The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 11 comments

Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

“Please don’t buy mince again. I just don’t like it.” Danny grumbled out of the kitchen. “But you like spaghetti sauce made with mince! That’s what I bought it for.” The last comment wasn’t exactly true. I wanted to make another cottage pie and Danny had somehow sensed this in the ether. “I know that you liked the cottage pie but I didn’t care for it.” “Oh.” My mum always says that I thrive on a challenge. I was determined to make something utterly delicious with the offending pack of mince. Meatballs sprang to mind...

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Recipe for chicken, mushroom and tomato risotto

Posted in Chicken, Leftovers, Rice and Pasta | 8 comments

Recipe for chicken, mushroom and tomato risotto

I’m not very keen on the combination of chicken and cooked tomatoes. Would never have chicken on a pizza. But I had half a tin of tomatoes left over from our favourite sausage and bean dish and thought that I’d bung them into a chicken risotto as an experiment. Risottos are so easy to make and are a great way of using up scraps that are knocking about in the fridge. The result was really tasty and good. Danny was amazed – I hadn’t told him about the experiment just passed him his plate of food and slipped nervously into the kitchen as...

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Recipe for squid in marinara sauce over spaghetti

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Rice and Pasta | 4 comments

Recipe for squid in marinara sauce over spaghetti

This may sound crazy but up until the past month or so I’ve always though of squid as a starter. It’s often knocked right down in price at the supermarket but I’ve tended to avoid it – my eye being on ingredients for a main course. When I made my yummy squid soup I suddenly realised that this seafood had enormous potential. Surely if soup could be this easy and this good there must be other ways to use squid? I spent a couple of hours researching squid as a pasta sauce. 95% of sauces used tomatoes so I decided to go with that. This is...

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Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 11 comments

Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

The Chicken Lady, who writes the excellent blog Kitty’s Super Allotment, was cooking pigs’ cheeks with apples when I popped in a few weeks ago. “I think that the butcher just sliced them off the head. Look there’s a piece of ear.” Initially I felt a bit squirmy about tasting this dish. But these were quite delicious – the skin crispy yet soft and the meat similar to slow cooked belly of pork. Celia from Purple Podded Peas had mentioned pigs’ cheeks to me ages ago and I’d forgotten all about them. In...

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Recipe for Spanish style squid and tomato soup

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Starters and Soups | 8 comments

Recipe for Spanish style squid and tomato soup

I picked up a whole squid a couple of days ago. I had not come across this wonder before – just those lovely white open ended envelopes that regurgitate a baby squid when pressed. This half priced one had skin and an eye! Maybe two, I couldn’t/didn’t want to work out the physiology. But I did venture onto the Internet to learn squid preparation skills. I was so pleased that I did as I was tempted to just slice it up, skin and all. I didn’t know about the stomach, quill or the beak. Yes a squid has a beak! Generally I think of squid as...

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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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Delicious pork au feu recipe. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 6 comments

Delicious pork au feu recipe. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

  Whenever I go abroad to a country with a warmer climate than the UK, I buy herbs to bring home. Somehow these are better than the ones available in the UK – perhaps the drying methods are better? I have an oregano herb mix that I bought in Crete over 11 years ago. It is stored in an airtight container in a dark place and is so powerful that we can only use a large pinch at a time. Sometimes I splash out on bouquet garni on these trips and last winter discovered a stash at the back of the larder. These were from France and were...

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Roast chicken thighs with summer vegetables recipe

Posted in Chicken | 7 comments

Roast chicken thighs with summer vegetables recipe

Why chicken thighs again? For one thing, it makes a succulent, tasty and economical meal. Also, Fiona split her jam making over two days, which is a great idea because it is then less of a major task. The house is filled with the aroma from the two jam saucepans. One has wild plum and the other is greengage. I am the unofficial taster and quality assurance agent, apparently. So I am giving her a night off from writing. We had this variation on Shereen’s excellent original already this week. I found a large gammon at the CFC on Thursday and...

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