Welcome, Start Here!

Welcome to Urban Cottage Life!

I’m happy you dropped by; after all, we’re all about hospitality around here. While I can’t offer you a coffee and a plate of something delectable over the internet, I do encourage you to make yourself at home and enjoy the site. And, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Let’s Get to Know Each Other

If you’d like to know more about the voice behind the blog, check out my story! I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me a bit about yourself and what you’re interested in seeing here.

Modern Scratch Living

The blog’s tagline, modern scratch living, is all about a handmade approach to life, updated for today’s times. Back in the time and place I come from, food was mostly made from scratch, the vegetable garden was huge, the sewing machine was an essential tool, and visitors dropped by unannounced. A lot has changed in modern life today, but the principles of modern scratch living still hold true.

Scratch Cooking

I may eat out more in a month than my family did a whole year back in the day. But when I cook at home, it’s always from scratch, not a package, apart from the odd condiment or a modern scratch living-approved shortcut. Modern scratch cooking is about eating as healthily as possible, while still making room for the treats that make life special. It’s about using herbs, spices and flavour profiles from around the world while celebrating local produce. It’s about cooking with ingredients, not products. See the Guide to Finding Recipes.

Sweetly Unrefined

Speaking of treats, I’m moving past the white sugar-filled recipes of my youth, and exploring a world of unrefined sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut sugar and others. Yes, they have more nutritional value than white sugar, but let’s keep it real: any sweetener is still a treat best enjoyed in moderation. Many of my new recipes are already sweetly unrefined, and I plan to convert more of my classic sweet treats over time.

Easeful Hospitality

Here at the Urban Cottage, we want to revive the art of easeful hospitality. Not entertaining, a term that to me smacks of striving for perfection and show, and, dare I say it, stress. Instead of saying we’re entertaining, can we just say we’re having people over? Can we put the focus on good times with company, where the food is still important, but second fiddle to the relationships? It’s about knowing how to pull off a casual get-together or a sit-down dinner without stressing out yourself or your guests, making food ahead where possible and even bringing some components in. After all, the best party is the one that you enjoy as much as your guests!

Making and Crafting

Modern scratch living also involves making and crafting. This isn’t a crafting blog, but I do like to share my creations and sometimes even decor from time to time in my occasional Urban Cottage Weekend posts. The satisfaction of making things from scratch isn’t limited to cooking!