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Prawn Kataifi

Prawn Kataifi

I used to work with a guy whose name I couldn’t pronounce. For months, I managed to avoid calling him by his first name until one day I was in a teleconference call and someone suggested that I introduce everyone. So around I went, introducing each one of them until I reached “Paraic” and I was like “uhm, how do you pronounce your name again?” Turns out it was an Irish name and pronounced something like “Pho-rac” (to date, I’m still not 100% sure).

I told my other officemate about it and he said he also didn’t know how to pronounce his name. In fact, for months he used to refer to Paraic as “the finance guy”.

The other name I can never get my head around is the guy from River Cottage. As much as I love that show, I always call him “Hugh something-something”. This evening I tested my husband (who claims he is also a massive fan of the show).

“What’s the name of the guy from River Cottage?” I asked him.

“Google it.” He said.

“No, just tell me!” I said.

“Hugh Whitley?… or Whitely? … or Fernley?” He guessed.

I burst out laughing. Turns out he was just as bad as I was.

This is one of those recipes where I am totally unsure of how to pronounce the ingredients. Kataifi? Ajvar? Don’t even ask me to try. All I know is that the combination is delicious! The inspiration was from a dinner I had a few weeks ago at Efendy in Balmain. The Ajvar is a Serbian relish made with roasted capsicums, roasted eggplants and some chili. It’s a delicious accompaniment to the prawns and it’s also amazing with fresh sourdough bread topped with goat’s cheese.

The herbs come from my newly planted edible balcony, but more on that another time.

Oh, and for the record – the River Cottage guy? His name is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Prawn Kataifi

Prawn Kataifi

Prawn Kataifi with Ajvar Sauce

Serves 6

  • 12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 100 grams kataifi pastry, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • 50 grams butter, melted
  • zest of one orange or mandarin and 1 tablespoon of it’s juice
  • Ajvar sauce (I used Mama’s Brand) to serve
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 210c. Mix the orange/mandarin zest and juice with the melted butter and pour over the kataifi pastry.
  2. Line a tray with foil and spray with some olive oil.
  3. Carefully spread around 2 tablespoons of the pastry on a wooden board and place a prawn on one side of the pastry and roll the pastry over the prawn to cover.
  4. Lay the prawn carefully on the lined tray and repeat with the remaining prawns.
  5. Place the prawns in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes, turning halfway until the prawns are golden.
  6. Serve with ajvar sauce.

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Mussel Kinilaw

Mussel Kinilaw

A few years ago I planted a little calamansi fruit tree in our balcony… and then I waited… and waited… and waited some more. My tree never seemed to bear much fruit. If I was lucky, I would get three or four calamansi and I was ready to give up – the tree was taking up space but not giving me much to work with. I was ready to uproot the tree and plant something else.

A few months ago I noticed a few calamansi budding from the branches and so I waited a little bit more (after all, what was another month after waiting all those years) and suddenly the fruit just kept coming and wouldn’t stop! I managed to collect over 3 large bowls of the fruit, much more than I would immediately need so I juiced them and froze them in little ice cubes to be used in the future.

For those who are unfamiliar with calamansi, they are a native citrus very common in the Philippines. When I lived in the PHilippines I used to enjoy an ice cold glass of calamansi juice (sweetened with a little sugar or honey). I’ve also seen some people use it in desserts like a calamansi curd for macarons. Me? I prefer to use it as part of a “sawsawan” or dipping sauce. Usually the “sawsawan” will be some sort of combination of fish sauce, soy or vinegar which we then use to flavour our dishes. Think deep fried crispy piece of fish served with a dipping sauce of calamansi and fish sauce… or pork belly grilled over charcoal and served with soy, vinegar and garlic. Now you get the idea!

The recipe below is as simple as it gets. I’ve used the juice of the calamansi in a “Kinilaw” which the Philippine’s version of a ceviche. The dish is served a “pulutan” (which means to “pick up”) or appetizer and is usually made with fresh fish (I like to use snapper). For this recipe I’ve made it with some mussels which I’ve cooked first and then doused in the kinilaw marinade right before serving.

Calamansi

Calamansi

Mussel Kinilaw

  • 1 kilo mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 long red pepper
  • 1 long green pepper
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic gloved, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or cane vinegar (any Filipino brand will do)
  • 2 tablespoons calamansi juice
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the mussels in a pan and a splash of water. Gently heat until the mussels are cooked (careful not to overcook them)
  2. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and place in the refrigerator until they are cold.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the mussels right before serving.

