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. It’s been lovely to see the blossom out but a shame it’s been marred by so much rain! Still, I think the plants are happy about the deluge. Warmer days are right round the corner I’m sure, and with restrictions finally easing on spending times with our loved ones, hopefully happier days are too.

This week the seasons seem to be turning in my kitchen a little, fresher herbs, citrus and plenty of green vegetables making an appearance. There’s a hearty burrito for a weekend breakfast or brunch, and a vegetable packed green soup with a coconut twist. The star of the show I think is the Prawn and Asparagus Pad Thai recipe. Don’t be put off by the longer list of ingredients and steps in the recipe it is basically a stir fry, it just needs a wee bit more preparation but nothing you can’t handle. I’ve balanced that out I hope with the quickest pudding recipe chocolate strawberries and ice cream. I may still be eating my ice cream inside though!

Take care and I hope you enjoy these recipes,


A weekend brunch

Breakfast burrito

This is a messy one, but will definitely get your weekend off to a good start! It’s packed with protein, carbohydrates and vegetables and endlessly adaptable. Add some sliced chilli to make it spicy and feel free to use other vegetables here too, sweetcorn is really good. I’m using cooked rice here as it’s a great way to use up leftovers. Do make sure you cool leftover rice quickly after first cooking, keep in the fridge and use within a day or two. When reheating make sure the rice is piping hot. You can of course make rice specially for this recipe or for a lighter meal leave it out.

A white plate served with a wholegrain breakfast burrito with salsa, a wedge of lime and sour cream.
Breakfast Burrito

A quick comforting lunch

Courgette, Chard and Coconut Soup

Perfect for a chilly day when it should be feeling like Spring! This went down a treat in my house, spring vegetables and creamy coconut make a great combination. My partner swears it tastes even better the next day, so why not make a big pot? If you have any frozen peas then they would be a good addition too, add them at the same time as the chard.

Bright red, large cooking pot on a wooden table with a white bowl of green courgette soup and spoon.
Courgette Chard Coconut Soup

A delicious supper

Prawn and Asparagus Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a noodle dish from Thailand and I’m afraid this is not an authentic version! However the combination of fish sauce, lime, chilli and chopped nuts borrows from a classic Pad Thai and I’m a huge fan of this version. If you prefer you can make this with diced chicken instead of prawns, follow the recipe in the same way but be sure to cook the chicken thoroughly before adding the other ingredients.

If you haven’t cooked with fish sauce before then you may find the smell a little alarming. It is essential in so many Thai dishes though and really adds to the flavour. It tastes better than it smells, promise! This dish will still taste great if you don’t have any. As ever, please be very careful chopping chillies!

Wide Cooking Pan with freshly cooked noodles and green vegetables ready to serve
Prawn Asparagus Pad Thai

A speedy pudding

Chocolate strawberries and ice cream

This must be the easiest pudding I know, but it never fails to delight. As we start getting British strawberries this makes a lovely treat.

A white plate with fresh strawberries dipped in Choclolate.
Chocolate Strawberries

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