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Cooking with Cats adventures in the kitchen with Rod Morgan and Ariel P. Cat


Words © Roderick Morgan 2003 Illustrations © Mo Orkiszewski 2003 Feline Consultant Ariel P. Cat

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This book was handmade at BLUE CAT HEAVEN www.bluecatheaven.com.au Sydney, Australia


Introduction Like most people, I’ve always enjoyed cooking and eating. But then the cat moved in and changed all the rules. I still enjoy cooking and eating but its different now. He’s an Abyssinian and active. I’d start to prepare something, turn away, and when I turned back find that the cat had struck (like the predator he is). I started looking for books that would give me tips on how to prepare a meal, any meal, with a cat in the household. I couldn’t find any, so in the meantime I developed my own methods. Mealtimes are special times for communicating with your cat, after all its one of the few things we do that cats can understand the point of. This little book is a description of my journey of discovery in the culinary world of Ariel P. Cat.


Pawprints

The pawprints that you see throughout this book are courtesy of Ariel P. Cat. On a rainy day we put half a dozen sheets of paper down in the passageway beside our house in the hope of getting some muddy cat prints. He sniffed them and of course walked carefully around each one, studiously avoiding them. However, over the next four or five hours we managed to collect a few and later put them through the scanner. They’re outlined in blue so you know YOUR cat didn’t just walk all over your brand new book.


Cat-proof cupboard CatThis is an essential piece of equipment. If you’re going to cook with a cat around, you’re going to need somewhere to put the caviar while you get the Saos. Otherwise you’ll be serving dry crackers with the spumante. You need a cupboard near the food preparation area that you can slip things into when there’s a dispute about who that piece of chicken belongs to. If you’re in a tent, get a box, if you’re in a room, rearrange the crockery cupboard, if you’re in a mansion, there must be somewhere in those acres of stainless steel that you can hide something and find it again.


All systems go!


Contents The Battle for Breakfast. . Chicken Risotto con gatto Stirfry .. .. .. .. .. The Dangers of Corn . . . . Marinated Swordfish . . . . Chicken Caesar Salad . . . . Spag Bol a la pussycat .. Drambuie Pancakes . . . . The Xmas Quail . . . . . . A Midnight Snack . . . . . .

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1 9 17 25 30 38 46 54 62 70


The Battle for Breakfast

The Battle for Breakfast Some folk bounce out of bed in the morning eager to grasp the opportunities that the new day may bring. I am not one of those folk. My approach is to roll out of bed to avoid straining my back, trip over the shoes that I kicked off the night before, hit my head on the wardrobe and stumble out to the bathroom cursing. The advantage of this approach is that the day almost always improves from here on, so I’m usually feeling pretty cheerful when its time to fight the cat for my breakfast. This is my dream breakfast.

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The Battle for Breakfast

INGREDIENTS (serves 1 and a cat) a cat (of course) bacon a packet of turkey slices lamb’s fry (liver) a small onion 1/2 cup of mushrooms 2 eggs 1 small potato 2 slices of toast coffee orange juice COOKING TIME Ten minutes for the cooking, as long as you like for talking to the cat.

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The Battle for Breakfast

METHOD First say hello to the cat. He will no doubt be in the vicinity of the fridge, revved up and ready to go. Take your time, the cat ain’t going anywhere. If you take long enough he may do the talking to foreigners thing, you know, speak loudly with big gestures like charades to get the message across. Just before he loses it completely and rips the fridge door off its hinges I like to say “Oh well, shall we have a look in the fridge then?” just to see the expression on his face. The Welsh are famous for this sort of contrary behaviour. The cat just thinks I’m a moron. Hmm. If you crouch down in front of the fridge the cat may climb your back and sit on your shoulder to help you make your selection. Be aware that he will probably make his own selection at the same time. Distract him with a small piece of turkey slice. Annoy him by showing him an egg or two. Get tempting things into the catproof cupboard before he gets them into his belly.

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The Battle for Breakfast

Par-boil the potato Heat a saucepan of salted water to boiling and when it boils throw in the small potato cut in half for five minutes. Get the drinks happening. Orange juice and coffee sharpen up the reflexes, and if you’re going to deal with a cat on anything like a level playing field you’re going to need sharp reflexes, so squeeze some oranges into a glass with some ice cubes and brew some coffee while you plan your tactics. I like to put a couple of spoons of ice cream in the cup and pour the coffee over it for a sort of fake cappuccino. I used to like to read the newspaper over breakfast, but it can be so depressing, so now I just put it on the table and pretend to read it while the cat shreds it to get my attention. Much more fun.

