Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fry's Polony Sausage

I was in town the other day and came across this in a freezer section of a health food shop: Fry's Polony. It was quite expensive at just under €5.00, but I decided to give it a go because it was pretty large and would probably do me 2-3 meals. I was actually looking for seitan, and this was the closest I came to it that day. It does, in fact, taste EXACTLY like paté, so for people who used to like that sort of thing then this is a winner! It's garlic flavoured and you can eat it raw, heat it up in a microwave, fry it, grill it - do anything with it really. It's not very spreadable though, but I think this would be pretty amazing filling for a sausage roll. I don't think meat eaters would be able to tell the difference! It sort of tastes like the fake meat in Linda McCartney's vegan sausage rolls. Here's a picture of the sausage cut in half, you can get about 6 thick slices out of half a sausage. I had to hold it up to take a photo as Gerry kept sniffling it and trying to eat it!

I fried it lightly in a frying pan and served it with some steamed green beans and broccoli as I was starving and didn't feel in the mood for cooking when I came home. Granted, it doesn't look very appetising or adventurous, but I did enjoy it! I'll try something a little more exciting with the other half over the weekend. I'd say it would be nice as breadcrumbed burgers, or in a warm bagel with fake cheese and rocket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Quinoa & Chocolate Buttons

I really need to get back on track with my cooking-from-scratch and my experimentation. My time is being sapped by giving Gerry lots of love, affection and walkies. I decided to try cooking red quinoa today with some mixed veg, a little bit of vegan cheese and Aromat seasoning (yes, full of yeasty MSG yumminess but I don't care!) and it was very tasty - the red quinoa has a bit more of a crunchiness than regular white quinoa, and I think I prefer it. Quinoa is a complete protein and great for use in dishes instead of rice as it is more nutritional and tastes even better. Please excuse the steamy photo, as always I just can't wait to get tucked in!

Another thing I've been looking out for in Dublin is white vegan chocolate buttons. I found some and wasn't disappointed, they tasted exactly like Cadbury's Milky Bar buttons and I'd love to make some cookies and cupcakes with them in the future.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Veggie Doggie Cookies

I'm thoroughly exhausted!

Being a full-time mommy to a hyperactive Lurcher is one hell of a challenge! I am the one that walks him, but the boy took him out the other day while I was at work and I called him and it was pretty funny to hear him say he thought Gerry was hard work! He's really been keeping me fit :) A couple of friends came over last night and Gerry really got on well with them.

I decided to bake him some veggie doggie biscuits today. As he has kennel cough we've had to buy him some honey to soothe his throat, so I thought I'd also incorporate it into some homemade biscuits along with some peanut butter as a special treat for him. Normally I would obviously not have honey in the house, so feel free to substitute it with molasses, a sweet syrup or agave nectar - whatever your doggie likes the most.


- 3 Cups Flour
- 0.5 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1.5 Cups Soya Milk / Rice Milk / Water
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1.5 Cups Peanut Butter
- 1 tbsp Honey / Molasses / Syrup

Knead the dough, roll out and cut with a cookie cutter. Bake for 20 mins on 350F (180C) until golden brown. Leave in the oven to cool and harden.

I froze the rest of the dough so I can just take it out a little in advance next time I want to make a batch of cookies for him. This mixture makes LOADS! Gerry really liked them and I think they will really come in useful for training as he always wants more. Humans can eat them too of course, and it's nice to be able to feed him something that I've baked myself which doesn't contain any artificial flavouring, colouring or preservatives.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gerry Update

Gerry has been settling in very well. Lots of long walks, cuddles, playtime and love. I was not expecting a 6 month old puppy to be so good, but his last owner did some very good basic training with him. He's a bit panicky when left alone, but he needs to learn that we can't be with him 24/7 and that we will always come home to be with him. We leave him lots of toys and the radio on a relaxing classical station, and I take him for an hour's walk in the morning before work on the days I have to go in. I'm not allowed to let him off the lead for another 3 months, until he knows who I am and that I feed him and he should return to me. He really loves running though, and a lot of our walks have turned into runs, so I've ordered an extendable lead so at least he can get more of a free rein. I can't wait til I can let him off the lead properly, he will get so much exercise and will probably tire himself out in 10 minutes as he's super fast and active! He loves his toys (a de-haired my little pony, a squeaky soft cat, a peanut butter filled kong and a squeaky plastic bone that is so loud it scares him!) and seems really happy to snooze on the couch on his blanket while we watch TV and sleep on his bed next to ours at night. He's not had any accidents so far (apart from a little tiny one on the first day out of fear of being in a new house) and he's even had a bath, which he didn't make a fuss about... such a good pup! Only thing is he *may* be coming down with kennel cough. We're keeping a close eye on him, he coughs a little in the morning and at night, but no discharge from the nose or coughing up phlegm has occurred yet. I'll be keeping him away from other dogs until we figure out if it's coming or going... I've started giving him some Benylin which may soothe it and stop it from developing even further. I'm such a worried mommy! His stitches are due out next week so I have to book an appointment at the DSPCA, and they said they'd check his cough while he's there.

