The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Herby Boulangere potatoes recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 9 comments

Herby Boulangere potatoes recipe

I like to bake food in the oven every now and then. Somehow I think that this releases me to get on with other things rather than keeping me anchored to the sauté pan or grill. So I prepare the dishes, work out the timings and pass responsibility over to a small green portable timer, that has a bleep so irritating that it can’t be ignored. I decided to make Boulangere potatoes to celebrate Danny’s first full trug of spuds. These are scrummy and low fat. They were to accompany pork chops baked in blackberry and apple jelly and oven braised...

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Dazzling crispy new potatoes recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 11 comments

Dazzling crispy new potatoes recipe

My father was in the army and my parents were stationed in Germany after WW2. The country was devastated and poor. “Every single piece of each garden was filled with vegetables. No flowers. No lawns. Just vegetables. I think that a lot of people were starving.”   My mother always described them quietly. My parents swapped a pack of fresh coffee for their first Min Pin, Nippy. The couple didn’t want money. They longed for coffee – not available in their shops. The pup was named after the Nippies – the waitresses at Lyons...

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Easy creamed potatoes

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 12 comments

Easy creamed potatoes

One of our first culinary clashes was over mashed potatoes. “To be good, they need to be hugely unhealthy with lashings of cream and butter,” Danny announced as he searched the fridge shelves for double cream. “I like them made with a dash of milk and a large knob of butter.” “Milk?” His eyes rolled. We did agree on one point. White pepper is essential. I had always used black pepper but Danny introduced me to the subtleties of white on eggs, swede and potatoes. So we have a small oak  peppermill filled with white peppercorns that...

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Quick Gratin Dauphinoise recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 6 comments

Quick Gratin Dauphinoise recipe

Danny is off to India on business tomorrow. We have had a week bursting with meat and treats to salve the probability of spicy meals in Bangalore. Danny hates hot spicy food. “Apparently there are branches of Domino Pizza everywhere.” Sounds like a week of Super Size Me. Tonight we had rack of lamb with runner beans fresh from the garden and gratin dauphinoise, cooked in my favourite way – with Gruyere cheese. Danny cooks a mean gratin dauphinoise without cheese (it was years before I twigged that gratin referred to the dish...

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Low fat Saag Aloo recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 6 comments

Low fat Saag Aloo recipe

“A typical meal at home doesn’t consist of a main course and vegetables. Rather a pot of rice and a lot of side dishes,” Danny’s friend Dipak confided, a year or so ago. I remembered the remark this week. Had I started making side dishes for curries and frozen some portions, I would now have a selection in the freezer for mid week meals. On days when I long to reach for the telephone and order a takeaway. I make a good raita but this has to be run up and eaten immediately. Why not add some other dishes to the freezer...

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Hero’s best potato recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 9 comments

Hero’s best potato recipe

Although all heroes would demand these delicious potatoes if they sampled them, these potatoes were inspired by a wonderful dish that I tasted on my visit to the island of Hero many years ago. Every now and then I have tried to recreate this special island dish. Small, delicious potatoes baked in the oven in a dish with a lid. They were moist, slightly salty and melt in the mouth. It was nearly twenty years ago and eating rather than cooking good food was my focus at the time. All attempts failed until a few weeks ago when, pressed for time, I...

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Smart Wife’s leek and potato soup recipe (vichyssoise)

Posted in Starters and Soups | 21 comments

Smart Wife’s leek and potato soup recipe (vichyssoise)

Even though the room was dark, the rustle from the bed indicated that Danny was awake. I shot in, spoon in hand. “I think that I’ve finally got the vichyssoise right! I just need you to taste it.” “But I’ve just cleaned my teeth.” Danny tasted it anyway, gave it the thumbs up and fell asleep. Years ago Smart Wife taught me how to make vichyssoise. I made gallons of the stuff and we would drink it throughout the long hot Chelsea summers. This was Smart Wife’s favourite soup and I must admit I never...

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Mashed potatoes infused with basil and rape seed oil recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 8 comments

Mashed potatoes infused with basil and rape seed oil recipe

Potatoes are important to Danny. Not just having some on the plate. They have to be the right variety. When he talks about potatoes it’s like a man describing a tribe of much loved children. And then there are the best ways of cooking them. “Creamed potatoes need lashings of cream and butter. That’s why they’re called creamed.” The milk bottle is silently returned to the fridge. The urge to create a new potato dish bubbles to the surface every now and then. This can only be attempted when I am cooking and D is...

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