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The Battle for Breakfast

Put a chopping board and sharp knife on the table. This is like cat foreplay. Enjoy this opportunity for intimacy while the cat waits to see what you’re going to chop up next. Chop up the mushroom and onion. By now the potato should be ready so run it under a cold tap for a while then grate it with a cheese grater and make two patties. You can take your time over this ‘cos the cat will just be telling you how much he/she loves you and when are you going to get to the good stuff. At least I think that’s what a wet nose in the eye and a tail under the nose means.

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The Battle for Breakfast

Drink some more coffee to get the reflexes sparking, then put the frying pan with some oil on a burner and toss in the potato patties. Get the lamb’s fry and cut some 5mm slices. Try not to slice the cat’s paw, nose, whiskers etc. as this can ruin the delicate confluence of flavours and disturb the harmony of the household. The cat can have a small piece on the floor. Quickly, while he’s occupied, toss the lamb’s fry and bacon in the pan. After a minute or two, turn and move it all to one side of the pan and toss in the mushrooms, onions and eggs. At this point the cat may choose to help you look in the fridge and locate the turkey slices. In my experience this process is usually accompanied by loud purrs of approval and a certain amount of drool.

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The Battle for Breakfast

Add a couple of these (slices, not drool) to your creation in the pan. (You need a big pan!) Take one turkey slice out after about ten seconds (when its blood temperature) and give it to your furry friend. In another minute or so when its all cooked, remove the contents from the pan and arrange it artistically on a plate. I never met an animal that cares what his food looks like and I never met a human that didn’t. Attempt to reconstruct the jigsaw that was your newspaper. After the battle for breakfast, driving to work in the traffic’s a piece of cake.

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The Battle for Breakfast

The battle is over for another day - Page 8 -


Chicken Risotto con Gatto

Chicken Risotto con gatto

We opened the bottle of wine around five. A nice crisp white for a summer’s afternoon. We’d bought it and another because a couple of friends were coming around for dinner. Chicken risotto con gatto. Its better than the theatre. Its a little like a circus. Here’s how you do it.

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 and a cat) · a couple of friends (optional) · a cat (de rigeur) · a couple of cups of mushrooms (chopped) · an onion (chopped) · some capsicum (chopped) · a cup or two of chicken (chopped) · a slice or two of bacon (chopped) · 1 litre chicken stock · 3/4 cup of dry white wine · 1.5 cups of arborio rice · parmesan and salt and pepper · some salad and dressing · a cat-proof cupboard near the food preparation area · a chopping board and a sharp knife COOKING TIME Between 30 minutes and three hours (depending on the cat and the wine) - Page 10 -


Chicken Risotto con Gatto

METHOD This is where it gets tricky. · First put the chopping board and the sharp knife on the table. This will provoke a flurry of activity and a small furry creature will appear from nowhere to see what’s happening. Say hello. Say “Guess what, I’m cooking chicken risotto!”. Watch for the look of understanding that passes between you and a member of another species as you agree that he’ll get a little later and he agrees not to rip your arm off right now and eat it in front of you and your loved ones. Call me an old softy but I love those moments. Leave the chopping board there for a bit while he gets used to the idea that you don’t like him walking on it. Have another glass of wine. Grope around in the fridge for green things. And onions. He’ll hate them.

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

· Put everything except the meat on the kitchen table. Let him investigate the veggies (without licking them or walking on them). Chop a few up. Watch him look at you in amazement as if to say “You eat this crap?”. Answer the doorbell and welcome your friends. Put on some music to set a mood. Put the chopped veggies on a plate in a cat-proof cupboard. Your friends have brought some wine. Open it and pour some glasses. Watch the cat say hello to your friends (if he likes them). Watch him treat them like aliens if he’s not fussed. I enjoy both responses. Next comes the hard part. Some folk have never got past this part and have remained vegetarians all their life.

