Tuesday 11 September 2018

A Date With My Cat with Whiskas Cat Casseroles and Vegetarian Beefy Pie

Okay, a friend date with my cat is not something I'd ever have anticipated writing about and the people who have known me longest are entitled to laugh loudest. Go on, enjoy yourselves. Cats really weren't my thing until Gary landed at our door and forced us to care about him by being ill and cute. I've headed with his best model shot, you can see the cute...

I'm not made of stone, I tried to resist, but even I relented and it's taken a mere 2 years to get to this point... Cats will rule the universe one day. Whiskas have asked me to conjure up the perfect evening with my cat. Even Gary was surprised when I told him.

I'd have gone for the cinema, bowling and a nice sit down 3 course meal, but happily cats aren't generally allowed in restaurants or cinemas and they are rubbish at bowling, so I've settled for Gary's preferred choice, date night in. (That's a lie, but I'm not sitting on the back step for 3 hours watching the drizzle.)

We were sent a choice of 3 Whiskas cat casseroles in individual portion sachets - duck, chicken and turkey - and we are very familiar with these because we buy them. I don't believe any fish is really sustainable any more, so I prefer to feed Gary legged creatures. Whiskas is one of the very few brands who sell in packs which allow for my choice and I can bulk buy to save money.

Gary has chosen a delicious duck in gravy as his main course, served in his favourite purple cat bowl. He's not one for fancy drinks, so has gone for his usual water, with a garnish of stray hair.

I've made myself a nice vegetarian beefy pie. I've popped the recipe below because I'm particularly proud of it. I've chosen to team my meal with some oven chips, black peas and an ice cold cola. Obviously if I was a food blogger I'd have realised this is all brown and looks very brown on camera.

We did hit a snag here because Gary isn't allowed on the kitchen table, and in fact is expected to eat on the floor. We ate together, but separately and I think we were both very happy with our meal.

Tummies full, we retired to the lounge for a couple of board games. Gary's choice was Cobra Paw. He thrashed me, he could grab the tiles faster than me every time. I still say ginormous razor-sharp nails are an unfair advantage.

No bitterness here, I went for a nice game, Exploding Kittens. A lack of an opposable thumb did make it a bit tricky for him to hold his cards, but he can't read anyway and he wanted to eat everything, so he was rubbish.

A good evening always ends with a movie. Gary's favourite movie ever was one where a man dropped a tissue, but somehow despite that detailed description I can't remember what it was, so we went for something we'll both enjoy. A nice nature programme with sharks and shiny fishies. I may not often feed him fish, but he can still dream...

We ended our evening with the usual. A selfie together. On reflection maybe I should have taken it.

Beefy Vegetarian Pie

The problem with a lot of vegetarian options is that they don't feed 6 foot tall teenage boys, so I've had to learn to cook filling nutritious food. This pie has all kinds of cheats, so anyone can make it, and you'll barely even remember it is entirely vegetarian. In fact, it's very easily made vegan.


Ready Made Puff Pastry - most brands are veggie and some, including ALDI, are vegan. It is barely any more expensive than making your own puff pastry and substantially easier.
Beefy chunks - 1 bag or around 3 portions. These are available in supermarkets or health food shops and you can use seitan, TVP, soya, Quorn or any beefy chunks. This is a special meal, so I've pushed the boat out with some fancy frozen beefy strips
Onions - sliced roughly
Mushrooms (optional) - quartered

For the gravy:

Plain flour - 1 rounded dessertspoon/25g/1oz
Margarine or butter - 1 rounded dessertspoon/25g/1oz
Soy Sauce - 2 tablespoons
Vegetable stock - 1/4 pint or 125ml
Seasoning - Thyme is traditional, with a pinch of salt and a good dash of pepper. If your strips or chunks are heavily seasoned then you may not need any - mine are barbeque flavour. You can go for what you fancy. Smoked paprika, chilli, garlic and mixed herbs. Experiment a little.


Prepare the beefy chunks if necessary, then partly cook them according to the instructions. Cook around 2/3 of the suggested time, the rest can happen inside the pie, and you don't want the chunks to fall to pieces during cooking.

Soften the sliced onions and mushroom chunks by either cooking them with the chunks for 5 minutes or gently browning in a flat bottomed pan or frying pan.

Take the pastry out of the fridge at this point, so it has a chance to get to room temperature before you use it, then it is less likely to crack.

Make the gravy:

Melt the margarine in a saucepan over a low heat
Add the flour, making sure you stir it together well.
Mix in the soy sauce and the seasonings, and remove from the heat.
Start slowly adding the stock, little by little, mixing it well the whole time to prevent lumps.
Once all the stock is added, the gravy should be runny.
Return the pan to the low heat and keep stirring. After less than 5 minutes it should start to thicken. Turn off the heat.
If you can stand a spoon in the gravy then add 20ml more water until it works as a sauce.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C Fan/ Gas mark 5 /375°F).

Assemble the pie:

Very lightly grease your pie dish to prevent sticking (unless it's glass, then it's not necessary), then line it with the pastry.
Fill the pie with your chunks, onions and mushrooms, then pour or spoon over a layer of the gravy. It shouldn't be swimming or your pie will be soggy, but no liquid will make a dry pie. I usually need all of the gravy.
Put a lid on the pie and seal edges with water. Cut a slit in the top for steam to escape.
Brush with egg yolk or milk to give a golden topping,


Cook for around 25-40 minutes depending on the size and depth of your pie. The pastry should be golden brown and the insides piping hot.

This is a paid collaboration with Whiskas. Gary is a cat and cannot be coerced. He likes Whiskas cat casseroles very much. He does not like Exploding Kittens


  1. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (repeat until fade...)

    1. I actually read that entirely in your laugh. What has happened to me?!?! :D

  2. Sounds like a fun evening all round, glad there were no cheetahs.

    1. Awww Jen! Boom boom! *Wishes I'd thought of that one*

  3. Replies
    1. :D I should rent him out for date nights - but I'd advise against the Cobra Paw, he is vicious :D

  4. Literally crying laughing a exploding kittens 🤣

  5. lol love it. Exploding kittens, so funny. That does look like a tasty pie and hooray for Gary xx


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