The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Recipe for beef cheeks braised in stout: slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 7 comments

Recipe for beef cheeks braised in stout: slow cooker/crock pot

I only started watching Masterchef towards the end of last year and I’m totally hooked. Recently a team of contestants were working in Jason Atherton’s restayrant kitchen. The main course was beef cheeks braised in stout served with horseradish mashed potatoes – it looked delicious and I thought that I’d try making it in the slow cooker/crock pot. Beef cheeks are double the price of pig cheeks in the UK but they are still a budget cut of beef at around £5.99 a kilo. Don’t be alarmed when you cut them as they are very tough indeed!...

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Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot

Posted in Lamb | 9 comments

Recipe for lamb shanks braised in red wine with shallots: slow cooker/crockpot

Lamb shanks are perfect for long slow cooking. The price has shot up over the years and now they are expensive to buy. Luckily Danny found some on the Tesco CFC* and I came up with this recipe. Lamb shanks actually have quite a bit of meat on them so we managed to get six good meaty portions out of the shanks. And of course bone in meat makes a much better casserole. The key ingredients were the shallots and tomato. Our one remaining onion had gone bad so I grabbed some of the shallots that we grew last summer. We had our best ever harvest...

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Recipe for stunning steak and oxtail casserole

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Featured | 2 comments

Recipe for stunning steak and oxtail casserole

When I have the energy I cook in advance. The kitchen fills with steam for a day. Danny is banished. We end up with a pile of ready or almost ready meals frozen in thin packs. I used to freeze in large cubes and realised that thin, grip sealed bags would be a far better option. In an emergency that can be unfrozen in a frying pan – very, very low heat and savoured relatively quickly. Ideally the food unfreezes at room temperature over a day. This meal wasn’t frozen for later. We ate it joyously, with seconds, for five nights running until...

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Rich ragout sauce recipe for the slow cooker or crock pot

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings | 15 comments

Rich ragout sauce recipe for the slow cooker or crock pot

Spaghetti bolognaise is a favourite in the cottage. Our recipe is high on vegetables and low on meat  – delicious and economical, it’s difficult to tire of it. I cook it in the slow cooker and freeze it in bags flattened to about half an inch (one and a half centimetres) so that it can be gently unfrozen in a frying pan (lid on) when needed. No waiting for defrost! The slow cooker/crock pot really enhances the flavours of this dish. I’ve tried cooking it on the stove top but it just doesn’t taste as good. In March this year I didn’t...

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Slow cooked summery lamb shanks recipe. Simmered with apricots and tomatoes

Posted in Lamb | 2 comments

Slow cooked summery lamb shanks recipe. Simmered with apricots and tomatoes

Years ago lamb shanks were a very cheap cut of meat. Now, with the return to forgotten cuts, they have become increasingly popular and the price for a couple of shanks has become quite high. So when I found a couple of these tasty lovelies half price on the Tesco CFC I squirreled them into my basket with a trill. Lamb shanks, like oxtail, always used to flag a warming winter dish to me. Judging by the amount of shanks that appear regularly on the CFC at this time of year most people would agree. But why not try and create a summery dish? The...

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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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New flavoursome spaghetti bolognaise sauce recipe cooked in the slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Rice and Pasta, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money | 8 comments

New flavoursome spaghetti bolognaise sauce recipe cooked in the slow cooker/crock pot

  Danny is picky about pasta. Won’t eat macaroni and the thought of penne has him panicking that I might actually have finally got up the nerve to cook it for him. “I like linguine, spaghetti, angel hair.” “Tagliatelle?” “Maybe.” I don’t ever mention ravioli since this terrible disaster. We eat a lot of spaghetti bolognaise. Frozen in flat ziplock bags it takes just half an hour max from freezer to plate. We’ve been eating versions of our patent recipe for years and I decided to see if I could make it tastier. I have to let...

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Spare ribs recipe slow cooked in a rich sauce

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 4 comments

Spare ribs recipe slow cooked in a rich sauce

  Before Danny met me he lived in America for three months. Often he refers to the spectacular spare ribs that he ate there. “One guy spent three days cooking just one pot of ribs. They were superb.” Unfortunately Danny didn’t get the recipe. When D’s brother came to visit he made some stunning ribs. His secret ingredient was black bean sauce. Unfortunately we didn’t note down the recipe. I had a longing for slow cooked spare ribs this week and I had two packs in the freezer that I’d picked up from the Waitrose *CFC which would be...

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