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

· Cut up the meat. First get the chicken out of the fridge and put it on the chopping board. Let him observe it closely. Don’t let him hook it with a claw and drag it off to his lair to play with and eat at his leisure. Most dinner guests frown on this sort of thing, it reminds them too closely of the way their teenagers behave. Fending him off with one arm, quickly chop the chicken with the other, slide it onto a plate and slip it into a cat-proof cupboard. Do the same with the bacon. The bacon is especially difficult because while you have the packet in one hand and the slice(s) for chopping in the other you’re defenceless!

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

At this point our cat sees me as a sort of combined climbing structure/adventure playground with rewards hanging off it. With the cat trying to balance along an extended arm to snare the booty hanging off the end, while you stand on one leg to open the fridge door with your foot so you can put away the rest of the bacon, and your guests roll around on the floor laughing, it can be difficult to remember what you’re attempting to achieve. But be calm. Stay focussed. If you’ve got this far without misadventure you’re doing well, but your cat’s probably feeling like a loser so you’d better let him have a small piece of chicken while you have a small glass of wine. And take a deep breath. It’s a breeze from here on. Which is just as well because if you’ve been following these instructions diligently, you’re three sheets into the wind already.

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

· Pour the chicken stock and wine into a saucepan (with a lid so the cat doesn’t drink it) and heat to a simmer. · Lightly fry (sauté) the chicken and bacon in a little olive oil · Add the veggies · Add the rice and cook for a few minutes until it looks different. · Set a timer for 20 mins, turn the heat down a bit, and add the stock a little at a time, stirring frequently · Explain to the cat that the delicious aroma he can smell is but a hint of the delights that await him in a few short minutes. Tell him that you’re cooking this delicious meal especially for him because he’s such a beautiful boy and that you hope he doesn’t mind if you throw in a bit extra so the humans can have some too. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the recipe and must not be left out if you don’t want the whole meal jinxed. - Page 15 -


Chicken Risotto con Gatto

路 Toss the salad and dressing, and when the 20 mins is up and the risotto is the right consistency, chuck in grated parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and serve.

路 On five plates.

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Chicken Risotto con Gatto

Preparation is so important - Page 17 -


Stirfry

Stirfry I opened the bottle of beer around four. A nice numbing amber for a quiet afternoon. Last night I’d been disappointed with a couple of friends. Tonight I would eat with my loved ones. Stirfry with girl and cat. Here’s the recipe.

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Stirfry

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 and a cat) a girl a cat a cup of mushrooms (chopped) an onion (chopped) some capsicum (chopped) a cup or two of beef (cut into strips) a zucchini (chopped) Bok Choy Bamboo shoots Water chestnuts (sliced) Stirfry sauce Instant noodles a cat-proof cupboard near the food preparation area COOKING TIME Between thirty minutes and two hours (depending on the cat and the beer)

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Stirfry

METHOD Make a start First put the chopping board and the sharp knife on the table. If you were worried that your cat might be dead because he hadn’t moved for the three hours that he had been lying in that patch of sun in the back yard, this will miraculously bring him back to life and into the kitchen. Welcome him with a big kiss on his velvety head. With luck this may disgust him so much that he will keep away from you and the chopping board for a few minutes while you put the meat in the cat-proof cupboard.

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Stirfry

Put everything except the meat on the kitchen table. Let him investigate (from a hygienic distance). Chop up a few veggies. Watch him look from the veggies to you to the veggies with amazement. Watch the amazement turn to disbelief when you chop up an onion. Sometimes I chop up two just to see what happens after disbelief. Relax, put on some music, have a bit of a dance with the girl and the cat. At times like these the girl and I sort of wave our arms and legs around and the cat does what looks like the funky chicken. I think its a menu hint. Its also a bit like shaking hands with your opponent before you step into the boxing ring with him. Boil some salted water for the instant noodles.

