It’s December 1st, which means we have officially landed at the point in time where it is deemed socially acceptable to regress into a childhood state of unbridled excitement and silliness. It’s time to embrace the synthetic reminiscence by lighting cinnamon scented candles and tuning in to Christmas FM. Now…don’t get me wrong here…I put my decorations up weeks ago and I make no apologies for taking this festive mayhem to the next level. I wholeheartedly revel in the opportunity to feel just a tiny slice of the magic of this time of year. I adore it. It’s like Christmas was invented solely to serve as a distraction when we need it most; when the evenings are darkest and traffic is heaviest. Twinkly lights, glitter and mince pies allow our magpie minds to focus on something shiny for a few weeks.
But I am acutely aware that this time of year is rife with mixed messages and weighty instructions from external forces that don’t generally have our best interests at heart. Click bait articles will entice you in and it is this time of year where we are bombarded with survival messages “10 tips for surviving that Christmas party”, “how much weight will you gain this year?” and “how to survive Christmas drinks without the guilt” while a constant stream of indulgent M&S-style food-porn advertising underscores our every waking moment, like a Christmas ticker tape reminder of how indulgent we should all be. Go on. You’re worth it. Fuck it sure, it’s Christmas. And if you do indulge, and aren’t mindful of those 10 survival tips, what then? Does that mean you haven’t survived? Are you a Christmas victim?!
Christmas victims everywhere
Newsflash. We are all Christmas victims and we are all going to give in to some indulgence at this time of year. I believe firmly that the fetishisation of food adds to the perpetual obsession we have. Indulgence becomes insatiability and before we know it a treat turns into a deluge and the cycle of binge > guilt > panic > deprivation > binge etc. continuous ad nauseam. Our relationship with our food is so perverse and interrupted that we have stopped even being able to enjoy our indulgence because of the wracking guilt we throw on ourselves afterwards. And sure, if you’re going to feel like shit about it, then you should just have the whole packet / bag / tin, right?
Be an adult. Take some ownership. Enjoy the shit out of Christmas, but don’t let it consume you.
Give yourself a break
I think we have to give ourselves a bit of recognition as adults, and if you start to foster a more sympathetic relationship with yourself, and allow yourself a treat while being mindful of the consequences it will result in a more healthy relationship with your food choices. This is not my endorsement to go and gorge ourselves now that it’s December 1st, not at all. But we all need to remember that there is a hell of a difference between being mindfully indulgent than going in with blinkers on and barreling through a whole tin of roses. Be an adult. Take some ownership. Enjoy the shit out of Christmas, but don’t let it consume you.
My Indulgence: Pudini Bonbons
With that in mind…I want to share with you the most disgracefully amazing recipe for Pudini Bonbons that I have been making for the past few years. Even if you don’t like pudding. Trust me. This is different. This is delectable. This is Nigella.
These little puds make great gifts, and they are the festive treat that I look forward to every year. They are my indulgence and I regretlessly savor every nibble. Plus, they make a super after-dinner treat that doesn’t involve stuffing your face with an entire dessert. And you can make them as big or as small as you want, so you are in control.
- 125 grams dark chocolate (85% finely chopped)
- 350 grams christmas pudding (warm in micowave and allow to cool)
- 60 millilitres sherry
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 150 grams white chocolate (finely chopped)
- 6 red glace cherries
- 6 green glace cherries
- Line a baking sheet (that will fit in the fridge) with clingfilm, baking parchment or foil and set it to one side while you make the bonbons.
- Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl above a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave.
- Crumble the cold Christmas pudding into a bowl, add the sherry and golden syrup and stir until combined.
- Pour in the melted dark chocolate and stir again: this will make the mixture much thicker and will have a magnet for dipping fingers. Resist the dip!
- Pinch out small lumps of mixture and roll so that you have little rounds about the size of a chocolate truffle. You should get about 30 out of this mixture.
- Cover with clingfilm and pop into the fridge to firm up.
- To decorate, melt the white chocolate as you did with the dark, then let it cool for about 5 minutes, to make it easier to work with, while you chop the red cherries into small pieces and snip the green cherries into miniature lengths.
- Using a teaspoon, drip a little of the white chocolate on each bonbon, then arrange the infuriatingly sticky pieces of cherry on top.
- Place in boxes to give away or on a plate to hand round with coffee as a post-Christmas dinner alternative to a hefty dessert.
So there you have it. Indulge if you want, but be an adult when you do. Restrain yourself if you need to, but don’t punish yourself if you slip up. Enjoy your bloody holidays, you’ve probably earned it!