The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Broccoli stalks in a stir fry

Posted in Vegetarian | 0 comments

Broccoli stalks in a stir fry

The Penultimate Paramour used to save the tree trunk from a head of broccoli to use in a stir fry. So did my mum. Perhaps it was a matter of too long in the wok but even chopped, the tree trunks were soft and watery with a flavour reminiscent of the compost heap. We made a stir fry tonight. Back late from Essex, I was feeling buggy and it was my turn to cook. I had planned to make stroganoff but couldn’t face the palaver. In a moment of desperation, I grabbed Nigel Slater’s The 30 Minute Cook and thumbed through the pages. This is...

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Flowers from the garden: February

Posted in Flowers | 0 comments

Flowers from the garden: February

In January I decided not to buy flowers for the house for a year. With a garden of a third of an acre, I should be able to find something to bung in a vase. However, I never give things up so this is a real struggle as I love flowers. I was helped this month by the freesias D bought me for Valentine’s Day. And the last of the carnations that Tony bought a few weeks ago have just been relegated to the compost bin. When I’m rich and famous I’d like a vase of flowers in every room. If this happens before December 31 2007,...

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Prawn croquette recipe

Posted in Fish and Seafood | 0 comments

Prawn croquette recipe

This is our entry for Waiter There’s Something In My… Pie, hosted by Jeanne at Cooksister. These blog events are a good idea. They focus attention. This sort of event forces us to think of a new dish as all of the recipes on The Cottage Smallholder are original and straight from our kitchen, apart from the conrtributions fom friends. We thought it would be fun to develop our potato croquette recipe and try to make something that could be a starter or side dish. Our croquettes are baked in individual ramekins or a large shallow...

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Caring for your eggs

Posted in Chickens | 38 comments

Caring for your eggs

If the weather is wet or you have a chicken roosting in the nesting box, it’s important to collect your eggs every morning and evening. The shells of eggs are porous and the eggs can become tainted very quickly. In wet weather, our hens get muddy no matter how much gravel I spread in the run. The mud sticks to their claws and legs. With the exception of Mrs Boss, who tends to turn brown in wet weather. Her companion Pekin Bantam remains a glorious sparkling white. We were initially briefly concerned. Was Mrs Boss preparing for The Great...

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Sunday Roast: Perfect rare roast beef recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 57 comments

Sunday Roast: Perfect rare roast beef recipe

We reward ourselves once in a while with a really good joint of beef. It does a Sunday lunch plus at least a couple of meals during the week. Beef is easy as long as you have the three elements spot on: the choice of joint, temperature and timing. With beef, I found this all a bit overwhelming until I met Tommy Cody. I worked at Tommy and Peggy’s house for about a month. They always insisted that I joined them for lunch. It was an elegant affair. Peggy and I were given pre lunch drinks to sip and could hear the happy clatter of saucepans...

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Miniature daffodils (narcissus)

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Miniature daffodils (narcissus)

For years I used to be a bit sniffy about miniature bulbs until I was given some, maybe six years ago. They blossomed indoors on my kitchen windowsill. This was the start of a short affair. I planted them beside a treasured shrub near the back door and they multiplied. I noticed them very early each spring because they flowered long before the traditional daffodils in the garden. Then, after three years, they vanished. After a while I forgot all about miniature daffodils. After Christmas, I spotted a load of mixed bulbs that I had dug up...

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Book review: A great country winemaking book for under a fiver

Posted in Reviews, Wine | 0 comments

Book review: A great country winemaking book for under a fiver

I found this book Discovering Country Winemaking by Daphne More on the church fete bookstall a couple of years ago. A snitch at 30p. It’s pocket size disguises it’s value. In fact, it was several months before I flopped beside the fire and gave it the attention that it deserves. Daphne More, a well known journalist, has written a number of books focussing on country interests. I wasn’t surprised to see recently that this one is still in print after 27 years. Her gentle and yet authoritative style would appeal to all country...

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Runaway

Posted in Cottage tales | 4 comments

Runaway

When my Mother was a child she would spend the last day of the long summer holidays beside her garden gate. This was well out of sight of the adults in her house. She had a small suitcase beside her on the wall and a massive plan. When the gypsies drove by she would join them and run away. They never came. So my mother’s education continued uninterrupted and when she gave birth to me there must have been a whiff of that plan woven into my genes. The only thing that I have ever really wanted is a traditional gypsy caravan. I saw and...

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