The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Lost in a pile somewhere

Photo: Early daffodils

Photo: Early daffodils

Tonight I was going to share my latest triumph. A Seville orange and quince marmalade. A very special recipe that needs a bit of forethought. The local quinces are frozen in late autumn to join the fresh oranges in january/February. The result is a marmalade with an unbelievably fruity depth. Heaven. Over the past couple of months I’ve tweaked and played with it and wrote the final recipe on the back of an envelope.

And there’s the rub. Decorating the cottage and occasional entertaining means that piles of these recipe envelopes are removed from the kitchen table and placed in a spot in the sitting room that, at the time, I know that I will remember forever. But the exact latitude and longitude of the place is swept away in the onslaught of further decorating, lunch and supper parties. The sitting room becomes a desert with a few hopeful oases.

This evening we tackled these piles and found hundreds of recipes but not the one in question. Tomorrow I’m going to buy a dedicated recipe sketch book, then all recipes and development history will be in one place. All these envelopes and notes are slowly driving us nuts.

This weekend I was planning to make a final batch of our new marmalade recipe. I can remember the quince to Seville orange ratio. But when I try and visualise the other ingredients my mind is totally and utterly blank.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Pamela

    I’m a hoarder. When I’ve been persuaded to toss stuff out we have finally needed them shortly afterwards. So have had to buy new. Now I just keep most things, just in case.

    Hi Michelle

    That’s such a good comment. Love the idea of the ring binders and thinking of your friends when you make the recipe.

    Hi Nadia

    Peach and apple sounds tantalising. Must give it a go.

    Hope that we find the recipe soon.

    Hello Islandgirl

    Thank you so much for including us on your blogroll ? I just wish that I had studied German at school. Your blog looks so interesting but I can’t understand it just yet.

    Hi KarenO

    I empathise with this. Danny is a tidier and I’m happy to house anything in he cottage that might inspire us (even fifteen years down the line we live in slightly tousled harmony).

    Hello Steelkitten

    The big blank book seems like a good idea. I must find one as I’m tired of sifting through piles of paper.

    Hi Pebbledash

    A notebook is the best way out of this crisis.

    Hi Kate(uk)

    I’ve done the same. Put the things somewhere practical. Several months later they’ve vanished. They are usually unearthed months later, by mistake when I’m looking for something else!

    Hello Pamela

    I’m always doing this too. I usually find the card a week after the event 🙂

    Hi Julian

    Yes, you’ve got a good point but I’m spending more time looking for my new recipes in the cottage rather than developing the recipes in the first place! A book beckons.

    Hi Organic Viking

    I reckon that I need a book for everything. Decorating quotes, notes, recipes. Too important to lose (oh yeah?!)

    Hi Ruthdigs

    Good point, using dividers. When I worked in London, I used my Filofax a lot. Then I switched to a Psion and one awful day the screen went black and everything was lost!

    Hi Z

    Box files sound like a good idea. Must look into that.
    We have a drawer for important papers and passports. It’s so full that things regularly get lost.
    Thanks for dropping by.

    Hi Wendy

    Scanning is a good idea. Quite often we have several goes at a new recipe, with several approaches, using similar ingredients. That can be very disconcerting when I want to publish them on the blog. If they were in a notebook they’d at least be in order 🙂

    Hi Lesley

    I reckon that it comes down to time. Too much packed into too little time. Order is essential, I can finally see now, if time is limited.

    Hello ib572

    I’ve been walking upstairs and forgetting why I’ve gone there for decades. Salting away the perfect card to a life in cellophane is a speciality.
    Perhaps when I’m sixty, I’ll have got my act together.

    Hi Ben
    I found the recipe but couldn’t understand the squiggles. So will be making it for a third time towards the end of the week. Watch this space.

  2. Ben Woodcock

    I do hope you find the missing envelope as the recipe sounds delicious.
    I’ve just opened a jar of last years slightly crunchy quince jam, which is nice, if a little sweet. I always struggle for ideas of what to do with the few quinces our tree produces (apart from membrillo)
    Your marmalade may be the answer, I will check back next January to see if it’s reappeared.

  3. Oh empathise with this! only had to not concentrate moving the compulsory car park work pass from my car to borrowed car and it has never been seen again! smiled reading a book avbout 60 yr olds going into rooms and forgetting why and aslo fumbling for their glasses in bottomless bags . AArgh as am doing this now!
    Have put bday cards in A-z file but am grumpy as cant see them even tho i know wghere they are!!

  4. I know where you’re coming from!!!
    I keep a lot of mine in folders in the kitchen, and the spare room…and the study…oh yes & some in the piano stool lol
    in my dreams I’ll put them all on the computer!! not ;0)

  5. I scan a lot of my favourite recipes and keep them in folders on my computer. x

  6. I have box files and put things in them – usually, one for each subject (such as car, tax, insurance, each committee I’m on etc), though just a ‘current stuff’ for things I haven’t dealt with yet would be useful (a pile on the top of the printer at present).

    Recipes and suchlike are best typed up immediately, especially if I’m going to be giving them away. Easily found on the computer and a new copy can be printed or emailed.

    I also have a big black A4 book to take for meetings to write notes in of what I’ve got to do. Disaster if it gets lost though, as once happened – I think I must have put it on top of the car and then I drove away.

  7. Ruthdigs

    I too used to do this, generally because I was furiously trying to keep up with somebody on the telly so grabbed the nearest envelope etc to hand to scribble on. Finally a couple of months ago forced myself to put them all in an A4 file. Some of the tattier / too small pieces I have stuck onto the back of a card where the image was one I wished to keep rather than just recycle after xmas etc. Highly recommend it! Use dividers though – even if it’s just for categories that make sense to yourself – saves time in the future. Hope your recipe turns up, sounds lovely.

  8. Organic Viking

    Hmm, someone gave us a dedicated ‘recipe notebook’ last September, which I immediately applauded as an excellent idea and a final solution to all the scrappy bits of paper. Needless to say, the book has but one recipe stuck into it and the random printouts still reign supreme! Good luck!

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