Food from the Riverford Farm Field Kitchen

As the evenings draw in, Jane Baxter, Head Chef at Riverford's Field Kitchen, cooks up some tasty autumnal dishes. Photos by Martyn Norsworthy

November can be a wet month, with cold soil temperatures. After late summer plantings of garlic, onions and green manures the work on the farm is pure harvesting in November, except for an early planting of broad beans.

To minimise physical soil damage we don’t use tractors on the fields; we use tracked harvesting rigs. Soil is important to us, so ‘treading carefully’ at a time when soil is vulnerable is good housekeeping.

Crops such as swede, kale, cabbages, leeks, chard and early parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac are available. To keep the produce interesting we have our ‘winter salad pack’, which typically consists of various mustard leaves, rocket, chicory, chard, purslane and baby lettuce.

 Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup

A few years ago, after a little experimentation, this new soup for Pumpkin Day came about. It is perfect for a cold autumn evening 


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1 pumpkin, 1 squash (about 1.5 kg) peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes

3 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

� tsp smoked paprika

3 cloves garlic crushed

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

400g can tomatoes

1 litre chicken/vegetable stock

400g can red kidney beans

2 cobs cooked sweetcorn

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 lime, juiced

Salt and pepper

For the garnish:

100g tortilla chips, crushed

75g Jarlsburg cheese, grated

2 tbsp chopped coriander

1 ripe avocado, diced and mixed in juice of 2 limes


1 Place pieces of squash on a roasting tray mixed with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes until slightly coloured.

2 Meanwhile, cook onions for 20 minutes in the rest of the olive oil until slightly caramelised, add paprika, garlic and chilli and cook for 3 minutes. At this point add the tomatoes and mix well, add roasted pumpkin and blend together using a hand blender, slowly adding stock until well combined.

3 Bring to the boil and add kidney beans and corn kernels, season well, adding chilli sauce and lime to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4 Before serving scatter with garnish ingredients, folding 50% through soup.

 Cavalo nero and potato soup with red chilli

A great soup with kale. We sold this one year at the Exeter Food Festival when it was given the name ‘swamp soup’. Don’t be put off by its slightly khaki appearance – it is delicious and healthy


 400g approximately cavalo nero or other kale 

 3 tbsp virgin olive oil

 1 onion, diced

 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

 1 small, dried red chilli, chopped

 1 bay leaf

 4 medium potatoes, diced

 1 litre water or stock

 Sour cream

 1 tbsp salt


 1 Strip the kale leaves from central rib and cut leaves roughly into 2in pieces, wash.

 2 Heat oil in a soup pot and add onion, garlic, chilli, bay leaf and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes.

 3 Add diced potatoes and a cup of water (or stock) and cook for a further 5 minutes.

 4 Add cavalo, pour in the rest of the water/stock and simmer for about 30 minutes until potatoes are quite soft.

5 Pur�e a cup or two of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Season with black pepper and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

 Apple, orange and dried apricot crumble

A different idea for the traditional apple crumble – adding the dried fruit, orange and booze gives it a welcome boost


For the crumble topping:

(Note: you only need � crumble recipe)

175g plain flour

125g butter

100g sugar

65g oats

For the filling:

8 dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped roughly into 1cm dices

Zest and juice of one orange

60g dates, roughly chopped

100g dried apricots, roughly chopped

60g soft brown sugar

1 orange, peeled and sectioned (or diced)


1 Pre-heat oven to 150˚C.

2 Rub the butter into the flour until it has just gone past the breadcrumb stage. Remove and place in a bowl. Add sugar and oats and rub together with fingertips so crumble is a bit lumpy and not dry.

3 Mix all the ingredients together in a shallow ovenproof dish. Top with crumble topping and bake at 150˚C for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

 Brown sugar meringue with pears pecan and chocolate

When all the soft fruit has finished, meringues can still be a dessert option by using pears in this way


 For the meringue:

 4 egg whites

 200g soft brown sugar

 1 tbsp dark muscavado

 1 tsp cornflour

 1 tsp white wine vinegar

 Drop vanilla essence

For the pear topping:

 4 pears

 100g caster sugar

 100 mls water

 2 tbsp toasted pecans chopped

 2 tbsp maple syrup

 1 tsp brandy

 400mls double cream

 100g dark chocolate melted


 To make the meringue:

 1 Preheat the oven to 110˚C/pilot

 2 Beat egg whites until just holding and gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating continuously. When all the sugar is added, beat in cornflour, vinegar and vanilla.

 3 Spoon six blobs onto a lined baking tray and using a spoon flatten slightly. Bake for about 2 hours in a very low oven (each oven behaves differently so it is important to keep an eye on it), until crisp on the outside and so they will come away easily from the baking parchment.

To make the pear topping:

 1 Peel the pears and cut into quarters, and cut each quarter into three wedges. Place all pear sections in a pan with sugar and water and poach gently until tender. Allow to cool.

 2 Whip up the double cream to soft peaks and beat in nuts, syrup and booze.

 3 Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until runny.

To serve:

 Place equal amounts of the cream mixture onto the six meringue bases, followed by the pear topping and finish each by pouring the melted chocolate over.

 Steamed ginger pudding

A traditional steamed pud, serve with custard


For the sponge mix:

225g butter, softened

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

1� tsp baking powder

3 tbsp milk (approx)

Zest of 2 oranges

Vanilla essence

1 tbsp stem ginger, finely chopped

For the filling:

Butter for greasing

3 tbsp golden syrup

3 tbsp stem ginger, finely chopped

2 tbsp stem ginger syrup


1 Cream together the butter and sugar, adding the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and baking powder and add the milk to get a dropping consistency. Finish by adding orange zest, vanilla and ginger.

2 Grease a pudding basin with butter and add the rest of the ingredients to the base. Pour in the sponge mix. Cover basin with greased foil and tie securely with string.

3 Steam for 2 hours. Turn out carefully onto a plate.

 Jane Baxter, Head Chef at the Field Kitchen, trained in Dartmouth at the Carved Angel with Joyce Molyneux, before moving on to the River Caf� in London. Imaginative and with an obsession for fresh seasonal food, Jane’s first book, the Riverford Farm Cook Book (published in 2008) won two Guild of Food Writers Awards.

You can have the same Riverford organic veg

that inspires Jane Baxter delivered to your door, along with meat, dairy and other organic food.

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