Caramel Pork with Green Apple Salad and…Geriatric Care

Last week I phoned my vet to ask if he could see my two girls, Ruby and Rosie.  He asked what their presenting issues were and I said, ‘Geriatric care’.

My girls are in their twilight years and becoming more precious by the day.

Caramel pork with apple and mint salad

Caramel pork with apple and mint salad

Today was their day of reckoning so off we went in the car with tails wagging until we arrived.  Ruby put on her sad face and Rosie got the shakes.

First up, it was onto the scales which reminded me of seeing the obstetrician during my pregnancy days where you were weighed in on arrival like attending a Weight Watchers meeting.  Ruby’s lost 200gms but is still nestled in the ‘very overweight’ category and Rosie is stable; a little chubby but no need to make her miserable by restricting food.

Rosie was examined and she has some cysts that were aspirated with a needle and then the fluid was put on a slide and then peered at under a microscope and found to be of no issue at all; totally benign.  She was allowed off the bench and given time to recover from her trembling.

Thinly sliced apple

Thinly sliced apple

Then it was Ruby’s turn and I started with saying she had some glands that needed to be emptied and I’ll spare you the location of those glands.  Then we talked about her loss of hearing and sadly, there’s nothing that can be done about old age.  She has a canine tooth that’s giving her some trouble and that needs to be extracted.  She has dermatitis that she has been attacking with a lot of ‘licking and clicking’ so it’s become infected and may have given her a urinary tract infection (because of all the ‘licking and clicking’ in a certain area but I’ll spare you the exact location).  She has a displaced knee cap and needs a total knee replacement.  And I think that’s about it.

Pork fillets marinating

Pork fillets marinating

Treatment:  Ruby has to lose weight immediately and I have to reduce her daily intake by 25%.  Hopefully that will shed the grams because I can’t walk her because she has the bad leg.  She has had an injection of antibiotics for her dermatitis infection but will need to be bathed twice a week with special shampoo.  When she comes out of the bath I’m not allowed to rub her skin because it’s too sensitive; she has to be patted dry then sprayed with a special conditioner that you don’t rinse off.  She’s on tablets for her displaced knee but he recommends she has the knee replacement in two-three weeks, as long as she’s lost weight and at the same time, the canine will be extracted.

So I’m a wee bit busy!  Too busy to get a job to pay for all of this – I don’t know when I’d fit anything income-producing into my schedule.  I’m now the full-time carer of two geriatric ladies.  I wonder if I’m eligible for the ‘Carer’s Pension’!

Remember the whiskey?  It was so lovely the way so many of you commented about how you’ve also committed the same sin.  A lot of you asked for the recipe so with great enthusiasm I set about making this on the weekend.  But then it rained cats and dogs without reprieve so I couldn’t get out to the bar-be-cue.  So I cooked this in the frying pan and thought we would just gobble this up for dinner and I’d cook it again for you later in the week.

Pork fillets cooked in the frying pan, not the BBQ

Pork fillets cooked in the frying pan, not the BBQ

But now that I’m the full-time carer of two geriatric ladies, I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to cook these again so here they are.  Sorry there wasn’t a proper photo shoot – just a few snaps taken in the dark (now that daylight saving has finished), on my i-phone.

The recipes are from Spirit House, Hot Place, Asian-Inspired Barbecue.

My family really enjoys this recipe especially the uni students who like it because it’s a carb-free meal.  (I’m not allowed to serve carbs after 5pm).  It’s also really tasty and the sweet caramel pork contrasted with the refreshing crunchy apple and mint salad is a match made in heaven.

Apple and mint salad

Apple and mint salad

Spiced Chilli Caramel Pork Fillet

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  I found this to be an affordable family meal.

  • 2 pork fillets (tenderloins) trimmed of sinew
  • 100mls (2 3/4 fl oz) tamarind paste
  • 30mls (1 fl oz) whiskey
  • 200g (7oz) palm sugar, chopped
  • 50mls (1 3/4 fl oz) fish sauce
  • 25mls (1 fl oz) dark soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 lge red chilli, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Place tamarind water, whisky, palm sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, chilli and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly syrupy – about five minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and set aside to cool.

When cold, marinate the pork in half of the sauce while preparing the salad.  Set the remainder aside to pour over the cooked pork.

Green Apple and Mint Salad

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Cheap

  • 2 tspns palm sugar, chopped
  • 2 tbspns lime juice
  • 2 green apples, skin on and finely shredded
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, topped and tailed (I didn’t bother)
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 lge red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 tbspn ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1 cup washed mint leaves

In a large bowl, combine palm sugar and lime juice and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to mix.

