French Bulldogs Are Like A Box of Chocolates…

Well, so much for my plans this weekend to grind up and freeze a great big bucket of green lamb tripe. Lamb tripe, by the way, is a really fancy way of saying “Stinky, unprocessed lamb stomach”, and “green” is code for “complete with partially digested stomach contents”. And yes, it smells just about the way it sounds – possibly worse.

Sean, who I fondly refer to as ‘garbage guts’ for his cast iron stomach and willingness to eat almost anything, gagged and retched when I cheerfully told him that the big, reeking bucket of guts was more or less just what he’d eaten when he taste tested Sailor’s canned green tripe. The real retching happened when I asked him if he’d be tasting this batch, too. I think that can be taken as a ‘no’.

At any rate, we never did get the lamb stomachs ground up, because Bunny decided to surprise us by going into labor three days early.

In spite of my panic attacks about her early labor, she managed to deliver five adorable babies, and after an initial twelve hours of telling me “those things aren’t mine – you look after them’, she’s back in the swing of being a supermom. She’s such a good girl – keeps her babies tucked underneath her, almost entirely hidden away, and cleans them at the first sign of squeaking.

I had assumed Bunny and Luther might produce brindles, possibly a brindle pied. What I wasn’t expecting was this little beauty –

French Bulldog colors – who the heck knows. You can’t even begin to guess, at least not most of the time. You just have to sit back and wait for them to get here.

Here’s the rest of the photos, down below. All of the images will be in one great big collection, which you’ll find here.

Oh, and this litter’s names? Neil Gaiman book titles.

A) because I love Neil Gaiman
B) because I love the name ‘Coraline’
C) because I just got my copy of “The Graveyard Book“, and it’s so good I’m already checking his site for news of sequels.

Going, going, gone – Jamboree Store Closes Month End

Just a note that I’ll be removing the French Bulldog Jamboree Design from our Cafe Press Store at the end of this month. After that, the design will be retired for at least one full year.

So, if you haven’t yet snagged your  hamburger eating, campfire sitting, milkshake drinking cream French Bulldog designed shirt, hoodie or baby bib just yet, now is your chance!

Come month end, I’ll be offering our amazing, unique, Tessa featuring new club logo via our Cafe Press Store – you’ll want to see that one, trust me!

Baking Brioche the Ghetto Fabulous Way

I had the sudden urge last weekend for a real loaf of pain au chocolat – something which I can’t recall ever having when I actually lived within walking distance of fabulous bakeries who baked theirs up daily. Now, of course, I live in the middle of no where, and the closest bakery is the one in the grocery store that does Cake Wrecks quality masterpieces and dried out loaves of faux Italian bread. If I wanted pain au chocolat, I was going to have to bake some.

I used the delicious – and simple! – recipe I found on La Tartine Gourmande.

The Simplest Brioche (1 loaf, mold 10 ” long)

You need:

  • 8 3/4 oz (1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 oz butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 dose dry baker’s yeast (1 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp fine sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg yolk for glaze


  • In a bowl, mix the flour with the yeast, make a hole in the middle.
  • Add the warm milk mixing with the tip of your fingers (if using a stand mixer, pour the milk slowly and steadily while mixing, with the hook attachment.)
  • Add the sugar and a pinch of salt, then add the soft butter, piece after piece, waiting each time that each piece is asborbed.
  • Then one by one, add the eggs, mixing well between each. Work the dough until it is elastic and detaches from your fingers more easily (or from the bowl of the stand mixer).
  • Cover and let rest in a warm place, away from drafts, for two hours, until it doubles in size.
  • Work the dough again for 10 min and divide it in four balls. Place them in a greased rectangular mold and cover. Let rise for an hour again.
  • Preheat the oven at 400 F.
  • Brush the brioche with the egg yolk mixed with a dash of sugar. With a pair of scissors, make small cuts at the top of each ball.
  • Place in the oven to bake for 10 min then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for about 20 to 30 min.
  • Remove, unmold and let cool on a rack.

I made a few changes, however, first of which is that I also made a ganache  – a ghetto ganache, no less.

Most ganache recipes insist that unless you use top quality, $200 per ounce Varhlona Chocolate, you are going to gourmet hell, where are the meals come from Arby’s, and all the chocolate is actually ‘chocolate flavored candy’.  Since I didn’t have $200 to spend on chocolate, and wouldn’t have been able to find any even if I did, I instead did what any self respecting frugal gourmet would do, and hit the dollar store. There, I found imported bars of pure Dutch chocolate with an 80% cocoa rate – and yes, for a dollar. I snagged three of them, along with some handy slide lock freezer bags for this weekend’s upcoming project (code name: Towering Stank Clouds).

My ganache recipe is as follows:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream (I actually just used 18% table cream, because it’s what I had in the house)
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter (I used margarine, because this is ghetto ganache)
  • 1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional, but you know I added some – in this case, more of the infamous and still unidentified Godiva Chocolate Liquer, which is coming in very handy on baking days)


  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.

To create the pain au chocolate, I took the worked dough and rolled it out into a rectangle. I then spread the ganache across the rectangle, leaving a 1/2 margin around the ganache. I then rolled up the rectangle, pinching off the edges as I went, and shaped it into a tube roughly the dimensions of my loaf pan. I then left it to rise.

Here’s the finished product:

Pain Au Chocolat

Since I had some left over dough and ganache, but not enough to make an entire second loaf,  I formed the dough into balls, filled them with ganache, and tossed them in a muffin tin to rise.

Voila, chocolate filled brioche!

Chocolate Filled Brioche

I glazed them with egg wash, and sprinkled them with granulated sugar, and baked for about 35 minutes at 350 F.

They turned out quite nicely – the ganache was warm and oozing out of the bread, and the smell was unbelievably gorgeous.

Pain au Chocolat

It didn’t stick around long.. in fact, not even long enough for me to get a picture of the sliced loaf!

Dexter and the Soccer Ball, Part Two

Once a upon a time, Dexter had a soccer ball that he loved and adored and carried with him every he went. All of that changed, one cold and snowy Michigan afternoon.

Find out more in Dexter’s new video —

Our big, big thanks to Hope Saidel and GollyGear, for unbreaking poor Dexter’s heart.
Or watch Dexter’s original soccer ball video —

Shelter In Crisis, Pt 2 – Inside the THS

From the second part of the three part Globe and Mail article on the Toronto Humane Society –

Jaxson, a 55-kilogram bull mastiff, had never been to Toronto.

So when his owners, Bree Piccinin and Trevor Perkins, decided they wanted to bring him along for a three-hour drive through a snowstorm from their home in London to the Toronto Humane Society, they decided to bring his prong collar.

They were considering making a $500 donation and adopting another dog, and wanted to make sure the animal would be compatible with Jaxson.

When they got to Toronto that day shortly before last Christmas, they left Jaxson’s flat nylon collar in the car and put on his prong collar, just in case anything startled him inside the shelter. A prong collar is comprised of a series of metal prongs that protrude inward and pinch a dog’s neck if it strains against a leash.

But soon after they entered the lobby, a large man began yelling at Ms. Piccinin and Mr. Perkins.

Ms. Piccinin, a 22-year-old bank worker who has worked with pit bull rescue groups in London, said that the man asked whether her dog was wearing a prong collar.

“And then he starts shouting, ‘I’m the president of the Toronto Humane Society and you have to get out of here’” she said.

“He continued to yell at us and call us dog abusers and then had some people escort us out of the building,” Mr. Perkins, a 28-year-old construction worker, said.

The rest is here.