Dear Minxie,
I’d like to try something new for Christmas lunch this year, so I was thinking of adding a turducken to the menu? Thoughts? Cath

Dear Cath,
Everything seems to be wrapped at this time of year, so why not your signature Festivus 2014 dish? The turducken is a fabulous choice. For those non-foodies, a turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey. It’s like a babushka doll made of meat – in this case, poultry.  People have gone a bit silly with their stuffing and ventured away from the traditional turducken construction. There is a rumour that a camel was stuffed with chicken inside a lamb inside a goat for a Bedouin wedding, but I’m fairly sure no one would actually swallow that owing to the amount of chewing required to break it down and the nuclear reflux that would inevitably haunt them for years. But, back to your table, Cath. I’d think about stuffing around with seafood. I’ve attempted the barramackovy (barramundi-mackerel-anchovy) and the octocodgroper (octopus-cod-groper) and they both were winners. The bones were a bit of an issue with the fish, but the end result (i.e. taste sensation) warrants you sitting for hours picking out bones with tweezers. Octopus is an easy option as you just wrap the tentacles around the other seafood stuffers and tie them in celebratory bows. Your dish will be an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a steaming pile of mystery. Go crazy Cath, and make your Christmas feast the stuff of legends.MJx




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Dear Minxi
I bought this glass figurine set of what I thought were the three wise men (see pic). But when I got it home from the store I noticed there was an extra 'wise one', or is it? I'm confused. Do you know who the mysterious fourth one is? Kevin 

Dear Kevin, 
What a lovely little festive set you hav
e there. Yes, that extra wise man is odd. I don't profess to be any sort of expert in biblical texts, stories and associated ditties, but I was under the impression also there were three kings (aka wise men). I have no idea who this ring-in is. From your photo, it seems these fellows are meant to be together as they have all be crafted in the same exacting manner. But, that said, the figure on the right looks decidedly shifty -  or maybe it is just bad lighting. Actually, old mate on the right also appears to not be bearing a gift or wearing an appropriate head dress to meet the Son of God. So, relying on my amazing powers of deduction and analytical thinking, I'd say that's your imposter. As to his identity, I can only surmise he is either: a hitchhiker; a roadie; the village idiot; a gate crasher who swears he is a mate of Joseph's or an unsavoury type whose motives are unclear. On closer inspection, it seems our dark horse is hiding something under his robe (note the bulge across his chest). I'd urge you to return to the store where you bought this festive tableau and ask whether they also stock a "wise guys" boxed set and, if they do, suggest they check if one of the good fellas is MIA. I'd say that's what's happened. That shifty king  is clearly packing heat. Mystery solved, I hope.
Don't shoot the messenger. Happy Festivus! 



Dear Minxie,
Egg nog or punch? What's the best tipple for the festive table? Mel

Dear Mel, 
Good question. It depends on the climate - both inside and outside the party venue. Egg nog is fabulous for the frostier parts of the world, even though milk is not the best ingredient when half the guests are bound to have chesty coughs. The nog is as comforting as the Queen's Christmas message. A traditional punch is much better stuck on a table where the sun shines. Unfortunately, there is only a small window of opportunity to get punch while it's cold. It is crucial to swoop early with the ladle before the melting ice cubes water down the alcohol. An early hit also ensures you get a glass full before the fruit stews and sinks to the bottom like aquatic plants in a luke-warm pond. But, if the atmosphere of your soiree is getting so stuffy that not even a few Barry White tunes will lighten the mood, I suggest hedging your beverage bets. It's time to unveil 'punch nog', which is my interpretation of these two classic communal drinks. Just throw every available tropical liquid (alcoholic or otherwise) into a bucket and stir like you mean it. Then decant this mysterious brew into individual glasses and top each with a heady froth of whizzed-up egg white, milk and brandy. It will look like an innocent cappuccino. Such fun. Your guests, who once had faces like slapped arses, will soon be beaming like the moon. Pump up the dulcet tones of Mr White on the record player and I guarantee that you will see some jiggling booties on your patio. Just remember to shove your punch-drunk guests out the door within an hour as that's about the time it takes for this festive fusion to mix in a chaotic manner in their lower intestines. Bottoms up! MJx



Dear Minxie,
What’s your view of those cutie-pie Christmas cards featuring a shot of the family or the family pet? Are they too kitsch…even for Christmas? Phil

Dear Phil,

I firmly believe that if you are going to send a Christmas card, make it memorable. By memorable, I mean make sure it has an image that will sear itself into the memories of all who receive it. That’s what Christmas is about – unsettling your friends and relatives with your crazy antics. Hopefully, they will start to wonder if you have hit the Pimms and lemonade early and, bingo!, you will instantly be on their minds. It's their thoughts that count ... worried or otherwise.You will never please everyone on this most festive of holidays, so just please yourself. There are plenty of memorable  images doing the rounds (see pic - nothing says Season's Greetings like a former PM's crazy eyes). Maybe you could superimpose your face over Cherie’s mug for a personal touch?  And, by the way, nothing is ever too kitsch for Christmas. Think of Liberace, the Human Christmas Tree, who basically celebrated all year with his seasonal bling and tinsel-festooned outfits. If everyone was more like Liberace, we’d be a lot happier – maybe a bit confused and itchy from too much hairspray and polyester – but, yes, happier. So, Phil, time is running out. Make an impact this Festivus, or face another year of regret. It’s your time to shine.MJx


Dear Minxie,
My husband and I have been married for a few years and, as happens, my interest in having “special hugs” at night has waned a bit while his desire is still as strong as ever. I still find him very sexy, but not every night … if you know what I mean. How do I put him off in the nicest possible way? Fiona

Dear Fiona,
This should be easy enough to fix with a few well-timed wardrobe changes. When you are in the mood, pop on your usual alluring negligee and cocktail slippers while removing your makeup with cold crème before lights out. It is always a man pleaser, not that you need any bait. On the nights when you’d prefer to hit the snooze button early, dig out anything in flannelette (preferably a nightie, as it screams ‘nursing home’). If somehow this fails, zip yourself into your emergency onesie or Snuggie (lime green terry towelling is fail-safe) and you are home free. If it is summer, you’ll have to think ahead and sew up a body-bag style night sack in cotton, and I'd suggest embroidering a huge Disney character - or Jabba the Hutt - on the front. Everything, except a good night's sleep, will give you a wide berth in that get-up. Sweet dreams.MJx 


Dear Minxie,
My girlfriend has just come back from a ‘holistic’ retreat and tells me she is ‘emotionally unavailable’ and has to work on her affection for me. She didn't have a problem with this before. What should I do? Jose

Dear Jose,
I suggest taking yourself off on your own retreat, which might just mean retiring to your shed or the pub for a few days. When you feel you are in ‘a good place’, tell your girlfriend that you will be emotionally unavailable, mentally unavailable, physically unavailable and psychically unavailable until further notice. If she protests – in a rare outburst of emotional availability – add that you are auditory unavailable and, therefore, unable to pick up certain sounds (i.e. mainly from her). Ask Holistic Hannah to respect your boundaries, mention something about getting in touch with your inner Yoda, then waddle off muttering that you plan to use your powers for good, not her. Peace out, Jose.MJx