Tag Archives: naughty horses

Red and green beans and a four-legged clown


I’ve long suspected Bijou, our five-year-old gelding, to have a highly-developed sense of humour. (One of his first jokes was to chuck me in a ditch and then tread on me. That was a real howl.) He’s also a non-smoker with a lean, muscular physique and indisputably good looks; really quite a catch. Always happy to be of service, he opens field gates to allow the other horses to come and go as they please, although he has yet to learn to to shut them. And he picks up buckets in his teeth and flings them against the wall, which is great fun I suppose as long as you’re not a bucket. He clings on to his bit with his teeth when his bridle is removed, like a baby refusing to give up his dummy and chews on freshly-washed clothes drying on the line.


His latest trick though was quite the most audacious, even for him. Luc, who had been working in the field, stripped off his t-shirt and put it over the tractor door as it was very hot. Bijou, who had been hanging out with him (he loves to socialise), didn’t miss a beat: He reached up and seized the t-shirt between his teeth, turned on his hooves and took off at a gallop, dust flying in his wake. When he finally stopped, he turned around defiantly with the t-shirt hanging from his mouth as if to say ‘well aren’t you coming to get it?’ There followed a lengthy negotiation before he would unlock his teeth, but the t-shirt was eventually retrieved sporting several chew holes and large grass stains.


Green beans are more nutritious than t-shirts and contain substantial amounts of chlorophyll, which can block the carcinogenic effects of meat grilled at a high temperature. In barbecue season, green beans make the perfect accompaniment. Green beans are also a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1kg green beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 spring onions, peeled and sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or paprika

Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Precook the beans until ‘al dente’, strain and set aside. Gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan adding the onions and cooking for a few minutes. Add the sliced red pepper, tomato and garlic and continue to cook until the red pepper and tomato soften. Add the green beans and seasoning, gently combining and cook for a few more minutes. Add the basil and serve.

Double chocolate and spicy pear muffins and equine sleepovers


Two of our horses went for a sleepover last night. Castaño, our youngest horse, goes for private tuition every Monday at a nearby School for Extraordinarily Naughty Horses. The school is very recent; I’m convinced its creation was motivated by the mass of potential clients amongst our wayward equines. We received a phone call from Castaño’s teacher at 11pm, asking whether we had lost anything. After establishing that, unfortunately for me, she hadn’t found my sunglasses, she said that she did have our two bay horses. It was decided they stay overnight, which thankfully avoided us a precarious and muddy moonlit traipse. When I went to fetch them this morning, it occurred to me that maybe Castaño had been trying to win brownie points by turning up early for his weekly lesson and had taken Texas, the wise 30-year-old, to show him the place where he was learning to become A Better Horse. I think we can safely say this particular project is still very much ‘work in progress’…



These muffins are a really rich double chocolate treat. Just in case you’re looking for an excuse to make them, both cardamon and dark chocolate increase serotonin levels in the brain. Amongst other things, serotonin helps ward off depression. And who doesn’t need a serotonin boost towards the end of the winter?


Ingredients (makes 12)

275g spelt flour

50g pure cacao powder (no added sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon cardamon

½ teaspoon ginger, freshly grated

3 eggs

250ml coconut milk

4 tablespoons honey

1 pear, peeled and chopped into small cubes

150g organic virgin coconut oil, melted

100g 70% dark chocolate, melted

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

Absolutely delicious served hot or cold!