The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Recipe for rare fillet steaks with a green peppercorn and cream sauce

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 14 comments

Recipe for rare fillet steaks with a green peppercorn and cream sauce

I spotted a fillet of beef joint on the Tesco butcher’s counter. It had a good dark colour and I reckoned that it would taste great. As a payday treat I asked for two small fillet steaks about 2cm/0.8 inches deep. I rushed home with the bounty – Danny would cook the steaks and I’d make the green peppercorn and cream sauce. Green peppercorns are sold ‘wet’ in small jars of brine. They are crunchy and reasonably hot but don’t have the kick of dried black peppercorns. I love them. One of the easiest sauces to make is a...

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Recipe for quick and delicious horseradish and mayonnaise sauce

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings | 6 comments

Recipe for quick and delicious horseradish and mayonnaise sauce

Photo: ©Marie Iannotti Danny found some thin steaks to flash fry on the CFC recently. Having been holed up in bed with a bug for a few days I fancied some lean meat – so one of these was a perfect introduction to something a bit more substantial than soup. We ate the steaks with low fat oven fries and a simple tossed salad. Just before everything was about to be served I decided that I’d like a piquant sauce. Mustard or horseradish would be too strong so I mixed a little horseradish with mayonnaise and came up with this sauce. Simple,...

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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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In search of a good salad dressing

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings | 24 comments

In search of a good salad dressing

Over 20 years ago, when I was married to my ex-husband B, we went to supper with one of his old college friends. Let’s call her Lucy. She had lived in Italy for a while and this is where she’d met her Italian husband. We’ll call him Maximus. They had a little girl – very pretty and bright so I think that Bella would be a good name to protect her privacy. Somehow the evening was awkward. Perhaps they had had a row? Possibly we had – I just don’t remember. They were living in a rented flat. Maximus didn’t speak much...

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New flavoursome spaghetti bolognaise sauce recipe cooked in the slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money | 8 comments

New flavoursome spaghetti bolognaise sauce recipe cooked in the slow cooker/crock pot

  Danny is picky about pasta. Won’t eat macaroni and the thought of penne has him panicking that I might actually have finally got up the nerve to cook it for him. “I like linguine, spaghetti, angel hair.” “Tagliatelle?” “Maybe.” I don’t ever mention ravioli since this terrible disaster. We eat a lot of spaghetti bolognaise. Frozen in flat ziplock bags it takes just half an hour max from freezer to plate. We’ve been eating versions of our patent recipe for years and I decided to see if I could make it tastier. I have to let...

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Two easy apple sauce recipes

Posted in Preserving, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money, Vegetarian | 23 comments

Two easy apple sauce recipes

  Apple sauce is so easy to make and it’s versatile too. Fabulous with pork, duck or goose it can also be added to cakes, pastries, used in crumbles and as a topping for cereals or yoghurt. Here are two apple sauce recipes. One making apple sauce from scratch and the other using leftover apple must from making jelly. Way back I would have chucked the apple must but now we are trying to use everything that comes our way and it’s fun. There’s a word of warning though if you are an apple sauce making virgin. Having made your own apple...

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Simple nasturtium seed tartar sauce recipe. Seasonal food.

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 1 comment

Simple nasturtium seed tartar sauce recipe. Seasonal food.

  I had a hankering for scampi yesterday and mid meal decided to run up a quick tartar sauce. We made quite a few small jars of pickled nasturtium seeds last Autumn. Fiddly to gather but well worth the effort as they pickle well and they taste like hot capers but with more of a satisfying crunch. Towards the end of the season the nasturtium seeds get much larger and hotter! Danny doesn’t like capers but he loves nasturtium seeds – pickled and raw. As speed was of the essence I just doled out a tablespoon of mayonnaise and added the...

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Delicious pork steaks recipe: baked with wild plum jelly and blackcurrants

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 6 comments

Delicious pork steaks recipe: baked with wild plum jelly and blackcurrants

However careful I am about constructing my fruit cages a hungry bird or twenty always seems to crack the code and get in. One year one of our fruit cages was constructed with high security in mind – nothing apart from me could get in or out and it was such a struggle to access that I cursed the plan all Summer.  It seemed to work initially and then deteriorated fast. A  family of wrens had built a teeny nest in the climbing roses at the back of the cage. I didn’t notice them during the construction process and only realised that they...

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