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First cooking in 2017, let’s make it big! Even for our dogs……

 

French Onion Soup

 

This is my first cooking in 2017, I was thinking to have a great start in 2017, kick it off freshly with some nice cooking in order to celebrate my one year anniversary of this blog, which ended up with a lot of my posts are based on my cooking.

This was the Sunday cooking on 8th January, the first Sunday at home after we got back from our Christmas and New Year holiday in Germany. Unfortunately, I got laid off last Monday, the day after this Sunday cooking. It took me a week to get over the entire thing and put myself back on track, and finally I felt a lot better and want to write this down before I forget what I’ve cooked.

So, I was trying to make it big for my first Sunday cooking! I was thinking to do a main dish and an onion soup, I love onion soup especially during Winter time. I would love to learn how to make it, so I started to search some recipes online the night before, and I found two recipes that I would like to base on. First of all, we definitely need A LOT of onions, that recipe on youtube is using a lot of onions. But I guess I’ve been using maybe a bit too much, and the soup ended up full of onion but not much soup. I guess I should have a better control of the proportion between soup and onion to start with. I was using 4 big onions to go with 1 litre of beef stock, I guess I can cut down 1 big onion next time and see if that will be better. So, heat up the Dutch oven with some butter and a touch of olive oil, pour all the chopped onion into the Dutch oven, season them with some salt and fry them until they are all caramelised. Add some dry white wine or apple cider vinegar, followed by some flour, then mix them well with the onions. Stir in the beef stock, and add a handful of herbs, bay leave, rosemary and thyme. Let it simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes, season with salt and a touch of brandy, adjust the taste until you think it’s good. I also add some sugar, as I also see people adding sugar in the other recipe, that’s why you really have to taste it and adjust it according to your taste buds. Then, transfer the soup in a bowl and place the toasted bread slice with butter and garlic on top of the soup. Add some parmesan cheese on the bread, and then cover the entire bowl with Gruyère cheese. Place that in the oven with maximum heat and bake for few minutes until the cheese start to turn brown. Save the rest of the soup and you can still have it a day later by repeating the last step in oven.

For the main dish, I would like to cook a meat dish. I was searching the recipe from Gordon Ramsay, and I found this roasted pork loin with lemon and sage, looks easy and delicious. You just need to score the skin of the pork loin, and that cut it on the section and open it up. Season it with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, sage, parsley, and some olive oil, then roll it up and close it with cotton. Season the outside with salt, pepper, olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of thyme. Place it in hot oven around 210C for 45 minutes, and there you go, so quick and easy!

I’ve cooked this Fondant Potatoes to go with the pork loin, which it turned out so tasty! Try to get potatoes with similar size, and chop them into a truck shape. For the cut out of the potatoes, I’ve cooked them for my dogs, not a waste. This is also very simple, but very delicious. Heat up the pan with butter, fry the potatoes until both side with a touch of brown and season them with a touch of salt. Pour in chicken stock, cover around 1/3 of the potatoes, add in some fresh thyme. Place the pan into the oven under 220C and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. Monitor the chicken stock, and add some water if the stock becomes too less. Serve them with the slices of pork loin.

Roasted Pork Loin and Fondant Potatoes

I also cooked something for our two labradors. I am thinking to get rid of the kibbles and canned food by just feeding them home made dog food starting from 2017, which is one of my new year resolution! I started to do a bit of research to see what to cook for them and what is suitable. Before completely getting rid of the kibbles and canned food, which I still have few KGs left. I am buying time to explore the kind of dog food should prepare for them. Of course there are different strategies out there, but I do believe the base is pretty much based on a balance between meat (protein), vegetable and starch (carbs). One of our doggie is food allergy, she should avoid eating carrot, rice, pasta and etc. Therefore, I have to be extra careful to see what to feed her. With the balance between the three key ingredients, I decided to cook with minced beef, potatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs with egg shell. Boil the potatoes in hot water, then add minced beef. For the green beans, I steam them and then chop them into smaller pieces, which should be easier for them to digest. I just learn that is good to feed your dogs with egg shell, as there is good amount of calcium that you can get from the shell. This is my first attempt, other than the regular dinner I cooked for them every Sunday with just potatoes and salmon. They just loving it and finish the bowl so quickly that I almost have to slow them down! For the leftover, store in the fringe and that’s enough to feed them for 2 more days.

