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 this finds you well and enjoying the return of the leaves to the trees! In April I want fresh flavours, hits of lemon and lots of fresh greens. Salads return to the table. It can be very cold though so there’s still time for soups and warm baked dishes too.

We’re still in the ‘hungry gap’ for UK grown vegetables but are starting to get more delicious spring greens and herbs. This week we’re making a frittata with seasonal chard and fresh herbs, you can use any baby leaves here and it’s a lovely way to enjoy them.  Look out for a video recipe coming soon of me cooking this in the Botanic Cottage.

Still on leaves, why not try foraging for wild garlic? I have a delicious wild garlic soup recipe for you (which you can make with spinach if you prefer).  Wild garlic is packed with vitamins, abundant and free! We love looking out for it on a walk.

Another seasonal favourite returns this month – rhubarb. I find spotting these pink stalks in the greengrocer, gardens and allotments so cheering. I have a rhubarb and apple crumble recipe for you to make with a hazelnut topping, I really hope you like it.

For a fun breakfast, try a batch of fruit muffins, I used pears and some defrosted frozen berries but you can use any fruit you like really, just keep the weight roughly the same.

I hope these recipes inspire you to get in the kitchen this month and maybe try something new. Hopefully not too long now until we’re back in the Botanic Cottage kitchen together.

Take care,

Ailsa

A tasty breakfast treat

Pear and blueberry muffins

These little beauties are lovely warm for breakfast with a big mug of tea and coffee.  Or any time of day really… There’s a lot more fruit and less butter and sugar in these than any commercial muffins.

You can easily change the fruit, use any berries (fresh or defrosted frozen) or swap the pear for apple.  

A baking rack with freshly baked muffins cooling
Pear and blueberry muffins

                  

A tasty lunch

Potato and wild garlic soup

It’s wild garlic season! If you haven’t tried this lovely foraged green then now is the time. There’s a useful post here helping you identify it – https://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/33076 but if you’re walking on old railway paths or near the Water of Leith in Edinburgh then you won’t be able to miss the strong garlicky smell. Wild garlic has fatter leaves than wild leek but they are both edible and taste delicious. Be a cautious and considerate forager, don’t pick right beside the path (dogs!) and don’t take from only one place, instead take a few leaves from each plant. Wash well and use soon after harvesting. If you can’t find any then young spinach will be tasty in this recipe too. We love this soup with some cheese on toast or a savoury scone.

A white soup bowl on a pine table set with bright green Potato and Wild Garlic Soup finished with a swirl of creme fraiche
Potato and wild garlic soup

A simple supper

Chard, feta and herb frittata

We’ve made a frittata before on this blog but I wanted to remind you of what an easy, versatile meal it is. This frittata uses lovely seasonal chard, leeks and herbs paired with lemon and feta.

When you’ve got the hang of making them- try different combinations. It’s a great way to use small amounts of different vegetables or leftover cooked vegetables too.

To make this a more substantial meal I serve this with potato wedges and a salad. Good bread makes a nice accompaniment too.

A large round colourful feta and herb frittata set on a wooden chopping board
Chard, feta and herb frittat

Rhubarb crumble

I played around with a few rhubarb recipes for this blog, but kept coming back to this. There’s no other pudding that I feel happier bringing to the table. We like ours with lots of custard.

I’m making a hazelnut crumble topping here, for a more classic crumble topping have a look at the apple crumble recipe from this blog last autumn (https://stories.rbge.org.uk/archives/34202).

An oven baking dish set on a dining table filled with rhubarb crumble with a white jug of cream
Rhubarb crumble

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