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 well and enjoying some of these blue-skied frosty days. I’m loving seeing how the light lasts just a little longer every day. This is a tough winter, no doubt about it, but the returning light is a good reminder that things will get brighter.

This month I’m bringing you some more healthy vegetable-centric recipes. I hope they’ll bring colour and flavour to your kitchens.

I have a new pancake recipe that I can’t stop making- with sweet potatoes! It might sound unusual but they are so naturally sweet and delicious. For a quick lunch I’ll introduce you to my twist on cheese on toast – (you guessed it, extra vegetables!). The supper recipe is one of the most colourful dishes I know- a beetroot and potato rösti, with lemony garlicky greens and feta. It will certainly cheer up any mealtime. For a sweet treat we’re making date, peanut and chocolate energy balls – good for homeschooling, working from home or as a wee treat on a wintery walk. 

Stay cosy,


A tasty breakfast

Sweet potato pancakes

My ten year old was very sceptical about sweet potatoes in pancakes but he very quickly changed his mind! These pancakes are a brilliant way to start the day – the oats and sweet potato will give you slow release energy throughout the morning. There’s also no sugar in this recipe but you won’t miss it.

Sweet potato pancakes set on a white dish on a breakfast table
Sweet Potato Pancakes

A quick lunch

Leeks and cheese on toast

This is a favourite lunch of mine. It’s a little bit more effort than a sandwich- but only just!

A white plate set with a slice of leek and cheese toast
Leeks and Cheese Toast

A healthy supper

Beetroot rösti, lemony greens and feta

This is a beautiful dish, colourful, healthy and great for sharing. A rösti is a traditional Swiss dish usually made with just potatoes, this version adds a big serving of root vegetables and flavour. If you don’t have beetroot then I’ve also made it with parsnips which I’d also really recommend. I suspect carrots would be great too- or a mixture of any root vegetables. 

A pine table with a cast iron pan holding a Beetroot rösti with lemony greens and feta
Beetroot rösti, lemony greens and feta

Something sweet

Date, peanut and chocolate energy balls

I used to be a teacher and one of my colleagues always kept a stash of these in the staffroom fridge and I soon started to copy her. These little energy balls are perfect when you’re busy and need a little boost. Now we’re juggling three homeschooling kids and two adults working, I’m bringing them back! Think of this recipe as a base idea that you can adapt to whatever is in your cupboard- you can use any seeds or replace with nuts, swap peanut for almond butter, add extra dried fruit…whatever you like.

The Edible Gardening Project is kindly supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.