Dog Meal

 

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More benefit from Turmeric that I am surprise we can use it for dogs as well!!!

Healing with Turmeric Golden Paste for Dogs

I’ve learned a lot of good things about turmeric, I cook with it, I drink with it, but I didn’t know turmeric can also do good to our dogs. I am surprise to find out that we can actually feed our dogs with turmeric and help them to improve their health condition.

My 6 years old labrador is suffering from arthritis these days. It started few months ago with a bit of limping after rest, but she looks totally fine when she is out for a walk. It got more worse about a month ago, so we did x-ray at the clinic and confirmed that she got arthritis. She’s been taking Carprofen for 2 weeks, but the limping came back few days after she finished the course. So we carried on with the Carprofen for 2 more weeks, but we think she might still have problem after stopping the pill. We really don’t want her to end up with operation, so I was searching online to see if we can find any recommendation or tips from others to see what others solution can we come up with.

Browsing on internet, looks like it’s hard to heal and it will not get better, we can only monitor it and make sure that is not getting more serious. As I came across the page of the Dogs Naturally magazine website, I was surprise to learn that we can feed our dogs with turmeric! This recipe of golden paste for dogs is created by Dr Doug English, this vet is an expert about turmeric, and he even has a website talking about turmeric for animals.

Turmeric Life by Dr. Doug English

I’ve made this golden paste for our dogs the night after I found this recipe, just right after our girl finished her second time of 2-week Carprofen course. The ingredient is very simple, turmeric, black pepper, coconut oil and water. If you can find the organic ingredients, that will be better! I was a bit skeptical about giving black pepper to our dogs, but I guess the amount is very little, which should be fine. Let’s see how will this go, but both of our dogs don’t mind to have this paste in their food. Hope this natural remedy could help!

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Dogs are not meant to be leashed


Dogs are born to be social, they are pack animals and enjoy living with their pack. In some developing countries, not in the city centre, you will not see dogs on leash. For example, in the rural area in Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia, dogs are all off leash and they just stay around their territories. They might go around somewhere, but I don’t really see any problem caused by them. In the cities that we are living, dogs must be on leash, and that’s according to law, you could be fined if your dogs are off leash, especially for large dogs. 

If you have ever watch this show of Cesar Millan, most of the dogs are crazy even with their leashes on. It is not the dogs having behaviour problem, it’s just the human behind them having issues. They just don’t know how to walk their dogs or put it in a simple word, they just don’t know how to be a pack leader. That’s why their pack is not listening to them. The way we train our dogs, we trained them to be able to walk off leash and they will still behave and heel. But having a dog in Hong Kong is not easy for dog owners, especially having big black dog. It’s so often people just screaming when they see two black Labradors. They will be very scare because they are big, and just because they are black, that will be more scary! People here they have no clue about dog breed, and it’s so often that people asked me if they are Rottweiler or Doberman. That’s already so not making sense to me! Second of all, those people are going to think, all dogs will bite, and that’s why they get scared. I think we should start teaching about dogs in school here, so people learn how dogs behave and they know how to react to it. 

I do admit that there are a lot of irresponsible dog owners, and they do not know how to control their dogs. I do see a lot of dog behavioural problems and I think they all need Cesar Millan. Not blaming on the owners, but I guess HK government should do something with it. Maybe they should ask all dog owners to get certificate of how to own a dog before getting one. A lot of people have no idea how to train their dogs, they just have one because they want some company or they think the dog is so cute. But we need to act like a pack leader, and provide what the dog actually needs. 

