The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Delicate and piquant red cabbage recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 18 comments

Delicate and piquant red cabbage recipe

Danny tottered in, burdened with two carrier bags of bargains on Friday evening. He had been dispatched to buy a good bottle of vodka. Waitrose had Stoly for ten quid a bottle so he swooped in there and had discovered a small bin of almost-out-of-date fruit and veg. As I poured a vodka, he retrieved the bargains and piled them on the table. This mountain included an organic red cabbage and four figs, both for 20p. As the fridge has decided to cross the tracks and become a freezer, we left them on the worktop overnight. Saturday, mid morning I...

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Home grown Purple Sprouting broccoli

Posted in Vegetables | 79 comments

Home grown Purple Sprouting broccoli

If more people tasted home grown purple sprouting broccoli they would surely cultivate it. You would see it on London balconies, in country herbaceous borders and standing proud in every kitchen garden in the land. Home grown does not have the slight limpness and bitterness of the supermarket stuff. It’s sweet and delicate and melt in the mouth. The only problem with this vegetable is that it takes a year to mature. The seeds are planted towards the end of April and the long-ish wait puts people off. I reckon most people plant it, loose...

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Cauliflower cheese with smoky bacon recipe

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 14 comments

Cauliflower cheese with smoky bacon recipe

I love cauliflower cheese but for years battled unsuccessfully to create the best sauce. I thought that it should be a simple béchamel sauce with cheese. Wrong. My sauce was so thin that you could almost see the dish beneath due to the volume of liquid (water) produced by the cauli. So, after a few years, I gave up. My cauliflower cheese making enthusiasm was packed away. When we miraculously brought Fred’s dying cauliflower back to life, I decided to have one final go. Miracles tend to spawn more miracles and I had a thought. If I made...

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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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Snow on the vegetables. Broccoli and early broad beans

Posted in Vegetables | 0 comments

Snow on the vegetables. Broccoli and early broad beans

I was a bit worried by last week’s snow and shot down before breakfast, in my dressing gown and wellies, to shake the snow off the broccoli netting. I keep the broccoli under nets to protect it from greedy woodpigeons. But the weight of the snow could snap the stems however sturdy. The fences only vaguely support the netting. I need to make a sturdier structure in the middle of the border this year. The dry weather last summer meant that John delayed planting the broccoli until August. This has dramatically effected their growth. They...

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