The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


How to harvest and store walnuts and cobnuts

Posted in Allotment, Hedgerow food, Save Money, Vegetarian | 5 comments

How to harvest and store walnuts and cobnuts

“I’m going down to collect some walnuts. Apparently there are masses under the trees.” “Is it OK to pick them up from the ground?” “Yes. I used to collect them on the big estate when I was working there. They used to call me down from my ladder to gather them so that they could mow. The shells mucked up the mower.” We were sitting at the top of our allotment. On two ancient chairs that we inherited with the plot. We spend quite a bit of time perched on these. Looking down the hill and on to the flat area on the other side of the...

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Vegetarian Polenta Bake recipe: easy, cheesy and delicious

Posted in Vegetarian | 7 comments

Vegetarian Polenta Bake recipe: easy, cheesy and delicious

Lots of people at the party asked me for my new polenta bake recipe. Danny and I had spent some time tweaking Anne Mary’s recipe and I think that we’ve created a winner. This dish is packed with vegetables – I reckon that the sweet corn is essential but if you don’t have/like sweet peppers substitute tomatoes and grated courgettes. The word ‘bake’ has Danny feverish with horror in a second. Perhaps somewhere in the far distant past someone gave him a ‘bake’ that he loathed and felt that he had to force down. Unlike D, most good...

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Simple baked eggs recipe. Halogen oven recipes.

Posted in Snacks Breakfast Lunch, Vegetarian | 6 comments

Simple baked eggs recipe. Halogen oven recipes.

When I lived at home with my mum, we always ate lunch – main course and pud. Supper was an ad hoc affair – we could have whatever we liked that from the bounty of the fridge and larder as long as we prepared it ourselves. Quite canny of my mum as she could put her feet up and enjoy the evening without having to cook a proper meal. One of my favourite supper snacks were baked eggs. Delicious and dead easy to make. If I dallied up in my room they were quick to prepare. We’d eat our supper on trays balanced on old coffin stools (don’t...

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Tasty spring frittata with new potatoes, rocambole, cheese and parsley recipe

Posted in Discoveries, Hedgerow food, Vegetarian | 13 comments

Tasty spring frittata with new potatoes, rocambole, cheese and parsley recipe

Well I finally cracked it. My meat loving partner announced with delight. “That was the best frittata that I’ve ever eaten. I’d be happy to eat it twice a week.” “Did you realise that it was entirely vegetarian?” “No. It was just sublime.” Thoughtful pause. “I don’t care about the meat and still would guzzle this twice a week.” A result! I’m trying to cut down on our meat intake. Healthier and cheaper meals. Delicious is a bonus. The magic ingredient was rocambole . I had never used this before but after I...

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Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home by Paul Peacock. A review

Posted in crafts, Reviews, Vegetarian | 8 comments

Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home by Paul Peacock. A review

  This year is the year that I’m determined to start making my own cheese. Ever since I’ve watched the progress of Suzanne McMinn who writes the addictive Chickens In The Road blog describing her progress on the cheese making front, I’ve been curious and a bit envious of her endeavours. Last year her partner bought her a cow for her birthday. Now let’s get things straight immediately, I do not want to actually own a cow and would be horrified if Danny led one up the drive on the next big birthday day. A cow is a massive...

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Delicious crispy potatoes transformed from cold left over spuds

Posted in Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 7 comments

Delicious crispy potatoes transformed from cold left over spuds

We are going through a craze of eating Rooster potatoes at the moment. These are red skinned and extremely floury. The trick with Roosters is to wash them but not to peel them. The skin stops the spuds breaking up in the saucepan and can be easily peeled off before serving if you have time on your hands. Even the skin of a Rooster potato is tasty so there’s no prinky peeling here at the cottage. Last weekend I discovered that D had a lot of cold, boiled leftover Rooster potatoes. The perfect excuse for making these fried potatoes. They are...

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The cheese that led me astray

Posted in Fun, Vegetarian | 5 comments

The cheese that led me astray

  I never thought that I would be seduced by a cheese. But I’ve had to come upstairs as sitting in the kitchen is driving me nuts. Our friends Jocelyn and Miles have just come back from France and dropped off a large slab of Brie de Meaux at the cottage. Brie de Meaux doesn’t travel very well and has to be eaten quickly before the flavour neutralises. I’ve searched for Brie de Meaux in England but when I’ve found one it’s not a patch on the fresh stuff, chauffeured lovingly straight from France in a private car. In the knowledge...

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Two easy apple sauce recipes

Posted in Preserving, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money, Vegetarian | 30 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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