Wednesday, February 17, 2010

McVitie's Digestives

Don't be misled.
If you eat ten of them, your tummy will still hurt.

I would have thought that something with the name "Digestive" would soothe a sore tummy. And these probably would if you don't eat too many of them. But who can stop at just one or two?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dog Food (no, really!)

We have our three dogs here in the UK with us and, as dogs go, they'll pretty much eat anything. We're pretty strict on the routine though: half of their daily kibble in the morning, half in the evening, and raw carrots as treats.

The problem is with Maggie (our border collie mix). She's easily stressed and needs quite a bit of exercise to calm her down. In addition, she's very sensitive to diet and her beautiful coat will thin and fall out if her food isn't right.

In the States, we finally discovered Canidae. It's not available from vets or in grocery stores; I was able to get it from a local feed store (in Waterford). It's a bit expensive but Maggie thrived on it. She was less stressed out and her coat was thick and glossy. This is beginning to sound like advertising doesn't it? But, really, we found that changing her diet to Canidae was the best thing for her.

When we moved to the UK last summer, Canidae was the first thing I looked for. No luck. It's just not sold here. We tried other brands of food and it was heart-breaking to see her fur start to fall out in large clumps. Finally, we purchased a brand called James Wellbeloved. That seemed to work for her. It's been 4 months now on that brand and Maggie's fur is starting to fill in again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

The other day I needed something different. Very different. Curry is big in the UK so I thought I'd try it. This recipe is from the BBC GoodFood website (the source of many of the recipes I try) and is really excellent. I was a bit nervous because it calls for coconut milk and I'm not a big fan of coconut. My worries were groundless. I think the red lentils are meant to thicken the sauce but next time I should either simmer longer or add more lentils. This is very quick, very easy, comfort food.

Serves 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

2 sweet potatoes
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp mild curry paste
4 tbsp red split lentils
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 400ml can coconut milk (shake well before opening)
1 cup frozen peas

1. Prep
Peel the sweet potatoes and cube.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

2. Stovetop
Heat the oil and the curry paste in a large saucepan for 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, and lentils and stir, coating well with curry paste.
Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk.
Bring to boil and set to simmer for 25 minutes.

3. Stovetop
Add the peas and simmer for 5 more minutes.

4. Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!

[Adapted from BBC GoodFood]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I missed it.

Evidently World Nutella Day was February 5th. How was I to know? I picked up a jar of this stuff last week, thinking perhaps it was a healthy alternative to peanut butter, but hadn't tasted it yet. Then my nieces, Sam & Kelli, visit and tell me they love it!

When I finally tried it ... OMG ... it's a treat. A bit difficult to spread but I could easily eat it out of the jar with a spoon. Tonight's dessert is going to be a variation of a recipe called "Nutella and Mascarpone Cream Chocolate Tarts." It's sheer luck that I made chicken cacciatore yesterday and have mascapone left over so this is perfect. Unfortunately I don't have the ingredients for the chocolate crust but I'm making steak and ale pie for dinner and will use some of the puff pastry for the dessert. So here's the plan: cut out squares of puff pastry, add a dollop of whipped mixture of mascarpone and nutella, top with an almond, and bake for 10 minutes at medium oven temperature.