The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


How to make dried breadcrumbs and a few recipes that use them

Posted in Basics | 6 comments

How to make dried breadcrumbs and a few recipes that use them

90% of people throw out the ingredient for homemade dried breadcrumbs every week. I mean of course stale bread. White bread is best for breadcrumbs and if you include the crusts you will get a good colour in the crumbs. The bread needs to be dried in a warm place for several days before being turned into breadcrumbs. My mum used to have an oven with a slim drawer at the base to store roasting pans and so on – she used to pop hers in there. I put my bread to dry under the grill/broiler pan. We use our grill to make toast in the morning so the...

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Recipe for delicious breaded cod and a simple love story

Posted in Fish and Seafood | 8 comments

Recipe for delicious breaded cod and a simple love story

I must have been about five or six years old when I first noticed The Man. We were on holiday in Hunstanton. A favourite family holiday destination when I was a child. My childhood memories are of weeks of sun, shrimp nets and feeling a bit embarrassed about my knitted woollen bathing suit. I hated that knitted suit. When it was wet it would droop in heavy folds towards my feet and the thin straps cut into my shoulders as I exposed my chest to the world. In fact these holidays were just a long weekend and once a whole week. It was during this...

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Recipe for sausages baked on a nest of cannellini beans, hot smoked garlic and bacon

Posted in Pork Ham Bacon Sausages | 7 comments

Recipe for sausages baked on a nest of cannellini beans, hot smoked garlic and bacon

There are two ways of smoking food – hot smoking and cold smoking. The difference between them is that hot smoking cooks and smokes the food whilst cold smoking just smokes the food. In the case of garlic, cold smoking preserves the garlic and adds a subtle smoked flavour. Hot smoked garlic is soft and quite delicious – it needs to be vacuum packed to last more than just a few days. Hot smoked garlic has a much milder flavour than ordinary garlic and a wonderful, deep and smoky taste. It’s excellent spread on a piece of toast as...

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Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 11 comments

Recipe for meatballs and spaghetti with red wine, tomatoes and bell peppers. Foolproof slow cooker/crock pot recipes

“Please don’t buy mince again. I just don’t like it.” Danny grumbled out of the kitchen. “But you like spaghetti sauce made with mince! That’s what I bought it for.” The last comment wasn’t exactly true. I wanted to make another cottage pie and Danny had somehow sensed this in the ether. “I know that you liked the cottage pie but I didn’t care for it.” “Oh.” My mum always says that I thrive on a challenge. I was determined to make something utterly delicious with the offending pack of mince. Meatballs sprang to mind...

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Recipe for Fiona’s vegetarian cheese and potato pie: delicious hot and even better cold

Posted in Savoury Pies, Vegetarian | 8 comments

Recipe for Fiona’s vegetarian cheese and potato pie: delicious hot and even better cold

“What is that wonderful smell, Conchita?” I had just taken my potato and cheese pie out of the oven when Danny arrived back from a day in Birmingham. I knew that he would have already indulged in some fast food so I took a chance this afternoon and worked on a new recipe for cheese and potato pie. Although this is supposed to be very filling, Danny might consider this a snack, as he does pizza. I wonder if he’s the only person in the world that regularly asks for chips as a side dish for pizza? “I did have a burger but give me a shout...

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Best shepherd’s pie recipe: leftover roast lamb

Posted in Lamb, Leftovers | 10 comments

Best shepherd’s pie recipe: leftover roast lamb

As a small child I remember watching my mum mince cold roast lamb using an old metal mincer that was screwed onto the kitchen table. It was magical to watch big pieces of lamb turning into mince. I assume that she was making shepherd’s pie back then. Danny has similar memories too, standing in his big Irish kitchen, watching the mincer in operation – the air full of the smell of freshly baked soda bread. That’s why we both thought that we had to mince our leftover roast lamb to make a shepherd’s pie. Wrong! Thank goodness I had a...

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Recipe for Fiona’s fabulous watercress soup

Posted in Starters and Soups, Vegetarian | 3 comments

Recipe for Fiona’s fabulous watercress soup

Watercress is packed with vitamins (A, C and K). It is a great source of iron, calcium and is full of beneficial chemicals such as glucosinates. It’s also quite pricey to buy, so when I saw a couple of packs reduced to 20p on the Tesco *CFC, I grabbed them with a chortle. Most summers we grow our own watercress in pots in a shady area of the garden but our plants are still babies at the moment. If you like watercress it’s well worth growing your own. You can see how to grow watercress at home and an update here. The secret to the deeply...

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Recipe for traditional slow cooked cottage pie: slow cooker/crock pot

Posted in Beef and Steak and Veal | 9 comments

Recipe for traditional slow cooked cottage pie: slow cooker/crock pot

Ever since my mum was sent a box of meals from Abel and Cole I haven’t forgotten her comment when she reviewed the cottage pie. “It was a really good traditional cottage pie with no fancy or far flung additions. Delicious!” This was several years ago and I’ve been meaning to make a traditional cottage pie since then. Of course I wanted to see if my recipe came up to scratch the in A&C stakes as far as mu mum is concerned. Yesterday I had minced beef in the fridge and as it was a chilly day I reckoned that cottage pie would be...

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