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 this real summer weather we’ve been enjoying in Scotland, makes a change! This month in my kitchen it’s been all about the salads and quick meals. I don’t want to be standing for hours in a hot kitchen. I’m sharing two summer recipes that I make on repeat a Mediterranean bulgur wheat salad and a pasta salad both keep well in the fridge and make excellent easy meals, alongside some crisp greens or a plate of sliced juicy British tomatoes with a little sea salt. Both work well in a tub for a picnic too weekend plans sorted!

I’m also sharing with you a great breakfast dish Turkish style scrambled eggs or Menemen, much speedier than that other Middle-Eastern favourite Shakshuka (you’ll find that one in the recipe archives) but a really nice way to start the day.

For pudding, a lovely treat, a rhubarb fool. The tartness of the rhubarb cuts beautifully through the cream, I’ll be making this as long as the rhubarb lasts!

I hope you enjoy making these recipes, and hopefully sharing some in the sunshine too.

Take care,


A tasty breakfast

Menemen- Turkish style eggs

Whenever I’m in London (it’s been a while!) I make a bee-line for an amazing Turkish breakfast place near where my friends live. We order the breakfast menu and soon we’re feasting on a delicious spread of fruit, yogurts, breads, cheeses, and these Menemen eggs. In the absence of a Turkish restaurant in my own neighbourhood, I make these until I can return! It’s not a beautiful dish but it’s ever so tasty so give it a go.

A white platter served with Menemen-Turkish style eggs.
Recipe Link – Menemen-Turkish-style-eggs

A lovely lunch

Spinach, feta and almond pasta

This recipe is based on a half-remembered Nigella Lawson recipe that I first made at least a decade ago and have been playing with ever since. It’s good hot, but I think it’s even better cold. During hot weather I make a big bowl of this for the easiest lunches, and it’s perfect for picnics too. Sumac is a spice made from ground dried sumac berries and is used a lot in Middle Eastern cookery. It has a sweet and sour taste. As an alternative you can use allspice (just ½ tsp ground) or just skip it.

Makes at least 6 servings – so halve for a less greedy household!

A pale blue ceramic bowl and silver fork, on a pine table served with spinach, feta and almond pasta.
Recipe Link – Spinach-feta-and-almond-pasta

A summery supper

Bulgur wheat with grilled mediterranean vegetables and halloumi

This is my go-to recipe when having a barbecue, the grains can be cooked in advance and then the vegetables added later – straight from the barbecue, or you can use a grill at home instead. This salad is lovely hot or cold, as an accompaniment to sausages or grilled fish, or just by itself.

A large, low steel cooking dish on a gas hob with Bulgur wheat with grilled mediterranean vegetables and halloumi.
Recipe Link – Bulgur-wheat-with-grilled-mediterranean-vegetables-and-halloumi

Something sweet

Rhubarb fool

This is the perfect summery pudding. It needs to cool twice so it takes a little while, but the actual cooking effort is minimal and very speedy! This is a lovely treat to bring out the fridge and delight your family and friends.

A silver tray on a pink table in the garden, served with 4 glasses filled with rhubarb fool and topped with a bright green mint leaf.
Recipe Link – Rhubarb-fool

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