I’ve been harvesting my squash and pumpkins and thought it might be useful to pass on a tip if yours are still outdoors. Make sure you cut the stem about 15cm (6”) from the fruit. That way they won’t rot round the neck and suddenly collapse in on themselves. I’ve made my first batch of squash and coconut soup – it’s a favourite autumn and winter lunch. I peel and chop the squash and give it a light coating of olive oil and roast it in a moderate oven with shallots and chilli, adding a few tomatoes for the last half hour. Once everything is tender I add a tin of half-fat coconut milk and the same quantity of stock season it and let it simmer for half an hour. If it is too thick to blend add more stock or hot water.
I’ve never been entirely happy with the cherry compote that I make from some of our cherry crop. Because they are sweet cherries, when cooked they just don’t have the intensity of flavour you get with morellos, but I’ve now found a rather delicious solution. By adding one part blackcurrants to four parts cherries with a couple of spoons of demerara sugar, the blackcurrants sharpen the cherries and the cherries sweeten the blackcurrants. Problem solved.