The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Gooseberry vodka recipe

Posted in Liqueurs | 6 comments

Gooseberry vodka recipe

Have you ever tasted homemade gooseberry vodka? It’s superb and immensely gluggable. Served in shot glasses that have been sitting expectantly for an hour or so in the freezer, it is the queen of the taste of summer. Sweet yet sharp. Like raspberry vodka it incapsulates sunshine and the freshest waft of a perfect bright morning in a small glass. The kick from this drink is not quite so innocent. I have had a hardened Soho (London) producer helped to back seat of his car to be driven home, unable to face breakfast the next morning. My fault...

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Raspberry recipes on The Cottage Smallholder site

Posted in Desserts, Fruit, Liqueurs | 6 comments

Raspberry recipes on The Cottage Smallholder site

I love raspberries. Could eat them every day. When I was working in London and dining out a lot, I would often order fresh raspberries with a sprinkle of castor sugar for dessert. Friends tucking into waist expanding desserts would think that I was mad or on an impromptu diet. They didn’t realise that each savoured mouthful took me into the heart of a long summer’s day. Luckily for me, raspberries are packed with vitamins and minerals and are classed as a super food. But the time that it takes to harvest them makes them rather expensive to...

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Angela’s recipe for elderflower champagne

Posted in Wine | 16 comments

Angela’s recipe for elderflower champagne

Elderflower champagne is a wonderful drink and this article shows you how to make it. One of the secrets is in preparing the water you use.

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Recipe for vin de noix and tasting notes

Posted in Wine | 6 comments

Recipe for vin de noix and tasting notes

Even though you won’t be able to make this fortified wine until next June or July I’m posting the recipe now as vin de noix has a Christmasy feel. It’s definitely a winter tipple and decanted into pretty bottles would make a great Christmas present. Traditional vin de noix (walnut wine) is made from young walnuts, red wine, distilled alcohol and sugar. These are walnuts that can easily be quartered and are just starting to form their shells. This is the reason why I made this wine initially. I’d left it too late to make pickled walnuts...

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Wild damson vodka recipe. How to identify wild damsons

Posted in Liqueurs | 38 comments

Wild damson vodka recipe. How to identify wild damsons

If you have looked up ‘wild damsons’ because you think that you have found some I do hope that you have discovered this highly prized fruit. But not on my patch! Wild damsons (the ones in the bowl) are the size of a small olive and have the same elongated shape. The dark bluish skins have the same greyish tinge of a sloe or dark plum. The flesh is a yellow orange and the stone small. If you want an instant tongue defuzz bite into one – it is very sharp but not quite as bitter as a sloe. The leaves of a tree are similar to a plum leaf...

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Gilbert’s superb gooseberry gin recipe

Posted in Fruit, Liqueurs | 17 comments

Gilbert’s superb gooseberry gin recipe

It was Gilbert who introduced me to gooseberry gin. He produced a battered old hip flask out of a hidden pocket in his fatigues. We were foraging for wild cherry plums and were resting on a mossy bank. Gilbert opened the stopper with a flourish. “I bet that you haven’t tasted this delicacy before.” One sip and I was hooked and eager to make my own. I even had an old inherited hip flask knocking about the cottage somewhere. This particular brew was made from red dessert gooseberries. These berries are far less tart than the green ones...

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Update on the elderflower vodka

Posted in Fruit, Liqueurs | 13 comments

Update on the elderflower vodka

I had a sip or two of our elderflower vodka a couple of days ago. The flavour has improved and mellowed a bit. Unlike TCL’s – it’s drinkable – just. It has good notes when you open the bottle and sniff but the waft promises loads more than the grog actually presents. There is no trace of that early summer elderflower cordial zing. It might be the sort of shot that you’d be given to settle your metabolism and clean the blood. Faintly herbal, this elderflower vodka will never shine as a star in our cellar. We have three litres of...

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Easy Morello Gin recipe. Fruit liqueurs.

Posted in Fruit, Liqueurs | 36 comments

Easy Morello Gin recipe. Fruit liqueurs.

Fresh Morello cherries are quite hard to find in the UK unless you grow them yourself. We have two Morello cherry trees that I bought for 99p each from Netto a few years ago. One was supposed to be an ordinary cherry tree but clearly there had been a mix up of labels at the warehouse and we ended up with two Morellos. I was disappointed initially until I twigged that Morello cherries are the stars of cherry society. Their deep sour flavour is their saving grace – loads of opportunities in a wide range of dishes – from sweet to...

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