It’s the third of January and the post Christmas blues should be just about kicking in now with the prospect of work on Monday morning and winter weather on the horizon for the next two months!
On the other hand what about taking a leaf out of the French nation’s book by celebrating the feast of Epiphany?
On Tuesday many families in La Belle France will serve a King Cake or galette des rois. If you find a tiny figurine in your slice, you will be king or queen for the night and you get to wear a golden crown.
The cake marks the end of Epiphany or Twelfth night when the three wise men, the Magi, brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Other parts of Europe celebrate as well, with Germany and Spain serving a ring shaped cake that’s decorated with candied fruit. In New Orleans, they serve a King Cake, and it’s eaten any time from Epiphany to Shrove Tuesday. They cover it with gaudy decorations and it has a spicy flavour. To my mind this is a very sensible idea – always have a sparkly cake on hand to banish the winter blues.
And it’s a feast that was celebrated in England up until the 19th Century, when they served a Twelfth cake that was made from dried fruit and decorated with crowns made from icing. This has long since died out and been replaced by magazines and TV shows constantly harping on about new year, new you diets and how you should have completely ignored all those food adverts coming up to Christmas and abstained instead.
Is it just me or is it really annoying to have wall to wall adverts for chocolate, party food, alcohol and endless turkey and stuffing in the run up to Christmas and then the minute we hit new year, we’re bombarded with adverts for how you should diet to get the ideal body to show off when you book the holiday they’ve been advertising endlessly since the Queen’s speech ended?
Let’s buck the trend and eat King Cake, chocolate cake and ice-cream in January and go on a healthy eating kick when we decide not when some silly advertising agency dictates.
This week’s recipes are for a traditional French Galette de Rois, using ready made puff pastry – no need to strain anything or make complicated pastry after all the festivities. Bake a coin in the middle and have a party to celebrate Epiphany. Surely that beats rice cakes with cottage cheese?
When the twelve days of Christmas are officially over on Tuesday, the tree’s down and things are back to the monotonous routine, bake this chocolate orange spice cake with hot orange chocolate sauce.
You can go for a brisk walk afterwards if you feel like it’s time to. Live life the way you want to – not how some PR company for the diet industry thinks you should.
New Year, New You? I’ll have a slice of chocolate cake instead please.