Heat the barbecue to medium.  Grill the pork fillet, brushing with the sauce.  Take care not to burn and turn often.  This will take about 20-25 minutes to cook.  Rest for 10 minutes.  Then slice into 1cm thick medallions and transfer to serving platter.  Reheat the remaining sauce and pour over pork.  Serve with green apple salad on the side.

Excuse me while I go and bath the girls.

Caramel pork with apple and mint salad

Caramel pork with apple and mint salad

Slightly adapted from Spirit House, Hot Plate.

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  1. Wow, it sounds like those geriatric ladies are going to make for an expensive month. Our pets are as precious as any other family member.

    John surprised me the other day and bought Charlie a necktie. He wanted him to look fancy when we went for a walk. I tried not to roll my eyes.

    Now this gorgeous pork – I can’t wait to give this a try. It sounds dreamy. After this month you folks are going to be eating beans for a while. We need some good bean recipes this time of year. 🙂

  2. oh charlie, i love hearing your stories, they are always told with such a humorous edge!

  3. Aww those poor puppies! (Although…I suppose puppies isn’t really the right word.) Sounds like they’re in good hands, though!

  4. I have to tell you how much I enjoy reading everything you write! You write as if we’re old friends sitting and chatting over a cuppa (or my preferred vino). Always a really enjoyable read! Thank you.

    Both your recipes are on my list and soon! I make a broccoli and apple slaw I’ll have to share once the winter broccoli comes in. I use the extra long stalks to make the slaw. Of course I could do the same with thinly sliced celery. Green apples and celery are lovely together.

  5. Poor girls. Getting old isn’t fun but their mom is a trooper taking such good care of them. And of the human family too with that lovely meal.

  6. I had no idea knee replacements were done on dogs. I hope it is not as challenging for them to recover as for humans. Not hat I’ve had knee replacement, but I’ve had hip replacement.

    Poor darlings…

  7. Mmm, that apple salad looks so crisp and refreshing. We are just entering spring here, so I’ll keep this on my radar for a spring/summer salad.

  8. g o r g e o u s!!

    Everything here is like butter! Love the Apple and mint salad! WOWWWWW. xx

  9. AAwww, I’m beside myself with grief for your doggies! Poor girls. Your pork looks amazing though…and that salad…YUM! Hope you don’t run yourself ragged taking care of your girls! Take care, Charlie! xo

  10. Sorry about your girls, I hope they get through the rest of their time here with minimal discomfort. Looks like you’re going to be an even busier mum now. Love the spices and flavouring in the meat and absolutely love the apple and mint salad.

  11. Oh, your pork looks divine!!! I hear ya on the geriatric beasts…but the unconditional love they share makes the exorbitant fees a little easier to handle. LOL on all the unmentionable areas. We finally had Lambeau’s “glands” removed as she was a smelly mess! Give your girls a sweet scratch from me. xo

  12. Poor poor girls 🙁 I guess getting old is hard for every living being … and loosing weight aah tell me about that!! seems that everyone is having a hard time loosing weight. I hope they will be fine soon. Lovely dish like the ides of the apple so much.

  13. I prescribe extra cuddles. For both you and the dogs.

  14. I love the salad and it looks like a good accompaniment to many things.

  15. Good luck with caring for the two old dears Ruby and Rosie. I know how much they mean to you! 😀

  16. Aww the poor girls but they’re very lucky to have such a wonderful mum to look after them.

    I used to cook pork fillets all the time but now I can’t remember the last time I did. These look wonderful!

    No carbs after 5…they’d probably go hungry in my house!

  17. So sorry to hear about your girls, hope they are not suffering.
    Your pork dish sounds fantastic and so easy to prepare. The salad is the perfect accompaniment. Filing both recipes for future. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Unfortunately old age will come to us all – hope we are as fortunate as R & R. Pork looks great and love the sound of that apple salad too.

  19. I’m so sorry that your girls are having a time of their sunset years…it’s really tough to put your pet on a diet, those pleading eyes always get to me.
    The pork and apple salad looks and sounds incredible! I know I’ll give this a go as soon as the rain stops and we can start up the BBQ…that way I won’t have to cook it all myself.

  20. Ohhhh so sorry to hear about your precious ladies. Old age sucks :(. That salad sounds great, might even have a go at it 🙂

  21. G’day! Sorry to hear about your geriatric patients Charlie!
    While I am not a big pork fan, your recipe and photo might make a convert of me!
    Cheers! Joanne

  22. Oh dear Charlie! I hope everything turns out alright with the girls, it’s hard as they get older, isn’t it?
    Your recipe is divine sounding, Spirit House is always a winner. Are you sure it’s just the no-carbs that is so attractive to the Uni students, and not the whiskey? 🙂 I need about two tablespoons of rum for a recipe, so will just have to buy an entire bottle ….. what a pity! xox

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  24. These both look delicious, but I am making a mental note right now to make the salad! lea

  25. oops, not sure where that ‘lea’ came from. sorry!

