The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Mixed game casserole with shitake mushrooms recipe. For the slow cooker.

Posted in Pheasant and Game | 2 comments

Mixed game casserole with shitake mushrooms recipe. For the slow cooker.

  The freezer bit of our indoor fridge freezer has finally died. RIP you temperamental old geezer. You have no idea of the heartache that you have caused us over the years. The fridge is still working, thank goodness and we have a small backup freezer in the barn. So I’ve been cooking up things that used to be in the defunct freezer. Yesterday it was mixed game casserole. The essential ingredient for this, apart from the game element, are the shitake mushrooms. If you can’t get fresh ones use dried ones (10% of the fresh weight) soak and...

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Alphonso’s Chicken Bonne Femme recipe – cooked in a Thermos

Posted in Chicken, Chickens, Save Money | 13 comments

Alphonso’s Chicken Bonne Femme recipe – cooked in a Thermos

  Well how did the cockerels taste? Massimo is in the freezer as I chose Alphonso to star in our first eat your own chickens post. I decided a slow cook method was probably best so I christened The Giant Thermos that I bought from the church fete this year. I also tried to use as many ingredients from our kitchen garden. We had fresh garlic – for the first time a decent sized bulb. Carrots – many strange and evocative shapes here as we don’t really have the perfect soil for them. Potatoes, just a tiny bit of slug/xxx damage – just...

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Belly of Pork with Morello cherries recipe

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 5 comments

Belly of Pork with Morello cherries recipe

Over the past few years I’ve bought a number of fruit bushes and trees from the budget supermarket Netto. This can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. The green gooseberry bush turned out to be a succulent red dessert variety and tiny hands clapped with glee. About three years ago I bought a couple of cherry trees – one Morello and one dessert cherry. The later has been grown in a frame in one of the fruit cages. Last year they fruited and we discovered that both specimens were Morello trees. After the initial disappointment – cherries...

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The slow cooker chef: Venison and shin of beef casserole recipe

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal, Pheasant and Game | 3 comments

The slow cooker chef: Venison and shin of beef casserole recipe

  This is a really easy recipe that I made last week. I forgot to take a picture of the dish so have put up this photograph as it includes a brass deer that belonged to my mother as a child. I love eating venison but it’s so expensive here in the UK. We buy it when it’s marked down in price and stash it in the freezer for game pies and casseroles. Shin of beef is delicious too – slowly simmered for 8-10 hours the gristly meat transforms into a melt in the mouth treat. Combine the two for a casserole that is deeply satisfying on a...

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The slow cooker chef: Low fat summery lamb shanks braised in red wine and tomatoes recipe

Posted in Lamb | 4 comments

The slow cooker chef: Low fat summery lamb shanks braised in red wine and tomatoes recipe

I tend not to buy lamb shanks as they usually look so weedy and unappetising. Last week I spotted a half price pack of two lamb shanks on the Tesco condemned food counter. These were quite chunky (just under a kilo) and the original price was pretty stout too. They had been reduced from £7.95 to £3.50. So naturally they ended up in my trolley. I decided to try just using ingredients that were knocking about in the fridge and larder and devised this dish that would easily feed eight. The combination of carrots, tomatoes and red wine worked...

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The slow cooker chef: Hot spring game pie

Posted in Pheasant and Game, Savoury Pies | 14 comments

The slow cooker chef: Hot spring game pie

It’s the time of year when we start to clear the freezer of game given to us during the shooting season. We tend to keep our eyes peeled for cut price game.  Waitrose stocks rabbit, venison, pigeon, partridge and quail. All quite expensive but often marked down to half the original price –these are brought home and secreted in the freezer until we have the perfect ingredients for this subtle game pie filling. Our favourite combination is venison, rabbit and pheasant. This pads out the pheasant and gives a tremendous range and depth of...

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How to make the best chicken stock in your slow cooker

Posted in Basics | 26 comments

How to make the best chicken stock in your slow cooker

I’d written my post for tonight. Budget, delicious chicken risotto for 62p per portion when I realised that the main ingredient – the chicken stock hadn’t been blogged. A horse without the cart is no good for anyone who is travelling in foodie country. So here’s the cart. This stock works with cooked chicken bones or a fresh carcass. The latter makes better stock, I think. If you remember to remove the chicken when it is cooked (1-1.5 hours depending on size) you will have perfectly poached chicken to add to a multitude of other...

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The slow cooker chef: a great slow cooked spare rib recipe

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 6 comments

The slow cooker chef: a great slow cooked spare rib recipe

To celebrate Jalopy’s heroic performance passing her M.O.T. with flying colours, I ordered an organic belly of pork from The Carter Street butchers in Fordham. I also remembered to ask for the bones. Daniel, the butcher does not ‘bone out’ the joint but slices them off as a rack of spare ribs. What could be better than sticky sweet and sour ribs for Saturday night? As I was working that day I decided to try and find a recipe that could bubble away all day in the slow cooker/crock pot. I found Lyn Utsugi’s tempting recipe for...

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