The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Dessert gooseberry and white currant jellies recipe

Posted in Desserts | 14 comments

Dessert gooseberry and white currant jellies recipe

Sometimes we both cook when friends come for supper. If Danny is doing the main course he’s not keen on sharing a stove ever since the time I cooked my starters in the top oven and the kitchen filled with black noxious smoke. We’d only used this part of the oven as a grill before. And since. Now I generally make the starter and the pud in the morning. Jellies are ideal if you are preparing in advance. They are easy, look pretty and are a great way of padding out a small tray of soft fruit. Even though I’m now Queen of the...

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Homemade raspberry jellies recipe

Posted in Desserts | 9 comments

Homemade raspberry jellies recipe

Tiny hands clap with glee when I make jellies. “Why do we only have jellies when we are entertaining? Let’s make far more than we need or invite less people next time.” Danny was scraping a small stolen tumbler clean. Good fresh fruit jellies are a delight. Wonderful as a little something if you are laid up in bed, a great dessert for everyone, including those on a low fat diet. Gelatine is also good for you, strengthening your hair and nails. So for once you can let rip and indulge with impunity. The amount of sugar that you...

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Guest spot: Blueberry Friands recipe from The Mildred Mittens Manufactory

Posted in Desserts | 10 comments

Guest spot: Blueberry Friands recipe from The Mildred Mittens Manufactory

Shortly before Christmas, Mildred sent me this recipe for these “little light muffins which were so easy to do . . .the recipe was from my friend, Sylvia. You don’t need a mixer, thinking about it I expect they would be fun for children to make! They are yummy, and look so nice!” Baking with children is always rewarding especially if the cooking time is under half an hour and you don’t needto drag them away from another project at the end of cooking time. The name Friand was new to me and a brief foray onto the internet...

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Judy’s recipe for elderflower and lime jellies

Posted in Desserts | 4 comments

Judy’s recipe for elderflower and lime jellies

My sister has just come back from France. She was visiting friends who have retired and moved there. She came back bursting with sun and stories and this recipe. I halved the amount. It filled three 100ml glasses. I used two small limes as I reckoned that the limes in France would be bigger than those that I found in Waitrose this evening. Our flowering elderflower heads are small – clearly young, first of the season. So I used what I thought would be the equivalent of 2.5 large French heads. This was the final course of a snacky lunch...

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Last minute Christmas cake recipe

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | 282 comments

Last minute Christmas cake recipe

Over the years we have tried various Christmas cake recipes but the best by far was the one that we made last year, a week before Christmas. We wanted a cake packed with fruit but not a dark heavy traditional type of Christmas cake. We’d had to force down too many slices of these in the past. My Mother used to make us these and bring one each Christmas. Then she decided to buy them. These were worse and not disguised by being fed with lashings of brandy. We’d cut a few slices at Christmas, give her half the cake to take home at the...

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Best mincemeat recipe for mince pies and puddings

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | 108 comments

Best mincemeat recipe for mince pies and puddings

Mince pies are the quintessential Christmas treat. But every year loads of us bite into a proffered mince pie and resolve never to accept one again. it’s a shame as nothing beats a homemade one, bursting with mincemeat and a slug of brandy. I always make a few on Christmas Eve. I was pretty smug about them until Anne Mary mentioned that she always made her own mincemeat. I’m embarrassed to admit this but five years ago I didn’t know that you could make your own. I rushed home and thumbed through our cookbooks, convinced that...

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Christmas Pudding Recipe

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | 83 comments

Christmas Pudding Recipe

Everyone wants to make the perfect Christmas pudding. The pressure is on from November 1st. Even if you make yours then, you are bound to hear of someone’s cousin’s friend who makes the pudding to die for, just after Easter. Don’t worry. We have the recipe for a perfect pud. We’ve made this the week before Christmas and it still tasted great. It is better if it has a few weeks to mature. Our recipe was initially inspired by Myrtle Allen’s recipe from The Ballymaloe Cookbook and we have tweaked it for the last...

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Bottled Fruit: Belgian Pears recipe

Posted in Desserts, Jam Jelly and Preserves | 125 comments

Bottled Fruit: Belgian Pears recipe

I breezed onto the internet just now to see entries for Belgian Pears. I thought that they could be a traditional dessert. Well, in Belgium, they are not. Which is a shame, as anyone, from the Belgians to the Bengalese would love this dessert. Forget any memory of dull bottled fruit. This wonderful concoction just happens to be preserved in a jar. We tend to include this for dinner parties when we’re feeling under pressure. Many jars of this superb non-alcoholic scrumptiousness are patiently sitting in our barn, waiting to be opened and...

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