Monday, October 22, 2012

I miss my doggies!

From front to back - Sophia, Emmy, Roxy and Andy - waiting patiently for dinner! 

It's no secret that I am a cat person through and through. Dogs overwhelm me. They are so needy. Their love for their owners is borderline desperate. This usually leads to me feeling guilty and sad that I am not doing more for them and loving and petting them more. Okay, I'm not going to get into this now. 

That aside I fell in love with two dogs while I was in Norway. The family I worked for had two Labradors and they were just the sweetest, best behaved, gentle dogs. 

The blonde lab has serious hip trouble and it is important for her to keep slim. The black lab has had some serious digestive problems and tends to be under weight and has a low appetite. Now this was like red rag to a bull for me. Of course I was going to tackle their feeding myself. 

I fed them a combination of raw (sometimes lightly cooked) proteins in the form of minced beef, lamb, fish, chicken, lentils, quinoa or eggs. To that I added a carbohydrate of mostly rice but sometimes bread or potato. Then I added loads of raw veggies and herbs. 

When I started making their new meals, I would put all the ingredients in the blender with some hot water and blend it well and serve it them at 'blood' temperature. They loved it! 

I then gradually blended it less and less, as I wanted them to have to chew the crunchy veggies to help with gum and tooth health. 

The picture above, is how I ended up serving it them. Really chunky and they ate every morsel! 

Good friends of the family are a vet and his wife; to whom the two smaller dogs in the pictures belong. When they came to visit I fed their dogs on the same food and they were crazy about it too. The vet was really impressed with the blonde labs weight and the black lab was the first to her bowl and always ready for more. 

This diet is not scientifically researched, I simply used my gut feel and common sense. The dogs were happy and energetic with gleaming coats and sparkling eyes. So use it, don't use it - but I feel raw and fresh food has to beat prefabricated dry dog pellets.

Now if only I could get my cat to eat anything other than Royal Canine Exigent (the heroine of cat food).

Monday, October 15, 2012

The accidental dessert

I don't keep desserts or treats in the house as neither Adam nor I have a moderate bone in our bodies. But that sweet craving can sometimes just overwhelm me and I go rummaging through the cupboards to see what I can whip up quickly.

It usually ends up being something simple like half a cup of almonds with honey drizzled on them. But once I made up a quick dessert, which was so good that I now make it for guests.  

There have been many variations so far, but the recipe below is what I would consider to be number one. 

It is simply sliced bananas fried quickly with a bit of butter, honey, orange juice and zest. This is then served with Greek yogurt, sweetened and flavoured with vanilla. The dessert is topped-off with slivered almonds and some extra orange zest. 

In the picture above I didn't have yogurt, so I used vanilla ice-cream, which was also delicious but I still feel the yogurt is better.

Honeid banana, yogurt and almond dessert
Serves 4

2 cups of Greek yogurt
2 tsp of vanilla essence (or to taste)
4 Tbsp of castor sugar or sweetening of choice 

16 almond, cut into slivers 

4 small bananas (do not use over-ripe ones), slice about 1cm thick
2 Tbsp of butter
4 Tbsp of honey
Zest and juice of half an orange

Combine the yogurt ingredients and set aside until ready for use. 

Sliver your almonds and then toast them in a pan until they start to colour and smell roasted. Set aside. 

In the same pan, melt the butter and fry the banana for a minute or two. Then add the honey, juice and zest and fry for a further minute or two. The banana should still be firm-ish but getting soft on the outsides. 

Serve in pretty bowls layering the yogurt and banana and topping with the nuts and a little extra grated orange zest for colour. Eat immediately so that the banana is still warm when eating it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home, ever so sweet, home!

Today's lunch was a variation on my raw pad Thai salad, click here for the link.

It has taken a full week, but today I finally feel like I'm home. I have been in this strange limbo space between worlds, identities, responsibilities, currencies, sides of the road, languages, friends, kitchens and beds! But now I've officially grounded; and am home. A space filled with my life - my identity.  

On Monday I started returning to a basic healthy, whole and mostly raw eating routine; and today my body has just been tingling with the joy of it all. I have tried as far as possible to stick to organic produce and avoided dairy, gluten and sugar. Along with this I have been nesting - spring cleaning, reorganizing and just making this space mine again. Today it just feels like it is all coming together. And I am feeling good. 

My gorgeous cat, Tara, chilling on my bed. Her sister was killed while I was away. So sad. 

Phiwe has been over joyed to have me back. She says the one-way conversations with Tara were getting a bit boring. I am just loving having fresh veggie juice made for me again and now even better with the organic veggies. 

This was my lunch yesterday. Rocket, microgreens, sprouts, steamed broccoli, shaved carrot, red pepper, tomoto, pickled ginger and a handful of raw almonds. I dressed the salad with lemon juice, zest, olive oil, the juice from pickled ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.

I bought a box of microgreens from Woolies and I have used them in three salads so far as garnish. They are fiendishly expensive but they look so great and I eat with my eyes too.

Phiwe is happy to have me back in the kitchen too!
She loves veggies and almost all of the crazy things I cook.

 This was lunch on Monday. I had done a big shop of organic bean, seeds, nuts and pulsars at Komati foods down the road. I soaked and cooked up some black beans, to which I added only salt, pepper a dash of olive oil and then fresh chopped onion. I served that warm with a side salad very similar to the salad I mentioned above. The beans were amazing. I had two more helpings after this. 

Woolies has started selling potted herbs! I immediately bought a whole lot to plant in the garden but also put a few in the kitchen. I think they add such a homely touch to the decor. 

And now I'm off to have dinner at The Dog's Bollocks, which I haven't tried yet! A great week so far! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

My last days in France

Kathy and I at the Antibes market - photo taken by my dad. Nice to see a pic with me in it for a change. 
Its been more than a month since I've last posted a blog! When I look back now, it feels like a crazy kaleidoscopic blur. Three weeks of bone crunchingly hard work, a few wild nights to celebrate the end of the charter, my Dad and step Mom coming to France, followed by loads of family gatherings and tourist activities; then jumping on a plane to come home after 4 months and 10 days! 

Coming home felt totally surreal too and has been a week of reveling in my husband, home, garden, cat, friends, family and Cape Town. Talk about sensory overload. 

Today, is the first day in like six weeks where I have been able to sit at my laptop and just take time to reply to mails, look through my photos and start thinking about what comes next. Deep breathe... there is so much to do and catch up on now and I feel like I just need a few more days to get my bearings. 

I also have so much I still haven't shared with you. So today I'm just going to stay in the past a bit longer and share a lovely mornings adventure in Antibes with my Dad, step Mom and brother. 

Kathy got conned by a charming Frenchman into buying a few kilos of olives and tapendades -  which to our amazement we managed to finish in a few days! The sundried tomato paste was unbelievable! 
I am going to miss the fantastic quality and flavour of the berries and tomatoes... 
Dirk took us to his favorite Creperies in Antibes. It was my first French crepe and I am so regretting not having one sooner. It was totally different to any crepe I've had in South Africa. Crispy and light and the filling I choose, Provencal, was divine! 
My Dad ended up making friends with the Chef and the two of them were clowning around for the rest of the meal. In case you don't recognise it, that's an egg shell on his nose! 
My crepe filled with cheese, an egg in the middle, grilled peppers, aubergine and fresh basil. Soooooo good.