Today I’m delighted to share a recipe from Ashleigh in South Africa. She wrote in to me a couple of months ago; I was thrilled to hear from a home cooker that lives on another continent. Cooking for dogs or even supplementing store bought with home cooked foods is becoming more and more popular here in North America. Mind you, there are plenty of people who think it’s a waste of time & money, and have other not so nice things to say. Among my favourites are when one guy commented that my dear friend & television host Laura Ducharme “needs to get a man” (she has a fabulous husband) and I have had people say things like “well, I guess I can see “city people” doing that” and “things will change when you have children”. No more whimsical, frivolous cooking for dogs you cidiot, it shall be dirty diapers and jarring sweet potatoes from there on out and you’ll probably forget to even feed your dogs! I laugh and pretend I’m not thinking mean things about them in my head. Mwaahh ha ha. The good news is that the positive feedback outweighs the negative by far, and I do believe that seeking alternatives to processed food for dogs is more embraced than not here in North America. I’ve been wondering if the same is true in Europe and other countries as well.
So without further ado ~
Subject: Greetings from South Africa
I stumbled uponyour blog and wanted to say I am amazed at how many people out there have started cooking for their animals!
I have FOUR dogs all big (2 Golden retrievers, German shepherd and a collie cross), and I have been feeding them imported dog food and home cooked food for a long time.
South African Legislation prevents local food manufacturers from using food in animal feed which may be fed to humans, so local quality is appalling!
Imagine my horror to find information on the net claiming that the items put into this VERY expensive manufactured dog kibble is of poor quality, and some even claiming that euthanized animals are added too.
Since I have had my animals on home cooked food, they are more energetic and their coats are in great condition!
“The Motley Crue”: Oscar (the German shepherd bottom of pic) was a rescue, found starving in a warehouse, is the most loving gentle giant (at 53 kgs) 8 years. Marmeduke, male, golden retriever 20 mths old. Casey, female, golden retriever 20 mths old. Zoe, female, border collie/lab cross 8 yrs, rescue (found running in road)
Ashleigh had some great tips that I will share in my Community Cookbook – some of these were new to me, so you must definitely check them out. For example, she has a great suggestion as to how to replace low fat dry milk powder which can be costly. Ashleigh also offered to take pics and send me a recipe for her next “bake”. She did not disappoint -here’s her wonderful recipe. This just may be THE most comprehensive kibble recipe I have ever seen. It’s a lot of ingredients, a lot of love. I chose this name for her recipe because anyone who bakes kibble for 4 dogs each week is a real home cookin’ warrior in my opinion. Thanks Ashleigh, you’re truly an inspiration.
Ashleigh’s Warrior Bake Recipe follows:
1 cup Vegetable Oil (preferably Pomace Olive oil or good new Sunflower oil)
1 cup Green Beans, chopped
4-5 cups Celery chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
3 fresh Beetroots with leaves, chopped
1to 1.5 kg chicken breasts (or deboned cooked chicken/ turkey/ ostrich/ turkey or beef mince)
5 fresh tomatoes chopped (or one tin of tomato)
2-3 sweet potatoes, chopped with skin
5 to 6 red apples chopped into quarters, remove seeds
2.5 TBS msg free veg/chicken stock
3.5 TBS soy sauce (I use Kikkoman, instead of salt)
2 tablespoons parsley
6 eggs (due to recipe size)
4 cups rye flour
6 cups of stone ground brown flour (instead of having to add wheat germ, or add wheat germ too)
Brown flour for kneading (about I to 2 kg, I buy 10kg bulk flour)
½ cup seaweed powder
3 cups whey/dried milk 0% fat powder
4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast powder
½ cup ground eggshell (or raw if you don’t dry and grind)
1 cup parsley
2 cups rolled oats
4 tablespoons yeast (add the yeast dry, it helps raise the kibbles slightly and makes them easier to dry later)
Any specific dog additions according to your dog’s requirements (like MSM Chondroitin powder etc.) that won’t be damaged by oven heat.
1. Cook all the wet ingredients in a large pot (except the eggs) for one and a half hours and cool.
2. Blend all the ingredients in batches in the food processor, adding the raw eggs to each batch of the processed mixture before turning into a large mixing bowl (I blend all ingredients as this is a bulk recipe and contents need to mix thoroughly).
3. Tip the dry ingredients onto the wet mixture and work together with a large spoon
4. When the mixture is well blended, turn onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until the dough is well mixed and can be manipulated without the dough being too sticky.
5. Portion the dough into 500 to 800 gram balls (big enough to fit on a baking sheet)
6. Set your oven at 320 degrees F (160) degrees C).
7. Shape the dough balls into flat rectangles for rolling
8. Roll out the dough into a flat sheet (5cms thick) and transfer to the baking sheet (I use my paper baking sheets over and over until they fall apart!)
9. With a plastic ruler (yes! a child’s school ruler) score the dough deeply in lines in one direction and then the other to create square kibbles (I don’t do shapes as this a major production, but if my child is around, she often makes some shapes)
10. Small kibble at the ends can be pinched together and reshaped together so that they don’t waste.
11. Transfer the sheet with kibbles to the baking tray, and continue the process until you have enough trays to fill the oven (this bulk recipe will make 10 plus trays, so my oven goes for several hours….)
12. Bake for at least one hour, and turn the baked kibbles dough sheets upside down onto cooling racks
13. When cool enough separate the kibbles and put onto the baking trays for drying out in the oven.
14. When all the kibbles have baked, set the oven at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and dry the separated kibbles in the oven for at least two to four hours (I don’t have convection)
15. Switch oven off, and leave kibbles to cool in the oven overnight.
16. Tip cool kibbles into airtight containers/ plastic bags and refrigerate. Biscuits may also be frozen until required. (this batch only lasts a week with four dogs, so my freezer never sees the kibbles!)