Bells will ring, the sun will shine!

The Butterccup Cafe loves weddings!

The Buttercup Cafe loves weddings!

Spring (and a whole of lot of love) is in the air and that means we’ve been busy in The Buttercup Cafe kitchen devising delicious wedding feasts for the lovely couples who are getting married in and around Lewes this year. We’ve been booked from some incredible weddings in an eclectic mix of venues over the coming months and we can’t wait!

Claire has fallen in love all over again with Ottolenghi and you can smell and taste that Middle Eastern influence in the dishes she’s been working on for this wedding season. Claire travelled through Turkey 25 years ago and that trip has influenced her cooking ever since. Oven roasted peppers with haloumi; Syrian fatoush; citrus and pomegranate dressing; lamb tagine; saffron couscous…

Do pop in or give Claire a call if you would like to know more about The Buttercup’s wedding feasts and have a look at our taster menus.

The Big Bite-size Breakfast is back!

After December’s rave reviews and sell out show, The Big Bite Size Breakfast Show is back in Lewes at The Buttercup Cafe. Book your tickets now for coffee, croissant and great theatre.

Come and see an eclectic collection of 10-15 minute playlets on Sunday 3rd February (at 10.30am or 11.55am) and on Sunday 17th February (at 10.30am or 11.55am) in our downstairs dining room here at the cafe. Guardian Picks of the Fringe at Edinburgh said of The Big Bite-Size, “A splendid showcase, without fail funny, strange and moving!” and we here at The Buttercup quite agree!

The Big Bite-Size theatre company

The Big Bite-Size theatre company

Tickets cost £12 and you can buy them online or here in the cafe.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to everyone!

IMG_1320We’ve had a wonderful year here at the cafe and a busy month of christmas parties and private dinners in our downstairs dining room. It’s been festive, full of smiles and great fun. Before we collapse with a mince pie in one hand and a paper crown perched on our heads (!) we thought we would review some of what was best for us in 2012…

Claire: “For me the greatest thing this year was without doubt the Olympics. Everyone was so excited and how could you not be inspired by the determination of all those athletes.”

Connie: “It has to be Borough Market. You can get lost in the market for hours, surrounded by every kind of food and ingredient. The Spanish Wine Bar there is great too!”

Dani: ” A great exhibition of Wilhelmina Barnes Graham‘s abstract work at The Jointure Studios in Ditchling in the autumn. I loved the impact of the colour and her inspiring technique. She had an incredible life too.”

Flora: “Elderflower Fields Festival was one of the best weekends of the year for me. It was so good to see so many Lewes friends and all the kids dancing around in the fields at Bentley and eating cake at The Buttercup’s magical woodland cafe.”

Mary (one of the Buttercup babies): “Chocolate buttons!”

Peter: “The re-introduction of the word ‘blouse’ to the English language….oh, and the arrival of Connie in The Buttercup kitchen!”

We are closed from 3pm from December 24th and will re-open with new year vigour on Wednesday 2nd January at 9.30am. We hope everyone has a very merry christmas and a happy new year!

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Our Christmas Cornucopia

Lewes late night shopping is this Thursday 6th December and we’ll be open until late to celebrate the start of Christmas. It’s a magical evening in Lewes; roads are closed, christmas decorations are revealed and the town twinkles with fairy lights.

This year there’s a light show outside the Law Courts at 6pm, bands are playing at Union Music, there’s a vintage fair in the All Saints Centre, live music outside the Nutty Wizard (practically on our doorstep!) and the ever brilliant Ska Toons will be headlining at 9pm on the main stage in the precinct.

Pop in and visit us for some festive cheer Buttercup style! We’ll be serving christmas crepes, churros con chocolat, mulled spiced apple juice, hot chocolates with lashings of cream and much more. Plus you’ll be one of the first to see our Christmas Cornucopia – an eclectic and festive pop-up shop created by Lewes artists and makers at The Buttercup Cafe. We have handcrafted delights and beautiful jewellery for sale this month in our downstairs dining room. Do pop in to find some amazing presents.

