cooking up a storm

Dinner for Dogs

Our little terrier is on a raw diet to keep him fit and well and in an attempt to help with this atopic skin.  Well technically, he’s on immunotherapy injections for his atopic skin but we are always hopeful that another route will prove effective. So to help with this, we feed him a completely unprocessed diet of raw meat and raw veg with added omega 3 & 6 and some vitamins. As close as possible to what he would eat in the wild I suppose. His treats are dried liver or Canine Connoisseur’s natural liver and cheese treats.

I have long been suspicious of shop bought, mass produced dog foods; even those that purport to be holistic, organic or completely natural.

about vegetables

The Furry One (Max to his general public) seems to do ok on his raw diet and we’re hopeful that it helps his poor skin. He certainly seems heathy enough on it and his gnashers are lovely and clean from the bones that form a key part of this diet.  He might get a bit bored with it, even though it is very varied – lamb, beef, venison and oily fish).

Lily’s Kitchen is one of the only processed foods that we consider acceptable for Max. It is a great story of how a range of food and a shop have developed from the need to feed a small Border Terrier a good, gentle and wholesome diet (and it has plenty of vegetables in it).

white flesh sweet potatoes and carrots chopped and ready for the pot

Like all small but developing businesses that are bound to succeed, Lily’s Kitchen was born of care and passion. Lily, who is the Border Terrier, wasn’t eating so Henrietta Morrison, who is her loving and owner, started feeding her home made food. All based on sound nutritional information, a range of tinned foods and dry treats evolved.

Max LOVES Lily’s Kitchen food. I can’t remember how we found out about Lily’s Kitchen but we’ve been fans for as long as I ever knew it existed and eventually our vet was selling Lily’s food so Max has benefitted quite a bit from it and it is our default food if raw isn’t possible.

Imagine my delight when an email from Amazon popped into my in box with a recommendation for a book that I might find interesting – Lily’s Kitchen Dinners for Dogs. A guide to good eating for dogs and a collection of recipes to try.

kibble spread onto baking parchment ready for baking

We ordered it immediately and it arrived in time for us to ‘digest’ it before the weekend. After a farmers market shop and a busy day, I started cooking from the recipes last night.

They all sound so tasty (good enough to eat!!!) that picking one alone is almost impossible. So, I made it easy on myself and started at the beginning which meant the Kibble.

Lily’s kibble

Kibble is potentially one of the worst processed foods on the market as it often contains salt, meat derivatives and goodness knows what else to fill our poor dog’s tummies. A potentially great source of nutrition and fuel but it can be so damaging if it isn’t right.

That Max likes Lily’s Kitchen food isn’t being tested here but my cooking IS so I was hoping that all my efforts wouldn’t be wasted since he is now very accustomed to his raw diet!!!!

Wonderful One Pot ingredients waiting for the meat and the blueberries

Why was I concerned? There is obviously a built in ‘success’ ingredient in every single recipe and I got my first inckling of this when Max started hanging around the kitchen door while I was preparing. As I started cooking, he crept closer and became a real nuisance as he was completely under my feet. Eternal optimism is one of the things I love so much about dogs!!

Wonderful One Pot ready to eat

The kibble recipe IS incredibly tasty, I know, I’ve tasted it.   There is nothing added to give it flavour like we would do with salt etc. The ingredients are simply what make it delicious. Not to leave Max’s vigilance and hopeful loitering unrewarded, I gave him a little of the kibble mix before it was baked and he just about licked off my fingerprints before he was happy that he’d got all that was on offer! A success so far, I was hopeful that baking it wouldn’t change his enjoyment of it.

On a roll, I decided to do the Wonderful One Pot dish too!

a blueberry left in the bowl…….

He had the Wonderful One Pot for his breakfast this morning and loved it. There was a moment when the blueberry was left behind but after a rethink, down it went!!

An all round canine culinary success and we have about 10 days worth of food for Max as well as a biscuit tin of kibble that we will use for treats on his walks.

When these have all been eaten up, we will try some of the other recipes but in the meantime, thank you very much Lily and Henrietta.

south holland food festival 2012

lots of lovely baked goods

we went to the south holland food festival in the sleepy tulip parade town of spalding today and it was surprisingly good.