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Stirfry

Brown the beef in a little olive oil. This involves heating the pan so the cat will avoid it, and getting the beef strips safely from the cupboard into the pan. The cat will attempt to distract you by climbing into the cupboard, sticking his bottom in your face, making peculiar conversational noises etc. Don’t let him establish eye contact. He knows that if you are looking at him you’ve taken your eye off the ball, in which case you can expect the ball (i.e. your dinner) to disappear from under your nose. The longer you can prolong this part of the cooking, the more entertaining it is for all concerned. I like to watch him show off a large part of his repertoire of funny faces, strange noises and acrobatic manoevres. I think its sort of like going on a first date with a bloke, without having to listen to him brag about how important his job is. Later on however, you may still have to slam the door in his face if you don’t want to sleep with him. I find the inquisitive whirring squeak with one ear vertical and the other horizontal irresistable, and I think the cat’s worked this out because he does it all the time. And the wink. What the heck, I’ll leave the door open tonight. - Page 22 -


Stirfry

When the beef is browned, add the veggies to the frypan. SautĂŠ lightly then add the sauce. Add the instant noodles to the boiling water When the noodles are cooked, pour into a strainer serve with the stirfry On three plates.

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Stirfry

A pre-prandial siesta - Page 24 -


The Dangers of Corn

The Dangers of Corn I’m a worried man. I feel like I’ve bought a mobile phone on a bad plan. You know, the handset’s cheap but you get a huge bill every month. Or that I’ve had a garbage disposal unit installed in the sink at a price I was happy with, only to find a few months later that its blocked up all the plumbing in the house and the only way to fix the problem is to get a new kitchen. Why? Well, I was aware that our Abyssinian has two ends, and stuff goes in one end and eventually comes out the other. I am now aware that the inlet end can sometimes cope with stuff that the outlet end can’t. I think maybe he was built back to front, but I don’t like my chances of getting him to operate the other way around. - Page 25 -


The Dangers of Corn

All I can do is pay the vet, apologise to the cat, and warn everyone that I can about the dangers of corn. This was going to be a recipe but the cat hijacked my agenda. Part of the meal involved corn on the cob, and the cat was particularly curious about it. So when I’d finished gnawing on a piece about five or six inches long, I put it in his bowl and said “Ha! Good luck sunshine, maybe that’ll stop you hassling me for a while so I can finish my dinner in peace.” I was thinking that he might lick a little of the butter, or find a kernel or two that I’d missed, or if he was feeling really gung-ho have a bit of a chew on the core. Hence the “Good luck!”. I mean I couldn’t chew up the core of a corn cob, and I wouldn’t want to.

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The Dangers of Corn

About two minutes later I’d finished my meal and looked over to see the cat hunkered down on the floor with one inch of corn cob left. I couldn’t believe it at first, but I took the remaining piece of cob away from him (in the tradition of people with bolting horses locking stable doors) and thought “Oh well, its only vegetable matter, I guess it’ll break down and pass through him”. Then I thought of corn cobs in the compost heap. They can sit there for years before they break down. I started to feel a little worried and a little stupid. And a little guilty. How could I do that to my beautiful friend?

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The Dangers of Corn

A day later I felt more worried, more stupid and more guilty, so I took him to the vet. That didn’t help at all. I felt like a felon. Apparently a corn cob is one of the worst things you can feed an animal because it doesn’t break down for years and if they can break it up into bite sized pieces, those pieces have sharp edges that will tear the gut and block it while they’re at it. Fortunately it was all still in his stomach so they opened him up and removed a mass of cellulose about the size of a tennis ball. What a pig! That was three weeks ago and you’ll be glad to know he’s recovered beautifully. Phew. I wish I could say that the $800 that it cost made me feel less worried, less stupid or less guilty, but it didn’t. I know I’m stupid, I know I’m guilty, and now I’m worried that I’m going to come home one day and find that he’s eaten one of my shoes.

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The Dangers of Corn

The King is back surveying his domain - Page 29 -


Marinated Swordfish

Marinated Swordfish I was at the shops unable to decide what to get for dinner when suddenly, as I passed the fish shop, inspiration struck like a bolt of lightning. Now I’m not saying the cat had anything to do with it, lets just say that if he could have he would have. A picture came to me as clear as day. Swordfish steaks. And a nice cool crisp bottle of white wine for the humans. I think he likes me to have the wine because after a glass or two cat discipline goes skipping out the window hand in hand with self discipline. He reckons good riddance to them both. - Page 30 -


Marinated Swordfish

INGREDIENTS (serves 3 and a cat) a couple of friends (optional) a cat (of course) 3 swordfish steaks a spring onion (sliced) a clove of garlic (crushed) a spoon of chilli sauce (to taste) 1/3 cup of lemon juice 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup dry white wine Creole seasoning baby carrots baby peas baby corn 3 small potatoes fresh crusty bread a cat-proof cupboard near the food preparation area COOKING TIME Ten minutes for the cooking, as long as you like for the marinating. - Page 31 -


