic home I thought it would. Bah! What good is book! Find recipe … mmm. Looks delicious. Pretty biscuits. Spicy too! Will MAKE!

Turn on oven. Mutter, “come on, you fucker,” to oven, as it is gas and also shit and I suspect is secretly trying to asphyxiate me. Look at recipe briefly – 170 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 3. My oven only has Fahrenheit measurements, because it was spawned from the sixth ring of hell in 1974, making it LITERALLY older than me. Approximate 170 degrees on dial, then twist dial savagely another 30 degrees, because oven? Is shit.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

300g plain flour
Hurray for expensive Italian flour! Feel all domestic and capable.

pinch of salt
Holy fuck that was a bit more than a pinch. No matter! Onwards!

1 t baking powder
Where are measuring spoons? Fucking drawer eats everything I put into it. Here they are, under complicated citrus grater thing I have never once used.

1 t mixed ground spice
This better be the English term for mixed spice, because my only other choice is cumin and that doesn’t seem too Christmassy. Begin shaking mixed spice out of shaker into measuring spoon. Light dusting of mixed spice spreads gently across the kitchen like pleasing aromatic snow, yet none drifts into measuring spoon. Hmmm. Dig side of measuring spoon into plastic top of shaker and pop top off. Top goes flying across kitchen, startles the cat and rolls under the fridge. Liberal doses of mixed spice all over bench. Fuck! Who cares! Onwards! Measure 1 teaspoon and throw into bowl with other dry ingredients. Hmmm. Should I be sifting this? Too late! Onwards!

1 – 2 t freshly ground pepper
Mmm, spicy biscuits. Look at measuring spoon and then pepper grinder. Realise this will never work. Begin grinding pepper directly into bowl, attempting to match proportions to teaspoon of mixed spice previously added. Arm getting tired from grinding pepper. Bored. This domestic goddess thing is overrated. Will that be enough? … wait, is that too much? Fuck I think it’s too much. Biscuits will kill people. How will I get pepper back out of bowl? Can’t. Fuck it. Onwards!

100g unsalted butter
No problems here. All butter in this house is unsalted. Because I am DOMESTIC GODDESS! Oooh, “Snoopy’s Christmas”! Realise am doing disturbing hip thrusts to the tune of “Snoopy’s Christmas”. Change to strange Egyptian dance. Much better.

100g dark muscovado sugar
Dark what? Holy FUCK, Nigella, what are you trying to do to me? Obviously I don’t have muscovado sugar, because I’ve never fucking HEARD of it. Must be some English term that Aust/NZ doesn’t use. Fuckers. Let’s see, I have soft brown sugar and raw sugar. Which one? Hmmm. The soft brown sugar, because it looks darker. Excellent. Am baking GENIUS.

2 large eggs, beaten with 4 T runny honey
Eggs: fine. Runny honey: find honey jar in pantry. There is a lot less honey than I thought. Like, a small scraping on the bottom. Also, not so much ‘runny’ as ‘crystallised to lump on bottom of jar’. Fuck. Add some hot water and re-melt honey. Add to eggs and beat vigorously. Looks dodgy. Never mind! Onwards!

Method:
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, mixed spice and pepper in the processor. With the motor on, add the butter and sugar, then, slowly, the eggs and honey.
DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON. Recipe meltdown in progress. WHY the FUCK don’t I read these things before I start? Because I don’t own a FUCKING FOOD PROCESSOR and now I am FUCKED. Jesus this baking thing is stressful. What to do? Already have all ingredients. Kitchen is already a battlefield. Fuck. Will have to make this shit up on my own. Thanks a FUCKING HEAP, Nigella. Fuck it. Let’s see. Will cream butter and sugar, then add to dry ingredients, then add eggy honey crap. (Fuck, song is Michael Jackson singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Seriously creepy. FUCK OFF Jackson Five. I hope you all … actually, no need to curse you; it’s all turned out pretty bad for you already. Heh.) Right, this looks … not bad. Looks like dough! I rock! I have MAD BAKING SKILLZ! … fuck just energetically stirred vast cloud of flour/spice into my red shirt. Fuck it. Just looks more authentic. Onwards!

Dust a surface with flour, roll out dough to about 5mm and cut out your Christmas decorations.
Right, rolling pin. Wait, don’t own rolling pin. Have never owned rolling pin. What to use? Oh yeah, a glass. This one has the Green Lantern on it. Rocking. Now for the cutting. Would you believe, I actually OWN Christmas cutters? There’s a Christmas tree, an angel, a star, a heart, a … what the fuck IS that? It looks like a dog. Is it an ox or something? A donkey? Whatever. I’m totally over this already. Onwards.

Arrange on baking sheets and cook for about 20 minutes.
Yeah, not in MY oven. Put baking sheets in oven and sing “Feliz Navidad” (“We wanna wish you a Maori Christmas!”) including Snoopy head-thrown-back dancing. Dogs come running. Wish dogs a Maori Christmas. Dogs sniff interestedly at flour/spice on shirt. Black Dog sneezes tremendously. Go wash hands. Figure it has been approximately 8 minutes. Check biscuits. Yes, as I thought … biscuits on edges are already burning and those in the middle are barely warm. Fucking oven. Shuffle biscuits around by reaching into oven and pushing biscuits around with bare hands. Close oven door and dance to Christmas music some more. Rescue biscuits at about 15 minutes. Success! Have biscuits! IN YOUR FACE, NIGELLA!

fear my spinning hook kick

Haere mai people; I return from the Land of the Long White Cloud. I didn’t tell you I was going because I didn’t want to buy you any duty free. (Why did nobody tell me there is Absolut Raspberri? I feel so sad and maudlin. May be the vodka talking. Will drink more to dull the pain.)

Actually, we were there for Mr. T to grade for his black belt in martial arts. Yes, that’s right people, now Mr. T can pressure point you into oblivion with just a twitch of his little finger. (At least, that’s what he tells me. Mostly when I am singing one of my creative songs.) I have lots of photos of Mr. T breaking a board, Mr. T breaking two boards, Mr. T breaking a concrete block … I can tell you’re bored. (Board!) But when you’re there, you feign bright-eyed interest and you never, ever spill anything on their white pyjamas.

And in other news – -
I had been in the country for approximately two days when Crimewatch came on TV. Amongst the list of the four people currently wanted by the police (it’s a small country, OK?) was … a boy I went to primary school with. All grown up, apparently. Not to mention armed and dangerous. I don’t recall him being such a badass when we sat on the mat at story time.

“If this were only cleared away,”

  • Reading:
    Maus, Art Speigelman
  • Listening:
    U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • Watching:
    The spirit of goodwill, alive and well in carpark buildings all around the city. (Sarcasm is a Christmas spirit, right?)
  • Eating:
    First cherries of the season. Expensively delicious.
  • Liking:
    My tiny real Christmas tree, adorned with fairy lights. I fear the fake tinsel trees.
  • Pondering:
    The perils of Christmas clothes shopping for others: What size IS my dad, exactly?