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 warmer weather we’ve been having with a characteristically chilly Edinburgh breeze of course! I’m finding all the blossom so uplifting.

If you haven’t already, have a look at all the interesting content online for the Botanics Spring Festival, https://bit.ly/RBGENewGowth, including a video of me cooking one of our recipes from earlier in the month.

This week we’re enjoying the seasonal arrival of asparagus and making an easy breakfast with poached eggs. There’s a tasty carrot, pesto and hazelnut tart that I just love and know I’ll be making on repeat. For a fun supper try the bean and cheese quesadillas recipe, it’s perfect for slightly warmer days. I’ve also given you a recipe for some simple rock cakes that I’ll be popping in lunchboxes now schools are back, and enjoying at home with a quiet cup of tea too!

I really hope that you enjoy these recipes and make some tasty meals in your kitchen.

Take care,


A delicious Spring breakfast

Asparagus and poached egg on toast

Asparagus and eggs are such a winning combination. The runny yolk makes the perfect ‘sauce’ for the fresh tasty asparagus. If poached eggs aren’t for you, try dipping the asparagus in a boiled egg instead!

A white plate set with toasted bread, griddle roasted asparagus and poached eggs
Poached eggs with asparagus and toast

A showstopper lunch

Carrot, pesto and hazelnut tart

This tart is a lovely way to highlight the sweetness of carrots and they work so well with the pesto and hazelnuts. If you can find heritage carrots of different colours then this will be even more beautiful.

Enjoy hot or cold. Add some boiled potatoes and salad for a more filling meal.

A wax cooking parchment on a cooking tray set with a baked puff pastry carrot and hazle nut tart
Carrot, pesto and hazelnut tart

An easy supper

Quick quesadillas – with tomato salsa and lime sour cream

A table set with blue dishes serving salad, lime sour cream dip, quesadillas and lime quarters
Quesadillas – with tomato salsa and lime sour cream

Something sweet

White chocolate and cranberry rock cakes

Somewhere between a biscuit and a scone, try these rock cakes warm with a cuppa. Feel free to try different chocolate and fruit combinations. Perfect for lunchboxes and picnics too.

A patterned china plate on a pine table set with baked white chocolate and cranberry rock cakes
White chocolate and cranberry rock cakes

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