Friday 20 October 2023

Left Overs Recipe - Mince and stuffing cottage pie with swede and sweet potato top

Mince and stuffing cottage pie with swede and sweet potato top

This recipe came about when I was on night 2 of left overs. I had stuffing and cooked diced swede in the fridge.  Adding some freshly cooked mince and sweet potatoes in and this was a delicious meal.

I cooked off 500g of beef mince and added in chopped, stuffed stuffing with a little left over gravy to loosen it up.  I transferred it to a glass dish.

At the same time cooking the sweet potatoes and mashing them in with the reheated swede.  That was added to the top of the meat mix with a dab of butter and baked until piping hot.

I'm adding it to the blog as it was delicious and I will definitely be making it again.


Thursday 19 October 2023

Scotch Broth Soup Recipe - Slow Cooker

Scotch Broth at the Farmhouse


500g diced lamb
2 carrots
2 leeks
1 onion
2oz pearly barley
1 litre stock
Bay leaf
Handful parsley

What to do

Brown off the lamb and the veggies.
Rinse and add the pearly barley.
Add stock and herbs.
Cook in bottom of the aga (slow cooker) for 6 hours or so.  Overnight works well.  Don't get hung up on times, you won't burn it.

Monday 16 October 2023

October 14th - Harvesting red cabbage, corn and baked potato squash

Saturday, October 14th 2023

On a Saturday I am spending the whole day gardening at the moment.  Grace is working weekends, Steven every other Saturday so it's just Jack and I at home.  He helps me for a while then gets to do his own thing.   The evenings are drawing in and once tea is done, it's almost dark so the weekends are very welcome for gardening.


In order to be able to sow (plant!?) the garlic, I needed to clear the bed it was going in.  The sweetcorn and red cabbages were in this bed, along with a few squash.  I'm very impressed with these baked potato squash.  I'll be growing these again next year.


It took a long time, always longer than anticipated, but worth it once done.  I'm very pleased to have this bed full of garlic.  The varieties in here will be listed in the main planting page.  This bed are all softneck varieties.  I still have the same amount to plant again.

In previous years:
2022 - Friday

Ironically, Jack has broken his foot during the same month this year!

2021 - Thursday

Sausages are always a theme at this time of the year on the smallholding.  Food for Winter and beyond.

2020 - Wednesday

Now this is interesting to see -there are many more leaves fallen in 2020 than this year and the horses look like they are already in the stables and not the field (as we use this area as winter turnout once they come in).  We had hayledge which we no longer use.

2019 - Monday

I tied to sell home infused gin and fudge as a way to make extra cash on the smallholding.  Whilst working full time, it's a big ask.  The gin and fudge are delicious though!

2018 - Sunday

Steven was a dab hand at making the chopping boards by now.  The one of the left was a bit of wood our neighbour over the river gave us.  I think the hole was for a pipe as it was his kitchen counter.

Home made bread rolls were never as good as my nanas.

Fudge in the slow cooker to sell.  That's why I love looking back - it gives me so many ideas to try again.

2017 - Saturday 


Now this is interesting - I can't remember using this bed for squash.  It looks messy, but clearly productive.

2016 - Friday

Apples galore - another great reminder to get processing this years.

2015 - Wednesday

Happy Days

Friday 13 October 2023

October Stories (13th)

I've been looking back at some old photos, posts and videos.  They are heart warming, smiles and tears.  In October 2015 I posted this blog post, which was before we got this house.  

October 13th, 2023

Friday the 13th, mwaa-ha-ha....What a beautiful evening it was too, blue sky and cooler.  Straight outside when the paid job had finished to work on the back of the barn.  This is the area the pygmy goats will be going in as part of the barn redesign.  


The day started with Annie in front of the Aga, her usual morning routine. 

and ended with her enjoying a relaxing time in the room with us at the end of the day.

Seeing the post I linked at the start of today's insert made me I've been looking back at what was happening on the smallholding since then and on this exact day, October 13th it's nice to see what we were up to....

2016 (Thursday)

This was the first October on the smallholding.  The gate here divides the veg growing area and the Orchard which has proved very useful to stop chickens getting in the plot and destroying it.

2017 (Friday)

 2018 (Saturday)


This is the ancient apple tree that I see when I look out of the kitchen window.  It lost a branch on this day, but is still producing fruit.  Although a poor crop in 2023, 2022 was excellent.

I remember this happening, so does Grace.  The biggest carrot I've grown!
Below shows the first chopping boards Steven made - very skilled.  He made some for the farmhouse, some for gifts and others we sold or donated to the Macmillan event.


2019 (Sunday)

We spent time popping some hen eggs in to our first ever incubator.

I remember seeing Hugh FW make baked pumpkins on one of the River Cottages and I had looked forward to doing them.  I must grow some more in 2024 to repeat this, a beautiful meal.

Oh how wonderful - a perfect Autumn Sunday visiting my favourite place - Beamish.  Looks like it was a chilly one.

2020 - Tuesday

Rendering pig lard has been a staple since moving here and raising our own pigs.

2021 (Wednesday)

The kitchen was well underway!


2022 (Thursday)

A frosty start - I wonder if it was our first frost of the year.  I didn't make a note.


Wednesday 11 October 2023

October begins with a sniffling start


The end of September in to October started by feeling a bit like this.  How the dogs emulate how humans feel is beautiful!


The barn work continues.  If I haven't already said, this is the work Ste is completing to have the animals in the barn over winter on a night and to give them ability to shelter during the day. It's a lot of work but we are getting there.  Well, Ste!


The goats will have a platform in their pen, something to stand on and watch the world go by.


The chicks have a pen that has been meshed in wire to help protect from rodents - so far so good. 

They are growing by the minute.


Once I felt better, I got back out in to the garden, starting with the thugs.  One of which being the apple mint.  Here is it before and after.  You can see how it is smothering the other plants.


A very satisfying feeling - hopefully not a short lived one.

Time to turn attentions to the Autumn sowings. Plenty to be done in at this time of the year.


Over Wintering peas and broad beans is on my To Do list, so I got those sown.

Also, I am hoping to grow 500 onions in 2024, from Autumn sowings now and Spring sowings in 2024.

I have yet to get the garlic in as I am waiting for it to be delivered.  Sounds like a good job for the weekend.


week 17 w/c 22 April Just photos :)

April 22, 2024 - Week 17