Holding Off The Grinch

As a youngster, when a disillusioned adult said something puzzling, like “I hate Christmas”, I used to feel a bit sorry for them. It seemed weird to have such bleak outlook, it was depressing, and I distinctly remember thinking ‘I’m never going to be like you.’ Sure enough, the Saturday before last at our local shopping mall, as I waited in a queue the relative length of The Great Wall Of China, I’ll confess to a host of unmistakably grinchy thoughts. I realise my presence there technically makes me part of the mayhem, but in my defence, I was moving from a fully furnished rental, and desperately short of necessities.

If you crunch the figures, you’ll work out pretty quickly that two Saturdays ago we were still in November. That’s pretty early to have the frenzied shopping behaviours typically reserved for mid-December, the ones which dispel any illusion that we live in a civilised society. Is it just the natural course of our consumerist world? Or maybe it’s the population growth. When I moved here just over a decade ago, I was advised there would be 200,000 more people in the region over the next ten years. Based on recent traffic woes, house prices and my traumatic trip to the mall, it feels as though they all flooded in over the last 18 months, instead of giving us a gradual decade to get used to it.

Now that I no longer have to field tricky questions about how Santa gets down the chimney or makes it round the whole world in one night (magic, obviously), I’m toning it down. The kids are primed for a couple of good presents or maybe one extra good one. Even better, I don’t have that awful sick feeling when I calculate how much I overspent on cheap stationery and toys made by a nine-year-old factory worker in China so my fortunate children can learn to want more.

So, I think I’ll wait another couple of weeks before I start in on the Christmas recipes. Instead, here’s a good old Kiwi favourite, it won’t deplete your Christmas funds in the least.


8  sausages

1 tablespoon oil

2 onions

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 carrots, chopped

2 potatoes, diced

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons fruit chutney

½ cup apple sauce

1 cup chicken stock

1 can coconut milk

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

salt and pepper

fresh coriander (to garnish)

  • Cover the sausages with cold water; bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, cool, remove skins and cut each into 4 or 5 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes, then add carrots and potatoes, stirring until the onions are soft. Add the curry powder and cook a minute or two.
  • Add the tomato paste, chutney, apple sauce, stock and coconut milk. Stir well, then return the sausage chunks to the saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and cook 15 minutes more to reduce the sauce.
  • Add 1 cup of peas in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped fresh coriander



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