Restart

Again, another unintended and unplanned fresh start.

So. This is another great opportunity to start afresh, except there really isn’t much to rebuild, since I was rather inactive on the previous version of this site anyway. Suffice to say that this site has not been receiving the attention it deserved for the past 4 years or so. At some point in time, it did ever cross my mind to shut it down for good – not because it costs a lot (in every sense) to maintain, but more so because a blog without new posts is as good as dead.

That was until a very dear friend asked me one day if I would resume regular blogging – she said that she missed seeing new photos of my bakes for she loved looking at them when she needed some cheering up.

Her comment gave me pause. I didn’t know my blog had that effect on her, or for that matter, perhaps other readers as well. You see, getting nothing but requests for recipes from some passerby readers could become quite tiresome.

I decided to put things into perspective instead. Not everyone who visited my site wanted to push my buttons and test my boundaries. Through the blog, I met several like-minded bloggers and also had a regular group of readers which I had unfortunately lost after an absence of 4 years. I enjoyed the interaction and the writing. More importantly, I really do enjoy the baking and photographing.

All previous posts and comments are completely gone. Forever. I didn’t back-up. Rather, I chose not to back-up although I did save all the posts in pdf format for reference. In retrospect, it was less painful than I thought.

I don’t intend to re-use the old posts much, in fact, none if I could help it, so it might take a while to rebuild the site again. If you were a faithful reader from the blog of my previous ‘era’, you would already have a glimpse into my personal blogging style. If you had liked it, then I would like to invite you to stay tuned for more.

To my new readers, let me extend a warm welcome to you! To start off, you may wish to begin with some house rules first.

Is It Halloween Yet?

If you, like me, have the unfortunate honour of owning a dog with a relatively weak stomach, you would probably have already found out about the wonders of feeding him/her steamed pumpkin during the latest bout. We of course learnt it the hard way. Although Sugar had a weak stomach, she could always recover on her own after a couple of days on a boiled rice diet. Belle the 2 year-old is a different monster altogether. For no apparent reason, her delicate tummy starts acting up even with food she has been on for months. Trips to the vet’s had proven futile since they could only conclude that she has a hyper-sensitive stomach and should be put on an hypoallergenic diet after she recovers from the latest bout of diarrhea. We heeded the advice and put her on one for several months, but it was seriously burning a hole in our pockets (it costs 4 times more than the premium brand we are feeding the girls).

Slowly, we weaned Belle back into the old diet after feeding her pumpkin with boiled rice for several days, taking care to observe her closely. She seems to be doing well on it now (could be a case of outgrowing the sensitivity) but her poop is never really firm like Paris’. I have been on the search for a long-term sustainable solution and this pumpkin dog biscuits recipe is like god-sent!

I have taken the liberty to ‘localise’ the recipe posted by Marilyn (I hope you don’t mind!) because canned pumpkin and brown rice flour are not easily found off the supermarket shelves. Also, I prefer to work with more precise measurements. I could always purée the mashed pumpkin after it cooled down but I prefer to work with the un-puréed version for these dog biscuits.

It’s weird how the furkids always seem to know that I’m cooking/baking food for them. Perhaps the fact that I do not chase them out of the kitchen was already a huge hint. Here’s my reworked version of Cleo’s Pumpkin Dog Biscuits:

Recipe: Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 350g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 130g steamed, mashed and cooled pumpkin

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper or silpat and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, milk powder and sea salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin to smooth.
  5. Add in the sifted dry ingredient gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.
  7. Roll dough about 1/2″ thick (depending on your dog’s chew preferences) and use cookie cutter to punch shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as you go.
  8. Place shapes on baking sheet. If desired, press fork pattern on biscuits before baking, a quick up-and-down movement with fork, lightly pressing down halfway through dough.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes.
  10. Remove baking sheet from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Yield: 18 9-cm length bone-shaped biscuits
[credits: Marilyn @ Simmer Till Done]

When I was at Step 5 of the instructions, I suddenly decided that the dough portion was too small and not worth my time. I stopped my KA, went to check if I still had enough flour for another portion. And guess what, I did! Without wasting another second, I weighed out the ingredients for a second portion of dough, removed the first set of dough from the KA bowl temporarily and started working on the second batch. Towards the end, I combined both doughs in the KA to mix well.

This is a very forgiving recipe: it didn’t matter that I made the dough sit around for too long, over-mixed or stopped halfway, and decided to double the portion. Just take note that the dough does become very sticky after mixing, and my KA was grunting and groaning as double portions of the dough stuck to the paddle attachment. A lesser mixer would have fallen apart.

The two furkids went completely ballistic when the biscuits were baking away in the oven. Nothing I did would distract them away from the kitchen. And as I was finishing up with this post in the study, the younger furkid was running to and fro the study and kitchen, as if reminding me not to forget about her biscuits baking in the oven. It was a rather funny sight watching them like that and I missed it, because it’s been a while since I baked for them. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever baked for Belle. Do note that I know for certain my two furkids are not allergic to wheat (they have eaten commercially-produced dog biscuits) hence the decision to use all-purpose flour. However, feel free to change to a more wholesome option if necessary. And if you are scrutinising the thickness of my biscuits, you would realise I had been rather care-less.  Well, I have 2 adult golden retrievers with very hearty appetites so I’m not worried about wasting food at all.

You could see how Belle was not amused with my taunting them with a biscuit, and cheerful Paris with her messy fur (if only someone could tell me how to keep a younger furkid from messing up her elder sibling’s fur). I have been rather emotionally detached from these two younger furkids ever since the oldest passed on last year. Suffice it to say that these two are in dire need of some serious pampering. And they are getting it daily, albeit in small doses, for the next ten days!

P/S.  For some reason or another, these cookies don’t  last. It could be the way the hubby handled them (e.g with his hands wet). He discovered this morning that the cookies have turned bad, 7 days after they were baked.

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