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Tuna Poke

Tuna Poke

Every few months or so, I’ll discover a restaurant that quickly becomes my new favourite. It always plays out the same way, I’ll go back several times in a month and think how handy it would be to have a “standing reservation” every week. My husband prefers to try different restaurants so by the third or fourth time, he is pleading we try something new. A restaurant that made it to the favourite list and one we visited more than the usual was a restaurant serving Japanese pub food in Surry Hills called Izakaya Fujiyama.

They are famous for their charcoal grilled fish head which is limited in availability. They manager mentioned that it’s only available usually once a week. Naturally, when we found out that there was a tuna head was available, we had to order it. We asked the waitress for it and she put in our order. A few minutes later she came back with bad news. “Chef says that you cannot order it. It’s too big.” She told us. Given that we had already ordered four other dishes, she tried to persuade us that there would be too much food. We said we didn’t mind and we really wanted to order it so she went back to the chef to place our order. Forty minutes later this monster of a fish head arrived in our table. The head was so large that all our other dishes had to be cleared because the wooden serving plate covered the whole of the table. Of course there was no way we could finish the dish. In fact, we shared it with the table beside us and still had half to take home!

We rolled out of the restaurant thinking we would need to take at least four or five people to join us next time. Later on my husband told me that when the waitress went back to tell the chef we were insisting on ordering the dish, he saw the chef laugh and shake his head.

Equally as impressive, this tuna dish is definitely more manageable. Tuna Poke made with sashimi grade tuna marinated in soy, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil, over a bed of seaweed and topped with crispy wonton strips.

Tuna Poke

serves 2 as a started

  • 250 grams sashimi quality tuna
  • 100 grams seaweed
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Dash of shichimi togarashi
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame
  • strips of fried wonton wrappers
  1. Diced the tuna into 1 cm pieces. Set aside.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, shichimi and toasted sesame in a bowl and spoon over the tuna.
  3. Lay the seaweed salad on a serving plate, top with the marinated tuna and finally the wonton wrappers.

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Prawn Pasta with Bisque Sauce

Prawn Pasta with Bisque Sauce

This is one of those recipes that wasn’t meant to make it to the blog. On my way home from work tonight I thought that, since my husband was working late, I might kill time by making some fresh pasta. I stopped by the fish monger and found some fresh prawns and thought that a nice creamy bisque sauce would work well with it. I was wrong. It didn’t work well with it… it worked SUPER DUPER WELL with it!

It was so good, I knew I would do you a disservice if I didn’t share it. So – here it is – prawn pasta with a bisque sauce. Have you got a favourite seafood pasta recipe? Well, now you do!

Recipe for fresh pasta can be found here.

Prawn Pasta with Bisque Sauce

Prawn Pasta with Bisque Sauce

Prawn Pasta with Bisque Sauce

serves 2

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • 45 ml olive oil plus another 30 ml to fry the prawns.
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 12 large prawns
  • 100 ml cream
  • salt to taste
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • 100 to 150 grams fresh pasta per person
  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent, around 5 minutes, then add the garlic cloves. Season with salt.
  2. Peel and devein the prawns. Chop the meat into large pieces and set aside for use later. Place the prawn heads and peel with the vegetables and saute for around 5 more minutes. Add 750 ml of water and allow to simmer until the liquid havles, around 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. When the sauce has reduced, strain the sauce and add the cream, continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. Taste and season as required.
  4. Heat the 30 ml of oil in another pan and fry the prawns until cooked, around 3 minutes. Add this to the bisque/cream sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water until boiling. Salt the water once it reaches a boil and add the fresh pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the bisque sauce.
  6. Place in serving bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

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Dinner by Heston

Dinner by Heston

One of the downsides of being in a relationship with someone as competitive as yourself, is that this normally extends to even food choices.  On our recent London trip, we had lunch at Heston Blumethal’s restaurant, Dinner.  The menu was developed by Heston and Ashley Palmer-Watts who heads the Dinner  ktichen, and focuses on historically inspired British dishes.  According to their website, the name “Dinner” refers to the “main meal” of the day – whether that be lunch, mid day or actually dinner time.  According to San Pellegrino, this restaurant is the ninth best in the world, topping Heston’s other restaurant, The Fat Duck (which ranks 13th).

So what happens when you try to compete for the best order?  Four starters, two mains and two desserts happens.  I highly doubt this but the waiter said that no couple had ever ordered that much before.

