Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

By Published On: 24 Dec '20Last Updated: 17 Jan '21

merry christmas FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!

The festive season is with us again and the easing of restrictions by the NSW Government from 1 December 2020 (although the recent Northern Beaches and other clusters are causing a lot of heartache) inevitably means that we all can finally plan some entertaining for Christmas and New Year despite the various tiers and lockdowns being introduced.

Oh 2020 what a year you have been.

Hello and merry Christmas to each and every one of you. I hope you enjoyed this magical day with your family and those you love. I would like to say a big thank you to all my readers as I feel incredibly blessed to have your friendship and support. To all those readers, thank you for your encouragement and you inspire me to do what I do every day.

For me, Christmas dinner with extended family and friends was truly special this year particularly as the restrictions were lowered on the Christmas day with 10 people allowed per household and that excluded children under 10. To begin with, it was a different way to celebrate Christmas day as we attended an online Christmas mass instead of our usual Christmas Vigil mass on Christmas eve. Every family has its own Christmas traditions – mine enjoys an elaborate buffet Christmas breakfast with the home baked Christmas cake along with many Indian traditional sweets and savouries. Our lunch was a seafood lunch which is an Australian Christmas staple followed by dinner for which we had a mix of Indian Christmas traditional curry called Pork Indad (sweet and spicy pork curry) and Sannas and this year some American slow cooked brisket roast with some delicious salads and sides followed by many kuswar (Indian Christmas sweets) items.

Now that the excitement of Christmas is over, I am taking time to pause and focus on what I have actually enjoyed during this splendid period of isolation? How can I look at things differently and seize opportunities from that maddening crisis? How can I focus on the upside?

While COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of our daily routines and patterns, these changes have not all been negative. For me, spending more time at home was a chance to learn more about myself and manage my time better. Slowing down of society provided a much needed ‘pause’ that enabled me to reflect on the things that mattered most to me including the people that bring me happiness on an everyday basis.

Firstly, working from home was truly a blessing. It has forced me to structure my day and the entire week with much more rigour in order to retain a productive routine. I have now become focused on how I spend my time, what I am doing and what I can do now to get where I want to be.

I was able to focus on myself more. Going for walks in the mornings became easier as the time used to travel to work could suddenly be utilised for some much needed exercise. I was also able to eat better, and and have a better mental state overall. It was also wonderful to have morning teas with my better half just by singing out from my home office “honey it’s time for a moning tea”:) and yes, he would start the kettle punctually! As public events dwindled and all travel options cancelled, I was able to keep in touch with my neighbours and family on a regular basis either by phone, email, zoom group chats and virtual happy hours even if it was was not quite the same as catching up in person. It has also also made me value my relationships because I have realised just how much being able to have a conversation with a friend or a neighbour in person means to me.

As my siblings live in the UK and India, I have started to reflect more about my relationship with them and how I need to make more of an effort to stay in communication despite the distance.

Further, it was a great source of comfort to spend time with my ageing pet. He is now almost 16 years old and he too enjoyed every moment of me chatting to him, brushing his hair and simply sitting next to him and patting him. He now sits in my home office permanently:) The snoring is sometimes unbearable but I am slowly getting used to this new kind of distraction. I suppose he loves me just the way I am and I have to love him just the way he is:) Having said this, I miss his snoring if he decides to sleep in his bed in the next room!

I joined The Hungry Mangy Group right in the middle of the pandemic. The Hungry Mangy is a platform for Portuguese inspired food, drinks, history, travel stories of India. The Hungry Mangy has thousands of members who are all passionate home cooks. They cook authentic Mangalorean cuisine and publish their recipes on this site on a regular basis. I am proud to be a part of this active group. Through thier social media platforms, I have built some great friendships with people of diverse backgrounds and stay connected with this very active group during these stressful times. I also take active part in some of the activities of this group through their social media platforms, such as publish my recipes on thier site from time to time and participate in live stream demonstrations.

Further, healthwise, what my latest blood test revealed was a shocking surprise. It appears all my walks and eating healthy have reduced my cholesterol levels dramatically. On seeing my blood test results, my doctor curiously asked me what did you do to reduce your cholesterol? I did mention to her that I have been walking three to four times a week, eating healthy foods such as tuna, salmon and sardines, a few almonds and walnuts and drinking 8 glasses of water a day and she promptly said, do whatever you are doing because that’s working really well. I am pleased to say that exercise has helped increase my energy levels and that has boosted my mood and decreased my stress. It was so good to know that the small changes I made during isolation has actually helped decrease my cholesterol.

As travels to work were minimal, I had more energy on the weekend to pursue my passion of reading and cooking. In fact, I completed reading a couple of autobiographies which I had started reading earlier in the year. I also taught myself to bake, which I am really proud of as I had little or no interest in baking in the past due to the fact that my son and my better half are not into eating cakes and baked goods. Yes guys, baking is my next big thing and passion.

Like many, I cannot help thinking, how the world has changed! It is changing one day at a time, one hour at a time. Amid all tragedy, fear, uncertainty and shifting circumstances, do your best with caring, compassion and hope. Savour the good things. Hopefully the negative and difficult things we have all faced will soon pass and we will be back in the world stronger and changed but most of all better than before.

It is the New Years Eve today and like many of you who are making your New Year’s Resolutions, I am also making my own resolution. This year my resolution is to focus on all that is good within myself and others, to develop it consciously and deliberately, to be cheerful, kind and compassionate, to be bigger in mind and heart.

It gives me much happiness to share some photos of a few Christmas treats I baked for Christmas. Hope you enjoy them!

I would like to thank each and every one of you for visiting my webpage and trying out my recipes. Thanks to all of you for your valuable feedback. Your feedback is really important to me as it gives me a chance to improve on anything that I may have missed. Don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram page @lavina_mendonsa.

Whatever you are doing on the New Year’s eve, best wishes from the team at Deliciously Indian to the most wonderful people in our life for a great holiday season. Stay safe, happy and blessed in the New Year! I can’t wait to speak to you in 2021!

Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

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