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!...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 11 comments

Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

The Chicken Lady, who writes the excellent blog Kitty’s Super Allotment, was cooking pigs’ cheeks with apples when I popped in a few weeks ago. “I think that the butcher just sliced them off the head. Look there’s a piece of ear.” Initially I felt a bit squirmy about tasting this dish. But these were quite delicious – the skin crispy yet soft and the meat similar to slow cooked belly of pork. Celia from Purple Podded Peas had mentioned pigs’ cheeks to me ages ago and I’d forgotten all about them. In...

read more

Recipe for Spanish style squid and tomato soup

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Starters and Soups | 8 comments

Recipe for Spanish style squid and tomato soup

I picked up a whole squid a couple of days ago. I had not come across this wonder before – just those lovely white open ended envelopes that regurgitate a baby squid when pressed. This half priced one had skin and an eye! Maybe two, I couldn’t/didn’t want to work out the physiology. But I did venture onto the Internet to learn squid preparation skills. I was so pleased that I did as I was tempted to just slice it up, skin and all. I didn’t know about the stomach, quill or the beak. Yes a squid has a beak! Generally I think of squid as...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Summer rabbit casserole recipe for the slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Pheasant and Game | 5 comments

Summer rabbit casserole recipe for the slow cooker/crock pot

A few years ago Danny and I went to stay in the Cinque Terra in Italy. This is in Liguria and the five towns are seaside or clinging to hillside near the coast. This is a great region for walking and farming. We’d watch the walkers leave as we enjoyed our breakfast and return when we were lifting the first glass of the evening. We were staying in a small town called Monte Rosso. A beautiful old fashioned seaside place with a truly sleepy feel. Despite this it was packed with good restaurants and shops selling foodie delights. We’d guzzle...

read more


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


FD