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When the children go back to school and there’s a whiff of woodsmoke in the air the balance of time spent in garden and kitchen shifts ever so slightly. There’s plenty to harvest and forage on the plot or in the lanes and lots to do in the kitchen to preserve the bounty. Bottling, canning, chutney making, planning ahead for the next few months…… I love this time of year.

We are worshippers at the altar of ‘slow food’ on the plot.  In our case this means home grown or locally produced, seasonal, tasty, traditional,easy enough for the children to make – albeit with some help – and with ingredients  that are knocking about the house and garden.

I’ve decided to share some of our recipes with you from time to time. Some are family ones. Some are from my favourite cooks – famous and otherwise. The rest are the result of experimentation or happy accident. I hope you enjoy them.

So today how about this for an Autumn lunch to share with a friend who drops by unexpectedly? Butternut Squash and Lime soup – delicious with a hunk of soda bread.

Roast a chopped and peeled butternut squash in the oven until tender with a couple of cloves of garlic, a small chopped onion and a small bunch of thyme. I use olive oil and a drizzle of local honey. Roasting gives the soup a beautiful depth of flavour.

When tender pour on a generous pint of stock. Transfer it all to a pot or liquidiser. Add a few spoons of creme fraiche and the grated zest and juice of 2 limes. Either hand blend or whizz it up in the liquidiser. Reheat over a low flame. Serve with a scant handful of chopped parsley.