Category Archives: Recipes

Cooking for humans not enough? You’ve gone to the dogs

Not content with how terribly spoilt the dog was, I thought I’d up the ante by giving her homemade food.

While it was family tradition to feed the dog human meals that would make most people howl with pleasure, it had not been a terribly successful move. Particulary not for my Grandmother who has reared some spectaular fatties.

Fortunately the sensible sister among us developed a recipe for the canine in the family that we’ve been using for years now. It’s super simple and goes like this:

500-750grams mince meat (the fattier the better)

1-2 tablespoons gravy mix (optional)

At least 2 carrots grated, or the equivalent in other vegetables

1 to 1-1/2 cups of cooked brown rice

In a large pan bring enough water to cover the mince to a simmer. Add mince. Sprinkle on gravy mix if using and stir through. Add grated vegetables. Simmer until liquid is reduced but still fairly runny. Add rice, simmer for a further five minutes. Makes enough for a small dog to have one generous meal a day for a week.

Homemade dog food is a great way to use up those veges that are just on the wrong side of serving to humans (but if in doubt, throw it out!). I recommend cooking a large batch of brown rice and keeping some of the pre-cooked rice in the freezer to speed up future efforts. It must be brown rice for the fibre, and it’s added at the end so the starch from the rice firms up the food a little and gives it that bitey texture dogs seem to like.

The dog yums it up. And more importantly the vet seems more than happy with the dog’s health. To be on the safe side, I supplement the dog’s diet with dried biscuits, just to round out her vitamin intake.

This recipe (surprisingly, as they’re usually so fussy) went down a treat for my friends’ cats. The only difference for cats was I finished it off with a quick whizz in the blender so it had a smoother texture.

Another benefit to homemade dog food is cost. It compares favourably to buying tinned food. You may become obsessed with looking for bargain mince at the supermarket or butcher, but if you use pet mince it can bring the cost down further. By far the best deal I have found for pet mince is at Doorstep Organics, which delivers all through Sydney and up and down the coast. You do need to order and pay delivery fees though).

Poster (fur)child for a homemade diet

Poster (fur)child for a homemade diet, Sheila at Centennial Park, Sydney

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Be kind to your environment: Recycle Cheese

After numerous enthusiastic trips to the Fox Studios/Entertainment Quarter produce markets – where they have a most fantastic cheese stall – the tiny ends of once-adored cheeses were piling up in the fridge.

Just before regretfully throwing them away, a friend in Los Angeles pointed me to the concept of Fromage Fort.

For those who’ve never heard of it… are you sitting down? This will change your cheesey life.

Fromage Fort is the combination of all those cheese ends that you can no longer respectably serve on a platter into a cheese spread that’s got a great robust taste to it.

Here’s how it works:

In a food processor combine around 250 grams of cheese (after removing any rind and *ahem* mould), half a clove of garlic and as much white wine as you need.

You can add some fresh herbs that will suit the taste of your cheese collection, thyme’s pretty universal. Remember that cheese is an excellent intensifier of garlic, so if you’re not a fan you may wish to halve the amount (phffwoo, learnt that one the hard way). When combining you’ll start off needing around half a cup of wine, but this will increase depending on the hardness of the cheese.

That should make two ramekin-size pots, which means you can keep one for yourself and share the wealth with the other. I added a sprig of thyme to the top of mine to make it look prettier because I’m a nerd like that.

I got my original recipe from the Matt Bites Blog, where his entry covers what types of cheeses not to use (super soft and blue mostly) and where you really should draw the line on the mould issue. It’s a great blog to subscribe to, and his photography is excellent.

I recently got out the pot of Fromage Fort and spread it on a slab of lightly fried seed loaf and served it with a very simple pumpkin puree soup. It was a great Winter snack or light meal, and I look forward to hearing what inventive ways you apply the wonders of Fromage Fort.

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