A taste of Japan in Lewes

We hosted another wonderful Supper Club here at The Buttercup in Lewes last night. We persuaded highly acclaimed chef Sam Mahoney to come and create a Japanese menu, using the recipes he collected whilst working in Japan. For a few hours our supper club diners were transported across the world with delicate plates of intriguing and delicious Japanese food. We loved it and thought you would like a glimpse of our after hours supper club…

We served:
Asari to Naga-Negi : Steamed little neck clams with sake, miso broth and spring onions.
Okonomi Yaki: Pancake of Japanese yams, pork, ginger and cabbage glazed with Okonomi sauce.
Unagi Kabayaki: Soy and Mirin glazed grilled smoked eel with vinegared rice.
Chawan-Mushi: Steamed savoury custard with chicken, prawn and ginkgo nut.
Kara-Age: Fried wild sea bass, pickled cucumber salad, white radish and dipping sauce.

Do visit Field & Fork at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester to try more of Sam’s delicious food. Our next Buttercup Supper Club will be in January 2013. Watch this space!

The Buttercup Supper Club Goes Japanese

born1945 / Foter / CC BY-SA

This month’s supper club is going Japanese with the arrival of a very special guest chef, Sam Mahoney. Sam owns and runs the wonderful Field & Fork inside Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. He trained at Le Gavroche at the age of just 16 and worked for years alongside the Roux brothers. He went on to become Head Chef at The Point in New York and at Kensington Place in London.

Sam worked for a year on the southern island Kyushu in a Sashimi bar in a district called Yamaga. He arrived there, not knowing anyone in Japan or speaking the language but he was determined to learn more about Japanese food and culture. He fell in love with everything Japanese.

For one night only, he’s coming to The Buttercup to cook some regional and “street food” style Japanese dishes. Chawan Mushi (a steamed savoury egg custard); Okonomiyaki (rosti style pancake made with Japanese yams and okonomi sauce); Unagi Kabayaki (teriyaki glazed smoked eel, served on rice) – the last one, Sam tells us, is a dish from Tokyo believed to restore vigour!

Japanese Supper Club is on Monday 19th November* at 7.30pm. £30 per person – and remember to bring your own Sake! Call us on 01273 477664 or pop in to the cafe to book your table.

*Please note the change of date to that advertised in this month’s Viva Lewes. Sorry!

Bonfire night comes but once a year!

Buttercup Babies prepare for Bonfire: Get your best ear wear out for Lewes Bonfire!

Lewes is buzzing. Bonfire night is almost here. The excitement never wanes even if you are a serious Lewes Bonfire boy or girl who has spent their life devoted to the cause. For many Lewesians bonfire is simply better than Christmas!

Of course here at The Buttercup our focus (as always) is on food. And on bonfire day and night in Lewes you need good food to keep you going through the madness and festivities.

From 9.30am we’ll be serving a seriously good cooked breakfast. Turkish Menemen (a delicious eggs, peppers and tomatoes dish) or bangers (meatie and veggie) with red chilli sauce and our fresh ciabatta.

Plus we’ll be making chouros con chocolat all day long. Perfect with a hot chocolate or one of our glorious coffees.

Lunch will be served from midday until 3pm: bowls of hot soup with hunks of bread and plates of proper bangers and mash.

We’ll be closing at 3ish as the town turns eerily still and quiet. A brief moment of calm as the roads close before the wildness begins! Do check the Lewes Bonfire Council website for maps of procession routes, timings and advice on how to keep safe. You can also read our advice from last year’s bonfire blog post.

Here are our Buttercup staff’s top tips for Lewes Bonfire 2012:

1) “Sparkle and shine!” Connie

2) “It’s all about earmuffs! Get tickets and go to one of the societies’ bonfires and firework displays – particularly if the crowded processions in town aren’t for you. The spectacular firework displays have to be seen to be believed.” Claire

3) “Choose one side of the high street and stick to it for the night. Give up on trying to cross from one side of town to the other once the processions have begun. You’ll just get squashed!” Flora

4) “Take an unenthusiastic auntie out with you, so that she can take your kids home early when you want to stay out all night and party!” Amanda

5) “Don’t go near the precinct. That’s where the tourists go! But if you do end up there, there are bollards to stand on to get a good view” Luke

6) “Go to the church opposites Richards the Butchers at the top of the High Street and watch the procession from the grass bank there. Or head to the golf course up on the cliff for a spectacular view of the whole town and all the firework displays.” Freya

We wish all the societies a glorious bonfire night! Best of luck!