I had few, if any expectations if I was honest as we have not found much by way of culinary delight in the area but reality was that visiting the food producers was fantastic.

leek and curry savoury snack loaf

we had coffee and bought beans from as well as having a sit down and a really good gnatter with the stallholder. That was our first stop and we could have stayed there drinking their lovely coffee in the shade but onward we pressed.

we had crisps and dips and bought a handful of the flavours from the clumber chilli co

bottled fire

we bought spicy rubs from the gourmet spice company and enjoyed a very nice chat with the chap on the stand who was incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable and a treat to meet.

magic BBQ dust

we bought a trio of delicious and interestingly flavoured balsamic vinegars from the same producer having sampled more than what really constitutes sampling.

we bought bread to dip in the balsamic from Thierry Daugeron who I am now also following on twitter because of the festival.

a trio of deliciousness

we bought baked goods, home made lemonade and a huge tub of spiced garlic cloves.

flavoured balsamic for dipping

we bought gallons of local cider from a bloke who calls himself cider trev.  He brews his ciders from wind fall apples that he collects on his travels around the county. He has a full time job but has acquired good will from people whose garden or neglected free range orchards needed ‘tidying up’ and he has developed a lucrative hobby for himself.  He is also a thoroughly nice man who is prepared to help us with our own failed attempts at brewing cider when we next have a go!

more flavours for dipping

we bought heckington 8 sail beer, curry spices from Mrs Shah, local freshly picked raspberries, strawberries and our lunch.

round one!!!

JC had a goat meat curry from nkono which is cameroon curry in a banana leaf cone and then went back for second helpings in the form of their provincial beef curry. He liked it that much!!!

empty and off he goes for seconds!!

I had the creamiest, cheesiest, meatiest slice of freshly made quiche that was so deep filled and had such a huge overlapping edge of pastry to the top of it that it just about qualified as a pie. Suits me, I love a bit of meaty pie!!

ocean deep filled quiche

We did lots of tasting and I KNOW we had more food than is appropriate for a lunchtime but we thoroughly enjoyed it. We probably enjoyed it more than expected because we had absolutely no idea how good it was going to be and were honestly prepared for it to be a bit rubbish.

It is set in the absolutely gorgeous grounds of Ascoughee Hall which is a museum and open gardens that are both free to enter.

the ornamental pond at Ascoughee Hall gardens

We are gently working our way through cider trev’s selection of  6 different types of cider and will let you know what happens when we get to ‘head wrecker’!!

It is on again tomorrow so it’s not too late.  Go on, go along, you will find something delicious that you weren’t expecting!!!!

And it is in our diary for next year!!!

olympic fever

team GB flag

I was worried!

Before the start of the olympics, I really had some grave concerns about whether Great Britain would finally lose the Great and either London would not be ready for the visiting nations or that things would just go very, very wrong and it would be a huge embarrassment.

team GB lion – I love the lion logo so much

The transport links, the notoriously tardy UK construction industry & the sometimes miserable nature of our citizens could see the whole experience be dreadful for all concerned.

As those who exit the city for the summer made way for those who arrive for it, there was a lull of about 2 days where a tube journey or a drive across town was relatively stress free.

john lewis window display

Then those here to spectate whilst the world’s olympians aired their wares started to arrive in their numbers and the tubes got busy again. Dotted amongst them were the tell tale olympic staff and volunteer’s uniforms quietly going about their business and our proud and amazing forces drafted in to fill the gaping wound left by G4s security appointment for the games.

Surely this was just the start of it all unravelling pretty much before it had even started?

especially for Jess Ennis

Danny Boyle’s brilliant film mind applied to the spectacular opening ceremony provided a welcome blanket of comfort and Stella McCartney’s great success in the world of fashion did mean that at least our competitors wouldn’t look like clowns in their official kit.

But would it end there and the humiliation begin.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect any humiliation from our competing Team GB as I know we have a great line up of sporting talent but if the facilities, the security and the organisation of the games themselves was a shambles, they’d never get their chance to shine.

Max doing his bit

The opening ceremony was awesome and I don’t think even the acute precision of every move in the Beijing Olympics or the sun that bathed the Sydney Olympics can compare with how incredible it was as a visual experience.

So, after all those misgivings and worries about how we would cope, imagine my amazed delight to be riding the wave of the London 2012 olympics and its ENORMOUS success?

jaunty Team GB paralympics scarf

All the pleasure has been vicarious as we have not been able to get any tickets for any event no matter that both JC & I have tried since the first release last year, the follow up release and any others since to get tickets (for anything) without success.

We have the flags, the scarves and a reluctant mascot for all the celebrating during last week and especially SUPER SATURDAY but we really would like to have been able to go there.

Cup of Tea for Team GB

So, in the spirit of the games, my lovely friend Caroline has given us 2 tickets for the Goalball semi finals on September the 6th so we are off to the Olympic Park’s Copper Box to see some more of our inspirational sports people at the Paralympics. I couldn’t be more excited and grateful.

Thanks Caroline, Natalie & little Drew