Entrees

My Order: Meat Fruit (mandarin, chicken liver parfait with grilled bread)

His Order - Roast Marrowbone

His Order – Roast Marrowbone (marrow, snails, parsley, anchovy and pickled vegetables)

Verdict: I win.

My Order - Buttered Crab Loaf

My Order – Buttered Crab Loaf (Crab, cucumber, pickled lemon, herring roe and stone crop)

His Order - Salamugundy

His Order – Salamugundy (Chicken oysters, salsify, marrow bone and horseradish cream)

Verdict: He wins.

Mains

My Order - Cod in Cider

My Order – Cod in Cider (with chard and fired mussels)

His Order - Fillet of Aberdeen Angus with triple cooked chips

His Order – Fillet of Aberdeen Angus (with mushroon ketchup & triple cooked chips)

Verdict: I win.

Dessert - 

His Order – Tipsy Cake (Roast Pineapple) – sorry forgot to take a picture of that one!

My Order – Ice Cream Trolley – now this isn’t on the regular menu – but the waiter insisted we order it.  By mixing liquid nitrogen and vanilla custard, we were treated to instant ice cream! How could I NOT order this?

My Order - Ice Cream Trolley using Liquid Nitrogen

My Order – Ice Cream Trolley using Liquid Nitrogen

My Order - Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order – Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order - Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order – Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order - Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order – Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order - Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

My Order – Nitro Ice Cream Trolley

The Verdict:  Do you really have to ask?

But then again… I always win.

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Paris Jardin des Tuileries

Paris Jardin des Tuileries

It could have been the overcast sky that greeted me. Or, maybe the fact that after more than 24 hours on a plane with three different stopovers, I was told that the airline had lost my luggage… or having to spend my first two days on my own… Something, in Paris, was off.

I had my first meal at Aux Lyonnais which has become somewhat of a tradition to begin any trip to Paris at this Alain Docasse run Bistro. The lady who had been greeting me for the last four years, I found out, had left and new staff had taken over the floor. While the new waitstaff were knowledgeable and efficient, there was no “Hello! How are you? So good to see you back” to greet me. To start I had an egg cocotte with black truffles and morrels and for main I had the pollack (which I was told was only in season every April) a la meuniere. Again, while the food was cooked well, I left the restaurant thinking that I might have to change traditions next year.

Aux Lyonnais

Aux Lyonnais

Day two was dinner at Le Chateaubriand which has been named the 9th best restaurant in the world. Two years earlier we had eaten in this restaurant and was blown away with the food (and, okay, maybe the chefs and waiters too), so I was excited to come back. I guess I was expecting too much but the food didn’t seem as inventive or exciting as before (okay, the waiters and chefs were still as good looking).

Chateaubriand Paris

Chateaubriand Paris

Things weren’t looking too good.

And then my husband came and things started to pick up.

“I’m bored.” I told him. “Paris doesn’t seem the same to me.” So that night we went to Hotel Costes, a boutique hotel located on the First Arrondisement. By day you can sit by the open courtyard and people watch. At night the whole place transforms into a trendy restaurant/bar. This is where we met Ali – mixologist extraordinaire. I explained to him that I didn’t normally drink but my fate that night was in his hands. To please make me a cocktail that was fruity but where I couldn’t taste the alcohol.

“Leave it to me, I am an expert” Ali said.

Two drinks later, my head was spinning and anything anyone said seemed very funny to me. My husband was holding me back from ordering a third drink. “I think that’s enough. Let’s close the tab.” he said. “Wait a minute! I said to Ali, “I need to know the name of this so I can make sure to order it next time.”

“It has no name, this one I just invented.” said Ali.

“We can’t not have a name for this drink!” I replied.

“Okay, let’s name it after you, Teresa” Ali said.

“Okay, tomorrow, you and me, we’ll have a showdown!” I shouted back at Ali, giggling uncontrollably.

“Yes, of course!” He smiled.

You have to realize, I never drink. Ever. So as embarrassing as it sounds, I got wasted after two drinks.  A few hours later things got messy, my head pounding, I was crying and cursing Ali like there was no tomorrow.

The day after was no different. Every time I stood up I felt like my world would turn upside down. When my husband joked about the proposed showdown with Ali I gave him dagger looks. The thought of going back to Hotel Costes made me woozy.

Hotel Costes, Paris

Hotel Costes, Paris

Easter Sunday was different. I could finally laugh about the “Ali” incident! The sun was shining and after a whole day wasted, I was hoping for a little back of the Paris that I loved. So of course I headed to the 7th Arrondisement which is my favourite. The markets were opened and we were welcomed by a Frenchman playing music on an old punch tape winding music box!

