The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


How to fix an overheating laptop or notebook

Posted in Cottage tales | 0 comments

How to fix an overheating laptop or notebook

Danny bought me a state of the art HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook just over a year ago. It was the last one in the shop and had served an apprenticeship as a display model. I didn’t care. It was just what I wanted with loads of memory, widescreen and plenty of vroom. Now I could work at the kitchen table rather than in the Rat Room. Everyone was pleased. Within a month, the laptop started overheating. I’d be beavering away when suddenly the screen would freeze. With a tremulous phut it would die. Usually when I hadn’t...

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Simple melt in the mouth calves liver recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 7 comments

Simple melt in the mouth calves liver recipe

I found some calves liver knocked down to half price in Waitrose last weekend and bunged it in the freezer. Danny is a big eater and normally I’d have to shell out over seven quid for the two of us at full price. Generally my trolley wheels glide hopefully up to the calves liver section only to spin silently towards the sausages. It was the first time in five years that I found enough calves liver for under £3.50. I was jubilant as I swung the carrier through the front door. I knew that Danny wasn’t impressed but he was too polite...

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How to remove moles from your garden

Posted in General care | 44 comments

How to remove moles from your garden

I always feel a bit sad when I find a dead mole in the garden. With its soft velvet coat and long sensitive nose, the mole seems such a small loveable creature. The Min Pins catch them and then toss them aside for their human pet to collect. Clearly they are not as appetising as the guinea pig that they killed in the garden and carried into the house for an impromptu bacchanal on a pretty pale yellow button backed chair. But that’s another story. Occasionally we get an active mole in the garden. They can be a real pest, especially if...

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Duck and Truffle Pâté from Borough Market

Posted in Duck Goose and Turkey, Reviews | 0 comments

Duck and Truffle Pâté from Borough Market

If you want to treat yourself to something very special indeed, take a bus to Borough Market and find the stall that sells truffles and truffle infused pâté. The stall is situated in a small enclave of ten or so stands and is located at the opposite end to the Boston Sausage stall (also excellent). As the truffle pâté stall was the first of many that we spotted in our food day out, I stupidly didn’t take the name of the stand. Perhaps someone out there can help? We sampled their chicken and truffle pâté and Danny gasped with joy....

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Watercress (Nasturtium microphyllum)

Posted in Vegetables | 36 comments

Watercress (Nasturtium microphyllum)

I always thought that you needed a stream of running water to grow your own watercress. I discovered that my friend Carol knows where wild watercress grows locally. Despite a bit of gentle pressure she refuses to divulge her secret. I’m not surprised, watercress is expensive. But if you follow Carol and discover her watercress beds, be on your metal. Dirty streams makes watercress unfit to eat. If you wouldn’t drink the water, you shouldn’t eat the watercress. Unless you can use an entire supermarket pack within a day or so...

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Quick Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Savoury Pies | 0 comments

Quick Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe

This was the pie that I used to make before I discovered the merits of slow cooking. It does not quite have the soul of our Slow Cooked Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe but it is delicious. It’s well worth making if you are pressed for time and are willing to splash out a bit more on the meat than for the slow version. I always cruise past the cut price food section at Tesco and snap up any reduced priced packs of steak to freeze for this pie. Sometimes I run this up for Danny as a treat if he has had a bad day. This pie also magically...

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Eggshell fertiliser for your roses and vegetables

Posted in General care | 5 comments

Eggshell fertiliser for your roses and vegetables

The pile of eggshells on the top of the cooker after breaksfast this morning jangled a distant memory. My mother kept a pot beside the cooker for eggshells years ago. She just tossed them in without rinsing. I can see her now, pressing them down and still hear the satisfying crunch as the eggshells were crushed. The pot was quite big, about eight inches high. When it was full she would scatter the broken shells at the base of her rose bushes as a fertiliser. We tend not to put our eggshells into the compost as they are known to attract rats,...

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Guest spot: Adelaide Central Market (Australia) by Katherine Dodd

Posted in Reviews | 1 comment

Guest spot: Adelaide Central Market (Australia) by Katherine Dodd

Katherine is the only daughter of an old friend. We loved her from the moment that we met her. She is one of those rare unforgettable people that subtly tugs and expands horizons. Once met never forgotten. She sparkles even when she is not dancing Flamenco. Katherine Dodd and Paul Arguile (totally sound and a brilliant, intuitive and questioning chef) are getting married and emigrating to Australia in the Autumn to set up a café deli in Adelaide. Although we know that this is the perfect leap we will miss them enormously. Adelaide Central...

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