Tag Archives: dog journalist

Chicken risotto and scary toys



I feel acutely embarrassed on Java’s behalf telling you this story, but needs must. A few weeks ago, a kind friend gave us some stuffed toys. Obviously I don’t play with toys because I’m fully-developed and mature, not an emotional car crash like some. So I gallantly left them all to ‘some’.  She seemed to quite enjoy them at first, but soon became terrified after trying to ‘kill’ one of them with her dainty little girl teeth. Its insides spewed out all over her bed, traumatising her so much that she wouldn’t go near the bed after that, even once Bossy had tidied up. Of course this meant that she ended up on my bed and I had to decamp to the couch because she snores like a steam train. In an attempt to regain my bed, I tried to explain that she hadn’t really killed the toys because they weren’t alive in the first place and their ‘innards’ were only stuffing, but her dippiness has hidden depths and she wasn’t to be consoled. One thing I’ve noticed is that dogs with very long names – Java’s full name is Java de la Croix de Ganelon – are often the most irretrievably dippy. I’m just plain old Hugo, which speaks volumes don’t you think?


Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee

1 onion, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 mushrooms, sliced

400g rice (I used basmati)

50ml white wine

Se salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon saffron

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon paprika

2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

200g frozen peas

100g bacon, cooked and sliced

400g leftover chicken

50g parmesan, grated

Heat the oil or ghee in a large frying pan and brown the onions, shallot, mushrooms and garlic until soft. Add the rice and stir well until it is all coated with oil, then add the wine and simmer until reduced.  Add the seasoning and tomatoes and then about a quarter of the stock and leave to simmer, stirring until the stock has been absorbed. Add the peas and continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is almost cooked. Add the bacon and chicken, stirring well. Once the bacon and chicken are completely heated through and the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add the grated parmesan, stirring until melted.


Spicy carrot cake and a ladies’ horse



I don’t really understand girls. I thought I did, but I don’t. Océane (the only mare of the four horses), took an instant, irrational dislike to Bijou (the four-year-old with a ditch problem) when he first arrived. In fact, she was so aggressive and unpleasant that he ended up covered with tooth and hoof marks and they had to be separated. Yesterday, having spent the whole previous night loudly whinnying for her long-lost love, she barged her way through the electric fence (which made The Tall One very cross) and hasn’t left his side since. At one point, Bijou, in an attempt to free himself from her neediness,  jumped out of the field. This sent her positively hysterical and she bucked and called after him until he’d been rounded up and returned to her side. Still, at least with all her silliness I added a new word to my already fairly extensive vocabulary: Fickle.

Which brings me to Java. Having once been absolutely terrified of horses (or the ‘gigantic dogs’ as she calls them, bless her) she now chases Bijou around the field until she manages to grab his tail between her teeth. Then she doesn’t let go until he’s galloping faster than she can run, which, although it pains me to say it, is pretty fast. It exhausts me just watching them. So what is it with the girls and Bijou? He must have hidden powers of seduction, although I fail to see how he can be more charming than me…


I assume that this carrot cake must be for the horses; they’re the only ones silly enough to eat a cake made with carrots and apples. I’m not a fan obviously, but according to everyone else it is very tasty.

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Ingredients (serves 16)

250ml olive oil

175g cane sugar

4 eggs

250g carrots, grated

100g apple, grated

100g ground almonds

150g spelt flour (or wheat flour)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 level teaspoon garam masala (or allspice)

1 level teaspoon ground ginger

75g raisins pre-soaked in rum

100g walnuts, chopped

Grease and prepare a medium-size cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat well. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture becomes pale in colour. Add the grated apple and carrots to the mix and then fold in the almonds, flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, seasoning and spices. Lastly stir in the raisins and walnuts and transfer to the cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Banana tart and rabbits might fly



I think that Java might have experienced what we psychologists refer to as a psychotic break. Being surrounded by creatures – human and animal – of questionable sanity, I recently felt the need to go on a course, which is how I am in a position to say this. I’m not sure whether I should mention my diagnosis to Bossy or not; she thinks Java’s just an adorable scatterbrain and I don’t really want to be the one to break the bad news. Anyway, Java spends hours every morning and every evening gazing at baby rabbits with her head cocked and one foot in the air. She looks, frankly, more than a little bit foolish, and that’s being charitable. I mean, she’s a hunting dog so you’d think she’d try to catch them instead of staring at them gormlessly. I know that she’s bred to hunt birds, but it’s still very odd. I think that she’s probably waiting for them to spread their wings and fly away, but in view of the fact that they’re rabbits, that’s just not going to happen. I don’t put her straight though because while she’s busy being half-witted, I get some uninterrupted peace.


