The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The cheese that led me astray

Posted in Fun, Vegetarian | 5 comments

The cheese that led me astray

  I never thought that I would be seduced by a cheese. But I’ve had to come upstairs as sitting in the kitchen is driving me nuts. Our friends Jocelyn and Miles have just come back from France and dropped off a large slab of Brie de Meaux at the cottage. Brie de Meaux doesn’t travel very well and has to be eaten quickly before the flavour neutralises. I’ve searched for Brie de Meaux in England but when I’ve found one it’s not a patch on the fresh stuff, chauffeured lovingly straight from France in a private car. In the knowledge...

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Two easy apple sauce recipes

Posted in Preserving, Sauces Gravy Dressings, Save Money, Vegetarian | 30 comments

Two easy apple sauce recipes

  Apple sauce is so easy to make and it’s versatile too. Fabulous with pork, duck or goose it can also be added to cakes, pastries, used in crumbles and as a topping for cereals or yoghurt. Here are two apple sauce recipes. One making apple sauce from scratch and the other using leftover apple must from making jelly. Way back I would have chucked the apple must but now we are trying to use everything that comes our way and it’s fun. There’s a word of warning though if you are an apple sauce making virgin. Having made your own apple...

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Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

Posted in Christmas, Jam Jelly and Preserves, Preserving, Vegetarian | 23 comments

Easy and delicious spicy pickled onions recipe

  Unless you already make pickled onions, let me share a secret. Pickled onions are ridiculously easy to make! They are great Christmas or anytime presents, especially if you use a decent quality vinegar. Poor old Danny’s acid tum can’t take malt vinegar so I always make a couple of jars for him every year using white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t posted my recipe until someone emailed me asking for one. This chutney is based on Oded Schwartz’s method from his superb book Preserving. I’ve added...

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How to hot water bath tomatoes: canning/bottling

Posted in Preserving, Vegetarian | 18 comments

How to hot water bath tomatoes: canning/bottling

  I’ve been bottling tomatoes like a woman possessed. This might seem strange as tinned tomatoes can be so cheap if you know where to go. But these are our own organic tomatoes, they are sweeter than the tinned ones and once made they sit in the barn waiting to be added to dishes until our first tomatoes ripen the next summer. Last year I bottled whole tomatoes and passata. Once we discovered that Bloody Marys made with homemade passata were to die for, we used up our winter supply within a couple of months. Danny was dead keen for me to...

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How to cook puffballs recipe

Posted in Chickens, Hedgerow food, Save Money, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 16 comments

How to cook puffballs recipe

  “I want Mrs Boss to have a memorial. She deserves it.” Danny was warming his hands over the wood burning stove. He had just finished burying her in the garden. It was March 2009. “They have some nice Willowstone chickens at the garden centre. I’ll get one. I know that they are well under £20.” But when I visited the garden centre there were no chickens on display. In fact it has taken me all this time to discover that the stone garden ornaments had been moved to a different area. Last week I chose the chicken that looked most...

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Delicious fried leftover potatoes recipe

Posted in Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 11 comments

Delicious fried leftover potatoes recipe

  The potato King always cooks too many spuds. He loves to see a decent sized pan of home grown potatoes – he can have some for supper and then graze – overnight and if he has cooked lots, a pre breakfast snack. I don’t eat loads of spuds so his ears switch into Spud Protective Mode if I want some more – he knows how to cook seriously good spuds so this does happen quite a lot these days. There’s always a little jump of surprise, followed by, “Help yourself to as much as you want.” I always leave second helpings for D. Years...

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Beetroot crisps recipe: a way to cope with and enjoy a beetroot glut

Posted in Vegetables, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 9 comments

Beetroot crisps recipe: a way to cope with and enjoy a beetroot glut

  Vegetable crisps are surprisingly delicious. I was first introduced to them at a party in the 90’s, when a bowl of these were passed round and scoffed. They must have been Tyrrell’s  as this was the first company to manufacture them in the UK. Last year I dehydrated  beetroot slices for the winter and discovered that I had made tasty, healthy crisps. They didn’t last very long once we’d tasted them – we guzzled the winter stores within a week.  This year I’m going to increase our vegetable crisp repertoire and try...

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A new coleslaw dressing recipe

Posted in Sauces Gravy Dressings, Vegetables and Sides, Vegetarian | 5 comments

A new coleslaw dressing recipe

I’m a big mustard fan. I always make fresh English mustard (Colman’s) from powder when we are having steak. I also have a passion for French’s mustard – with sausages ideally. I like the little sombrero hat that acts as a lid and the funny windy, squishy sound when you squeeze the pack. In fact one day when we were preparing lunch one day – soup and sandwiches – I thought Danny’s table matters had really gone downhill. When I heard that sound I thought that he was sampling the soup rather than adding some zing to the...

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