It’s been such a tough week this week, I’ve shed far too many tears. My little cat Henry got sick. I never really liked cats, they always seemed so aloof and selfish. When I bought the beautiful cottage I spend most of my time in, the lovely people who sold it to me asked if I would take on their cat. I say their cat, Henry is nobody’s cat really. The cottage is in a small hamlet of farm dwellings. Henry has lived between most of them! There aren’t any real roads nearby, only a bumpy farm track. He simply wandered in one day, nobody knows where from but everyone shared caring for him.
I’ve lived here three years now and love the skinny little thing to bits. I can’t call him ‘my’ cat because he is such a free spirit but he lives with me and often sleeps on my bed. A wise old soul, he comes to me if he feels like it and stays away if he desires solitude. He once stayed away for 8 nights in the freezing cold, I honestly didn’t think I’d see him again … I searched high and low, I phoned every local vet, I shared posts on facebook … then after a week he simply wandered back in as if nothing had happened.
When I travel Henry sleeps on my luggage the night before I leave. Whilst I’m away he has a tendency to disappear himself, the neighbours who kindly feed him always panic!! But when I come back, so does Henry. It’s as if he knows.
We think he’s probably around 17 … definitely an old soul. He’s been ill before but always pulled through. This week has been different though, he’s weary, there isn’t much fight in him, it’s as if he wants to go to sleep. After two days not eating I took him to the vets. We did bloods, we put him on a drip – I’ve invested more time and money into that little cats medical tests than I have done my own!! Nothing conclusive showed other than a massively high white blood cell count. The vet was reluctant to let me take him home over the weekend, he’d not eaten anything they’d tried to entice him with. As kindly as he could the vet was trying to guide me into doing ‘whats right’.
Nobody likes to make that decision for a pet. It’s horrible. But I truly didn’t see any conclusive reason why I should. If his kidneys were failing him or diabetes was showing up … I could deal with that. But he wasn’t in any pain, simply lethargic and fed up. I’ve done 3 day water detoxes … I can relate to that feeling!!
So here we are, it’s the weekend and he’s home with me. I’ve bought every posh tin, sachet and packet of cat food going! I’ve got him tinned tuna, fresh salmon and cod loin. He’s eating 🙂 Okay … more licking at the gravy but he’s interested and up and about and washing himself and that’s so much better than Friday’s hopeless scenario.
I don’t often eat fish anymore. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s healthy, the omega 3 benefits are undeniable, it’s an ethics thing for me. I don’t like to pigeon hole my diet into a category but I guess you’d say predominantly vegan, gluten free and sugar free. I do eat eggs from the farm next door because I know the chickens are truly free range. I’ll also eat raw or manuka honey which I know officially goes against vegan principles. And very, very occasionally I will eat fish. This weekend is one such occasion. So here we are, my recipe for tempura battered cod with mushy peas and sweet potato fries. Enjoy and please keep your fingers crossed for little Henry cat.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 2)
Fish Filets in Tempura Batter
Skinless, boneless cod loin 300g
200ml Sparkling water
120g Rice flour
Tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
4 tbsp Coconut oil to fry
Whisk the egg and sparkling water together. Add the rice flour, salt and baking powder and continue to whisk to form a smooth, tempura batter.
Heat the coconut oil gently in a skillet.
Slice the cod into strips. Dust each piece evenly with rice flour, then dip in the tempura batter and gently place into the hot oil.
Carefully turn each piece after 4-5 minutes to evenly fry. Frying should take 8-10 minutes after which the fish piece should be coated in a lovely, light, golden brown batter
Fries (2 side orders)
1 Sweet potato
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Peel the potato and slice into thin wedges. Coat evenly in olive oil and salt. Roast for 20-30 mins at 200oC, turning occasionally to crisp the chips.
Sprigs of mint
Boil a pan of water, switch the heat off and add the peas. Leave in the pan for 10 minutes until soft
Drain the peas, add to a blender with a little water and sprigs of mint and roughly blitz into a mushy pea consistency.
Tartare Sauce (1 small jar)
2 Egg yolks (room temp)
Tsp Dijon Mustard
200ml Light olive oil
2 tbsp capers
5 small chopped gherkins
Handful of chopped parsley
Pinch of salt
Tsp white wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon
Whisk two egg yolks with a teaspoon of dijon mustard. Begin to very, very slowly pour in the light olive oil, continuing to blend with an electric whisk on high speed. The oil should thicken quickly to a mayonnaise consistency. Keep slowly pouring the olive oil as the mixture thickens. This is the trickiest part to making mayo. If the sauce doesn’t thicken from the start you will need to begin again. Pour slowly and make sure the eggs are at room temperature. I find those factors make a difference in getting this bit to work!
Add a teaspoon of vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice and keep whisking
Add the capers, chopped gherkin, chopped parsley and a pinch of salt and stir well. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge.