The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Book review: Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons

Posted in Reviews | 14 comments

Book review: Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons

I was delighted when my new friend Pamela sent me this superb biography Nancy Wake: The Inspiring Story of One of the War’s Greatest Heroines. I’d not heard of Nancy Wake. She is an Australian who became a WW2 heroine in Nazi occupied France. A volunteer. She hated seeing what was going on in France.  Pamela had mentioned that she couldn’t put the book down and had to read it straight through. I was a bit envious and thought, “I’d love to have the time to be able to read a book straight through.” I woke early on Sunday...

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Homemade wine tasting

Posted in Wine | 17 comments

Homemade wine tasting

I sampled our two and three year old rhubarb wine on Monday. And the 2006 greengage wine. All pretty good and as Danny said, “They taste just like wine.” But I reckoned that they need more time. As Daphne Moore writes in Discovering Country Winemaking, a wine that is unpalatable can often improve with keeping. Now I can see where she is coming from. I started winemaking with enormous enthusiasm and hope. I like wine. Always fancy a glass or two with supper. If we could make our own gluggable wine it would be brilliant. So I...

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Book review: The Lemon Book by Ray Collins

Posted in Reviews | 5 comments

Book review: The Lemon Book by Ray Collins

During my decorating years I have sat enthroned on a broad sweep of WCs in other people’s houses. Some loos are the height of luxury. Others are dank, chilly places, which guarantee the briefest visit. The best ones have thick quilted lavatory paper and a pile of interesting books beside the throne. The Lemon Book: 1 is the sort of mini tome that I would pick up and relish. As it was only published last October, it hasn’t moved from bedside table to throneside in most of the houses that I visit. There is nothing better than...

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The Salami Project: part two

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 5 comments

The Salami Project: part two

I wondered why all the recipes that I found for salami didn’t mention pork hock. They all seemed to go for shoulder. Three hours later, I know why. It took me a good hour to remove the gristle from two hocks. At least I thought I’d removed the gristle until Eva, dug in her trotters and only let a thread width shred of mince escape from her furred up disks. Eva has replaced Mincy who just pulverised meat. Great if you are feeding an invalid or a toothless dog but a no no if you want proper minced meat. The extended mincing process...

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What’s your brain called?

Posted in Fun | 0 comments

What’s your brain called?

Each weekend we indulge ourselves with newspapers delivered to our door. Two fat ones on Saturday and a comic on Sunday. Danny bustled off to the loo with his free gift, “How to train your brain in 7 days.” Whilst I exercised my grey matter by looking up our chances in my free gift, “Book of names. How your name determines your fate.” It’ll be a week before we know the efficacy of D’s brain programme. I’m going to let him beta test the programme whilst I concentrate on being more like the Fiona in my...

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