The Cottage Smallholder

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Cooking in advance


Photo: Late afternoon in the old kitchen garden

Photo: Late afternoon in the old kitchen garden

We had someone special coming for supper last night and as it was going to be a busy day I decided to cook everything in advance except the vegetables.

I managed to get my hands on a wild rabbit and made a bone in casserole in the slow cooker the day before. I used this recipe to get the correct balance of ingredients to the weight of the rabbit. I rolled the rabbit portions in flour and put all the ingredients in the slow cooker. I set the knob to high and after about an hour ā€“ when it was starting to simmer – I switched it to low for three and a half hours until the rabbit was tender.

Apart from the fresh mushrooms I tossed in a handful of dried mushrooms and when I reduced the sauce I liquidised these mushrooms and the salami chunks to thicken the sauce. So the next day all I had to do was heat up the casserole gently, add the cream and simmer for a few minutes.

It was excellent and a kilo of rabbit portions would easily feed four. Quite often wild rabbit is reduced in Waitrose and we freeze these for warming winter meals and game pies.

We served this with new potatoes and a selection of fresh vegetables from the garden. The just picked curly kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and pak choi were deliciously sweet. The curly kale (Frosty) was tasty unlike its coarse Italian cousin.

For dessert I made Belgian pears and realised that if you only make half the amount of the recipe you do not get enough liquid to bottle the pears. These are best served chilled. I added a teaspoonful of the apple and orange butter to each plate and the combination was divine.

Before the meal we nibbled olives but I could have made little savoury tartlets instead of retiring to bed for an hour. I think that Iā€™m going to do much more cooking in advance when we start properly entertaining again especially as pastry can be made so easily in the food processor.

Cooking in advance gave me the time to gently prepare a meal and really enjoy making it without any pressure and the distraction of visitors.

  Leave a reply


  1. kate (uk)

    Cooking in advance- the only way- much more fun as you get to do the cooking bit without the panic bit and you see your guests. A surprising number of delicious things can be prepared in advance…you won’t miss last minute cooking at all- it also means that if it is a sunny day you can spend the whole day in the garden while dinner is taking care of itself in the kitchen, vital in these last few long days of the year!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Celia

    Thanks for the sunshine!

    Hi Leigh

    The old kitchen garden is very pretty as the sun streams over the yew hedge at the end of the day.

    I’d find it hard to eat our chickens šŸ™‚

    Rabbit is delicious and I didn’t have one as a pet so all is well.

    Do try the Belgian pear recipe it’s divine.

  3. … see I can’t even say the words .. I meant to add ‘eat’ into the sentence!

  4. I adore the picture of the old kitchen garden, it looks like it should belong in a secret garden.

    Not sure I could cook rabbit – having known lots of them with personalities. Don’t anyone ever introduce me to a cow, beef would be a huge loss from my diet. Probably illogical I know, but I have this block where I can’t any type of animal that I have had as a pet!

    The dinner did sound nice though, your descriptions always make my mouth water and send me scurrying off to the pantry to see what I have lurking in the corners.

  5. magic cochin

    Hope you had a lovely time – we sent you some sunshine šŸ˜‰

    the studio assistants
    and under-gardeners


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