The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Store cupboard recipes: spaghetti and veal meatballs in a light tomato sauce

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Rice and Pasta | 5 comments

Store cupboard recipes: spaghetti and veal meatballs in a light tomato sauce

  I had a yearning for spaghetti and meatballs yesterday. I have no idea why as I don’t think that I’ve ever eaten this dish in my life but somehow the combination appealed. I spent a morning in the kitchen creating the sauce. My challenge was to use as many dehydrated ingredients  as possible and some of our home bottled/canned tomatoes from the autumn. Incidentally these are delicious and I will be making much more this year. The meat wasn’t dehydrated – I haven’t tried doing meat yet – but I had found and defrosted some...

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Slow cooker chef: Steak, venison and duck au vin recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Duck Goose and Turkey, Pheasant and Game | 3 comments

Slow cooker chef: Steak, venison and duck au vin recipe

  Our fridge freezer has been a bit of a trial for quite a few years now. It has problems coping with external high and low temperatures and generally performs best in the spring or autumn. So it was a bit of a surprise when we found the larder floor covered in dark water. We both assumed that the other had kicked the bacon curing pot. The next day I investigated further and noticed red liquid dripping out of the freezer door. This is no super duper frost free machine. It has to be manually defrosted. If we forget to do this, the ice...

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Calves liver with a delicate Puy lentil sauce recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 2 comments

Calves liver with a delicate Puy lentil sauce recipe

  Years ago Danny and I had an unforgettable meal in a Soho restaurant. As far as I remember we were the only customers that evening but the restaurant was designed so that we sat in our own little section – the atmosphere was intimate and the food delicious. The star dish of the evening was calves liver with a sauce of puy lentils. The combination was astonishingly good. Melt in the mouth liver combined with the texture of the lentils was a perfect partnership. I’ve tried to recreate the lentil sauce many times since that memorable meal...

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Beef stir fry with water chestnuts and black bean sauce recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 0 comments

Beef stir fry with water chestnuts and black bean sauce recipe

  It’s rare for us to eat out these days as it’s so expensive. But I try and cook something a bit special for Saturday night. When I visited The Carter Street Butcher I picked up a 600g piece of organic skirt of beef for four quid – far cheaper than the non organic butchers in Newmarket. I had a longing for water chestnuts and black bean sauce so I added them to my weekly shopping list and glided down to Newmarket in Danny’s car. A lot of people had clearly spent the day decorating the outside of their houses with fairy lights and...

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Stir fry with skirt of beef, green pepper and spring onion recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 5 comments

Stir fry with skirt of beef, green pepper and spring onion recipe

  Sometimes we need a hefty meat fix. For years it was steak every Friday night, then it was an occasional steak when we found them on sale. Now it will be skirt of beef. Not only is it economical at about £3.50 for 500g it’s tastier than steak and has a wonderful texture. In the UK skirt is generally a largely undiscovered cut of beef.  So thank you Jo and more recently Paula for pointing me in the direction of the broad range of ways to cook this superb cut. Having already made a skirt of beef casserole in the slow cooker I thought that...

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The slow cooker chef: Warming winter stew with skirt of beef and baby carrots recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 12 comments

The slow cooker chef: Warming winter stew with skirt of beef and baby carrots recipe

  Last year my friend Jo mentioned skirt of beef. I’d never even heard of the cut before let alone spotted it in the butchers. “If you slice it very fine, it’s wonderful in a stir fry. And even better it’s so cheap.” I’ve since discovered that it’s the traditional meat used in Cornish Pasties. Although my Cornish pal Tessa uses chuck steak. Last week I went to the market to buy some vegetables – they are always knocked down in price at the end of the day. I bought two large bunches of baby carrots for a pound – these would...

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The slow cooker chef: Venison and shin of beef casserole recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Pheasant and Game | 3 comments

The slow cooker chef: Venison and shin of beef casserole recipe

  This is a really easy recipe that I made last week. I forgot to take a picture of the dish so have put up this photograph as it includes a brass deer that belonged to my mother as a child. I love eating venison but it’s so expensive here in the UK. We buy it when it’s marked down in price and stash it in the freezer for game pies and casseroles. Shin of beef is delicious too – slowly simmered for 8-10 hours the gristly meat transforms into a melt in the mouth treat. Combine the two for a casserole that is deeply satisfying on a...

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The slow cooker chef: Organic steak and kidney pie for carnivores on a budget

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Savoury Pies | 11 comments

The slow cooker chef: Organic steak and kidney pie for carnivores on a budget

We are eating far less meat these days. Eating superb meals most evenings.  But sometimes we long for a real alpha carnivore meal, especially as we have ditched the Cottage Smallholder Friday night steak treat – just too expensive at the moment. This recipe is so easy, delicious and cheap. If you used non organic ingredients you could probably cut the price by at least 30% (just 62p per portion. A steal for a rich meat heavy dish.) I decided to turn some of our shin of beef (£8.00 for 2 kilos from the organic butcher) into a slow cooked...

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