Oct 29

Shepherd’s Pie and a very stressful 24 hours.

So here is what my past 24 hours has been like : FRANTIC!


Last night my darling dog, Doopey, had to be rushed to hospital in the middle of the night with life-threatening bloat / twisted stomach ( Gastric dilatation volvulus, for those in the know). He received emergency treatment at the 24 hr animal hospital here in Amsterdam, but once they stabilized him they told us he would still require urgent surgery, and since they did not have a surgeon available on-call, we would have to drive him 57km away to Utrecht where a surgical team would be waiting for us.


So we drove thru the storm with a very sick dog in the back, and we finally got to the surgical facility just before 2 a.m. At 3 a.m they were finally ready to begin the surgery and we were told to go home to get some rest. They would call us immediately following the procedure with an update.



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This picture was taken just before the anaesthetist put him under. They told us to say goodbye and to stay with him until he loses consciousness. I felt compelled to take this photo because I was not sure if I would see my beloved pooch ever again. It really was a race against time. I wanted to cry but R. was more emotionally upset than I was and I didn’t want him to lose it. Big softie.



At 5:30 a.m we got the call and the surgeon said the operation had been a success! Doopey was waking up in intensive care and he would be under constant surveillance for the next 24 hrs. We could not visit him but we could see him in the ICU via live-feed webcam. Brilliant! I slept on and off the rest of the night with my laptop beside me, watching my dog stumble about with drains and tubes getting entangled about his legs. It felt so good to be able to have some visual of him even tho I couldn’t be there by his side.




Doopey ICU





He was a good boy. He didn’t try to escape or so anything that would hurt himself. He just sat there and looked around for human attention. He’s a very people oriented dog.



Four hours later he was feeling much better and walking about more; not so wobbly on his feet. It was a huge relief for me and R. to see him on the webcam. God bless technology … and I took screenshots so I could send the pictures to my mother.



Doopey ICU1





Doopey remains in the hospital but we have since been told that he has been moved out of intensive care to the general ward. They are tapering down his analgesia and are trying to encourage him to eat some food (although they don’t think he will eat over the next few days). We will get further updates from him medical team tomorrow.



Sooooo … as you can imagine I seriously needed some cheering up. I did not eat all of last night and for most of the afternoon today until I heard that Doopey had been transferred out of intensive care. I also had very little sleep, but I am extremely happy today and I have much to be thankful for. In celebration I thought making some yummy pies would help boost our spirits a little.





Cottage Shepherd's Pie3 (640x424)




  • 500 g beef mince or lamb mince
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 cups mixed veggie mix (carrots, leeks, celery)
  • 1 cup wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dried Provençal herbs
  • 1 – 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 kg cheesey mashed potato




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Sautee the onions, garlic and veggies until the onions get transluscent. Add a little salt to encourage water extraction.


Then add the beef and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and a little dry herbs.


Add the wine and cook off the alcohol. Next add the tomato paste, Worchestershire sauce and enough broth to moisten the meat mixture. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 – 40 mins. Then turn off the fire and leave the mixture to cool slightly.


Grease the pie tins and spoon in the filling. Fill a piping bag with mash potato and pipe patterns on the surface. This step is pretty optional … simply plopping the potato on top with a spoon works too.


Bake at 180ºC for 25 mins. Then remove from the oven, sprinkle over with grated cheese and return the pies to the oven under a hot grill for 5 mins to brown.



Cottage Shepherd's Pie




Personal note: I tried to be “smart” and do something different by adding a pastry base to the bottom. Do yourself a favour and skip that entirely. Seriously.



~ Enjoy ~





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