The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


A new coleslaw dressing recipe

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 5 comments

A new coleslaw dressing recipe

I’m a big mustard fan. I always make fresh English mustard (Colman’s) from powder when we are having steak. I also have a passion for French’s mustard – with sausages ideally. I like the little sombrero hat that acts as a lid and the funny windy, squishy sound when you squeeze the pack. In fact one day when we were preparing lunch one day – soup and sandwiches – I thought Danny’s table matters had really gone downhill. When I heard that sound I thought that he was sampling the soup rather than adding some zing to the...

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Recipe to add zest to boiled rice, frittata and other dishes

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetarian | 2 comments

Recipe to add zest to boiled rice, frittata and other dishes

Simple boiled rice, such as good basmati, or a dish like frittata can be a joy, especially if you add a little something to lift it above the ordinary. In my wilder years, I learned to cook by trial and error after accepting a position in a Chelsea, London household even though I did not have the foggiest idea of even how to boil an egg. Nowadays I would probably be summarily fired after Day Two but this couple were exceptionally kind people. On this blog I call them Smart Wife and Kind Husband. In England, the term Smart means relatively...

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Veal Schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel) Recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 6 comments

Veal Schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel) Recipe

“How about Wiener Schnitzel for supper tonight?” Danny looked unimpressed. Picking through the freezer I had found some small veal escalopes that I’d picked up from the Tesco *CFC a few weeks ago. One was a little smaller than my hand and the other barely reached across my palm. Wiener Schnitzel seemed the sensible option. I had never made schnitzels and was keen to have a go. Danny perked up when I mentioned that I was going to marinade the meat. “Great idea. Veal can be so tasteless.” Between you and me I like the subtle flavour of...

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Bottled fruit: enjoying the bounty seven months later

Posted in Desserts, Fruit, Preserving, Vegetarian | 22 comments

Bottled fruit: enjoying the bounty seven months later

When I sat down to savour the superb third day of creamy Greek yoghurt and organic blackberries and blueberries bottled last October from our own garden, I just had to take a photo. This is now pasted on the kitchen wall to  remind me how good bottled fruit is when I’m caught up in the bottling frenzy that dominates September and October. I do enjoy bottling fruit but sometimes it seems a bit of a palaver if I have other things to do. Sitting by the pond on a clear and sunny morning as the fruit and yoghurt combination burst in my mouth I...

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How to cook the perfect baby squid recipe

Posted in Fish and Seafood | 5 comments

How to cook the perfect baby squid recipe

Buying squid in the UK usually means pointing to a pile of tentacles, each with a baby squid inside. As these arrive frozen they are often sold off very cheap at the end of the day. Danny has always been squid master at the cottage. To be quite frank cooking squid seemed to be a bit of a palaver. Grilled (broiled) or fried they needed 20/20 attention. So if I was cooking, I always avoided a squid bargain. A few weeks ago I was shipping with my mum in Waitrose, Cambridge on a Saturday. It was like shopping on a Sunday in Newmarket. Loads of...

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Passata and rice water can remove the metallic tang of leeks in a dish

Posted in Discoveries, Rice and Pasta, Vegetables and Sides | 8 comments

Passata and rice water can remove the metallic tang of leeks in a dish

I’ve discovered that using non slow cooker recipes in the slow cooker enhances the flavours. This is generally great except in the case of onions and leeks. The quantities of these ingredients need to be halved. I’ve tried reducing them by a third and then had to battle with making the dish palatable. Earlier this week I tried making our conventionally cooked oxtail recipe in the slow cooker. I halved the oxtail and made up the weight with shin of beef.  I cut down the onion and leeks by a third. I was planning a thick soup rather than a...

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Transform leftover pastry scraps into deluxe cheese Christmas snacks

Posted in Christmas, Leftovers | 5 comments

Transform leftover pastry scraps into deluxe cheese Christmas snacks

If Danny loads the dishwasher when I get back from work and the cycle finishes before supper has reached the table, I know that I’m running a bit late. The cycle is 108 minutes. This morning I discovered some chicken and ham pie filling in the freezer – all that I had to do was make the pastry. Anne Mary’s recipe for Magimix pastry works perfectly each time. Danny was amazed that I had made pastry in five minutes in the food processor. It normally needs to rest and chill in the fridge for an hour but I decided to speed up the process....

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Washing up

Posted in Cottage tales | 14 comments

Washing up

Years ago I met someone who had been a kitchen porter on a cruise ship. This meant that he had all the lowliest jobs including washing up at the end of the evening. This was the one duty that he loathed. He resented the time scrubbing away whilst the rest of the team were playing pool in the bar. The life was pretty good apart from the two hours a day battling with the pots. So he hatched a plan. There must be something that would eat up all the caked-on food and fat. So rang a friend who was an up and coming research chemist. When he came...

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