One thing I’ve found, is that my tried and tested bistro in Paris is still 100% reliable. Lunch at Cafe Constant was just as I remembered it. Homey, well executed and affordable cooking.

Sea Bass with Sweet Potato Mash

Sea Bass with Sweet Potato Mash

Roasted Langoustines Cafe Constant, Paris

Roasted Langoustines Cafe Constant, Paris

Then to top it all of, was the most delicious apple tart. Layers of caramelized apples over the flakiest puff pastry, served with a side of vanilla ice cream. It’s times like these that you realize, you don’t need to be in the fanciest, trendiest or most expensive restaurant, you could be in a cramped corner of a Paris cafe enjoying a simple meal, or even laying flat on the bathroom floor cursing the bartender that gave you one cocktail too many, it’s who you’re with that makes the story worthwhile telling.

I was with my husband and I finally had my Paris back.

Apple Tart at Cafe Constant, Paris

Apple Tart at Cafe Constant, Paris

Cafe Constant Apple Tart

The day after my planned “showdown” with Ali, I went back to Hotel Costes to try and get the recipe for the cocktail he had invented for me. Unfortunately, Ali was not around that night… and the waitress told me that he would not be around the night after as well, which meant that I wouldn’t get the chance to ask him for the recipe before I left. So instead, let me share with you Christian Constant’s simple Apple Tart recipe… however, if you do find yourself on Rue St Honore one day, make sure to pass by the Bar at Hotel Costes and ask for Ali. Tell him you want to order the “Teresa”.

  • 7 “pink” golden apples
  • 45 grams butter
  • 1 roll best quality puff pastry (i.e. I would use Careme brand)
  • 35 grams caster sugar
  1. Pre heat the oven to 180c. Roll out the puff pastry and place it in a round or oblong tart. Using a fork, prink the bottom and sides of the pastry to prevent it from puffing up during cooking. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the apples, cut in half, remove the cores and sees and slice very thinly.
  3. Arrange the apple slices on the pre-cooked pastry shell, overlapping and fanning them out evenly. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and add a knob of butter.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Midway through the cooking time, sprinkle with the remaining sugar, and turn the tart from time to time so that it browns evenly. Cool before serving.

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Salted Caramels

Salted Caramels

I admit that I have an unhealthy obsession with cookbooks and food magazines.  One of my favourite magazines is one published in the Philippines called Yummy.  I’ve been a long time reader and used to always ask my Mom to buy them and bring me copies when she would visit.  I was thrilled when last year I found out they were also on Zinio which meant I could read them as soon as they were published online.

Imagine my excitement when Liz, one of their assistant editors, asked if I would be interested to be featured as a guest chef – uhm… hello?!?  Of course I would be honoured!

So here it is – MY very own feature on Yummy Magazine.   If you are lucky, you may still be able to buy the March 2012 issue where this is published, but better be quick because the Blog Monster seems to be hunting down every copy she can get her hands on!  (It’s nice to have a Mom who is so proud of you isn’t it?)

Trissalicious on Yummy Magazine
Yummy Magazine Page 2
So here’s a sweet way to begin the week – below is a recipe for Rockpool’s Salted Caramels.  The restaurant is famous for them and the recipe is taken from Neil Perry’s latest Cookbook, Rockpool Bar & Grill and is from pastry chef Catherine Adams.  Make sure to use a digital thermometer when making these sweets, the recipe is not hard to make at all, but it’s important to be exact with the temperatures, otherwise, you could end up with caramels that don’t set, or those that are too hard.

Have a great week ahead!

Rockpool’s Salted Caramels

  • 500 grams caster sugar
  • 250 grams liquid glucose
  • 435 grams pouring cream (35% fat)
  • 125 grams butter (I used Lurpak), cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt flakes, such as Murray River Pink sea salt
  1. Grease a 22cm square cake tin with cooking spray and line with aluminium foil. Spray again.
  2. In a large pot, combine the sugar, glucose and cream. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook gently until the mixture reaches a temperature of 113c. (It took me approximately 15 minutes to reach that heat).
  3. Using a whisk, add the butter and continue to mix until the butter has dissolved into the mixture. From here on, do not stir. Let the temperature reach 119c and remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the vanilla paste. Pour the mixture on to the greased pan. Quickly scatter the sea salt on top of the caramel.
  4. Allow the caramel to rest and cool. This should take around 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Once the caramel has cooled, remove it from the tin, remove the foil and cut into 1.5 cm strips. Then cut each strip into 2 cm pieces. Wrap in cellophane (or baking paper) and store in an air tight container in a cool dry place for up to 5 days.
Salted Caramels

Salted Caramels

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Crisp Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

Crisp Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

This evening for dinner we had lamb and brussel sprouts. My nephew, who is eight, did nothing to hide his dislike for the vegetable. His parents asked him to keep an open mind and despite his protests, insisted that he at the very least, have a little taste before saying he didn’t like brussel sprouts. So he found a little leaf and took a bite and declared that he didn’t like it.

