State of our fireplaces

Monday 17 December 2012, 12.01am HKT

I’LL just leave this here.

xmas tree fireplace imag0151o

iYuletide fire



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Image via c4c (B12461)

Obligatory Christmassy post

Tuesday 27 December 2011, 12.26am HKT

(Updated 2011.12.27 @ 6.29am: corrected typos, added missing subhead)

(You’re fired. — Editor.)

What would Christmas be without the obligatory Christmassy post?

It’s a day late — Boxing Day right now in Hong Kong — but this should fit right in timewise with those places still operating on Christmas Day time mode.

* * *

Haters gonna hate

Sumptuous Christmas Eve dinner at L’s place:

  • Feta cheese salad with incredibly fresh greens and peaches
  • 500 grammes (17 ounces!) of fois gras du canard with pitted red cherries
  • Roasted beefsteak in traditional English gravy
  • Rack of lamb served with English Bramley apple sauce and English mint sauce
  • Ostrich steak from South Africa in red-wine sauce done in Dutch style
  • Terra Roja red wine from Spain
  • Glögg Saffranssmak from IKEA (saffron aromatised white wine)
  • Schnapps (or mediaeval Teutonic jet fuel) spiced with juniper

The idiot in me forgot to bring the camera, so there are no photos of the dishes. Derp.

(Maybe that wasn’t bad after all, mainly because of the result of us gaffing schnapps by the gallonful.)

Yeah, you read it right: 500 grammes of fois gras. Haters are gonna hate.

* * *

Uncle Ebeneezer’s fare

Christmas Dinner was positively Ebeneezer Scrooge in quality — mainly because Christmas Day has long been just another working day for me.

The lineup:

  • Pumpernickel of rye grains
  • Tuscan Saviani Finnochiona salami
  • Pasteurised cow’s milk mozarella (that’s the whitish block at 11 o’clock position)
  • Cheapo Spanish vino tinto

Not too shabby, is it?

That brownish thing that looks like sliced brickwork is pumpernickel — mediaeval unlevened bread, eaten by peasants and nobility alike. Packet of 500 grammes (1 lb.) for HK$30 (or US$3.85 or £2.47).

See? Told you I liked Tuscany food. Saviani Finocchiano salami from Tuscany region in Italy.

Glögg Saffranssmak is mulled white wine flavoured with saffron, whose weight-to-price factor makes it costlier than gold.

Glögg is a traditional drink during winter and popular in the north of Europe. It’s popular with meeeeeee, while I sit around lazing my backside off at 22°N 114°E of the Equator — which is not particularly northern European.

This bottle is 500cc (or nearly 17 US fluid ounces) for HK$49 (US$6.30 or £4) from IKEA. By my reckoning, it would probably cost close to HK$300 in a regular wineshop.

This is Nürnberger Christstollen für Diabetiker (Nuremberg Christmas fruitcake for diabetics). No, I’m not diabetic — normal people can eat food specially prepared for diabetic diets. This diabetic version is much less sweet than the regular stollen.

The cake’s name is pronounced ‘Newrn-bair-gair Kreest-shtoh-luhn fewr Dee-ah-bay-tee-kair.’ Quality of life just improved knowing how to say fruitcake in German.

Stollen (pronounced ‘shtoh-luhn’) is a traditional German fruitcake shaped like a breadloaf and contains candied orange peel, citrus peel, other dried fruit, nuts and spaces, and covered with powdered or icing sugar.

Stollen is usually eaten during Yuletide (hence the name Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen). The Italian panettone shows a likeness but much blander-tasting, and basically one of the few Italian culinary disasters to exist.

This diabetic fruitcake was priced a whopping HK$85 (US$10.93 or £7) for 500 grammes (1 lb), reduced this morning to a mere HK$15 (US$1.92 or £1.23). Talk about wastage in food and get binned had I not bought two loaves.

* * *

We’re doin’ Xmas wrong, it seems

Christmas is arguably the most widely celebrated holiday in the world, regardless of people’s religion who celebrate it or simply take it as a festive time off.

The first date that Christmas was celebrated for certain was on 25 December in AD 325. That year was also known as the Year of the Consulship of Proculus and Paulinus (or AUC 1078 in the Roman calendar). In that same year, gladiatorial combat was outlawed in the Roman Empire (though not because of the activities of those two politicians).

December 25 was a strange date to pick to celebrate Christmas because astronomers and scientists and also the religious establishment all agreed that Jesus would have been born sometime during the summer months.

So it seems the Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans (‘Suf-efrikens’) and the Latinos down in Latin America are in traditional keeping with by celebrating the birth of Christ by celebrating it in their summer.

* * *

Stop punishing ‘Xmas’

‘Xmas’ is not an abbreviation for ‘Christmas.’ It is a proper term in its own right — the ‘X’ is the Greek letter ‘chi’ and used as the abbreviation of the Greek spelling of the word ‘Christ.’

Trouble is, so few people know this. Schoolchildren who daringly use ‘Xmas’ get forced to eat that horrifically bone-dry, paperboard-tasting thing called turkey as punishment. And then force them to say they enjoyed the experience. No wonder we have so many psychopaths running around as bankers, lawyers, accountants, medicos and government officials.

It would have been much better just to just soundly flog them until their morale improves.

* * *

Unboxing your Boxing Day

Boxing Day ain’t supposed to be celebrated in the USA, unlike in the United Kingdom and some other faggoty countries.

Boxing Day is the day when Xmas gifts are unboxed (which, I grant you, should really be called Unboxing Day instead).

In the USA, Boxing Day is ‘celebrated’ by displays of two hunky guys bashing the brains out of each other as a moral lesson that we should use violence to show that violence is wrong. And force people to pay for expensive tickets to watch such a (literally) brain-damaging spectacle.

No wonder we have so many sado-masochists running about with latex garb and rubber balls in the mouth extolling the virtues of our bankers, lawyers, accountants and government officials.

It would have been much better just to force them to eat dry, bland-tasting turkey with lemony-tasting cranberry sauce with tepid green peas instead until they become straightlaced psychopaths.

Merry Xmas to you and yours, and enjoy your turkey and green peas.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. All photos by me.

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