Guernsey Bean Jar in the Slow Cooker

My family name, Sarchet, originates from the Channel Islands. Guernsey to be precise.

The story goes that there were two Sarchet families, one which was law abiding and godly, and then the one that I’m from :)

Guernsey Bean Jar

Mum & Dad married on the island in the late 60′s, built their own house, had my brother & I then sold up and moved to the mainland, buying our little farm in Cornwall. Back then it was restrictively expensive to leave the island and they didn’t want Stuart & I growing up feeling held back or isolated by island life.

Guernsey Bean Jar

And now, with the ‘year of firsts’ since losing Dad behind her, Mum was finally ready to go back and visit the little island and all her old friends again.

Her postcard home to Jonny & I was a recipe card, for a dish I’d never heard of before but I was really excited to make. Not only did it feel like a little part of my heritage, it calls for a pigs trotter, which our freezer has in abundance. Trotters cook down releasing a rich, thick gravy and bring together ingredients of a stew or casserole with a gentle porky flavour and a silky texture. They’re lip smackingly delicious.

If you don’t grow your own pigs, your local butcher will always be able to get them for you and they are really cheap.

Guernsey Bean Jar

Guernsey Bean Jar tastes great, is nourishing and filling, and just perfect for flu recovery mode.

Guernsey Bean Jar

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 10 hours

Total Time: 18 hours

Yield: 4-6


  • 1 pigs trotter or shin of beef
  • 200g haricot beans
  • 200g butter beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 litre beef stock or water
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.
  2. Drain and rinse the bean the following morning, then load them and all the other ingredients in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 5-6 hours or until the beans are soft.
  4. Switch off the slow cooker and remove the trotter and/or shin of beef. Remove the meat from both, discarding the bones, skin or gristle.
  5. Pop the meat back in with the beans, stirring well and check seasoning adding more slat & pepper as necessary.
  6. Serve with crusty bread and butter.
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 Recipe shamelessly pilfered from a postcard by Jill Vaudin Publishing, whose recipe is taken from the BBC Guernsey.

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Flu Zen

Just dusting off my keyboard as it’s not seen any action for a while.


I’ve been laid up with flu.

Proper, full blown, GP endorsed, flu.

Yes I’ve felt like utter crap, but strangely something rather wonderful has come out of it all.


Once the brain fog cleared, and in between the naps, sweats and coughing fits, a calm Zen like feeling settled on me.


It found me sitting in the sun watching my chickens chase bugs across the lawn. Or snuggled up on the sofa with SassyCat purring on my blanketed lap as I leafed through one cookbook after another.


Do you know, so many of my cookbooks I’d never actually got round to reading before.

I may have flipped through the index looking for instant gratification, but some cookbooks deserve proper cover-to-cover reading at least once. Books like Delia’s How to Cook series, pretty much anything by Hugh or Jamie, and every single word ever written by Nigel Slater.

Not read any Nigel Slater before? Get hold of his Real Cooking book, turn to page 63 and read the 2 pages entitled Chicken & Other Bits. Gastro-poetry at its best, the man is a fine wordsmith.


And yesterday I said to Jonny, who by this point I’d very lovingly shared my germs with, that I don’t remember when I last made time just to sit and be.

See, it’s Flu Zen. And it’s really rather lovely.


As the week has gone on, I’ve found myself missing work so last night I made myself a to-do list for today.

On that list was to take some pretty photos and write this post. Job done.


(sorry I find snails incredibly pretty).


And now the kettle is going on and I’m snuggling up with my chef de jour.

Janie x

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A Surprise Birthday at River Cottage HQ

Can you imagine how excited I was to be invited to a friends surprise 40th to be held at River Cottage HQ? Eek!

River Cottage HQ

We were greeted by Craig, who was a delight and looked after us all so well. He brought us endless canapes and drinks, and nothing was too much trouble. And I swear he didn’t stop smiling all day!

River Cottage HQ

He gave us free reign to explore and nosey, and to treat the house as our own. None of us needed telling twice as we grabbed a drink and scurried off in different directions.River Cottage HQ

Not sure how Richard’s wife Julia, and his Mum Helen arranged for the weather to be so glorious, but it was a perfect spring day.

River Cottage HQ

Gelf, the head chef, didn’t seem fazed in the slightest by the constant interruptions and having cameras directed at him, although I guess he’s kinda used to that. On filming days the kitchen is crammed with people, gear and lights, so it was probably quite chilled just having punters there instead!

River Cottage HQ

It goes without saying that the food was incredible. The starter was delicious nettle gnocchi with poached egg, shaved artichoke and leaves. The gnocchi was a little dense and filling but the flavour was extraordinarily good.River Cottage HQ

Next up was slow roasted belly pork, with divine salted crackling, roast tatties, wilted greens & ramsons and a gorgeous creamy carrot and butternut squash purée. Big bowls of extra potatoes & crackling were brought too, for those that were still feeling a little peckish!

River Cottage HQ

I forgot to get a pic of pudding as by this point I had given in to the gluttony. Everyone had sticky toffee pudding with an ice cream that I think was marmalade and toffee, but Gelf kindly whipped me up a fresh meringue with rhubarb instead. Light, fragrant and perfect to finish off a big meal.

Handmade truffles & coffee followed and finally, the birthday cake!

River Cottage HQ And here is the birthday boy, 40 years young! He and his little family are soon to be upping sticks and moving from the South East and buying their very own smallholding down here in Cornwall. They’re house hunting all this week, and having just spoken to him, they think they’ve found ‘the one’!

Happy birthday mate, it was a pleasure to share your big day with you and I can’t wait for you to be back in Cornwall :)

River Cottage HQ

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Keeping Dry in the April Showers

How’s your garden or allotment looking? After one of the soggiest winters Cornwall has seen in a long time we’re a little bit behind, but are excited about the beginnings of this years veggie crop.

And after wearing a tatty old rain coat all winter, I’m planning to upgrade my old gardening waterproof just in time for the April showers. Mind you after searching through the Mountain Warehouse site, my shopping list is a little bigger than just a rain coat!

I’m currently stumped between the pink and blue version of this Westport Long Womens Jacket. I love that fact that it covers your lower back snuggly when kneeling down to weed or plant. And that stripy hoodie is perfect for the cool mornings and evenings, whilst the Thermos & folding chair are essential to making gardening more, comfortable :)

Mountain Warehouse - April Showers at the Allotment

Westport Womens Long Jacket

Patterned Mini Folding Chair

Kittiwake Womens Hoodie

Splash Women’s Wellies

Westport Womens Long Jacket

1Litre Metallic Finish Flask

If you’re in the South East, Mountain Warehouse have organised a fun sounding Dog Walking Day at Hever Castle in Kent, and they are also running a photo competition for all you dog owners with an amazing prize! Good luck if you enter!

This post was kindly sponsored by Mountain Warehouse.

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How to Make Instant Porridge Oats ~ Campfire Cooking

Instant porridge makes a fantastic breakfast when you’re camping. it’s the quickest way to get a hot and filling breakfast in you, and there’s minimal mess and clean up too.

Whilst it’s not interesting enough to warrant a ‘recipe’ as such, so here’s me feeling a twit in front of the camera instead.

No sniggering at the back now :)

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