The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The ultimate spaghetti and meatballs recipe in a rich tomato sauce. Slow cooker/crock pot method

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Rice and Pasta | 7 comments

The ultimate spaghetti and meatballs recipe in a rich tomato sauce. Slow cooker/crock pot method

“Wow! This is the best spaghetti and meatballs that I’ve ever tasted.” Danny was reaching for seconds before he’d even finished his first portion. Now before you reach for your shopping list I just want to make one thing clear. I have never sampled American spaghetti and meatballs. My recipe tasted pretty good to me too but this recipe is just how I imagined perfect American spaghetti and meatballs should taste. As a child I’m certain that we didn’t eat spaghetti with meatballs. I’ve always thought of it as an American dish....

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Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 11 comments

Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

“Please don’t buy mince again. I just don’t like it.” Danny grumbled out of the kitchen. “But you like spaghetti sauce made with mince! That’s what I bought it for.” The last comment wasn’t exactly true. I wanted to make another cottage pie and Danny had somehow sensed this in the ether. “I know that you liked the cottage pie but I didn’t care for it.” “Oh.” My mum always says that I thrive on a challenge. I was determined to make something utterly delicious with the offending pack of mince. Meatballs sprang to mind...

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Recipe for traditional slow cooked cottage pie: slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 9 comments

Recipe for traditional slow cooked cottage pie: slow cooker/crock pot

Ever since my mum was sent a box of meals from Abel and Cole I haven’t forgotten her comment when she reviewed the cottage pie. “It was a really good traditional cottage pie with no fancy or far flung additions. Delicious!” This was several years ago and I’ve been meaning to make a traditional cottage pie since then. Of course I wanted to see if my recipe came up to scratch the in A&C stakes as far as mu mum is concerned. Yesterday I had minced beef in the fridge and as it was a chilly day I reckoned that cottage pie would be...

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Recipe for beef cheeks braised in stout: slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 7 comments

Recipe for beef cheeks braised in stout: slow cooker/crock pot

I only started watching Masterchef towards the end of last year and I’m totally hooked. Recently a team of contestants were working in Jason Atherton’s restayrant kitchen. The main course was beef cheeks braised in stout served with horseradish mashed potatoes – it looked delicious and I thought that I’d try making it in the slow cooker/crock pot. Beef cheeks are double the price of pig cheeks in the UK but they are still a budget cut of beef at around £5.99 a kilo. Don’t be alarmed when you cut them as they are very tough indeed!...

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Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot

Posted in Lamb | 9 comments

Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot

Lamb shanks are perfect for long slow cooking. The price has shot up over the years and now they are expensive to buy. Luckily Danny found some on the Tesco CFC* and I came up with this recipe. Lamb shanks actually have quite a bit of meat on them so we managed to get six good meaty portions out of the shanks. And of course bone in meat makes a much better casserole. The key ingredients were the shallots and tomato. Our one remaining onion had gone bad so I grabbed some of the shallots that we grew last summer. We had our best ever harvest...

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Recipe for slow cooked ox cheeks braised in herbs and beer: slow cooker/crock pot casserole

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 12 comments

Recipe for slow cooked ox cheeks braised in herbs and beer: slow cooker/crock pot casserole

Beef in beer used to be a big hit in Bistros in London in the 1970’s. Although I ate out a lot in those days, I can’t remember actually sampling beef in beer. All that I can recall now are hummus and taramasalata starters with slim cut warm pitta bread – still a favourite with me. And the noise of those places – high ceilings and wooden floors. People perched either side of converted sewing machine tables and the Moulin Rouge posters on the walls. Sweaty waiters in long aprons that deftly snaked between the tables. And above all...

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Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 12 comments

Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

The Chicken Lady, who writes the excellent blog Kitty’s Super Allotment, was cooking pigs’ cheeks with apples when I popped in a few weeks ago. “I think that the butcher just sliced them off the head. Look there’s a piece of ear.” Initially I felt a bit squirmy about tasting this dish. But these were quite delicious – the skin crispy yet soft and the meat similar to slow cooked belly of pork. Celia from Purple Podded Peas had mentioned pigs’ cheeks to me ages ago and I’d forgotten all about them. In...

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Rich ragout sauce recipe for the slow cooker or crock pot

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 15 comments

Rich ragout sauce recipe for the slow cooker or crock pot

Spaghetti bolognaise is a favourite in the cottage. Our recipe is high on vegetables and low on meat  – delicious and economical, it’s difficult to tire of it. I cook it in the slow cooker and freeze it in bags flattened to about half an inch (one and a half centimetres) so that it can be gently unfrozen in a frying pan (lid on) when needed. No waiting for defrost! The slow cooker/crock pot really enhances the flavours of this dish. I’ve tried cooking it on the stove top but it just doesn’t taste as good. In March this year I didn’t...

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