It’s Christmas folks!
Here’s wishing you a very merry one. And in the spirit of the holidays, let me paint you a picture.
You’re surrounded by sparkly decorations and the International Space Station can tell you’re neighbours have put up all their Diwali lights, and added even more yellow to the patio.
Everything around you is on sale or in happy hours. There’s even one plus one on chutney with you’re usual shawarma takeout. And while you’re inbox is flooded with invites to Christmas brunches, merry parties, fests, barbeques and whatnot, you’re feeling a deep sense of holiday dread.
Cause you’re celebrating Christmas alone. And oh-boy, that’s WAY worse than watching Love Actually for the millionth time.
I get that Christmas is supposed to be noisy, commercial and irrevocably social. And spending it alone will raise a few serious existential questions for you and pretty much every other sod who asks about your plans. So I am here to tell you (yet again) that it’s the best time to be alone!
You may be living away from family or you may have blown up all your leave in the summer. Or perhaps all of your close friends are holidaying in sunnier climes (Goa, Sri Lanka, Australia – you know who you are)
Or worse – you’re family could be holidaying without you. Yes, I know how it feels to get constant cheery reminders of everyone else’s vacation. While you slum away in a cold office that even Santa skips. So what’s the good news you ask?
You have a day all to yourself. No really, You have a day ALL TO YOURSELF
Turn on AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.
Now Repeat that last line x2
Can you feel it? You’re going to spend the next 24 hours un-clicheing (is that a word?) every Christmas-ism in the book. Now, we could do something spectacular but peaceful like we did for last Valentines Day, but this time, I think we should go low-key.
So instead of painting the town red, I’ve decided to stay home by the fire and pamper myself with a fresh homemade meal, a sexy bottle of red and of course a luxurious dessert for one.
Cause food loves you and it won’t go Bacon your heart.
My first stop is the local Farmer’s market to pick up some spectacular produce and fire up an appetite for the meal ahead. This tiny little weekend market is an absolute delight for city folk who have little interaction with produce. Touching and smelling fresh veggies and fruit is almost aphrodisiac to the single soul.
I decided to make a quick, no fuss Spaghetti, that plays on a bold citrusy-tomatoey flavour with a herby freshness.
For dessert, I went adult with a slow poached pear in a robust red wine.
If you’re like me and are coming back to an empty house, its time to bring home the Christmas cheer. Put on some Sinatra, your favourite shoes and open a bottle of bubbly for yourself.
Cause you have a date with yourself ; it’s time to play the part. And there’s nothing sexier than cooking for yourself. Let’s make a new memory.
Spaghetti A la Christmas
For the Spaghetti
- Spaghetti, dry – 250 g
- Water – 4 cups
- Salt – 1tsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Garlic – 2 pods, chopped
- Dry Red Chillies or Paprika – 2 or 1 tsp
- Onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
- Bacon Jam or Bacon bits – 1tbsp
- Mushrooms – 5 small pieces
- Balsamic Vinegar (use your best) – 1 tsp
- Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
- Butter – 2 tbsp
For the tomatoes
- Cherry Tomatoes – 6 small pieces
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Dried Oregano – 1/2 tsp
- Sea Salt & Pepper – a pinch
- Lemon-Basil or Basil, Baby Spinach or Arugula – a handful each
- Roasted Almonds
- Chilli Flakes – 1 tsp
- Goat Cheese – 2 tbsp
- Place the water in a heavy bottom pan and put it on high flame. When the water starts boiling, add salt, oil and spaghetti. Mix around with a fork.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet. When its warm, break the dry chilies and toss them in oil. Add garlic and fry for a minute. If you’re using Paprika, add it just after the garlic. Add the bacon jam/ bacon bits and fry till aromatic
- Tip in the onions and fry them for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and mix together till it starts to sizzle. Add the balsamic vinegar and mix. Put the pan on low heat for the mushies to cook.
- Check on the spaghetti, it should be done by now. Pull one out, taste it and if it’s cooked with just enough bite, turn off the heat and drain the water.
- Add the spaghetti to to veggie mix and cover to keep warm.
- For the tomatoes – In a pan, add some butter and put it on medium flame. When it starts melting, add some oregano and fry it for 10 seconds till fragrant. Add salt & pepper stir to combine. Add in the tomatoes and mix them well to coat the butter.
- Increase the heat a little and toss the tomatoes in the pan till they blister just a little.
- Tip the tomatoes into the spaghetti and mix it all around till well incorporated.
- Serve in your favourite bowl or plate and top with crumbled cheese, nuts and herbs.
Its time to set the table with your finest silver and turn up the jazz volume to ‘are you crazy’ levels and sit back to enjoy your delectable creation. Happy Happy Christmas to you!
Here are some more ideas for your holidays
- Get Pampered – Book yourself a salon day with massages and forget about the outside world. Come out rejuvenated.
- Avoid Malls like the plague. Instead take yourself to a screening of La La Land and be inspired to follow your dreams. With caramel popcorn of course.
- Want to feel really really good? Donate your time. Spend the day volunteering at an animal rescue or an orphanage or even a senior’s centre. Help spread the festive cheer to the less fortunate.
- Or just curl up in your jammies and watch Westerworld. It’s a great reminder that your world is way happier!
All images by Ishita Thakur
‘Tis the season’ attributed here