My husband is from a European country and he grew up with dogs and horses. He do prefer not to leash our dogs, as the leash is more a mind control thing than a physical leash. Of course I’ve learned a lot of dog behavioural knowledge from him, and he is my Cesar Millan live version. We got ourselves into trouble one time because our dogs were unleash and those people want to sue us because they are scared. Our dogs were not doing anything, one is only barking but the person get scared. Of course in the end, nothing happened, but we really want to get this exempted dog certificate, so that our dogs can be unleashed according to law with exemption. Both of our dogs passed the examination and they both got that medal with the Exempted Dog Certificate. They can walk around off leash legally, but of course we still can hear a lot of comments from the others, such as “You must leash your dogs!” 

Understood that not everyone knows about that certificate, but at least people could be more polite to ask or try to understand. A lot of people are so rude and having dogs are like something sinful to them. I wish people could learn more about animals, understand that dogs are not necessarily need to be leashed if they are well behave, and try to be a bit more dog friendly here in Hong Kong. 

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If you are not sure about adoption, try to foster a dog to start with

Max is waiting for the fetching game, today with Mia

I brought my two labradors with me to a gathering the other day at my friend’s place, her husband just love them. He always likes dog, and now he really wants to have a dog but my friend is still not sure about it, as she is not sure if she is ready to commit. I think if people are not sure about adoption, can always try to foster. You can try and see if you feel comfortable to have a dog in your life, to test it out and see if you can handle the walking part and activity that you have to do with your dog. If you are not sure, can still return the dog after the foster period, but I guess most of the people will ended up with adopting the dog.

Our first labrador Max is adopted, we got him from one of the dog shelter, Hong Kong Dog Rescue. That was a crazy day because my husband and I went to HKDR to see him, confirmed to take him home, even my husband was not too sure about Max (he said there’s a dark side of Max that he was not so sure about). We brought him with us, took him to the grooming center for a bath and then brought him home. We showed him around, and also brought him up to the roof top to show him some open space. Suddenly, he just jump over the wall and of course he fell from the roof down to the ground. We heard this loud smashing sound, and my husband and I looked at each other, said fxxk!!!!! We thought for sure he is dead! How could he survive from a 12 meter jump? We found him landed in the terrace of the ground floor, and after checking with the building management, the person lived there was out of town. Therefore, we could not open the door and save Max. My husband went to the side of the building and calling Max’s name, and he was able to hear him moaning, also can see his eyes in the dark. After a crazy long procedure with the police, and then SPCA, we finally got the firemen to rescue Max from the first floor. The firemen are always the best, so efficient, they got Max rescue in a minute. There was some blood coming out from his rear part, we brought him to the SPCA, and did the X-ray to check. Confirmed that all the internal organs were fine, but there was fracture at the pelvic. Luckily it’s not completely broken and collapse, otherwise can affect and damage the organs. We guess the canopy saved Max’s life, and he landed on the canopy before hitting the ground.

Luckily we were not living in a high rise building with roof top, just a low rise. Can’t imagine if Max jumped from 20th floors or even 10th floor. It took Max 3 weeks to be able to walk the stair or jump on the sofa again, we were carrying him everyday two to three times down the street to do his business. As we were living in a walk-up building, needed to carry him and took all those steps was not easy. I guess that incident helped us to bond very well, since then he trusted us a lot, of course with the proper training and rehabilitation. He used to scare of almost everything, like cats, brooms and etc. But my husband spent a lot of time to build up his confident and trust. That helps Max to become the best dog in the world! To rescue a dog, to save a life, it’s a lifetime commitment, and the thing that you can learn from your dog and what your dogs can offer you is priceless!!!

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Max could not moved so much after the injury

 

 

 

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Getting some positive energy – running with doggies on a sunny day

I don’t know what went wrong last night, something happened in Mongkok area in the middle of the night in Hong Kong. Since the Occupying Central event in Hong Kong in 2014, the tension between police and protesters became very high. Well, after all it’s Chinese New Year, I am not sure who is right and who is wrong any more, somehow you cannot just believe what you’ve seen or what you’ve read. A lot of media manipulation, what I would like to see is a peaceful Hong Kong. Watching the news and seeing people get hurt, both police and protesters. The entire street of Mongkok is a mess, and the street is damaged because the protesters digging bricks on the street, and burning rubbish. Still don’t know who is right, I guess they are very upset, but very sad to see Hong Kong like this. Can we just stay calm and make love not war?

