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Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part One

Posted by on Aug 25, 2019 in Cottage tales | 7 comments

Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part One

Image of the kitchen “The cottage is not fit for human habitation. It’s freezing cold and very damp. There is only cold running water, and that’s just from the tap in the kitchen. You just can’t come home!” This was my plumber, Pete “So what’s new. It’s been cold and damp for years. I’m coming back.”After a very long pause he replied“Well bring a torch. You won’t have electricity in every room.” Pete is a glass half empty kind of guy. He’s in his seventies. Everything is a problem, he is an expert...

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Peppers stuffed with a versatile Veal, Mushroom and Tarragon Sauce

Posted by on Aug 21, 2019 in Cottage tales | 2 comments

Peppers stuffed with a versatile Veal, Mushroom and Tarragon Sauce

Simple lunch in the sunny garden I make a lot of Italian style sauces. To accompany pasta, stuff vegetables and even to top with mashed spuds for a comforting supper.  I also make a more traditional filling for shepherd’s and cottage pies. All these sauces and fillings are made in large batches frozen in flat one portion sizes that can be defrosted in minutes in a saucepan. Until yesterday all the Italian style sauces that I made were tomato based. Everything changed when I scored 500g of high welfare veal mince for a song on...

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13th Cottage Smallholder Blog Anniversary

Posted by on Aug 12, 2019 in Cottage tales | 13 comments

13th Cottage Smallholder Blog Anniversary

The Little Red Hen + Mrs Grey Lacey I can’t believe that it has been 13 years since I made the first post on this blog. So much has happened in the world since then! I can remember that day so clearly. It was one of those chilly, rainy August days. The backdoor was firmly closed and Danny made a spicy smoked fish chowder. Of course the star of the post was not the soup but The Contessa – the little Min Pin Prima Donna who is still sadly missed. Quite often at the Vets we would be called to the consulting room with the one...

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Can it be recycled? Does it come in pink?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2019 in Cottage tales | 2 comments

Can it be recycled? Does it come in pink?

Gudrun Sjoden sun hat A few years ago an old friend was talking about replacing her bicycle. She had just returned from a trip to Holland and wanted to replace it with the sort of Dutch bike that she’d ridden in Amsterdam. She spat out the drawbacks of her present bike and finally topped the list of reasons with the condemning cry,“And it’s pink!”“I rather like the colour pink.”“It’s embarrassing. Who wants to be seen on a pink bike?” Personally, I’d love a pink bike! I was secretly amused by this conversation as...

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Adventures with Kombucha

Posted by on Aug 3, 2019 in Cottage tales | 10 comments

Adventures with Kombucha

Home brewed kombucha I started brewing kombucha when I discovered that it can lower cholesterol. Having been prescribe statins and wasn’t keen on taking them I bought a scoby, tea leaves and a large glass vessel and started brewing. I drank kombucha for 18 months, gave it up for 8 and now have started drinking it again. I thought that you might be interested to hear about the effects that it had on me. That 8 month break was key to noticing the effects or lack of them. In a nutshell Kombucha fermented tea is a source of probiotic...

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Pushkin. The cat who couldn’t be placed

Posted by on Jul 27, 2019 in Cottage tales | 12 comments

Pushkin. The cat who couldn’t be placed

Pushkin relaxing in the sitting room “We just haven’t been able to place him. He doesn’t settle. And then we thought of you. The only person we know that is laid back enough to deal with him?”It was the lady from the cat rescue centre. I was rather flattered. Had never thought of myself as laid back. So I said OK. I did want a cat. The mouse war in the cottage was never ending. I hated killing them and think that the humane traps are cruel. The large and rather beautiful tabby cat arrived with an amount of luggage that...

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Sunday walks

Posted by on Jul 24, 2019 in Cottage tales | 20 comments

Sunday walks

At boarding school Sunday walks were compulsory. My memory is filled with images of gumboots, mud, mist and slightly damp tweediness. I hated them – they were worse than the ghastly sports. Even in summer it seemed like winter. But now I look forward to Sunday walks with my dogs. We venture further and mooch for longer. New landscape, smells and joie de vivre for us all. During the week we step out in the village – there are a couple of trails here where the dogs can kick up their heels and run free but by the end of the week I...

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Eleventh Blog Anniversary!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 in Cottage tales | 63 comments

Eleventh Blog Anniversary!

Eleven years have passed since the very first post on this blog. Looking back I can see that my involvement with the blog was an amazing journey. Filling my small world with new ideas, people and experiences. I travelled far beyond the kitchen table where I wrote each day. It was one of the greatest adventures that I have ever experienced. When I sat down to write that first post I had no idea of that promising future. The slow switch from pottering along on auto pilot to gradually learning how to actually fly the plane. And of course if you...

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