People talk about how we should think of those who are less fortunate than us during the Festive season. But why just now? Why does it have to be assigned to a certain timeframe? Is it guilt? That we are too busy? That we feel extra lucky around Christmas, so it is easier to spot those who aren’t so? That it is more obvious in the holiday period? The latter is certainly correct – yesterday as I battled my way through the crowds in central Melbourne to the blood bank (and no, I’m not a vampire) I observed a harried Christmas shopper very nearly step on a homeless man who was curled up to the side of the pavement. Call me an emotional wreck but I fall apart a little inside every time I see people who have faced true hardship. Admittedly it was especially bad when juxtaposed against the waves of frantic Christmas shoppers: stressed and focused on money. Needless to say I had much to ponder as I sat in the blood donor chair, hooked up to a plasma-extraction-machine-thingy.
I came to the realisation (and one that’s been reached a number of times before) that perspective is everything. It’s vital for so many aspects of life, and feeling as though you’ve been ‘hard done by’ or short-changed by the powers that be is a particularly important one. When I’m battling one of my (now infrequent) bouts of ‘Kenya belly’ I try to think of the ever-cheerful thirty-something man who walks his beautiful black Labrador past our gym and through the surrounding suburbs. Although vision and hearing impaired, I always see how he exudes trust in his dog and the people around him, a quiet smile ever-present on his face. Corny as it may sound, he inspires me to be a better person and to face my petty hardships head on with as much positivity as one can muster.
When said ‘Kenya belly’ required the removal of many major food groups from my diet two years ago it was especially necessary to stay chipper. I didn’t do a particularly good job of it. In fact I failed quite miserably. One can learn a lot in two years. They can also grow up. Become a little less self-absorbed. Realise that it is possible to make dairy/gluten/onion/tomato/whatever the hell else you can’t eat meals that are at least as tasty, if not more, than their ‘normal’ counterparts. And what is normal anyway? Yeah, we’re getting deep. One such discovery was made last Christmas when our dairy-free Christmas puddings needed a dairy-free accompaniment in the form of cream/ice-cream/yoghurt/custard/creamy yumminess. Not to jump on the coconut bandwagon (which my two cents suggests is way out of control), but here is one fine coconut-oriented specimen. Custard to be exact. Custard that’s as damn good as the normal fandangle. It’s creamy, slightly sweet, rum-infused – a Christmas must-have. Or for just any time really. My my.
So the magical words of wisdom from today’s post are that you’ve gotta do your darndest to make the best of your situation. Have some p-p-p-perspective. You never know what you may find!
P.S. J, this is for you chickie.
Coconut Custard (Dairy Free)
270ml can light coconut milk
270ml can light coconut cream
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp cornflour
1-2 tbsp rum (optional)
Pour the coconut milk and cream into a medium sized saucepan. Add the icing sugar and vanilla bean paste and whisk to combine. Set over a medium heat and leave until almost boiling (small bubbles form around the edges).
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and cornflour together in a heatproof bowl. Once the milk/cream is almost boiling, pour over the eggs, whisking constantly. When combined, return to the saucepan and place over a low heat. Cook, stirring/whisking constantly for about 1 minute or until the custard begins to thicken.
Transfer to a heatproof bowl or large bowl and whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. Add the rum and whisk to combine, if using.
Serve immediately or leave to cool and serve at cold.
To reheat, pour back into a saucepan and warm over a low heat, stirring often.
Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Source: Adapted from https://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/12/how-to-make-the-perfect-custard/