Recently my world has been turned upside down because my sixteen year old cat, seemingly at death’s door a few days ago, was, according to the vet, most likely suffering from kidney failure. I had thought she was going to live forever - well at least make The Guinness Book Of Records for being the most long-lived cat - but it seems I was deluding myself.
To be fair, it wasn’t just wishful thinking. Along with her brothers and sisters, she’d been abandoned by her mother at birth. When I found her at just six weeks old she’d been locked inside a filthy shed, was suffering from a respiratory condition and was barely alive. Lady luck was smiling on her that day (in retrospect I wish I had taken all five kittens away with me) because from the moment she fearfully clung to me, pitifully mewing, her heart racing ten-to-the-dozen, she’s been treated royally - like the princess she is. Named Sushi, because I was determined to only feed her a raw food diet from the get-go, she has never eaten a single meal of pet food in her life. To read more about foods that make your cat and dog sick read the shocking truth here.
In the Primal Plate household, we live by the maxim “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” But it seems that even feeding my cat human-grade wild salmon, raw organic lamb, pork, chicken, egg yolks and raw grass-fed milk wasn't enough to stave off the progressive symptoms of disease associated with ageing. Following last week’s panic, when Sushi was so violently ill that I thought she must have been poisoned, I dug deeper still into the dietary requirements of felines. Only to discover that my best efforts to date have fallen short of her nutritional needs.
Firstly, since there are no bones in pre-packed supermarket minced meat and I can’t purchase a domestic grinding machine in the UK to grind up bones at home, she’s consistently been deprived of calcium. I never connected the now obvious dot that as minced meat in supermarkets is intended for human consumption, it’s assumed it will always be cooked before eating. The larger surface area of ground-up meat means it’s more vulnerable to bacteria growth - not a problem for humans, since cooking kills off any harmful bacteria - but if contaminated meat is fed raw to your pet it can cause serious gastrointestinal upset.
I also suspect Sushi’s diet was lacking adequate amounts of taurine - an essential amino acid that’s a vital supplement for ageing animals and humans (vegetarians in particular, please take note!) - because I never added offal (specifically, raw chicken hearts, which are rich in taurine and raw liver) to her meat. Also, down to my sheer laziness, I failed to ‘dress’ her dinners with a daily dose of vitamins and minerals (I use Arthrydex).
One week later, with some back-up help from raw cat food supplier PurrForm to get me over the ‘hump’, my kitty’s dietary shortcomings have now been resolved. It cost £80 for a meat grinder (to make our own range of raw, organic pet food), £79 for extra food supplements (Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Taurine and Wild Salmon Omega 3 oil) plus the time and effort to make our own calcium supplement with powdered eggshells! However, this is nothing compared to the vet bills I was quoted for an initial blood test and diagnosis. As for the lifetime’s medication and regular check-ups that the vet thought was inevitable going forward into the future? In my view, unless it’s an absolute emergency, most human beings and animals seem to fare better without medical intervention. It seems that Hippocrates is right on point. Today, Sushi has never been more alive and full of the joys of Spring!
Spirits lifted, I can now focus on what we’ll be eating for our Easter celebration lunch! Carrot And Coriander Roulade is a savoury carrot cake recipe that I’ve borrowed from the Vegetarian Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery Club book by Linda Yewdall (Ebury Press 1994).
Stylish and sustaining, it makes an interesting low-carb, protein-packed starter. The carrot roulade is rolled around a tasty, cream cheese filling flavoured with fresh herbs and coriander. Served with a mixed leaf and herb salad it’s like springtime on a plate.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy Easter!
Carrot And Coriander Roulade (Serves 4-6)
Ingredients - for the roulade
50g organic butter
450g organic carrots, coarsely grated (I do this in a food processor to save time)
4 large eggs, separated
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients - for the filling
175g full-fat soft cream cheese
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2-3 tbsp crème fraîche
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Ingredients - to serve
Assorted salad leaves
Herb sprigs such as dill, chervil or parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 200℃ / 400℉ / Gas mark 6
Line a 30cm x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking parchment.
Coarsely grate the carrots using a grating disc in a food processor, or by hand.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the carrots and cook gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until slightly coloured. Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool slightly, then add the egg yolks and coriander and beat well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until firm peaks form, then stir 2 tablespoons into the carrot mixture to lighten it. Using a metal tablespoon, carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
Turn out onto a sheet of non-stick baking parchment, cover with a clean, damp cloth and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the soft cheese in a bowl. Using a fork, mix in the chopped herbs (dill, parsley, chives, coriander) and enough crème fraîche to yield a smooth, spreading consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Remove the cloth from the roulade. Spread evenly with the filling, leaving a 1 cm (½ inch) border all round. With the short side facing you, carefully roll-up from this short side, using the paper to help.
To serve, cut the roulade into slices and arrange on individual plates with the salad leaves and herbs.
If the idea of rolling up the roulade fazes you, bake the mixture in two loose-bottomed 8 cm (7 inch) sandwich tins instead. Turn out and cool on a wire rack, then sandwich together with the filling.
I’m very lucky to have an award-winning farm shop called Maxey’s close-by. They supply local restaurants with delicate micro leaves and kindly let me have my pick when I want something posh to garnish Primal Plate dishes with. On this occasion, I used baby coriander, amaranth leaves and edible flowers for some extra Easter prettiness!
Carbohydrate 8g Protein 8g - per serving (total 6 servings)