22 September 2011

Do You Ever Get The Feeling....

The salad dressing that thinks it's a volcano
....that someone's trying to tell you something? If my last two mornings are anything to go by, someone, somewhere seems to want to tell me something! I've just not figured out what it is yet.

Yesterday, I thought I'd try to be organised and prepare myself  a healthy packed lunch and salad.  I had a lovely new M&S salad dressing (Sicilian lemon - I'm a sucker for 'new' flavours) and, as per bottle instructions, shook it gently to mix it..big mistake...HUGE mistake!

As I unscrewed the lid, the bottle did an amazing impression of Mount Vesuvius and erupted everywhere, gushing lemony, oily salad dressing everywhere losing half the contents in the process.  On the plus side, all that oil proved to be very good for my hands as they were lovely and soft after being covered in it.

Fast forward to today... I was getting ready for work (no packed lunch or salad today) and whilst I was upstairs, I heard Tula, the cat, running about.  Nothing odd there you may think.  However, Tula has a very distinctive type of running sound - especially when she's brought me a 'present.'

The sparrow before the rescue mission
I ran downstairs to spy feathers in the kitchen.  Not a good sign.  Tula, however, was in the utility room looking slightly crazed and focused on the side of her litter tray. I gingerly looked down the side of the tray (it's one of those covered affairs) and saw a petrified, very much alive (phew) sparrow. What to do?

Firstly, and somewhat uncremoniously, I dumped Tula outside and locked the cat flap.  Cue Tula turning into a feline battering ram, trying to get back in. I grabbed a towel and tried to catch the poor bird - failing miserably.  The poor thing was so frightened it flew down the side of the freezer, under the work top.

The rescue mission was turning into a two person job. Luckily, hubby is off work this week so I ran upstairs to wake him from his slumbers. He was not best pleased but once awake, joined the search and rescue team.

When he managed to move the freezer, the poor sparrow flew up and into the unused tumble drier vent.  We tried to get the front of the vent off so it could fly into the garden but it was firmly stuck to the wall.  There was only one thing for it... I had to don gloves and exercise my 'sparrow wrangling' skills. 

Thankfully this story has a happy ending. I caught the sparrow and it flew free away from the garden.  It does make me wonder what tomorrow morning will bring though, as (if you're superstitious) things are supposed to happen in threes...

Finally, I snapped this photo this morning too, before the rescue mission.  I wonder what Stevie and Mina are trying to tell me? Any guesses?
Stevie & Mina trying to tell me to something

17 September 2011

Gateaux and Gatherings

Today was G day for greyhound lovers in the UK as it was the day of the 5th Great Greyhound Gathering (or GGG as it's affectionately known). The GGG is organised by the Retired Greyhound Trust and brings together retired racing greyhounds from across the country.

I missed the first ever GGG but have been for the last four years and it's always a greyt day. This year had the added excitement of meeting some of my and Jasper's Twitter friends. (Jasper has his own Twitter account - @JaspertheHound - he's a very intelligent hound).

Spot the Dog o Nine Tails bags
The skies were a tad overcast and I'd packed my waterproofs along with Jasper and Stevie's raincoats too. The heavens opened not long after we'd arrived and we quickly saught shelter under my friend, Lisa Rees', store - Dog o Nine Tails - which meant I just had to buy a new bag.

Hounds & humans meet for tweet up (pic courtesy of: @blueskinnydog)
Once the rain clouds had cleared and several tweets, texts and phone calls had been exchanged we met up with our Twitter friends: @MaxiSaluki @Dino_Matic @BarneyGalgo @blueskinnydog @RoloHound @ceddergreyhound

It was so nice to meet the hounds and humans behind the Twitter avatars. The hounds were all impeccably behaved & greeted each other with the doggy equivalent of human handshakes aka the greyt butt sniff!

Dino's 'humum' kindly made some delicious pasties for the humans and I brought along some homemade liver cake (gateau de foie) for the hounds.

It's for hounds, not humans!
It seemed like the liver cake/gateau de foie was a hit, so especially for @blueskinnydog, and hounds everywhere, here's the recipe:

500g (1lb) liver
500g (1lb) organic porridge oats
2 large free range eggs
2 cloves of garlic* (crushed)
3 tablespoons natural yogurt

1. Pre heat the oven to 180o (Gas Mark 4)
2. Grease and line a 30cm square ( 12 inch square) baking tin
3. Whizz the liver in a food processor until smooth
4. Add the crushed garlic, egg and oats and continue to whizz until smooth
5. When mixture is smooth stir in the natural yogurt
6. Pour into baking tin and bake in oven for around 30 – 40 minutes
7. When cooked should be firm & light brown colour
8. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before turning out of baking tin
9. Cut into small bite size pieces and keep in fridge for up to a week or up to 3 months if frozen.

*Garlic is part of the Allium family, such as onions, which are toxic to dogs. Small quantities of garlic, such as in this recipe, should be fine.  If you are worried, omit the garlic and add in some grated, smelly cheese instead.

Only another 364 days to go until the next GGG.... we're already on countdown!

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