The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Stick blender

Posted in Fun, Kitchen equipment | 14 comments

Stick blender

Back in the eighties I was given a blender. A large device that stood on a stand with an orange plastic cap over the hole in its lid. And, to keep it company, a nifty compact electric whisk with two metal prongs for whisking stuff. “These are essential in any kitchen.” I was assured. Both rarely left the darkness of the cupboard to perform as I didn’t really cook. But I liked having them just in case I caught the cooking bug. Many years later Danny reconstituted some semi solidified paint using the electric whisk with a slow...

read more

How to eat your own new potatoes on Christmas Day

Posted in Christmas, Discoveries, Vegetables | 20 comments

How to eat your own new potatoes on Christmas Day

As a woman, I move in a strange world. Filled with ladders, vans, dust, men and the occasional dog that observes me closely as I pass by. There are very few women at the builder’s merchants where I buy my paint. In fact I have never seen one buying anything alone. A woman is always accompanied by a man. So my progression in the builder’s merchants from Oddity to UBOK (Unusual But OK) has been a bit of a rocky one. Finally, after five years, I know and like the guys behind the desk. We chat when I need to have paint mixed. Sometimes...

read more

The salami project: step one

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 15 comments

The salami project: step one

Bursting with pride, I opened the small foil parcel and pushed it across the counter towards Fred. It was a slice of my first old fashioned pork pie. Fred sampled the meat. “Good texture. Did you make the pastry yourself?” He tasted the thick crust. “Yes, we did.” “When you next make the pies put a little of the seasoning mix for the meat into the pastry. Then the pastry won’t be such a contrast to the meat. Sage and pepper is a good combination.” “What do you think of the...

read more

Jelly set too hard

Posted in Discoveries, Jam Jelly and Preserves | 18 comments

Jelly set too hard

I had promised Margaret a jar of our Sloe and Bramley Jelly – great for adding to casseroles, brilliant with game. The sloey edge gives it more bite than a conventional jelly. I gave her a large jar of our Apple Chilli Jelly instead. She looked flummoxed and examined the label. I explained in one embarrassed word. “Iwasmakingthesloeandbramleyjellyanditfailedit’slikerubber.” It was probably a mistake to ring my mother when I was making sloe and Bramley apple jelly. She likes to chat and muse about life. Usually I am...

read more

Smart Wife’s Perfect Yorkshire pudding recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 87 comments

Smart Wife’s Perfect Yorkshire pudding recipe

  We now have an even better recipe for Yorkshire puddings – these are crisp and keep their shape. Years ago Smart Wife taught me how to make perfect Yorkshire puddings. I often ruined the joint but our individual Yorkshire puds were perfect every time. Rising like a miniature Tower Of Pisa army, they happily deflected attention away from the teeth challenging meat. On Sunday, Danny suddenly gets serious at around six o’clock and puts on his King Of Roasts mantle. If he is cooking beef I am invited to be his Queen Of Yorkshire...

read more

Murray River gourmet salt flakes

Posted in Basics, Discoveries | 3 comments

Murray River gourmet salt flakes

Sometimes I take a straight look at my life. I am usually rumbling along a country road, behind the wheel of Jalopy. “I never thought that I would be breeding keets, living with an Irishman, allowing the giant spider to live in the bath.” I never, ever thought that I would be writing about salt. I buck the system as far as salt goes. Danny has high blood pressure so we cook without salt. I have a range of salt for personal use. Low salt if I am feeling virtuous and Maldon sea salt if I am feeling wild and rakish. This was fine...

read more

How to cook cold smoked kippers

Posted in Discoveries, Fish and Seafood, Snacks Breakfast Lunch | 7 comments

How to cook cold smoked kippers

Following my post on Craster Kippers, I discovered from Dan at the River Farm Smokery that not all kippers are hot smoked. He had offered me some large olive cans for the kitchen garden so we popped into the shop buy some treats. There were packs of Scottish kippers – ingredients: herrings, salt and oak smoke. When I unwrapped them the next day their flesh was pinkish. We grill Craster kippers for eight minutes. I wasn’t sure how to cook these so I put them under a low grill 130c for 14 minutes (skin side down) and served them...

read more

Kohinoor: the best home cooked rice that I have ever tasted

Posted in Discoveries, Reviews, Rice and Pasta | 8 comments

Kohinoor: the best home cooked rice that I have ever tasted

A few weeks ago I was padding around Tesco and decided to look at what was on offer rice wise. We always used to use Tilda. Then, feeling a bit tight, I started buying budget rice. This was fine until I cooked some one evening and it ruined the meal. I found this 2 kilo plastic jar of rice with a natty handle for carrying the jar from the larder to the stove (it folds flat for storage). The label proudly states that Super Kohinoor is India’s premium Basmati rice. It’s fantastic. A doddle to make and the lightest fluffiest rice that...

read more


Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder


FD