  26. Oh dear, the poor girls. I can’t think about my cats getting old – far too stressful a thought so I rather live in denial. Good luck with all that patting dry – poor pootch.
    The pork on the other hand, what a winner!
    Have a super day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  27. The whiskey dish! The sauce sounds delicious. I can relate to being a full-time caregiver for aging pets. I went through it twice in the last couple of years but with cats. It really does take all of your time!

  28. Mmm, this pork would bring a great deal of comfort for all you are dealing with, our pups hold a special place in our hearts and their later years can be quite involved. Sorry for the terrible expense of it all too … doesn’t make it easier.

  29. Oh dear, poor Ruby! I hope she is feeling better soon and your work load is eased up, Charlie!
    Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!

  30. Oh goodness, I’m not looking forward to my kitty aging. I’m glad your babies are essentially in good health tho! And this meal sounds great 🙂

  31. Aw! I hope the puppies are feeling better!

  32. Poor Ruby having to cut back on her food 25% and get a knee replacement. It’s no fun getting older is it?
    I’m no fan of whiskey so it’s best put to use in cooking as far as I’m concerned. The apple & mint salad would go with anything wouldn’t it? Looks so refreshing.

  33. Dear Charlie,

    You are a gem. Your girls eat better than me, well done.

  34. Teach me your ways, Oh Wise One.

  35. I feel for you, Charlie. It’s not easy dealing with our dogs once they’ve hit the geriatric stage. No one wants to see their pet grow old.
    How I hate those first few weeks after we get off savings time. I have to re-learn all of the lighting tricks that I learned the previous Winter. With or without good lighting, this pork looks delicious, Charlie, and the recipe is a keeper. I do need to try this, though I may need to buy some whiskey. It’s not a popular liquor among my friends for some reason. Vodka, on the other hand … 🙂

  36. My goodness what a list of ailments your poor girls have! I hope they get better soon.

    Your pork tenderloin recipe sounds wonderful and the apple salad sounds like the perfect thing to go with it.

  37. Too bad about your geriatric ladies. I’ll bet having you around a lot is a real comfort to them. Love that salad — so tasty. Thanks.

  38. Ohh… hope the puppies feel better soon! I love the pork and the salad looks like the perfect accompaniment 🙂

  39. Oh…I hope the doggies feel better…as for the pork and apple salad…yum! I love the idea of pairing the pork with this refreshing salad…looks delicious Charlie.
    Good luck with your ladies…

  40. When the weather starts warming up, this is the kind of meal I make. Love both of these dishes and I bet together, it does make a scrumptious meal!!

  41. It’s so sad when animals get old. But the good looks great, despite the rain dampening down your plans.

  42. Awh Noooo, your girls, I hope they feel better soon.
    Yarm… I love LOVE love the look of this dish, simple and delish.
    Wishing you a wonderful day.

  43. I just cringe a little thinking of your little aging beauties. I know you’re giving them all the love and attention you can possibly provide, and I hope that adds a lot of time to their precious lives. I gave that same Spirit House cookbook to my son for Christmas. It looked like such a good one and he has a beautiful new barbecue. Now I have a stove-top version and I’m delighted. The pork and green apple salad look like a wonderful combination. I hope you’ve had a good week, Charlie. I have been a little slow to make my rounds! 🙂

  44. Poor pups! It’s tough (and expensive) to see our dog children age. Luckily it seems like once the tooth is extracted, theweight goes down and the knee is fixed things will be looking up.

    Your entire meal looks fabulous!! I’m going to print it out so I don’t forget to try it. 🙂

  45. Not a big pork fan, but wow does this look delicious. Yum! I love the side salad idea. Thanks for sharing!

  46. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe … I’m a great fan of pork fillet and cook with it all the time! Hope your darling pups are on the mend soon.

  47. Awww your poor girls 🙁 It’s always hard when our canine partners are sick and you need to take care of them ~ Hopefully the weight will drop off and the knee reconstruction wont be so painful!

    Hmmmm the caramel pork sounds delish!

  48. Love apples and pork together! Your apple salad sounds so delicious! This would be a wonderful dish to make at a picnic, maybe grill the pork…..YUM! Hugs, Terra

  49. Beautiful colors and flavors, perfect for this time of year:) And I like the hint of mint and palm sugar in it…

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