The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Fruit steamers are a brilliant addition to any busy kitchen

Posted in Kitchen equipment | 47 comments

Fruit steamers are a brilliant addition to any busy kitchen

For years I longed for a Vigo fruit press to process our apples, pears and fruit for wine, juices and cordials. They are beautiful objects but too expensive to justify occasional use. Then one lucky day last year, Ronald Hayles left a comment about the wonders of the Mahu Liisa. I had never heard of this type of extraction steamer before but they clearly would be very useful for processing juices. Basically these special steamers extract fruit juice using steam, this also pasteurises the juice which can be drawn off into sterilised bottles and...

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How to make your own tasty home cured bacon without a smoker

Posted in Curing and Smoking, Featured | 40 comments

How to make your own tasty home cured bacon without a smoker

It’s often said that some of the best discoveries are made by mistake. This discovery was made through laziness. We have stuck rigidly to our low salt bacon cure for over a year now. When Tessa of chiminea fame came back from a trip to Cornwall she brought news. “We discovered some home cured molasses bacon in a small family butcher’s shop. The bacon was much darker than ours. It was so delicious that we’re going to add more molasses to our recipe.” So I added two more heaped teaspoons of molasses to our cure. We usually smoke the...

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We made pork pies

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Savoury Pies | 21 comments

We made pork pies

I’ve always wanted to have a go at making pork pies. I even bought a tiny funnel for adding the jelly a couple of years ago in the faint hope that I would have time to try over Christmas. When The Chicken Lady admitted to a similar dream I retrieved the funnel from the depths of the equipment drawer and pounded up to the top of the village with some plain flour, a large block of lard and a couple of pork hocks with trotters. My mum has given me her treasured farmer’s cookbook Farmhouse Fare (first published in 1946). So I took that...

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Make your own homemade Greek style yoghurt without tears

Posted in Basics | 31 comments

Make your own homemade Greek style yoghurt without tears

Poor Danny got ticked off by the Tightwad Queen for dolloping too much Greek yoghurt on his chick pea cakes last week. TTQ wanted to use the rest of the pot for another meal. The Greek yoghurt that we like is expensive. I hate being scratchy about money. Would far rather work a longer day and be lavish but the 2008 budget challenge has me checking outgoings like a deranged accountant. I decided that I’d put the rationed yoghurt topping in a bowl on the table rather than plonking the carton beside D, next time. I only had myself to...

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Vegetables that store well: Acorn squash

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 15 comments

Vegetables that store well: Acorn squash

Way back in October I bought an Acorn squash. We had tried a gem squash simmered for 20 minutes and served with lashings of butter and black pepper and loved it. Somehow the little Acorn squash didn’t have quite enough hanger appeal. Day after day it was considered and turned down for supper. Sometimes it would vanish completely and I’d find it behind a bottle of tonic water (its home was beside the drinks tray). A couple of days ago it had totally disappeared. Eventually I found my diminutive friend sitting inside the blender jug...

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Best Newmarket Sausages – Musk’s & Powters’

Posted in Reviews | 16 comments

Best Newmarket Sausages – Musk’s & Powters’

Driving home alone tonight I was mentally bemoaning the fact that we don’t have a local delicacy and then I remembered that we have the Newmarket Sausage. When I was in my late teens my mum, sister and I used to come and stay in Newmarket for the racing. We would walk to watch the horses exercising on the early morning gallops and then rush back to the hotel for a large cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon and Newmarket Sausages. I had never tasted sausages as good but put a lot of the enjoyment down to the early morning exercise and fresh...

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Warm samphire, with olive oil and lemon juice recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides | 3 comments

Warm samphire, with olive oil and lemon juice recipe

“We decided that we’d taste this uncooked.” I proffered a stalk to Danny. He looked uncertain. “When did we decide to do this?” I picked off a large branch and ate it trying to remain expressionless. “Come on, you promised. We were sitting in Jalopy, and the rain was bouncing off the roof.” Danny took the teeniest segment and announced, “It is salty.” He chewed and added “Very salty.” I was cooking. Despite “being salty”, it was going to be the green veg to accompany...

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Easter Eggs by Hotel Chocolat: Easter Egg filled Egg

Posted in Reviews | 2 comments

Easter Eggs by Hotel Chocolat: Easter Egg filled Egg

Blogging and being greedy (polite people call this an interest in food) has paid dividends this week. An email slid into my inbox. It politely enquired whether I would like to receive and possibly review the Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg filled Egg. As many of my more generous spirited clients and friends gorge at the HC fountain, I had tasted their excellent chocolate so I hit the reply button within seconds. We don’t do bad reviews. If we don’t like something, from a spice to a restaurant, we just don’t mention it on The...

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