The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


We are finally growing leeks

Posted in Vegetables | 12 comments

We are finally growing leeks

When John Coe reverses into our drive he sits for several minutes in his car before he gets out and opens the boot. I’ve never have the nerve to ask him why. I just open the front door and leave it slightly ajar. This morning he was loaded with carrier bags, gardening gloves and his wellingtons when he pushed the door into the kitchen. “I’ve brought you a lettuce.” He opened the bag gently to reveal a large head of butter lettuce. The kind that my mum used to buy when I was growing up. Do you remember those simple salads, lettuce...

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Anna’s famous onion gravy recipe

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetarian | 60 comments

Anna’s famous onion gravy recipe

I’ve been working at Anna’s house for the past five weeks. The spot is so secluded that I could not find it on my first foray and had to return home. At the second attempt, Jalopy and I were resting at the side of the road, scratching our heads and on the point of giving up when, miraculously, Anna drove past. We followed her lead and learned the route to her house. Down a quiet track, in the middle of fields. I would never have found it by myself and might have missed out on this onion gravy gem. Anna cooks delicious meals for her...

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Growing shallots

Posted in Vegetables | 14 comments

Growing shallots

I love this time of year, everything winding down from the rush of the summer. A sunny day seems so much more precious now that the days are shorter. I was down in our kitchen garden this morning planning to lift two rows of shallots. I knew that I should have lifted them in August but assumed that they would be happy to be left in for a few more weeks. It was difficult to spot them at first as the nasturtiums have romped across half the vegetable patch. When I did find them they were disappointingly small and had started to sprout. What a...

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