About last night…

We had a wonderful evening here at The Buttercup last night with delicious food, great company and an inspiring guest speaker. Diana Henry (one of our culinary heroines) came to visit and regaled us with tales of food and cookery writing. She introduced her new book Salt Sugar Smoke (which is all about preserving, conserving and smoking) by giving us a taste of her chutneys, jams and a nip of Damson gin.

Diana told us about her childhood growing up in Northern Ireland when the only olive oil she knew about was made by Crosse & Blackwell and kept in the medicine cupboard for cleaning children’s ears. She told us about how her fascination and obsession with food was brought on by reading books such as One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights).

She described how cooking for her was the ultimate escape; you can stand still in your kitchen and journey to any corner of the globe with the food and tastes your create. She spoke of the excitement and inspiration she found from looking into her larder and seeing a jar of pomegranate molasses or a box of Couscous covered in Arabic script next to a jar of good old HP sauce.

Diana’s enthusiasm is infectious. She encouraged us all to have a go; she is a champion of the home cook. Her cooking style is exactly what we have always wanted The Buttercup Cafe to be about. She mentioned Claudia Roden and Sophie Grigson as cookery writers she greatly admires.

While Diana chatted with guests, swapped fish smoking techniques and signed books, Claire (aka Madam Buttercup) and Connie produced a feast from The Buttercup kitchen using Diana’s recipes. The autumn pudding was a triumph; the Turkish lamb kofta with cherries were delicious and perfect for a cold Autumn night.

Our guests all chatted and discussed their favourite recipe books. It was an inspiring evening for us all. We heard that Diana is already working on another three books. We can’t wait to hear about what she is creating next and hope we can persuade her to come back and visit us again!

The next Buttercup Supper Club is on 17th November. Book your table now. We’ll post more details here soon.

Diana Henry is coming to The Buttercup!

Yes it’s really true. Our favourite food writer is coming to The Buttercup Cafe. We are delighted to announce we’ll be hosting An evening with Diana Henry at The Buttercup in Lewes on Friday 26th October.

Diana’s new book

Diana Henry was named ‘Cookery Writer of the Year’ by The Guild of Food Writers in 2009 and in 2007 for her column in the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine. In addition to writing a weekly column for Stella, Diana is the author of several cookbooks including ‘Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons’, ‘Cook Simple’, ‘Roast Figs, Sugar Snow’ and our absolute favourite – ‘Food From Plenty’.

Diana is loved and respected by many great cooks and food writers. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall described her writing, “Diana Henry’s passion is infectious and her recipes tantalising”. Diana’s book Food from Plenty inspired Claire when she first opened The Buttercup Cafe. It was Billie from Lewes’ Leadbetter & Good who first introduced us to Diana’s work. We’ve been great fans ever since.

A brilliant cookbook: Diana Henry’s Food from Plenty

Diana will be at The Buttercup on Friday 26th October from 7pm to 8pm to introduce her new book, Salt Sugar Smoke, giving guests a few tasters, sharing top tips and taking any questions.

She’ll be signing books too. Following this Claire is cooking a three course meal using Diana’s recipes – including Turkish lamb kofta with cherries and yogurt, Moroccan seven-vegetable couscous, Warm barley roast squash and chilli salad, Blood orange and cardamon jellies, Wine soaked autumn pudding and more!

It promises to be a very special evening. Tickets cost £30 per person. Call us on 01273 477664 or pop into the cafe to book your table.

Our flower lady

The last colour of Summer

We’ve had a fantastic season of edible flowers and locally grown cut flowers. Marigolds, nasturtiums, borage and herbs. All thanks to Erika our local flower lady who never ceases to make us gasp with her baskets of flowers. Too beautiful. We’re also delighted to be selling Erika’s bio-dynamic planting calendars which were a real hit last year as an alternative Christmas present. And yes, that was our first mention of Christmas!

The Buttercup Cafe flower lady