The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Cottage Smallholder Summer Party 2012. Complete and unexpurged report

Jean and Veronica

Jean and Veronica on the swing seat

Danny was up at five am hacking through the undergrowth – whilst I snored above. So most guests made it to the front door and into the kitchen to offload generous foodie goodies and get fixed up with a drink. Then everyone was propelled out into the garden and sunniest day that we’ve had for weeks.

We were a small but perfectly formed party. Actually our parties are not ‘parties’ as such, they are more hangouts. Loads of eating, sipping and laughing. There is always an undefined queue for the capacious swing seat and a lot of wandering into the kitchen for that extra little something to fill a widening gap. Unfortunately I disappointed several people when I sat chomping the last of Sue’s perfect cheese scones. Sue can I put in a personal order for next year please?.

It wasn’t just Sue who hit the bulls eye (although I had to grab a locally farmed venison sausage and Pejkin bantam Scotch egg and secrete it in the fridge) when everyone was filling capacious goodie bags to take home. All brought wonderful tasty treats from mini sausages cooked in sesame oil and soy sauce to Boston sausage rolls and Cornish Fairings to a perfect chocolate cake with chocolate swirls decorating the top. Home grown cucumber and lettuce salads to die for – just plucked by S from the allotment that morning and decorated with nasturtium flowers. And so much more! Val your cake was to die for.

Veronica’s locally produced Rose went down extremely well with everyone and Celia’s Vouvray had everyone’s thumbs up. Vouvray is one of my favourite occasional tipples. Smart Wife and Kind Husband loved it too and I often used to be sent scuttling over Old Church Street to the wine cellar located in the lane opposite to secure a bottle of the same.

Of course the star turn of the day was Simon Sumprat and his hot and cold smoking magic. We savoured smoked sardines, garlic, salami and hot smoked chicken drumsticks. He has started a new venture – smoked salt – popular in America but virtually unknown in the UK.

We also indulged in an intriguing taste test of homemade elderflower champagne. There were three contenders for the gold medal. Celia’s recipe from a wildlife website that had a heady lemony accent. And from the home team High Fearnley Whittingstall’s BBC recipe and the recipe that Angela shared from the depths of Ireland.

Roy, Val, John's arms and Simon

Roy, Val, John’s arms and Simon serving elderflower champagne

Celia’s recipe won hands down but this yesterday evening Danny confided that he reckoned that Angela’s was the best as he’s not over keen on lemon. HFW’s took a definite third place in everyone’s books. But we are keeping our bottles of elderflower champagne – it gets drier and more alcoholic in time. Perhaps next year HFW’s recipe will have people clapping hand s with glee. I know that we’ll be cracking Angela’s elderflower champagne on Christmas Day as I liked that a lot too.

Thank you CSH party goers! Danny and I had a great day and were thrilled that all the guests made it such a success. It was so good to meet new comers and welcome back old friends. I will be posting a short video of the party in a few days time. The soundtrack on each of the video clips is great – happy and relaxed people chatting and laughing in the sunshine.

Danny and I had a lazy relaxed Sunday, mulling over the party and basking in the sunshine to top up our vitamin D. We also had a brainwave about left over party food. Over the day we came up with six new recipes to deal with food that one would normally ditch on the morning after a party. Yesterday I made lettuce and garlic soup and then in the evening ran up a quick salsa to eat with the Dorito chips that BrightSpark donated kindly to our table. These two recipes and four others will be posted this week. Imagine never having to throw away left over party food again.

Roll on next year!


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  1. kate (uk)

    Chocolate cake, champagne AND sunshine…perfect!

  2. Sue Long

    Dear Fiona and Danny
    Thank you so much for your hospitality on Saturday – both John and I had a truly lovely time and it was great to see the baby Pekins. I am so pleased you enjoyed the cheese scones and the scotch eggs – feeding people makes me very happy especially when they are so appreciative!! Thank you for the elderflower cordial – I have just enjoyed a very long cool glass after a tedious day spent mostly on the M25. I look forward to seeing you again soon. lots of love Sue

  3. oo I look forward to those recipes, we have a party on Saturday so will probably have to deal with leftovers ourselves.

  4. Danny Carey

    What “remains”, Veronica? Gone in 60 seconds springs to mind 🙂

    Now to squirrel away Jean’s Cornish Fairings in Danny sized packs in the freezer.

    Thank you for posting pics online here

    And for choosing the meet-up as your entry for Blipfoto’s Our Digital Planet competition entry.

    We have an opening for a PR Director 🙂

    @ TOTD – we will reserve a chair, plate, knife & fork – would love to see you (and anybody else who would like to meet up with others) in July 2013.

    The build-up to the event is described in our forum thread. Descriptions of the day itself start on page 8.

  5. veronica

    I tried making soup with left-over salad once, and it was horrible. I’m sure yours was better than mine!

    Danny, did you hide the remains of Val’s made-at-midnight cake? I suffered a similar disappointment to the cheese scone moment when I found there was none left! It was gorgeous.

  6. thinking of the days

    it sounds a lovely party… and I would have loved to be there….put faces to names and have a good old gossip….
    Next year? Will there be a next year? Hope so….

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