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 pork tenderloin in a tomato and pepper sauce

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Rice and Pasta | 3 comments

Recipe for pork tenderloin in a tomato and pepper sauce

Every year we bottle/can loads of tomatoes for use over the winter. These are sweet and the flavour is delicate. But however many jars I make we find that they always run out by Christmas. Luckily we love good quality tinned plum tomatoes. They have to be whole tomatoes rather than the chopped ones. These tinned toms are more expensive than the value brands but they taste so much better. Over the last few months there have been loads of half price offers in the supermarkets and I cashed in big time. A few days before I invented this recipe, I...

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Recipe for delicious and easy chicken and ham risotto

Posted in Chicken, Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Rice and Pasta | 5 comments

Recipe for delicious and easy chicken and ham risotto

We eat a lot of risotto in the cottage. It’s a great way of padding out small leftovers of meat and totally vegetarian risottos are great too – all that creamy rice with just a little bite is gorgeous. Generally I am the one who makes it. Danny tried it once using some duck fat that he found lurking in the bottom of the fridge. I’m not sure how old that fat was but it tasted like something from Tutankhamen’s tomb. I strongly suspect that he did this accidentally on purpose. He’s never been asked to attempt the dish again. In fact...

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Recipe for chicken, mushroom and tomato risotto

Posted in Chicken, Leftovers, Rice and Pasta | 8 comments

Recipe for chicken, mushroom and tomato risotto

I’m not very keen on the combination of chicken and cooked tomatoes. Would never have chicken on a pizza. But I had half a tin of tomatoes left over from our favourite sausage and bean dish and thought that I’d bung them into a chicken risotto as an experiment. Risottos are so easy to make and are a great way of using up scraps that are knocking about in the fridge. The result was really tasty and good. Danny was amazed – I hadn’t told him about the experiment just passed him his plate of food and slipped nervously into the kitchen as...

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Recipe for squid in marinara sauce over spaghetti

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Rice and Pasta | 4 comments

Recipe for squid in marinara sauce over spaghetti

This may sound crazy but up until the past month or so I’ve always though of squid as a starter. It’s often knocked right down in price at the supermarket but I’ve tended to avoid it – my eye being on ingredients for a main course. When I made my yummy squid soup I suddenly realised that this seafood had enormous potential. Surely if soup could be this easy and this good there must be other ways to use squid? I spent a couple of hours researching squid as a pasta sauce. 95% of sauces used tomatoes so I decided to go with that. This is...

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Easy and deluxe recipe: Prawn, Pak Choi and gnocchi supreme

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Rice and Pasta | 3 comments

Easy and deluxe recipe: Prawn, Pak Choi and gnocchi supreme

When I first noticed Pak Choi (bok choy or Peking cabbage) twinkling on the supermarket sheves, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was or how it would taste. Even though it seemed rather expensive it was attractive so I invested in a pack and rushed home. Simmered gently for a couple of minutes it was a revelation. Wilted upper leaves with crunchy fleshy ends. Clean tasting and yummy. We ate it as a vegetable on the side and later in stir fries. Surely in the right place this vegetable could really shine? This thought was put on the back...

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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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Simple, delicious spaghetti recipe: with a ham, dill and cream sauce

Posted in Rice and Pasta | 4 comments

Simple, delicious spaghetti recipe: with a ham, dill and cream sauce

Some of the best recipes are not written down. These recipes are so good that they allow for flexibility and still taste delicious. I overheard this recipe at a party. “We were walking in the mountains and my friend gathered some wild dill.” My ears clicked into overdrive. “Back home, she cooked some spaghetti. Chopped up the dill and a little ham. Added these and some cream to the spaghetti. Heaven.” This recipe saved my blushes many years ago. I’d invited Danny to stay at the cottage for the first time. I’d invited some old...

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