Biscuits as treats? No, they’re my medicine, honest.
Today has been a day for baking biscuits – the weather has gone all gloomy and grey once again and indoors in the warm was a more tempting place to be than out in the cold. Michel regularly bakes biscuits for the girls and he has perfected his cheese and herb recipe, adapting it each time, as he does thus making it impossible for me to write accurate recipes for anyone, with a little more, or less, of this or that depending on which way his baking mood is taking him that day. As the biscuits usually contain a mixture of cheeses – whatever he has to hand and wants to use up, but cheddar and parmesan are frequent staples – I try to restrict how many biscuit treats the girls get, thinking of their waistlines, Susie-Belle’s in particular. In the immediate aftermath of her cruciate ligament injury, I didn’t give her any, as her severely restricted activity levels worried me as we constantly battle the weight, all of us, not just Susie-Belle. Being a house of foodies means activity levels have to be balanced with levels of food consumed. Easier said than done!
Now that she’s well on the mend and getting out and about a lot more, she’s being allowed a nightly, bedtime cheesey treat once again. But I’ve wanted to try cooking with herbs which have a therapeutic basis for her for a while, to help her reap the benefits of using fresh herbs daily amidst her tasty treats. I’ve been researching what we can add to her diet and how we can focus on her needs knowing her arthritic hips are not going to miraculously loosen up anytime soon. It is much more a case of realistically trying to slow any deterioration and help her to maintain her mobility and reduce any long term reliance on drugs if we can – whilst taking the advice of Kam, our vet, as to what we can do from a veterinary science angle.
Not one to blindly recount remarkable claims for herbs with no basis in fact or research, I’m cautious about extolling any virtues of the biscuits that have been filling our oven this morning. However, I am a qualified herbalist and can’t help myself wanting to hint at the health-giving properties that Susie-Belle will be ingesting with her daily turmeric biscuits, first tried and tasted earlier today.
Anyone wanting to learn about turmeric will soon find masses of miracle claims about its properties, most of which would probably require a field full to be eaten daily to really be valid. But, it is a herb with a very long use in many traditional medical systems and modern pharmacological research does support some of the claims made. For me, the main benefit of using it in Susie-Belle’s biscuits is that it will provide – on a tiny, very tiny – scale a tasty source antioxidants (this is a proven activity of some of the components of the root), which is always going to help maintain health and in the case of osteoarthritis, definitely useful. Its proven anti-inflammatory actions should go a little way to helping to reduce pain levels and there are additional digestive benefits and by having a healthy digestion, this in my view is central to wellbeing, everything works better if we eat well and our digestion works well.
As well as the turmeric in the biscuits, Michel added fresh, chopped rosemary and thyme from the garden for their flavour and benefits, a taste of ginger, which compliments the turmeric and a sprinkling of sesame seeds for additional crunch and texture. He kept the fat content as low as possible and added just a touch of a mixture of olive and walnut oils.
|Renae, in the middle, fresh from her bath, flanked by her sisters awaiting their biscuits to taste test|
The house certainly smelt delicious as they were baking, especially as our lunch was in the oven alongside the biscuits – roast lamb with garlic and rosemary – so the aromas have been heavenly, but we were not 100% certain the distinctive taste of turmeric would go down well with Susie-Belle (she’s none too keen on the supplement she has). But, we needn’t have worried for a nanosecond. The biscuits have been an instant success with all three of the girls – even Renae who can be more particular about what she likes and doesn’t like.