Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Oatmeal Dog Biscuits

Holly’s grumbling tummy problems are continuing and in desperation I’ve had to withdraw all commercial dog treats from her diet.  I made her a batch of sweet potato and oatmeal biscuits which she loved and were unbelievably simple to put together. 

I’ve made a few variations on them: honey and cinnamon; tummy bones with fennel, parsley and mint; and nightie night bones with chamomile tea.  She loves them and sits in the kitchen patiently waiting for them to cool ....... and by patiently I mean barking almost incessantly! 

These biscuits have no preservatives in them so they need to be kept in the fridge.  I find a 1lb oatmeal batch makes about 32 bones so I freeze most of them and defrost a handful every few days to keep them fresh.  The actual number of treats you make will depend on how thick or thin you roll out the dough, and the size of your cutter.  I have used a giant bone cutter to make big thick bones as a kind of home-made dental cleaning treat.

The basic recipe is :
1lb porridge oats
8 fl oz water

Options inclusions are:
8 oz carrot/butternut squash/sweet potato
4oz honey and 2tsp cinnamon
1tsp each parsley, fennel, mint
Chamomile tea in place of water

To make veggie bones simply peel and dice the carrot/squash/sweet potato, cut into chunks and pop in a blender with most of the water.  Blitz to a puree and add to the oatmeal, using the reserved water to rinse out the blender and then add that to the oatmeal (waste not want not!).

For the herb bones, grind the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle and add with the dry herbs to the oatmeal and mix well, then add the water.

For the honey and cinnamon bones, I added the honey to boiling water and then allowed it to cool, add the cinnamon to the oatmeal and stir in before adding the liquid.

Kneed to form a ball of dough, adding a drop or so of water if necessary.

Roll out to your desired thickness and cut shapes.

I bake mine at 150oC (300oF / gas mark 2) for approximately 20 minutes each side.  Actual cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the treats, they need to be cooked until they are hard.  The giant bones were cooked for 30 minutes each side, brought out to cool for 15 minutes and then put back into the cooling oven to bake hard.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Golden Turkey and Country Vegetable Soup

The beauty of cooking a giant turkey for Christmas is all the lovely leftovers you can look forward to in the weeks ahead!

We’re enjoying a lovely cold wintery spell here at the moment, we even had a brief fall of snow this morning ...... blink-and-you-missed-it brief, but snow nonetheless!  Perfect conditions for a spot of kitchen pottering and soup making.

This is one of those quick to cook soups, not a long slow cooking stew, gratification comes quickly!

For three serves I used :

1 small leek
2 small potatoes
2 baby turnips
1 large carrot
2 corn cobs
Appx 1 cup leftover cooked turkey (or chicken)
1  pint of chicken stock
1sachet of Philadelphia creamy peppercorn cooking sauce

Peel and dice the vegetables and sweat gently with a big knob of butter for 10 minutes or so.

Favourite cheats!
Add the chicken stock, the chunks of turkey/chicken and season with salt and pepper – go easy on the pepper because there’s pepper in the Philly sauce.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes and then add the Philly cooking sauce.  Bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes for thereabouts.

Best served with good crusty bread on the side, on a bitterly cold day!