Tag Archives: English Setters

Stir-fry scallops and decorating hens

Java has a boyfriend. In fact, she has two. One lives about a kilometre away to the east, and the other a kilometre to the west. At the moment they have different visiting times but, as one of them in particular is making himself more and more at home ‘chez Java’, it’s inevitable that one day they’ll turn up at the same time and I’m afraid it won’t be pretty. Especially if drama llama Java has anything to do with it. Meanwhile, Hugo is delighted because it gets her off his back for a bit; when either of them turns up,  he shrugs a gallic canine shrug, sighs with relief and leaves them to it. There are only two prerequisites to be Java’s dogfriend: speed and stamina (although Hugo would no doubt say stupidity was another one). ‘Dates’ consist of running around the house at break-neck speed for hours on end, stopping only occasionally either to change direction or to slurp noisily from the pool. If they tire before she’s had enough, she barks at them manically. A catch she is not – just ask Hugo.

Niko, Java’s handsome admirer from the East

In other news, I noticed the other day that a couple of the hens had blobs of Farrow and Ball’s ‘Folly Green’ paint on their wings. Thinking that they’d just been hanging out too long in the workshop, I rinsed them down and forgot about it until Luc started to rant that the hens’ ‘tattoos’  had faded. Apparently he’d been colour-coding them according to how many eggs they lay. No doubt this information was to make its way onto a complicated spreadsheet to determine whether they’re paying for their keep, and if not, whether their next port of call should be a Le Creuset casserole dish. As he knows that I refuse to cook any beast that I’ve fed and built up a relationship with, it seems rather futile, but whatever floats his boat. And spreadsheets seem to.

These scallops seemed to float everyone’s boat when I last made them. I served them with rice, but they would be delicious with noodles too.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 tablespoons sesame oil

10 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

2 small carrots, peeled and sliced

75g greens peas

1 red pepper, sliced

500g scallops

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon chilli powder

4 tablespoons soya sauce

Heat the sesame soil in a large frying pan or wok, add the mushrooms, onion, carrots, peaks and pepper and stir fry until tender. Add the scallops, garlic, ginger and chilli powder and stir fry for about two minutes or until the scallops become opaque. Add the soya sauce heating for a further minute and serve. I served with a combination of wild rice/thai rice.



Carrot cumin croquettes and a dog obedience video

Noisy has been teaching me to use acronyms because I’m having problems with my rather cumbersome paws on the small keyboard of my new ‘phone when I text and tweet. I found LMAO particularly appropriate when Bossy recently decided to make a ‘Dog Obedience’ video to put on YouTube. Who is she kidding? I worry about Bossy sometimes – it’s as if she lives in la la land. She took us for a walk and wanted to capture various ‘examples of canine obedience’ (you see what I mean?). Usually I just slope off and do my own thing when we go for a walk so as not to be irritated by incessant jabbering (Bossy’s) and hyperactive insanity (Java’s), but I decided to hang around a bit for this because I thought it might be amusing. I wasn’t disappointed. She had planned on filming Java’s perfect recall (I say this not without irony) just as Java picked up the scent of an UFFO (unidentified feathered flying object), so that was a non starter. When Java finally returned 20 minutes later, she resembled a panting, dribbling, filthy, sodden dishrag and, as such, was not at her most photogenic. This was a shame as her looks are her only asset. Undeterred, Bossy carried on filming while walking through the woods and Java went off to find a long, sturdy stick which she then rammed into the back of Bossy’s knees. The shock was enough to catapult Bossy through the air, camera in hand and still filming. I think she’s going to have to rethink the title of her video. I’m thinking ‘Delinquent Setters’ might be appropriate. LOL.

Ingredients (serves 4)

120g potatoes, peeled

60g carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

chickpea flour (or plain flour) for coating

Olive oil for frying

Boil the potatoes and carrots together until cooked. Drain well, add the olive oil, crushed garlic, cumin seeds and salt and pepper and mash well. Stir in the egg and then make round ‘patties’ coated in flour. Fry on each side until crisp and golden brown. Makes a delicious accompaniment to any main course, or may be served with a poached egg and green salad.

Savoury buckwheat muffins (gf) and a dog in a whirl


Have you ever seen a dog spin like a top? No, nor had I. Over the past 20 years or so I have become well accustomed to the Labrador brand of madness; eternally immature, beyond boisterous and absolutely fanatical chewers. But nothing had prepared me for the particular brand of madness that belongs to the young English Setter. I once read that although intelligent, English Setters are not easy to train as they’re easily distracted and exceedingly wilful. Well there’s an understatement if ever I heard one. In addition, they are very sensitive and do not take well to criticism or to be being told off (who does?). I’ve witnessed some lunacy over the years, but Java took the biscuit yesterday. She got her foot caught in her collar, which resulted in her spinning round and round very rapidly on three legs. Just watching her made me feel dizzy, but I managed to slow her down enough to free her foot and she collapsed to the floor with her eyes askew and glazed over as if she’d just necked a couple of generous measures of absinthe.


Sleeping it off

These muffins combine the toasty nuttiness of buckwheat flour, the warm earthiness of cumin seeds and the saltiness of melted cheese. Just what you need when you’ve been abusing the absinthe.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 muffins)

2 eggs

150ml olive oil

150g buckwheat flour

50g polenta

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin grains

150g courgettes, peeled and grated

2  shallots, peeled and chopped

150g comté cheese, cut into very small cubes

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the olive oil and then beat well. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, polenta, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and seasoning) and combine with the egg/oil mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients and then transfer to a muffin tin, filling each mould almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Best served warm.

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