The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The potpourri project: first outing with my smellies to the Withersfield Christmas Bazaar

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 4 comments

The potpourri project: first outing with my smellies to the Withersfield Christmas Bazaar

This summer I became interested in scent. I’d invested in The Scented Room: Cherchez’s Book of Dried Flowers, Fragrance and Potpourri. I wanted to use scent both to enhance mood and also battle with the pests that were chomping through our clothes. The latter was a big priority. I grew up in the era of moth balls. Ancient maiden aunts would arrive for family functions wearing clothes that reeked of these ghastly balls. It was evident that they clearly worked well on the moth population but also on every other thing that was alive in...

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Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

Posted in Christmas, Jam Jelly and Preserves, Preserving, Vegetarian | 23 comments

Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

  Unless you already make pickled onions, let me share a secret. Pickled onions are ridiculously easy to make! They are great Christmas or anytime presents, especially if you use a decent quality vinegar. Poor old Danny’s acid tum can’t take malt vinegar so I always make a couple of jars for him every year using white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t posted my recipe until someone emailed me asking for one. This chutney is based on Oded Schwartz’s method from his superb book Preserving. I’ve added...

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How to make homemade pomanders

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 8 comments

How to make homemade pomanders

  There are many beautiful moths that come into the cottage on summer evenings. They are welcomed and their beauty dazzles me and I hope that they will not drown in the washing up bowl. Then there are the clothes moths, the enemy that likes to guzzle our carpets and clothes. Any that I spot lolloping on the ceiling are killed by gently wiping my finger over them – yes our ceilings are that low. Despite the clothes moth murders hundreds of these greedy creatures manage to creep into our drawers and wardrobes each year with devastating...

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The potpourri project: Making my first batch of Cherhez’s Old English Rose Potpourri

Posted in Christmas, Flowers, Reviews | 7 comments

The potpourri project: Making my first batch of Cherhez’s Old English Rose Potpourri

  “I bet your house smells wonderful.” The lady in Holland and Barrett  exclaimed as she put my essential oils in a bag. “I’m making potpourri and our cottage is beginning to smell great.” The Holland and Barrett essential oils are very good quality and the scent lasts well. We use them for making essential oil recipes that I found in The Fragrant Mind by Valerie Ann Worwood. I will be using some of these recipes in my potpourris and scented bags as we have found that they are extremely powerful. It’s taken ages...

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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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Hot crab apple and chilli jelly recipe

Posted in Hedgerow food, Jam Jelly and Preserves | 112 comments

Hot crab apple and chilli jelly recipe

Everyone seems to be talking about chillies. They are said to trigger “feel good” endorphins and are packed with vitamin A, an immune system boosting antioxidant. Chillies improve the digestive process too as they stimulate the action of the intestine and stomach. This year I was determined to make crab apple and chilli jelly. My first attempt was so so. There was a chilli tingle when I tasted the juice. I chucked it away. My recipe from Oded Schwartz’s Preserving added 3-4 medium heat chillis. Are these desseded? I’d...

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