OK, so now on to my long term plans for him. I actually intend to bring him up as a vegetarian/vegan dog. Of course, we'll have to do it gradually and see how it goes. I'm a bit hesitant to make this public knowledge to any old person and will only tell them if they ask about his diet specifically. It's well known that dogs thrive on a vegan diet. There's been a lot of scientific research done, and I've read a lot of blogs and sites to do with it. In fact every vegetarian dog I've come across seems to be in tip-top condition and apparently the world's oldest dog at the moment is a vegetarian! Also, many canines have dairy and meat allergies, so have to be put on vegan diets and there are thousands more pets brought up as vegans in the UK than you'd ever imagine. I also have an issue with a lot of pet foods. They are made from the cheapest, most disgusting left over animal parts which aren't fit for human consumption - yes, even parts that a wild animal wouldn't even bother eating off it's prey! I don't want my dog eating these overly processed, unhealthy foods. Especially with so many additives and E numbers in them. Organic and fresh homemade food is definitely the way to go, and I also heard that it keeps their digestive systems healthy and regular. Veggie dogs also fart less, believe it or not!!

Of course, you really have to know about nutrition to make sure your dog gets all the vitamins, minerals and protein that it requires. It definitely isn't a walk in the park, so to speak!  Also, animals have sensitive stomachs so any change in diet has to be done gradually (even if it's just switching brands of dry dog food), so if I was to change to a vegetarian kibble, such as Yarrah / Wafcol, then I'd have to begin by mixing small amounts of it into his current Baker's puppy food, changing the ratio gradually over time until his diet is 100% Yarrah / Wafcol. I'm currently emailing around companies and shops to try and find the best deals possible.

At the moment though, I'm keeping him on his Baker's diet until he reaches his first birthday. I want to make sure he's got all his growing and developing out of the way so he can go on to adult food, as I'm not sure if younger dogs can eat the adult vegetarian food. As budget is also an issue at the moment I'm thinking of swapping him from Baker's to Tesco Premium. I've looked at the ingredients of both and they are exactly the same (even LOOK the same) but Tesco's is almost half the price!

For now, on the veggie front, I'm going to be experimenting with various foods to see what he's interested in. So far he loves:

- Peanut Butter
- Buckwheat
- Rice
- Pasta
- Chickpeas
- Beans
- Coconut Milk
- Textured Vegetable Protein
- Asian Mock Duck
- Popcorn

That's all I've tried, as I don't want to give him anything in large quantities yet. His favourite is a kong stuffed with peanut butter. He's a dog after my own heart, we share the same love and will probably argue over the jar ;) He doesn't seem too interested in dog treats to be honest. I have no idea why. Even meaty ones. However he has had a few vegetarian milk drops from the pet shop (doggie friendly chocolate which he likes), Aldi chocolate flavoured vegetarian bone shaped biscuits (although he's not very keen on them), and these vegan biscuits that I found in the pick'n'mix section of Maxi Zoo. I'm going to try baking a few doggie treats myself from recipes that I've found online. Maybe for Christmas other doggies I know might get lucky as well! ;)

I'll update again when I discover what else he likes. He's got a couple of cute coats coming in the post for the colder, wetter weather, and an extendable lead. Eventually I'd like to invest in a doggy trailer for my bike so we can take him on longer trips out, seeing as we don't have a car and don't want to rely on anyone else to take us anywhere (our carbon footprints and pawprints shall be greatly reduced!).

I really hope he continues to be a good, happy chappy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meet My New Furever Friend!

This is my new best friend Gerry! We had been thinking about adopting a dog from the DSPCA in Rathfarnham for a while but always knew we'd have to consider it very carefully before we went ahead with it. As we only work part time we both have a lot of time on our hands, so last week, for want of something to do, we went up to the shelter just to visit and have a look around. I was NOT expecting to fall in love while I was there, seeing as I've been several times in the past and have always thought the animals were lovely but had never felt compelled to take any home with me. On the way out of their kennels, as we were about to leave, I noticed a little white and red staffie in an exercise pen out the back. He was whimpering so I went to say hello. That's when I saw Gerry - he was quietly waiting in the pen next door to the staffie, his lovely deep brown wide eyes peering through the fence. I went up to him and he jumped up to see me, so I put my hand and face as close as I could and he started licking and excitedly snuffling at me. I called my boyfriend over who was promptly doggie-sneezed on by Gerry. He liked him too but a serious chat about whether we could afford the time and money to look after a dog ensued (for the millionth time). We walked back to the exit at reception and I said there was no harm in enquiring about him. So we ended up chatting to a staff member and taking him out for a supervised walk. As he was only 6 months old he was quite strong and boisterous on the lead, but I loved that because I've always wanted a dog that is lively, fun and active. He was friendly and my boyfriend really warmed to him.

Over the next three days I moped around the house and didn't get much sleep, turning over and over in my head the pros and the cons of rehoming this lovely little dog. We had many more discussions and in the end I decided to pay a second visit and fill in an adoption form. I did a lot of research into the lurcher breed, training methods, costs & potential problems during this time. Next step was a DSPCA approved house visit, which we passed, and a trip to pick up necessary supplies like a bed and food, then he was ready for collection!

So here he is, my new brindle Lurcher pup, Gerry! We are hoping that settling in and some basic training won't take too long. He is so adorable and I hope everything works out ok and we will be able to take care of our new baby forever. Of course, you're all wondering how a vegan is going to cope with a mainly carniverous animal... but watch this space because that's a different story!