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.

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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.

Pancake Day at The Buttercup

Tossing the Pancake, George Cruikshank 1837 : Taken from the wonderful website http://www.victorianlondon.org

Hurray for pancake day. Claire’s getting giddy as she’s warming up her crepe hot plate. Tomorrow we’ll be serving pancakes throughout the day; pancakes to suit all your whims and fancies.

10am – 12 : American style hot pancakes with maple syrup.

12 – 2pm: Galette: Wholemeal, savoury crepes (for veggies and meaties).

2pm – 4pm: Teatime traditionals: Pancakes with lemon juice& sugar, blueberries or Nutella.

Our Buttercup top tip for making perfect pancakes is to make the batter tonight and leave it in the fridge overnight.

If you’d like advice about how to make the best crepes and pancakes at home, then do check out Diana Henry’s latest article in The Telegraph or you can watch Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s video on how to make perfect pancakes (great film for kids).

In praise of Diana Henry

We were just discussing our dream guest list (alive or dead) for a Buttercup Christmas lunch. George Harrison (circa 1970), Jermaine & Bret from Flight of the Conchords, Stephen Fry, Dorothy Parker and Caitlin Moran were all suggested. Then Claire mentioned her greatest culinary inspiration, Diana Henry.

Diana Henry's brilliant 'Food From Plenty' published by Mitchell Beazley

Diana Henry writes for The Telegraph and has written several genius cookbooks. If you pop in to the cafe you can have a look at our favourite Food from Plenty – it’s up on our cookbook shelf at the back of the cafe. It’s the one splattered with ingredients and looking well used (loved).

As the book says, “Leftovers are at the heart of this book. For example, you’ll find delicious roast dinners followed by an abundance of ideas for things to do with the cold meat the next day. Diana’s delicious recipes from all over the world, from Sicily to the Sahara, turn ‘going without’ on its head and make it a pleasure.’

It’s a book written for home cooks and it doesn’t expect you to go and spend hundreds of pounds on equipment and ingredients which you end up using only once.

It’s a beautifully made book with colourful & inspiring recipes. For a book about leftovers & waste it doesn’t feel depressingly frugal at all.

The Telegraph has lots of Diana’s recipes on their website. I like the idea of her Edible Christmas gifts: Scandinavian pepparkakor.

Diana Henry said in a recent interview, “I suppose food was one of those things I could see always made people happy, made people cheerful whatever else was going on. You can get quite attached to something if it does that.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.