Ingredients (serves 6)


80g coconut oil

150g spelt flour

35g dessicated coconut

Pinch of sea salt

Roughly 6 tablespoons of cold water


3 medium-sized bananas, sliced into 1cm pieces

2 eggs, beaten

50g coconut sugar

30g desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

200ml double cream

1 teaspoon rum

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

To make the pastry, begin by cutting coconut oil into small cubes. Add this to the flour and desiccated coconut with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Blend by hand until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the cold water, mixing with a spoon. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until you obtain a ball of pastry (if the mixture isn’t ‘sticky’ enough to form a ball, you may need a drop more water). Wrap in a clean cotton tea towel or some cling film and leave to ‘rest’ in the fridge for about two hours. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to use.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry on a clean, lightly floured surface and fill the tart tin. Cook the pastry for 15 minutes. Arrange the bananas evenly over the surface of the pre-cooked tart. Add the eggs, coconut sugar, desiccated coconut, vanilla essence, cream, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg to a bowl and combine to create a homogenous mixture. Pour over the bananas and cook for 30 minutes, or until the filling is no longer wobbly. Delicious served either lukewarm or chilled.


Crab gratin and if it looks like a dog and barks like a dog…



…but eats like a human, then it’s probably Hugo.


I’m in splendid shape, but every year Bossy insists on taking me to visit the vet. She knows that I’m a force to be reckoned with when it comes to socialising with other animals, but she seems adamant on putting herself through the trauma. Upon arrival, I willingly led her – perhaps even dragged her if I’m entirely honest – to the door, which I only had to headbutt once to open. I then efficiently ushered her (again, if we’re being pedantic, ‘hauled her’ might be more accurate) to the reception desk, where I planted my front paws on the desk in a business-like manner. By this time, for some reason, Bossy was very red in the face. The vet is a nice lady and I gave her a big lick on the face to show that I felt no ill will towards her, even though she spent rather a long time prodding my private parts. When we were ready to leave, she told me that I had been a good boy (yeah, whatever) and gave me a dog biscuit. I mean, really? A dog biscuit? Who does she think I am? Camembert? Yes. Foie Gras? Yes. Dog biscuit? Err, not so much. Does she not know that I’m a foodie? Anyway, I spat it out onto the floor because I think it must have been a joke. Bossy by this time was even redder in the face and really quite flustered and tried to explain that I was off my food. What a liar! I’m not off normal food, just dog biscuits…

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g new potatoes, peeled, sliced and cooked

2 leeks, sliced and cooked

250g crabmeat (I used tinned)

150g sweetcorn

1 large spring onion, finely sliced

150ml pouring cream

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)

100g hard cheese, grated (I used Comté)

Fresh parsley to garnish

Preheat the grill. Place the potatoes, leeks, crabmeat, sweetcorn and onion together in an oven-proof dish and then add the cream and seasoning. Mix well and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Cook under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden (about eight minutes). Garnish with the fresh parsley before serving.

Vegetable fritters (gf) and visually-challenged Setters

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I think that Java needs glasses. Either that or a new brain, but I’m going to be charitable and go with the glasses theory. (As an aside, she also needs to learn which holes she can and can’t stick her nose into, because it’s looking a bit mangled at the moment. Still, we can’t all be hole experts.) Even allowing for the fact that she’s not the brightest, I’ve noticed her a few times recently rather proudly ‘marking’ plastic bags. I know plastic bags can flap in the wind a bit and do very fine bird imitations, but still: Really Java? You’re a dog with a supposedly superior sense of smell. I’m not sure how to broach the subject with her though; it’s a tricky one. Apparently English Setters are extremely sensitive to criticism, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for tipping her over the edge by pointing out her mistake, tempted though I might be. I think I’ll just leave it to Bossy and her finely-tuned diplomacy skills to explain her error. Watch this space for one horribly humiliated English Setter *wicked dog chuckle*.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 eggs, beaten

