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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Post the Sixth (in which our heroine bemoans the lack of places to let dogs off-lead)

So, I've already mentioned, I have three boxers at home.  If you're not familiar with boxers as a breed, they are stubborn, loyal, loving, lovable rogues that are widely regarded to be eternal puppies and are generally wired to the moon.  What this essentially boils down to is that it's nigh-on impossible to tire one out by walking alone - they really need to get off the lead at some stage during a walk so they can have a good run and burn off some of that boundless energy.  Unfortunately, safe, secure, secluded places where you can do this are increasingly rare.  You can forget public parks or beaches - even walking a dog on-lead in some of them will earn you either daggers looks or the kind of fearful eyeing usually reserved for furtive men in trenchcoats.  Why are people so afraid of dogs these days?  I've had grown men shriek like Ned Flanders if Tink sniffs at them while walking.  I've had people literally crossing to the other side of the road when they clock me with one of my dogs.  The vast, vast majority of kids I come across are afraid of them.  The only theory I can come up with is that when I was a chiseller, all the neighbourhood dogs roamed loose and we knew all of them, so even if you didn't have a dog, you were well used to them.  These days, no-one lets their dogs roam, so if a child doesn't have a dog at home, they have no exposure to them at all, and just don't know how to deal with them.  Or maybe parents are just over-sensitising their kids to dogs as well as everything else, I don't know.

So anyway, we used to take our dogs up to the scrub-ground at the top of the hill near our house to run off-lead.  But then the landowner leased the land out to someone who cleared it and is using it to grow hay, so that's not an option anymore.

Then we used to take them down to the local school football pitch, except other idiots who did the same but never cleaned up their dogshit ruined it for everyone else and the school blocked access and installed a motion-sensitive loudspeaker announcement that demands you vacate the area if you do manage to get in.  And believe me, it's LOUD.  You can hear it from our house, half a mile away.  So that's not an option anymore.

So then we used to take them to a tiny little park down by the river.  It was literally only about the size of a softball pitch and fenced in on all sides and there was never a soul in the place, so it was ideal.  Only they built a playground in it and now it's always infested with kids, so that's not an option anymore.

So, we recently found a small little green area near our house that also enclosed on all sides, and we're using that for the time being.  Unfortunately, it's also earmarked to be developed into Tullow Tennis Club, so it's not going to be there indefinitely.  God knows where we'll go then.  I really don't fancy having to drive an hour somewhere just to be able to let my dogs go for a run.

Here they are, by the way. 

 In other news, I had a bit of an episode the other day regarding the kind of crap people put into their carbonara, which clearly doesn't belong there.  This was precipitated by a recipe on the Cooking Club thread which the poster called carbonara, but which had cream and mushrooms in it.  No, no and thrice no.  Carbonara has five ingredients in it.  That is all.  No more, no less.  I'm not ordinarily a food snob, but this one really grinds my gears.  I think what annoys me most is that adding extra shite is just needlessly complicating a recipe that is, quite frankly, one of the easiest things you can cook.  Carbonara also has the added attraction of being perfect hangover food - stodgy, cheesy, salty and ready in a flash.  So, of course we had it last night.

Tagliatelle Carbonara - serves 4

320g tagliatelle                           120g guanciale or pancetta, cubed
100g parmesan, grated               2 eggs, and two egg yolks
Black pepper

1) Cook the pasta until just al dente.  While it's cooking, fry the guanciale or pancetta until crisp.  It will render its own fat, so you shouldn't need any oil.

2) Drain the pasta & turn off the ring.  Mix the eggs, egg yolks, parmesan & lots of black pepper.  Return the pasta to the pot, mix in the bacon, then stir in the egg mixture.  Mix well, and serve IMMEDIATELY on warmed plates, with a little extra pepper & cheese sprinkled over.  Carbonara really doesn't benefit from being left sitting around for any length of time.

And yes, I am aware that that's rigatoni and not tagliatelle in that there photo.  It was all I had, but pasta is pasta.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps these dog-fearing strangers you speak of are put off by the dog-shaped teeth marks in your forehead?