Marinated Swordfish

METHOD First catch the fish (from the fish shop will do) and marinate it. Put the lemon juice, wine, oil, chilli sauce, garlic and onion in a small jar and shake well until it looks well shaken. This is the marinade. Put aside. While you’re at it put a little wine in a glass for yourself. Don’t shake. Have a sip. Put aside. Show the fish (in its wrapper) to the cat. Let him sniff it etc. Tell him you’ve been out sailing the oceans, braving the seven seas to bring back bounty from the deep especially for him and your loved ones. Tell him anything you like, the only words he’s likely to hear are “You’ll get some soon”. Unwrap the fish and place in a bowl. Pour the marinade over it and make sure its well coated. Place in a cat proof cupboard.

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Marinated Swordfish

OK, what we should have at this point is three swordfish steaks in marinade in a bowl in a cat proof cupboard, and you and a cat outside the cupboard. Any other combination will not work. If you find yourself outside the cupboard with a swordfish steak and the cat inside the cupboard with the rest, you may have to try again another day. You may also have to hose out the cupboard. If you find yourself inside the cupboard with the fish and the cat then you should face the fact that this recipe may be too complex for you. Put the veggies on the kitchen table. Let him investigate (from a hygienic distance). Slice the potatoes like fat crisps. Chop up the other veggies if you like, or leave them whole. Relax with your friends. Drink wine, sing songs. If you’re old, reminisce about the past, if you’re young, talk about the future. If you’re in the middle, you’re lucky ‘cos you get to do both. If you’re a cat, work out a way of getting into that damned cupboard while the humans are distracted.

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Marinated Swordfish

Put a vegetable steamer with a little salted water in it on the stove and bring to the boil. Heat a frypan with a little butter and olive oil. Sprinkle Creole seasoning on the fish. Put the veggies in the steamer and the fish in the pan. This involves heating the pan so the cat will avoid it, and lifting the fish out of the bowl into the pan. Be aware that the cat will have worked out that this is the weak point in your plan and will be waiting for an opening. Its a little like getting money from an ATM and crossing the road to the shop to buy something. You need to be very wary of people bumping into you or asking directions or sticking their tail up your nose etc.

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Marinated Swordfish

Brown the fish each side then add the rest of the marinade to the pan and cook for a few more minutes. Serve with the vegetables (except the potatoes) and a little butter and fresh crusty bread on three plates. Sauté the potatoes in the pan with the marinade while you’re serving the other things, then add them to the plates. I don’t bother putting out a serving for the cat because I’ve never managed to cook and serve this meal without him making his own arrangements and stealing some anyway. I think he likes it better that way.

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Marinated Swordfish

What a helpful cat - Page 36 -


Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad OK, this is the scene. Its a warm lazy evening, the sun’s just gone down, you’ve had a glass or two of wine, and while you feel like eating you don’t feel like doing anything complicated or long-winded. Oh, and 2-4 friends may or may not drop in. I found myself in this situation recently and when I asked the girl what I should do she said “whateveryoureckon”, so I asked the cat. I’m pretty sure he said “chicken”. This is my version of Chicken Caesar Salad and if those extra friends turn up you can always throw in more lettuce and croutons.

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Chicken Caesar Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 and a cat) some friends some wine a cat a cup or two of chicken (chopped) a slice or two of bacon (chopped) Cos lettuce a cup or two of croutons parmesan cheese (grated) Caesar salad dressing a cat-proof cupboard near the food preparation area a chopping board and a sharp knife COOKING TIME Between 15 minutes and an hour (depending on the cat and the wine)

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Chicken Caesar Salad

METHOD First open the fridge and stare into it blindly while you try to remember what you’re looking for. Our cat is very helpful at times like these and yours may be too. Teamwork is an important way of building relationships so don’t rush this part. He may climb you or the shelves to help locate the essential ingredients and remind you of the task at hand. Isn’t it great to see the little guys showing initiative? Locate the cos lettuce. If we expect our pets to make an effort to understand a few words of our language then we should make the effort to understand them. Observe your cat closely at this point, whatever he’s doing will mean “No, no, not the lettuce you fool, the chicken, the chicken!”. Break off three or four leaves per person and put them on the chopping board. Slice them up with a sharp knife and place the chopped lettuce in a salad bowl.