“That little piece you ate was a mint leaf.” She said, and urged him to try again. So he found some of the little cabbage and maintained that he STILL didn’t like them.

Even if I had prepared the brussel sprouts, I have to admit I couldn’t blame him. I remember as an eight year old, I had my own biases against certain vegetables. I despised eggplants and okra. I thought that they were specially created as punishment for naughty kids. I still remember my parents saying I couldn’t leave the table until all the vegetables on my plate were finished. They said to think of all the “starving children”. In my naiveté, I thought, “Well, if there are so many starving children, take the vegetables on my plate and feed it to them!”.

I know there are many who have an aversion to brussel sprouts. But this dish from Porteno Restaurant is delicious. Deep fried brussel sprouts served with lentils and sprigs of mint and dressed with a sticky vincotto dressing – it’s enough to convert anybody (that is, of course, except my nephew).

Porteno’s Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

serves 10

  • 150 grams small green lentils
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 2 kilos brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups mint, loosely packed, chopped
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml fig vincotto
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon (or Hot) mustard
  • salt
  1. Place the lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Deep fry the brussel sprouts, around 4 to 5 minutes until the edges crisp and turn golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Season with some salt.
  3. Mix the olive oil, fig vincotto, mustard and a little more salt to taste.
  4. To serve, place the brussel sprouts in a large bowl, add the lentils, toss with the chopped mint and dressing.

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Bizou

Bizou

Bizou came into our lives around December of 2007.  The fact that a three hour car drive turned into eight before we finally managed to take her home should have given me some inkling on what a trouble maker she was, but of course, back then, I was just thinking of her as a companion to our other dog.  Nothing more.

It started a few days later when my Mom told me that she had seen “the little dog jump” on the table.  “All dogs do that.” I told her.  “No, I mean she jumped ON the table.”  she said.  “Impossible.”  I had never seen, nor heard of a dog jumping on the table.  I just thought it was my Mom exaggerating again until one night I heard whimpering coming from the kitchen.  Sure enough, I went down the stairs to see Bizou, on top of the table, not quite sure how to get down.

A few weeks later my husband and I came home from work late one evening.  I went straight upstairs to change while he let the dogs in from the garage.  “Oh no!” I heard him scream.  “Oh no… Bizou, what did you do!…Trissa, you have to come and see what Bizou ate.”  he called out.  My heart sank.  The dogs had been by themselves the whole day and she could have eaten anything in the garage.  I rushed down to see Bizou, wobbling towards me, her stomach had bloated to three times its normal size.  Had she managed to accidentally eat a tennis balls that got stuck in her tummy?  As I rushed to call the emergency vet hospital I heard my husband laughing.  He walked in from the garage with five kilo bag of dog food which she had somehow managed to open and finish almost all the contents of!

And that was the story of Bizou.  Always getting herself into some kind of trouble.  I can’t count the number of times we had to rush her to the vet because she managed to get a hold of some chocolate.  There was one week she went to the vet twice to have her stomach pumped because of it. It was almost ridiculous as the vet was always scolding me for keeping chocolate lying around.  “I promise you,” I told him “I don’t keep it lying around.  She knows how to pull down latches and open doors!” I told him. I once kept a box of Lindt chocolate in the guest room.  The next morning I woke up to find the door open, little wrappers of Lindt chocolate lying on the floor, along with the empty box.  I swear to you, I had shut the door.  Had she actually managed to pull down the latch to open the door?  My suspicions were confirmed months later when a house guest told me that late one night she had caught Bizou opening the door to the room.  So despite the incredulous look the vet gave me, I knew this to be true.

