Look at that bitchy face:

If you haven't figured it out by now, I really love my cat. Coming home after a long day at work and having her curl up in my lap makes me feel like all is right with the world. Some people get this from children, I have chosen to get this from a cat. No harm, no foul, right?

I get teased all the time for my kitty love, and I think it's funny and I welcome it, because I believe you should always be at least half laughing at yourself. And if you choose to love another kind of creature, human or otherwise, I applaud you. But there are always going to be people who don't think it's a meaningful relationship. "Its just a cat" is something I have heard many times. And every time I say: To you. It's just a cat TO YOU. Not to me. To me she is never a 'just'. To me she's a huge part of the joy I get from the world. To me she's family.

So in celebration of yet another approaching Christmas I have been lucky enough to spend with Stella Lucy Princess Orangetoes McCat, I decided to spend one recent rainy Sunday making lamb curry and snuggling with my tender beast:

(Holy eff I should just warn you now that this takes absolutely forever. So pick a rainy day and do laundry in between, and by the end you'll feel like you've really accomplished something)

Gosht Dopiaza (Lamb and Onion Curry)

1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garam masala
4 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp dried mint
2 tsp ground sea salt
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 4" piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 lb lamb, cut into cubes
1/4 Greek yoghurt
12 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 stick cinnamon
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 can whole peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed
12-24 pearl onions, depending on size, peeled

Make the spice paste by combining paprika, garam masala, 2 tsp tumeric, mint, salt, garlic, ginger, jalapeno and 1/4 cup water in a small food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer half the spice paste to a bowl and add lamb and yoghurt, toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.

Heat 8 tbsp butt in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom and cinnamon; cook, stirring, until cinnamon stick unfurls and spices are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add yellow onions, and cook, stirring often until deeply caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add remaining spice paste, and continue cooking until no longer raw, about 2 minutes. Add lamb along with any marinade, and cook until that marinade is no longer raw. Add tomatoes and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add pearl onions and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Heat remaining turmeric and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and cook until caramelized all over, about 10 minutes.

Remove curry from heat and stir in the pearl onions. Serve over rice.

Although I offered to share with her, Stellie didn't want any curry. However, the next day, in a possible act of gratitude for the offer, I came home to a turmeric-coloured cat. She had gotten into the spices and of course chose the absolute messiest one to get into. Because her fur is black, the yellow of the turmeric made her look vaguely swampish. Mmmmm. Brackish cat.

I know, it's a bummer I didn't take any photos. But I was too busy having a blast with my beast.