Chef’s Special

Roasted Squash, Tomato and Basil Soup served with Apple Scones, followed by Pumpkin Pie.

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Make the most of autumn’s glorious seasonal foods with these sensational recipes by Erin Baker, from the Natural Cookery School. Formerly head chef at Woodruffs Organic Café, Erin founded her own Natural Cookery School to teach people how to cook using foods that are minimally processed – this includes lots of fresh, local produce, unrefined sugars and natural grains. Her style of cooking is not only delicious, it is clean, honest and wholesome too. If you don’t believe us, try the recipes below! Many of the ingredients can be found at Stroud Farmers’ Market, while our most local flour is from Shipton Mill in Tetbury. For more information about natural cookery lessons, visit   

Serves: 4
Difficulty rating: medium
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

For the soup

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
700g squash or pumpkin from Hotch Potch Organic, peeled and seeds removed
2 medium onions from Duncan Paget & Co, finely chopped
2 stalks celery from Over Farm Market, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic from The Garlic Farm, finely chopped
500g tomatoes from Newark Farm
800ml vegetable stock (may need a bit more or less)
small bunch (about 15g) fresh basil, leaves only
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, cream and cheese to garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C/200°C Fan or Gas Mark 7. Peel and roughly chop the squash into 2-inch pieces, slice tomatoes in half. Place the squash and tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil. Roast for about 20 minutes or until nicely brown and soft.  Alternatively, you can cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking tray. Roast in the oven until a knife is easily inserted and then flip over, wait until cool enough to handle then remove flesh from outer peel (this is much easier!) Either way, make sure you keep any juices from the tray. 
  2. Chop the onions and celery and fry in 1 tbsp of oil until soft, about 5-8 minutes – turn down the heat if it’s starting to brown too quickly. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add roasted squash and tomatoes, basil and enough vegetable stock to the pot to just cover the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully whiz using a hand blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a bit of water, vegetable stock or cream if it’s too thick. Add lemon juice or salt and pepper if needed. Top with a swirl of cream or some grated cheese or fresh basil.


For the Cheese & Apple Scones

250g self-raising flour
salt and pepper
75g butter
75g Godsell’s Leonard Stanley cheese
1 Lord Lamborn apple from Croft Farm, grated
100ml milk mixed with 2 tsp cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut the butter into the flour, salt and pepper, using your hands. Grate the cheddar and apple straight into the bowl. Add the milk/vinegar mixture and gently fold together a couple of times with a spoon.
  2. Carefully turn onto a floured surface and knead into a dough. Do not over mix. Add more flour if it is too wet or milk if it is too dry.
  3. Form a circle about 1 inch thick. Slice into eight pieces or cut with a cutter and place on a baking tray. Top with additional grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, until light, fluffy and golden on top


And for dessert: Pumpkin Pie!

For the pastry
150g plain flour
75g cold butter from Brinkworth Dairy
1 medium egg from Overton Organic Eggs, beaten

For the filling
500g pumpkin purée from Coleshill Organic
200ml double cream Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk
3 eggs from Overton Organic Eggs, beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
100g brown sugar
75g granulated sugar

To make the pastry:
Cut the butter into small pieces and place with the flour in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour gently using your fingertips. This can also be done with a food processor. Continue until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, working quickly so the dough does not become too warm. Add the egg and stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to fully combine and form a ball. Wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the pumpkin purée:
Slice a pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Preheat oven to 200°C /180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Place the pumpkin cut side down on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted. Remove from oven and let cool. Scrape the pumpkin away from the skin and discard the skin. Purée the pumpkin flesh with a food processor or hand blender until smooth. Measure 600g for the pie. The rest of the purée can be used in soups, made into a sauce, used in cookies, to fill pasta, muffins or simply warmed, seasoned and eaten as a side. 

To make the pie:
Preheat oven to 180°C /160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. On a lightly floured counter, using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry to fit a 9-inch/23cm pie tin. Place the pastry in the pie tin and trim the edge or pinch together to form a crust. Blind bake using ceramic baking beads or dried beans on top of parchment paper for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans. If the edge begins to darken during the blind baking process, cover with aluminum foil for final baking.

Combine the pumpkin purée with the cream, eggs, spices and sugars – this can be done in a food processor or in a bowl with a whisk. Do this gently so the cream doesn’t thicken. Pour the filling into the blind-baked pie crust. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling has just set. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm with whipped cream. 

Grab your ingredients here:
Hotch Potch Farm, Duncan Paget & Co, Over Farm Market, Newark Farm, Croft Farm, Coleshill Organic, Overton Organic eggs, Naite Farm eggs, Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm cream, Brinkworth Dairy butter, Godsell’s Artisan Cheese