75g chickpea flour (although any flour will work)

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

125ml water

1 potato, peeled and grated

2 courgettes, peeled and grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 leaves fresh mint, cut into strips

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon of ghee for frying (you can use butter or oil)

Combine the beaten eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda, gradually adding about 125ml of water to achieve a fairly thick pancake batter consistency. Add the grated vegetables, onion, garlic, fresh mint and seasoning and combine well, making sure that the vegetables are well incorporated. Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over a medium heat until melted and create several two tablespoon-sized fritters. Fry until golden brown (roughly 5 minutes), turn and repeat until all the fritters are cooked.

Coconut cake and Hugo’s scuppered plans

cococakestrawcoulis HugojournoandJava

I would like to set the record straight about my recent excavation venture, because I thought that Bossy portrayed me as a bit of a halfwit by suggesting that I was stuck down my magnificent hole. I admit that I did let her haul me out with a rope (there was lots of swearing on her part), but only to shut her up. The plan was, once I’d finished what I’d set out to do (we won’t go into details to spare any squeamish readers), I was going to create a tunnel back to the top at a gradient of about 30%. Of course, this would have taken quite a long time and I’m not sure where I would have ended up, but anything that gets me away from Bossy’s incessant blabbering and Java’s stubborn insubordination can only be a good thing. As an aside, are you impressed at how my vocabulary is becoming more and more sophisticated? Bossy says that I must be careful to avoid becoming too verbose, although she’s a fine one to talk. Anyway, the upside was, she was so convinced that I had been traumatised by my adventure, when we got home she gave me an extra-large piece of camembert. Sometimes it pays to just go with the flow…

Thank you Hugo for telling your side of the story, although I think we could have done without the reference to my ‘blabbering’! This wonderfully light cake is inspired by ‘Love, bake, nourish’.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

175g spelt flour

120g desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

75g cane sugar

1 egg, beaten

200ml coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and prepare a medium-sized loaf tin. Combine the flour, coconut, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a  large bowl and then add the egg, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly and transfer into the prepared tin. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool and serve with strawberry coulis or Greek yoghurt (or both!).

Cream of mushroom and spinach soup and Hugo’s take on sterilisation



Java spent all day yesterday at the vet. Although I had a nice peaceful day, I did miss her, which is a bit like missing a sore paw really. I heard Bossy tell someone that she was being sterilised. I know that she’s inclined to be dirty (Java, not Bossy), because she’s often covered in mud (and sometimes worse), but I didn’t realise that it was that bad. And anyway, once she’s been sterilised, surely she’ll just jump into the river and roll in the mud and be dirty all over again. When she came back last night she was in a very sorry state; I think that the sterilising machine must have slipped or something because she had a big bandage on her tummy. Also, she cried all evening and couldn’t walk properly and had to be carried to bed. I’m not allowed to practise my judo on her or chew her ears for two whole weeks, which makes me wonder what the point of her is. I hope they don’t take me to the vet to be dry-cleaned because I don’t want to end up like that. She seems to be better today, but I’m not: I’m quite exhausted because I had to comfort her all night while everyone else was asleep *exploited doggy sigh*.

Thank you Hugo. I’m sorry that you’re feeling exploited, but it was very kind of you to take care of Java. This soup is packed full of nourishment. The mushrooms provide vitamins D and B complex, as well as minerals such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. The spinach contains high levels of iron, folic acid and calcium as well as vitamins A, C and K. The butter and cream aid absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).

Ingredients (serves 6)

10g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

125g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used button mushrooms but you could use any sort)

225g baby spinach leaves

1 litre organic vegetable or chicken stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

100ml pouring cream

Gently heat the oil and butter in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes before adding the spinach, stock and seasoning. Simmer for about 15 minutes and purée until smooth. Add the cream, stirring well and serve.

