The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Companion vegetable

companion marrowDanny and I both enjoy the weekly visit to our butcher. D considers them to be great “craic”. He shopped happily at Fred Fitzpatrick’s each week when I was down in Saffron Walden for months. When I was able to drop by again on Friday, Fred was able to do a passable Cork accent. I was impressed. Admittedly I had been away for some time.

I spotted a large marrow lounging amongst the vegetables when I breezed in last Friday. It had a label stuck on its side which I examined as John sliced the sirloin steaks. It read “Free to a good home.”

The word Free always makes my heart skip a beat. I love the look of a marrow. And then I remember endless watery marrow based meals when I was growing up. My mother raved and guzzled. We pushed the pieces around our plates until she called time. Somehow she never got the hint.

Despite this I wanted to adopt this giant, sloth like vegetable.
“And are you going to stuff the marrow?” Asked John, as he wrapped the chunky pork chops. I wasn’t sure. We had tried Mrs Beeton’s stuffed marrow recipe and hated the result. I kept mum.

John pointed to the Dolmio sauces on the shelf.
“I stuff mine with mince and herbs and bake it in this sauce. A lady just came in and she stuffs hers with mince and onions and loads of Lea and Perrins.” He was setting up a challenge. Butchers – give them an inch…

Instantly I planned a small portion would be baked with Fred’s excellent mince. The rest would be made into chutney, I was pretty sure that there were marrow recipes in the Oded Schwartz book, “Preserves”, that Danny bought me for Christmas last year. Sadly out of print, it is a real gem. Danny found it on eBay, Australia. In England it can change hands for astronomical sums. From Australia, it was a bargain at forty pounds including postage.

I tottered back to the car with the marrow under one arm, balancing the fat carrier bag on the other. As I fastened the seat belt over the marrow, so it wouldn’t slip off the back seat and get bruised before we got home, I remembered that the cottage kitchen is packed with fruit waiting to be turned into chutney, wine and jelly. Where was it going to live before it was transmogrified into something delicious?

Danny goggled as I staggered in with our new pet. After a brief photo call it has moved around the kitchen waiting for that moment when marrow meets recipe and knife. I’ve dropped the idea of stuffed tranche of marrow for the moment as I am keen to make Oded Schwartz’s Marrow and Ginger Preserve and his Marrow Chutney.

“If it’s a toss up between the two, I’d much prefer the chutney,” admitted Danny gently. “There is just one problem. I have become rather fond of our large green companion vegetable.”

Marrow is huge so we can easily make both the preserves, chutney and possibly even unfreeze the mince and try our variation of stuffed marrow Ã? La Cottage Smallholder. I will report back after next weekend and let you know how I get on.


I made Farmers Marrow Rum eventually. It will be a year beore we taste the results.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lindsey,

    Marrow rum sounds wonderful. I’d love the recipe. We have a marrow in the larder pleading to be turned into grog

  2. I don’t know what you did with your marrow but have you tried making marrow rum?

    I’ve got a 1954 Farmers Weekly country wines book which I have used for my first attempt. We are now 2 weeks into the process and I sneaked a look in today and the liquor smells great! Apparently you can end up with a fairly lethal drink quite quickly although the longer you keep it the better. Will definitely use the biggest marrow I can find next time!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate (uk)

    Thanks so much for the tips on stuffed marrow, loads of flavour looks like the answer.

  4. Marrow and ginger jam and marrow and ginger chutney are both really good preserves. When stuffing a marrow try blanching the thick slices first to avoid the rubber skin effect and stuff with plenty of tasty herbs,garlic etc and put stuffing round the slices too, then a flavoursome tomato sauce and some strongish cheese on top.A family favourite- we were four years in Holland where they do not sell marrows and we missed our autumn stuffed marrow greatly!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat,

    I’d love some of your marrow chutney recipes if they are to hand. I am trying to tempt D into the love marrow, zucchini, courgette camp. It’s a stony road but he chortled over gem squash tonight, progress at last.

    Hi Amanda,

    I know that a talented chef like you will find a delicious place for your marrow, leek, onion combination.

    I love the idea of a companion prawn. I love them and would happily adopt one if they didn’t deteriorate so fast.

    My sister had a black pug, Titus, who loved seafood. Give him a prawn and he was in heaven for a nano second. He also enjoyed licking out crab shells. I had a Min Pin at the time who loathed seafood but would take his share and bury it in his basket. Say no more…

  6. I roasted a marrow with onions and leeks from the garden the night before our holiday and quickly cooled them down to freeze. They’re sat in the freezer now until I can think what to pep them up with.

    Talking of companions of that ilk – Little had a pet tomato for a while when he was a toddler and a prawn which he called Prawnie – it didn’t smell great, that one went in the bin after a few days! The tomato lasted a bit longer. We have photos of them – How mad is that?!

  7. Ohhhhhhhh My fav veg again!!! I just love courgettes/Marrows/Zucchinis whatever name they are given. So many recipes and not enough of the veg to try them all out… I will see if I have a few recipes for preserves and chutneys for you.

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