Once a fortnight we hold a cook club at the Botanic Cottage. Anyone is welcome to join us to learn new cooking skills and to enjoy a healthy meal that’s been freshly prepared by the group. Sadly, the Botanic Cottage is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we won’t let that stop us! Cottage Cook Club tutor Ailsa has prepared some great recipes from store cupboard ingredients to encourage us to keep home cooking and keep eating right. Over to Ailsa…

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re keeping well as the seasons start to turn. I’m enjoying spotting the first changing leaves and pulling out my cosy jumpers. I know the Botanics will be looking beautiful.  In the kitchen I’m starting to get a lot of autumn squashes, I love how varied their colours are. In the lunch recipe today I used pattypan squash that look like yellow spaceships, but use whatever kind you can find. I really enjoy trying all the different varieties throughout the season. We’ll also be using courgettes in a tasty pasta sauce. Have you ever had broccoli for breakfast? I’m hoping that after this week the answer will be yes. I love sneaking vegetables into every meal that I can! Finally I’m sharing an easy pastry recipe to make some delicious apple and cinnamon swirls- perfect with a cuppa on a chilly day. Enjoy!

Take care and hope to see you soon.

A tasty brunch

Sage fried eggs with garlicky broccoli

Image shows toast topped with broccoli and two eggs fried with sage
A healthy brunch full of protein and iron

Avocado on toast is pretty trendy but have you ever tried broccoli on toast? It might sound a bit odd but I really urge you to try it. Broccoli is high in vitamin C and is in season at the moment (and unlike avocados, broccoli grows in the UK which means lower food miles). Purple sprouting broccoli is great in this recipe too.

Sage and eggs go really well together but it’s okay to leave out if you don’t have any. A sprinkle of dried sage on the eggs while they are cooking would also be good.

A healthy lunch

Squash and feta bulgur salad

Image shows a bowl of salad made using bulgur wheat, squash, feta cheese and seeds
This warm salad can be adapted to use different grains

This recipe uses bulgur wheat which is rich in protein and minerals. I love it’s nutty taste. This recipe is also good with couscous or quinoa- just follow the packet instructions if using. This warm salad makes a good lunch or supper and it’s also good cold as a packed lunch.

All kinds of squash are high in fibre and vitamin A so enjoy as many varieties as you can throughout the autumn.

An easy supper

Courgette, lemon and basil pasta

A bowl of fussili pasta with a sauce made from courgettes
Pasta is always an easy option for dinner; this one counts towards your five-a-day too!

This is a new favourite in my house. My children claim not to like courgettes but they love this pasta sauce. Don’t be alarmed by how much grated courgette you start with, I promise it will cook down to make a delicious sauce. You want to cook this sauce low and slow so don’t rush it. We like it with a spinach salad on the side, plus garlic bread if you’re really hungry!

A sweet treat

Apple and cinnamon swirls

A plate piled with apple and cinnamon swirls.
A treat for after dinner, or perhaps a morning snack with coffee for those with a sweet tooth!

These pastries are similar to pain au raisin but far easier to make as they use a sheet of bought puff pastry.  Make sure to take the pastry out of the fridge half an hour before you use it. With the cinnamon, apples and raisins they are the perfect treat for autumn.