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Get out the chicken Put it on the chopping board. Fend off the cat. This may require a gentle admonishment, a firm push with the hand, or a whip and a chair. It depends on the nature (and size) of the cat. When things settle down and you can put the whip and the chair back and pick up the chicken and the knife, you’ll come across a small problem. If you don’t fancy fending off the cat with the chicken and the knife the only thing you’ve got left to fend with is your head. You’ve got to just hope that your cat likes you. And that your friends don’t laugh and put a lampshade on your head and take photos etc.

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put it on a plate in the cat-proof cupboard. Chop the bacon and put it on a plate in the cat-proof cupboard. Heat a frying pan. Fry (sautÊ) the chicken and bacon in a little olive oil (5-10 mins.). Now is a good time to top up your glass and chat to your friends about what they’ve been up to. Or about up to which they might have been. The cat may want to bring chicken into the conversation.

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Drain oil when done. A paper towel or two may help. Add the chicken and bacon to the lettuce and top with the croutons. Splash the salad dressing on liberally and toss. Serve in bowls and sprinkle a little Parmesan on each. Five bowls, four forks.

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Mmmmm................Chicken! - Page 43 -


Spag Bol a la pussycat

Spag Bol a la pussycat

We opened the bottle of wine around five. A nice mellow red for a winter’s afternoon. We’d bought it because a couple of friends were coming around for dinner. Spag Bol a la pussycat. Here’s the recipe.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 and a cat) • a couple of friends (optional) • a cat (of course) • a couple of cups of mushrooms (chopped) • an onion (chopped) • some capsicum (chopped) • a couple of cloves of garlic (crushed) • a bay leaf • Italian herbs • a cup or two of mince • a zucchini (chopped) • 1 can of tomatoes • 1/4 cup of red wine • chilli sauce (to taste) • tomato paste • anything else you can think of • yellow cheese (grated) • parmesan and salt and pepper • pasta • fresh crusty bread (maybe garlic bread) • some salad and dressing • a cat-proof cupboard near the food preparation area - Page 45 -


Spag Bol a la pussycat

COOKING TIME Between one and three hours (depending on the cat and the wine) METHOD • On your marks, get set, GO First put the chopping board and the sharp knife on the table. If you were wondering where the cat had got to, wonder no more because he will appear as if by magic to see what’s happening. • Put everything except the meat and cheese on the kitchen table. Let him investigate (from a hygienic distance). Chop up a few veggies. Watch him wonder why you bother. Relax, put on some music, you’re pretty safe at this point since the cat isn’t likely to drag off a zucchini pretending its brought down an antelope. Anything meaty however is a different proposition. So enjoy this hiatus before the fun starts.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

• Pour the tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli sauce, herbs and wine into a saucepan (with a lid so the cat doesn’t eat it) and heat to a simmer. • Brown the mince in a little olive oil. This involves heating the pan so the cat will avoid it, and quickly throwing the mince into it before its intercepted. Don’t let the cat ankle-tap you like George Gregan bringing down Jonah Lomu. Don’t be distracted by him sitting on your shoulder like Long John Silver’s parrot. Avoid being amused by him sitting on your head like one of Carmen Miranda’s hats. It’ll only encourage him. •

Add the rest of the veggies to the frypan

Sauté lightly then add to the saucepan of tomatoes etc.

• Set a timer for 1 hour, turn the heat down a bit, and simmer, stirring occasionally.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

Some time in the next hour is a good time for your guests to arrive, so when they do, greet them and observe closely how your cat treats them. If he treats them with disdain resign yourself to the fact that you will probably drift apart from them over time. If he treats them with affection you will probably learn to like them even more as time goes by. Also tell yourself that you’re far too level-headed to be manipulated by a mere animal, and that its just the way of the world. You’ll feel better for it.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