It’s actually a very sunny day, so let’s do something good, and get the positive energy injected. I need some endorphin! Sometimes my two labradors looking at me and they have that look are so eager to have some exercise, to go out and have some fun. It maybe good to go for all of us to run, I love to run with my two labradors, they are great partners to run with. They just run right next to me, with nice pace. It is a good exercise to do with your dogs, go running / jogging together. What I used to do is to hang the leash on my waist, so I can run with both of my hands free without holding any leash. When your dogs are into the running mode, you actually don’t need to do anything, and they just run right next to you. The only thing is, they might need to pee or poo at certain point, you might need to find a spot mid-way, and let them release themselves as part of the reward and carry on for the rest of the exercise. Watch out the weather to make sure your dog will not get overheated, and try not to run for too long, maybe half an hour is good enough for them to start with. If you are not sure, bring some water with you, so they can drink if they feel too hot.

Good to sweat for myself, and also good for my two blackies to exercise and kill some energy, all of us should sleep better tonight 😉

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Best 7hing to do with Labrador is swimming and fetching

  
Having two Labradors, you always want to think of some activities for them, as they are active dogs. They love to go out, to play, to exercise. Walking them as daily routine might not be enough, the best thing to do with them every now and then, is to go swimming in Summer time, or even the not that cold days during Winter.

It’s tough here in Hong Kong somehow to find a place for dogs to swim. Hong Kong is an island and surrounded by water, and there are a lot of beaches in Hong Kong, something about 40 public accessible beaches, whereas 11 of them are located on Hong Kong Island, unfortunately most of them are no dogs allowed. I was trying to find a good spot to bring my two Labradors for swimming, I used to go to the Shek O Back Beach. They can hike a bit and then swim there, not too bad. It’s a stone beach, and sometimes the wave could be big. 

I found another spot which is quite nice, it is actually a long strand next to the barbecue place at Deep Water Bay, you reach this little beach after a seaside walkway, not much wave and it’s a stone beach. Very good spot to play with your dogs with fetching game and they can just go and chase into the water. Such a fun thing to do, and good to kill some energy. We also like to bring them to the Shek O Main Beach during Winter time, when there is no life guard so no one care about bringing dogs. Well, actually can also do that after the guards are off duty at night time during Summer. Can bring your dogs and do barbecue right on the beach, which is so nice.

Another option is to bring your dogs to the dog swimming pool. There are few places like this in Hong Kong, with dog playground and swimming pool, it’s actually fun to go as it is hard to find a big land with green grass for dogs to run around here. The only thing is a bit far away from where I live and no human can swim together with the dogs in the pool, but still good to go there once in a while. Our girl loves to collect all the toys in the pool, her record is have 3 toys in her mouth, such a true retriever!

   
 

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Challenge your dogs with 7reat!


One day, I came home after work, I saw there were little pieces of cheese lying on the floor, from the door to the living room. There’re around 10 small pieces in total, I was wondering what exactly was going on. Then I found a piece of paper on the floor at the end, writing “please do not pick them up, test for Max and Mia”. Oh I see…. that’s the challenge for our dogs. Well, they were doing great! All cheeses stayed as where they are! When my husband came home, he rewarded them with the cheese.

Challenge your dog with treat is the great exercise to practice! All dog should learn not to eat human food, or any food that human is eating. I don’t understand why some people just give what they are eating and share it with the dog, just because their canine friend is looking at them with their cutie face and they just interpreted it as, “oooooooh…… look at him…… he wants to eat too……” For us, that is totally forbidden!

We should always pratice this, drop some food or treat on the floor or put it out, and the dogs need to learn that is not for them, they should just ignore. It’s like how we practice this piece of cheese on the table, doesn’t mean Mia should eat that. If your dogs are having problem with food that’s out there and they will just eat it. Try to practice that and challenge your dog with the treat, you will start to see some good result!

Remember! Feeding them human food doesn’t mean you love your dog! To have proper exercise and challenge is a better way of expressing love!