On Tuesday, I met a lovely lady who politely refused to let me give her dog a tiny piece of schmackos because she considered them no better than plastic and poison.
On Wednesday night, I found a note on my facebook wall from a friend, Ms Amy, who told me she'd baked her dog, Millie, a birthday cupcake.
In fact, 2. One with icing, and one without.
HaPpy * BiRthday, Millie!Millie looked very happy that someone loved her enough to bake her a birthday cupcake.
On Thursday night, I found 2 simple recipes for liver treats on My Little Dog, a blog that had just become Fwiend #28 the day before. How's that for timing? Ms Didi had posted a liver cake recipe. Ms Pamela had shared another way to do liver in the comments section.
More coincidence. I had a bag of liver in the freezer. It'd been there for a couple of months because The Person Who'd Bought The Stuff didn't want to cook it for himself.
It was obvious what the cosmos was trying to tell me. Who was I to argue?
On Friday, I dutifully spent the morning making liver treats for my doggies.
This 1st recipe was from the comment that Ms Pamela from Something Wagging made on My Little Dog. It took her 2 lines to share the recipe.I'm going to try to do it in under 300 words and with a lot of pictures.
Slow-Baked Liver Treats For Dummies.
The bag in the freezer had a mix of chicken and pig liver, plus 2 chicken hearts [in right hand bottom corner]. I trimmed off the fat and sliced them into pieces of more or less the same thickness.
"I think you may have thrown some bits away by mistake.""THERE! See?"
"Let me get it for you."
30 minutes into baking, things got a bit pungent and I found myself taking quick shallow breaths. Unless you're a fan of foods like fermented tofu, dried reindeer and haggis, you might too.
1st Memo to Self: Open all windows and doors before cooking liver.
As the liver slowly cooked, I hung out the laundry, swept the yard, pruned a few bushes and did some ironing.
2 hours later, it looked like this.
I flipped the pieces over. The undersides looked as pale as a Brit backpacker on Bondi beach.
Flies started to swarm into the kitchen. I wanted to take a picture of them but only 1 obliged by staying still.
2nd Memo to Self: Liver treats are best made on cool or rainy days when there are less flies around.
I decided to put the liver back into the oven so the undersides could brown up too.
After a while, it hit me that they didn't smell bad anymore. In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd think I was grilling ribs.
After 3 hours, I started to wish I was smart enough to calculate if it was actually worth 3 hours of electricity to make a little container of liver treats.
3rd Memo to Self: Make a bigger quantity next time. Maybe a kilo.
After 3 and 1/2 hours...
Of course it was worth it! Look at them! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside! Pure liver! Still warm from the oven!
The slow-baked liver treats were a success! Not only with Georgia and Rufus, but also with The Other Half [who came close to eating a piece himself].
Duly inspired, I set out yesterday morning to try Ms Didi's exciting liver cake recipe. Never one to take the easy way out, I'd also googled more liver recipes over the weekend. I found a site called dogtreatkitchen [which now sits on my sidebar].
Rufus has pancreatitis. And both dogs have had woffly tummies lately, so I decided to compare all the different liver-based recipes on offer and come up with my own "safe" concoction. Being a hopeful rather than accomplished cook, I had no clue if the combination of ingredients would work.
My This, That & The Other Offal
Cake Biscuit Brownie
250 g chicken liver
125g chicken hearts
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1 and 1/4 cups oat flour
1/4 cup unprocessed bran
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
After that, I started working on the offal and carrot. This was my 1st ever attempt at pureeing offal. I won't lie to you. It was pretty awful.
Rufus isn't allowed egg yolks anymore. So I used 1 full egg, and 1 egg white. I think 1 yolk, spread over a whole batch of cake that he'll only get, a bit a day, should be fine. I discovered, by accident, a neat way of separating the egg white from the yolk - make a hole in the shell rather than crack it open, and drain the white out.
I added the oat flour and bran to the pureed liver, hearts and carrot. I tried my best not to look at it too much because it wasn't pretty.
It didn't look much better after blending in the eggs and chicken stock. It was also ridiculously sloppy.
Interestingly enough, there was no smell. I'm wildly guessing here, that the oat and bran flour absorbed the smell. Go on. Laugh! if you're the clever scientist type.
Thanks to the chicken stock, the final mixture was quite runny. This was completely intentional. I figured the oat flour would need to absorb quite a bit of moisture while it was cooking.I set the temperature at 180degreesC, fanforced, and the timer for 30 minutes.
5 minutes later, I had a hairy moment when the mixture started bubbling up. I thought it might pop, overflow and splatter all over the oven. That would have made me quite cross. But it didn't happen. Maybe I'd chalked up enough brownie points with the cosmos by then.
4th Memo to Self: Use a deeper pan.Meanwhile, the customers were getting angsty.
"Very slow indeed."
After about 20 minutes, the top was a nice brown and the cake had shrunk from the sides of the pan so I took it out.
It was the flattest cake I'd ever seen in my life. At this point, I decided to rename it a "biscuit".
It was cooked but still soft at the bottom. I wanted it more crisp, so I cut it into pieces...
and put them back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
Everyone's a critic.
But not every critic is harsh.
A few pieces later...
"Okay, that wasn't too bad."
So now, we have 2 little containers of homemade liver treats sitting in the fridge. They must be consumed within the next 7 or so days because they have no preservatives. I'm guessing Rufus and Georgia won't have a problem with that. I'm a bit perturbed at the farting that went on last night and hope it didn't have anything to do with the treats.
All in all, I'm quite chuffed with myself for being a good dogmom and hope the cosmos leaves me alone for a bit.
Pity I didn't have time to cook dinner for us humans too.
Here's some interesting reading I discovered while googling liver recipes.
1. It's best to use organic, hormone-, steroid- and antibiotic-free liver. I didn't this time, but I will from now on.
This is what The Old Fella had to say, "Rubbish! Why?"
2. There are lots of common foods that are NOT okay with dogs, or okay ONLY in small doses.
This is what The Old Fella had to say, "Rubbish! What do you mean no macadamia and beer?"
Here's the list from 2 different sources:
Update Thursday 24th February Ms Karen kindly shared these recipes on her Doggie Stylish blog :)
If you're completely new at making liver treats [like I am], you'll find a few more good suggestions in the comments section below, by people who have more experience, thank goodness! Based on one of those comments, I've also changed the "biscuit" to "brownie". I think this more accurately describes the texture of the treat as they are now [the few that are left!].
If you do try these recipes, I'd love to hear how they turned out.
Good luck, and as always, xox