Celeriac gratin and Hugo the sage




I’m thinking about leaving home. Bossy would obviously try to stop me  because I’m quite a catch as dogs go. It’s not that I don’t like it here; the food’s not bad most of the time, the scenery is pretty enough, I’m more or less allowed to do whatever I like (except kill hens, which is very frustrating for me – to the point that I may even be psychologically damaged). I’m just getting a bit fed up of all the baby animals that keep popping up. There have been rabbits, kittens, hedgehogs, birds, foals and now a damned puppy of all things! I suppose I must have been a puppy once, but I’m sure that I would have been an extremely well-behaved one. It stands to reason. Secretly I have to admit that Java’s really rather sweet, but her shenanigans are beyond me. For example, why would you plunge into a ditch that you know you have absolutely no hope of getting out of on your own? It’s just silly of her to try to copy me because I have a magnificently muscular male physique and she is, frankly, just a silly slip of a girl. Maybe I’m going to have to stay after all because someone’s going to have to show her the ropes and I can just imagine the chaos if I leave it to Bossy. One thing is certain: Java’s not going to be helping me to write my column anytime soon because she doesn’t even know how to read and write yet!

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Thank you Hugo! I very much hope you decide to stay.

Just as I make use of a large variety of grains, I also try to vary the root vegetables we eat as much as possible. We eat potatoes, for example, quite rarely as there are so many other things to chose from – sweet potatoes, swedes, turnips, parsnips and one of my favourites: celeriac.

Celeriac is very rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin K. It also provides essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper and manganese, as well as B-complex vitamins.

This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 chilli pepper, finely sliced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

400ml cream

200ml vegetable stock

4 anchovy filets

75g hard cheese (I used Comté), grated

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the celeriac, potatoes, garlic and chilli pepper in a large ovenproof dish and season. Add the cream, stock, anchovies and most of the cheese. Mix everything well and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on top.

Writing Process Blog Tour

I would like to thank Suzanne, creator of the luscious blog,  A pug in the kitchen,  for asking me to contribute to this tour.  Suzanne blogs, amongst other things, recipes passed on from her Italian mother; traditional Italian cooking at its most mouth-watering. Passionate about baking in particular, she is also a developer for Food 52. She writes from her kitchen in Brooklyn, accompanied by her two gorgeous pugs, Izzy and Nando. One of my favourite recipes is her triple chocolate cake which is just pure decadence to be enjoyed with moderation as it could become dangerously addictive!

Other commitments mean that I’m delegating the rest of this post to my ‘pug’, Hugo.


As you can see, Bossy has relegated this post to me. From what I can see, she’s not too busy with ‘other commitments’ at all – she’s just too busy being bossy (did you like the alliteration? I’m still learning about poetry.) Anyway, I’m always happy to get my paws on the computer, so I’m not going to complain to my union this time. I like Mrs Pug’s blog very much because she cooks real food with proper dog-friendly ingredients. Bossy has a tendancy to use strange ingredients that get stuck in your teeth. (Chia seeds for example. What are they and why do we need to be bothered by them?). I’m rather jealous of Izzy and Nando because Mrs Pug cooks for them every day and I just get the family’s leftovers *tragic doggie sigh*. They live in a very big city – New Yorkie I think. I suppose when they chase deer and rabbits they have to be careful of all the cars. Here are the questions that Bossy had to answer. I think that my answers (in italics) are closer to the truth than hers.

1) What are you working on?

(Hopefully she’s working on being less bossy and organised enough to cook for me every day.)

Bossy: I work on far too many projects at any given time for them to come to fruition. I suppose this means that I should probably work on being more focused.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

(Well for a start she is lucky enough to live with an erudite and exceedingly good-natured dog who does most of her work for her.)

Bossy: Although I am absolutely passionate about healthy eating, I hope that I manage to impart my knowledge and ideas without being too evangelical. I believe that it’s up to each individual to take responsibility for their own well-being. I am a also a great believer in ‘all things in moderation’, which is why I’m not vegetarian.

3) Why do I write what I do?

(Because despite what she says, her bossiness gets the better of her and she thinks that everyone should cook as she does.)

Bossy: See above (mine, not Hugo’s. 😉 )

4) How does your writing process work?

(I can’t wait to see this! *sarcastic doggie snigger*. I have never seen such a chaotic ‘writing process’. I’m far more methodical.)