• Grate the cheese This is my favourite bit. Put a plate and a cheese grater on the table, then get the cheese out of the fridge. Start grating the cheese onto the plate. Your little friend will probably show intense interest at this point, and may even want to help. You must set the rules. Say “No, you’re not allowed any of the cheese in my hand or on the plate”. He may feel the urge to rub against you purring while you go about the task at hand. He may even feel the urge to poke a tongue in your eye or ear but don’t be distracted. The game has started. Make sure he sticks to the rules. If he rubs against you a little vigourously and a small sliver of cheese misses the plate and hits the table, well that’s fair game. If you can’t get the cheese onto the plate with the tip of a tail held under your nose like a feather while the urge to chuckle uncontrollably and a sudden nudge puts you off target, well who set the rules anyway? If tears of mirth obscure your vision and you miss the plate, well you can’t blame him, he’s only a cat.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

• When the timer goes off, the sauce is done so cook the pasta. To check that its cooked, you can throw it against the wall to see if it sticks, or you can hang a strand off the rung of a kitchen stool and watch the cat play with it. I recommend the latter. •

Toss the salad and dressing

Serve with crusty bread and parmesan

On five plates.

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Spag Bol a la pussycat

Let the game begin - Page 51 -


Drambuie Pancakes

Drambuie Pancakes

We opened the bottle of Drambuie around nine. We’d had an early snack for dinner and then some friends had arrived from interstate and presented us with a bottle of liqueur. Their last meal had been a burger on the road. What could I whip up on short notice with not much in the cupboard? Drambuie Pancakes. Here’s the recipe. - Page 52 -


Drambuie Pancakes

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 and a cat) some hungry friends a hungry cat a cup of plain flour a cup of milk an egg icecream a few lemons some sugar (to taste) a bottle of Drambuie COOKING TIME About thirty minutes (depending on the cat and the Drambuie)

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Drambuie Pancakes

METHOD Make a start. I can’t tell you how to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but I can tell you how to pull a cat out of thin air. Show the audience you have nothing up your sleeves and put the chopping board and sharp knife on the table. Voila! A cat will magically appear out of nowhere. This is a good time to say hello and to introduce him to your friends. Its also a good time to pour everyone a glass of liqueur. I like to offer my glass to the cat just to see the look of triumphant anticipation turn to disgust. Put a cup on the table (large for more pancakes, small for less), and fill it with plain flour. I leave it like that for a while in the hope that one day the cat will sniff it and sneeze, turning himself into an instant ghost cat. It hasn’t happened yet and I’m starting to think it won’t, but then I’ve never found a hundred dollars in a jacket I haven’t worn for a while and I still live in hope.

- Page 54 -


Drambuie Pancakes

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl. This is safe, the cat may even pretend to be asleep (but within pouncing distance), so you can top up the glasses and have a chat etc. Put on some music, find out what your friends have been up to, talk about anything you like, your cat won’t give a stuff, he’ll just be waiting for an opening. When you feel like it, get out the milk. An eye will open, a body will stretch, a lithe furry creature may get up and rub against anything near the action. The carton of milk may be knocked over in the confusion. A cat may thoughtfully clean up any spill. A human may roll around on the floor laughing. Fill the cup with milk while performing a sort of martial arts with the cat. Feint, counterfeint, block, strike, circle, distract (Hey, what’s that over there?), but never lie. Cats can cope with losers, but not with liars. - Page 55 -


Drambuie Pancakes

Add the milk gradually to the flour while beating with whatever’s to hand (mixer, fork, stick, cat’s paw, tail, etc.) Show the egg to the cat. Crack the egg into the mixture (and beat) Put the mixture in a catproof cupboard Cut the lemons into segments. To a cat, these are yellow onions. We know different. We’re smart. Huh, you’d have to be stupid to put onions on pancakes. Or Mexican.

- Page 56 -


Drambuie Pancakes

Heat the frying pan. When its hot, add a little butter, let it spread around, and then add enough pancake mix to cover the bottom of the pan. Just before the burning smell, toss the pancake. Just before the next burning smell, slide the first pancake onto the first plate. Add lots of lemon juice, a bit of sugar, some icecream, and a dribble of Drambuie. Roll it up and serve with a fork to the hungriest person. Repeat. Let the cat lick the plate.

