The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


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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A new coleslaw dressing recipe

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 5 comments

A new coleslaw dressing recipe

I’m a big mustard fan. I always make fresh English mustard (Colman’s) from powder when we are having steak. I also have a passion for French’s mustard – with sausages ideally. I like the little sombrero hat that acts as a lid and the funny windy, squishy sound when you squeeze the pack. In fact one day when we were preparing lunch one day – soup and sandwiches – I thought Danny’s table matters had really gone downhill. When I heard that sound I thought that he was sampling the soup rather than adding some zing to the...

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Recipe to add zest to boiled rice, frittata and other dishes

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetarian | 2 comments

Recipe to add zest to boiled rice, frittata and other dishes

Simple boiled rice, such as good basmati, or a dish like frittata can be a joy, especially if you add a little something to lift it above the ordinary. In my wilder years, I learned to cook by trial and error after accepting a position in a Chelsea, London household even though I did not have the foggiest idea of even how to boil an egg. Nowadays I would probably be summarily fired after Day Two but this couple were exceptionally kind people. On this blog I call them Smart Wife and Kind Husband. In England, the term Smart means relatively...

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Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for Boerewors burgers: a review

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 6 comments

Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for Boerewors burgers: a review

  Waitrose has teamed up with Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal to produce recipes that customers can make at home. This is quite a clever promotion as you don’t have to rush about the shop looking for the specific ingredients as they are all on the display stand. Some of the ingredients had me goggle eyed – such as packs of dried breadcrumbs 125g for £1.25. But I suppose most people don’t make their own anymore. I was intrigued by Heston’s Boerewors burgers as they were made with a mix of Aberdeen Angus beef and pork. Apparently...

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Shitake mushroom and cream sauce recipe

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetarian | 5 comments

Shitake mushroom and cream sauce recipe

  Yesterday Danny bought two T bone steaks from Tennant’s in Newmarket for a treat. He also grabbed a bargain at Waitrose – 150g of shitake mushrooms for 29p. “I’m going to try making a simple mushroom sauce like the one you made to go with the calves liver last week.” The calves liver came from the Tesco CFC. Another treat bargain. I’d thought that my sauce was a real winner but Danny’s sauce won hands down in the mushroom and cream sauce stakes. Now I can see why people are happy to spend two or three quid on a small carton of...

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Homemade pine needle vinegar

Posted in Hedgerow food, Preserving, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 12 comments

Homemade pine needle vinegar

  It was Danny’s turn to buy the Balsamic vinegar last weekend. Someone had put an expensive bottle of Balsamic beside the cheap ones in Tesco and he ended up paying five times more than he could have. The resulting shriek got me thinking about Balsamic vinegar in general. The price and quality of Balsamic vinegar can vary enormously. We have a very expensive bottle that we use occasionally for dipping or salads and generally have a ‘cheap’ bottle that we use for cooking. But cheap Balsamic vinegar is still much more expensive than...

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The slow cooker chef: Easy passata recipe

Posted in Kitchen equipment, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 19 comments

The slow cooker chef: Easy passata recipe

  “Now you are going to see a piece of kitchen equipment that hasn’t been used for twelve years.” Danny was goggle eyed as I moved the Wellington boots to access the kitchen cupboard. I’d remembered that years ago Seraphina had given me a food mill for pureeing apples. It was right at the back – a bit dusty but complete with a range of three grinding disks. After a few minutes I worked out how to assemble the beast and clipped it onto a saucepan. I glanced at the handle – this was an Italian model reassuringly named...

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Orange vinegar

Posted in Discoveries, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 2 comments

Orange vinegar

I’ve been warbling on for months about the virtues of lemon vinegar in salad dressing. Last night our lemon vinegar finally ran out and I decided to make some more. It originally came in a dinky quarter carafe with a sturdy cork. I shook out the pieces of fruit, the equivalent of two chunky slices cut lengthwise into eight pieces. Then I removed the pretty label to check the ingredients. I discovered that it was orange white wine vinegar or rather Condimento all’ Arancio, as it was made by Raffaelli in Tuscany, Italy. No wonder it was so...

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