Of course her appetite wasn’t limited to chocolate – she would eat anything and everything.  I once left a block of butter out to soften overnight.  The next morning the butter was missing from the table so I thought that someone had placed it back into the refrigerator.  I only managed to put the pieces together after seeing an empty butter wrapper on the floor noticing Bizou’s bad tummy.  Then there was the time she and Baci ate a whole bag of sugar… and flour (that happened twice actually).  Flour?!?… seriously.  I  learned to keep everything locked up in the pantry after that.

Is it strange to think that I could learn something from this silly silly dog?  She was certainly fearless.  I remember the first time we took her by the water in Balmain.  She jumped right in – no hesitation.  She loved to swim, regardless of the weather, no matter how choppy the water.  I used to throw sticks as far as I could and she would race with other dogs to get them.  She would win every single time.  But that was the kind of dog Bizou was – she would dive head first into the things she loved… and who cared about the consequences afterwards?  Certainly not her. You know the saying, it is better to ask forgiveness than permission?  That was Bizou.

When I learned that she was prone to ear infections, I tried to get her to stop swimming.  I would try to steer her away from the water but no matter how far we were from it, she always managed to run away from me and jump in.  I would scold her about it afterwards but she would always give me this look like – “whatever I did wrong, it was worth it!”

From Bizou I learned the meaning of unconditional love and devotion.  Many times, when my husband was away for work, I would love nothing more than to sit on the lounge, in front of the TV, she would jump up on the couch and lay her head on my lap, look at me with her doleful eyes and quietly fall asleep.  Then she would slowly turn so I could rub her tummy.  She loved that.

My husband and I would love to take both dogs for a walk on the weekends.  Towards the end of the walk, as we walked past the strip of stores on the main street, I’d ask my husband to take both dogs home so I could browse through the shops.  A few minutes later, as I emerged from the stores, I would see my husband, only managing to walk a few meters away, waiting for me.  “Why didn’t you go home?” I would ask.  “Bizou didn’t want to leave without you.” he would say.  She would plant herself on the ground, refusing to move until I was ready to walk with them home.  You couldn’t get more loyal than that.

One of the things our dogs loved to do was to sleep on our bed with us.  Bizou would always manage to sneak up on the bed when we weren’t looking.  Some people would think she was stubborn, I like to think she was determined.  Having said that, we never liked to encourage it and instead we preferred them to stay on the dog beds on the floor.

Yesterday morning, for some reason, I gave in and got Bizou and Baci to stay on the bed with me.  Bizou was so happy.  She kept on trying to lick my face.

Little did I know that this would be the last time Bizou would get into the bed with me.

A few hours later, my husband called to say that there had been an accident.  Bizou had bolted out of the gate and had been hit by a car.

At that time, I thought it wasn’t anything serious.  After all, Bizou had been in many “accidents” before and had always managed to scrape by.

My husband rushed her to the animal hospital and I met them there.  She must have been in shock but she seemed calm.  I noticed she was breathing heavily and I held her as the vet started the examination.  She had a cut above her eye and I whispered that it was going to be okay.   She gave her a heavy dose of painkillers and oxygen to keep her breathing steady.  Nothing really sank in until the vet said that she had suffered heavy internal bleeding and that she would have to be moved quickly to an emergency hospital.

And then her heart stopped.  They were pushing on her chest and feeding her more oxygen… over and over… and over.  I heard the vet say that they were going to try and give her a shock to her heart but it all happened so quickly… and then the doctor looked at me… and it was finally over.

Of all the posts I have written on this blog, this has certainly been the most painful to write… but I want to make sure that she is remembered for the beautiful and wonderful dog she was.  She was meant to be a companion to our other dog Baci… and then she had to go charm her way into our hearts.

Of her almost four years with us, if there is anything sure, it’s that Bizou had a great life.  She sure got into a lot of trouble, but she was always loved no matter what… and as hard as it was to be there watching her life slip away, I am glad that she knew we were with her until the end.

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Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brioche

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brioche

We were once asked to fill out a questionnaire at work that was meant to assess our strengths and weaknesses.  The survey had over 150 questions and we were meant to share our results with our group when done.  After the 10th question, I gave up, there was simply no way I was going to sit through the remaining 140.  I decided instead to ask my husband what he thought my strengths were, and what areas I could improve on.

“On the positive side,” he said “you are resourceful, always wanting to learn new things and you get along well with others.”

“But…” I asked.

“Well, you’re impatient” he told me.  “Impatient?? I’m not impatient!” I protested.

“You are – you can’t even sit down long enough to fill out a survey!” he answered.

Point taken.

When I want something, I want it right NOW.  The smallest hint of delay can frustrate and exasperate me.

(more…)

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