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Drambuie Pancakes

The Director at work - Page 58 -


The Xmas Quail

The Xmas Quail Part of the Xmas ritual is the preparation of a feast for the loved ones, and the stress that goes with it. I’m not going to do it this year. I did it last year, and while it was a triumph for the cat, it was a disaster for me. The sound of the turkey hitting the floor, the sight of the cat trying to drag something slightly larger than itself back to its cave while the guests sat stunned will live with me forever. We humans have been invited to eat the meaty part of Xmas dinner at a friend’s place this year. When we get home I’m making fruit salad, no icecream. And quail stuffed with prawns for the cat. - Page 59 -


The Xmas Quail

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 and a cat) a cat (of course) fruit a quail 3 or 4 small prawns N.B. The quail and prawns should be in the catproof cupboard getting up to room temperature while you’re out. PREPARATION TIME Ten minutes for the preparation, as long as you like for winding up the cat.

- Page 60 -


The Xmas Quail

METHOD Wander in the door and say hello to the cat. Since you’ve been out eating and drinking without him be prepared for a look of disdain in return. Humans will never truly master the look of disdain until they develop eyes in the top of the head. With eyes in the front of your head its just not possible to stalk out of a room while glaring at someone disdainfully, without the risk of destroying the effect by walking into the doorjamb. Open the catproof cupboard. Remove one small quail and the prawns, and while running around the kitchen to avoid the cat, insert the prawns into the body cavity of the quail. At the same time the cat will be running around the kitchen leaping from fridge to oven top to cupboard etc. trying to insert the prawns into its own body cavity, but as long as you’re still reasonably sober, you should be able to do this and get the finished object back into the cupboard without tripping over. - Page 61 -


The Xmas Quail

Now comes the good part, so you can relax and have a drink. Chop up the fruit. Our cat doesn’t really get fruit. I mean he can accept its existence, he just doesn’t really see the point of it. So take your time over the chopping in order to extend this valuable opportunity for inter-species communication. Exchange ideas. While you explain to him the importance of fruit in the human diet, he may try to explain to you that there’s something delicious in the catproof cupboard. Later he may try to explain to you that if you don’t give it to him NOW he’ll turn your arm into a fringe. This is about the time to give him the quail. He won’t be able to eat that much food without exploding, so when he’s had enough, withdraw the rest for later. And sing him a song. To give you the idea, this is a song I sing to my cat. You can whisper or you can yell, you can be unaccompanied and out of tune, just sing it like you mean it and the cat may not leave the room. - Page 62 -


The Xmas Quail

Little pussy cat This is where its at Little pussy cat This is where its at Right here, right now, We are the centre of the universe...... (that’s the cat’s favourite line so I usually stretch it out a bit) Little pussy cat This is where its at Then there’s a call and answer type chorus that goes (Human) I say ‘Yeah’ (Cat) ‘Wrrrrr’ (Human) ‘Yeah’ (Cat) ‘Wrrrrrr’ (Together) We are the centre of the universe................(hold) Little pussy cat This is where its at. - Page 63 -


The Xmas Quail

OK, I’m still living in hope on the call and answer bit, but I have a dream.......... I hope your dreams come true for Xmas, will you wish me mine?

- Page 64 -


The Xmas Quail

Cat stuffed with quail stuffed with prawns - Page 65 -


A Midnight Snack

A Midnight Snack

I wandered in the house a little after midnight. The cat greeted me at the door blinking and yawning with his ears on sideways. I’d been at work. Well OK, if you want to get picky, I’d been playing guitar at the local pub, got paid $50 and spent $15 on beer and $15 on guitar strings. Whatever, but when a man comes in from work he’s going to feel like food and drink. He’s earnt it. He deserves it.

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A Midnight Snack

The cat and I went to the fridge. He didn’t seem to feel the need to justify it. There was one beer, half a loaf of bread, some ketchup and a cold sausage left over from breakfast. I told myself that one day when I moved up to playing a better class of venue I’d be coming home to two beers, a warm sausage etc. but in the meantime I opened the beer and showed the sausage to the cat. He couldn’t seem to work out what it was so I whacked it on a slice of bread, slathered ketchup all over it and started munching. He looked at me like I was insane and stalked out the door. A few minutes later when I was about half way through my home made hotdog the cat came back with his own midnight snack. He’d caught a rat that was twice the size of my sausage. And he wouldn’t swap. I threw the rest of my snack in the bin and went to bed.

- Page 67 -


A Midnight Snack

- Page 68 -


A Midnight Snack

- Page 69 -


Cooking with Cats  

adventures in the kitchen with Rod Morgan and Ariel P. Cat illustrated by Mo Orkiszewski

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