Bossy: I think that in my case, the word ‘process’ is probably rather inappropriate! How I write is probably better described as a profusion of chaotic thoughts that somehow end up either on paper or on a computer at some point, more or less coherently. I am a big believer in ‘a sound mind in a sound body’ and my best ideas come to me when I’m on the move, particularly walking. I always walk with a little notebook and pen and scribble ideas down between strident reprimands to leave the poor deer and bunny rabbits alone.

Bossy asked me to invite a blogger to participate in this tour and I have chosen the delightful blog 10 legs in the kitchen. At first I couldn’t work out who the ten legs belonged to until I realised that it was two human legs and eight doggie legs. I don’t even like to think how many legs there are in our kitchen sometimes, particularly when the chickens invade. Stacey and sometimes her dogs, Ginger and Buddy, write amusingly about their love for both food and life in general and I’m a big fan.

Coffee walnut muffins and unusual best friends



My best friend is a hen. Our friendship is based on mutual compassion – we are both victims of misunderstanding. The other day I was given some chicken bones to eat and, because I’m a generous sort of dog, I invited BHF to share them. I made it plain to the other hens that she was the only one invited; they tend towards vulgar, thuggish behaviour and gate-crashing. Luckily, I can be very intimidating *grrrr* , so they quickly got the message. I’m not sure that BHF knew she was cannibalising, but I didn’t explain because I know she has enough problems and a rather sensitive nature. Sometimes, when Bossy isn’t looking, I invite her into the house to eat from my food bowl. I’m working on a plan to sneak her in to watch television with me. My favourite programme is Scooby Doo and I think she’d like it too (did you like the internal rhyme? I’m learning about poetry at the moment). I think you’d agree that it would be worth it just to see Bossy in full meltdown mode *wicked doggy cackle*.


Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acid (just 25g a day covers most of your needs). They are also very rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, as well as providing a healthy supply of B-complex vitamins. Added to this, they contain numerous minerals: manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Ingredients (makes 12)

175g spelt flour

100g rye flour

Pinch of sea salt

I heaped tablespoon instant coffee

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ginger, powder or freshly grated

3 eggs

250ml coconut milk

4 tablespoons honey

60g chopped walnuts

150g organic virgin coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare and grease two muffin tins with butter or coconut oil. Sift the flours, salt, coffee powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then add the coconut milk, honey, walnuts and melted coconut oil, stirring constantly. Combine the two mixtures well. Fill the muffin tins and bake for about 18 minutes.

Delicious served hot or cold as a dessert with Greek yoghurt or ice-cream, or alone with a cup of coffee.

Cheesy cornbread and downwardly mobile dogs



by Hugo,
Canine Correspondent

I’ve been chewing something over for a while now: Why are humans the only race that don’t automatically stretch when they get up? Dogs stretch, horses stretch, cats stretch and even hens who, let’s face it, aren’t the brightest, stretch. Humans like to think they rule the roost, but they’re not always very clever when it comes to basic body-maintenance. Bossy often complains (loudly and at length) about her hurt back and she sometimes goes to the bone doctor. What a lovely job that must be, specialising in bones. I must look into that – I’m sure it would be a good job for me.

Bossy has also taken to lying on a soft blue mat (which makes very satisfactory chewing material) and bending her body into most unhuman positions; she looks a bit silly actually. Apparently it’s called yoga. At first I thought it was just a phrase, but she does it quite regularly. When I have time, I show her how it should be done properly. Usually the Tall One or the Noisy One interrupts to try to talk to her and they get very short shrift indeed. I like to lie on the soft blue mat with her, but she doesn’t seem to like that either. All in all, she’s not very easy to please *desolate doggie sigh*.


Thank you Hugo, not only for writing today’s blog, but also for the invaluable ‘tips’. This cornbread is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Ingredients (serves 10)

60g butter

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained and rinsed

4 large free-range eggs, beaten

325g polenta (or cornmeal)

250ml full-fat milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons spelt flour

sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

140g hard cheese (I used Cheddar and Parmesan), grated

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 22cm cake tin with olive oil. Gently fry the onions in melted butter for about 15 minutes until golden and sticky. Add the sweetcorn and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Mix the eggs, polenta, milk, baking powder, flour and seasoning in a bowl. Add most of the grated cheese and mix well. Stir in the onion and corn. Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 35 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top and return to the oven for ten minutes. Delicious served still warm from the oven or cold.