It's a family affair in the kitchen at Painswick Rococo Garden
Ingredients don't come much fresher than the newly-picked trugs of produce presented to the cooks in the restaurant at the Painswick Rococo Garden.
For much of the year, Claire Moir and her team create dishes from the cream of the crop harvested from the productive kitchen garden just a few metres away.
At the same time, the menu at the garden's restaurant has long been a showcase for some of Gloucester-
shire's finest artisan food and drink, including cheese, juice and preserves.
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Now a new face has joined the kitchen team and is already making her mark by introducing a variety of additions to the dishes on offer.
Lucy Moir, the 22-year-old daughter of Claire and husband Paul, the director of the charitable trust that runs the garden, spent her childhood living at the site before heading to Bath University to study for a sports degree.
Since her return, Lucy has been working with her mum to develop a variety of new hearty soups, light bites and more substantial lunchtime fillers, which they hope will appeal both to visitors to the gardens and regular customers who call into the restaurant to meet friends or stop off to eat while travelling between Cheltenham and Gloucester on business.
With the snowdrop season now here, an event that attracts thousands of visitors within a few weeks, soup is the order of the day, much of which is made using vegetables from the garden.
Curried parsnip, courgette and garlic, beetroot and horseradish, sweet potato and red pepper and sausage and red cabbage using meat from Frocester Fayre are just some of the enticing flavours on offer.
"Soup is just the thing after people have been walking around the garden," explains Claire.
"We even serve it in mugs for people to carry around with them while they look at the snowdrops.
"Our sausage and red cabbage is proving especially popular – it's like a meal in a bowl."
From March, customers at the restaurant will be able to choose from a new menu that includes such delights as baked Cotswold blue brie on toast with pickled beetroot and balsamic salad, spicy chicken and bean flour tortilla wrap with special yoghurt dip and a platter of local charcuterie and homemade chutney, pickles and Gloucestershire-made bread – together with a variety of old favourites and Claire's famous cakes.
There will also be a children's menu, including free range scrambled eggs on toast made using eggs from Cooper's Hill and bread from Hobbs House Bakery.
For Claire, working with Lucy to develop new additions to the menu has been lots of fun.
"She has a much younger attitude towards food and has been breathing a bit of new life into the menu," explains Claire. "We have always looked to serve local cheese from producers such as Godsells and Simon Weaver, which we serve with chutneys made from the heritage varieties of apples and pears that are grown here.
"Now we are developing our dishes that use cheese and using new ingredients such as charcuterie from Trealy Farm in Monmouth.
"I've been cooking here for 25 years and it's great to have some new blood come in and bring a different perspective to what we do."
Serving local produce in the restaurant is all part of the unique experience that visitors enjoy when they visit Painswick Rococo Gardens, which has long been one of the county's premier tourist attractions.
"We think it's vital to promote the fact that most of our ingredients come from Gloucestershire and some have been dug up or picked from our own garden that morning," says Claire.
"There aren't many restaurants around here who can say that. I think the way we source our ingredients is becoming increasingly important as more and more people become disenchanted with supermarkets. "
Lucy, who has spent many an hour in the kitchen over the years, often at the washing up sink, says she is delighted to be joining the restaurant team.
"It's been great working with mum on the menu: we want to keep the basics simple but add our own unique twist to it and serve something that customers won't get anywhere else," she says.
"I love the way that our salads come up fresh from the garden, when the growing season is in full swing, and that parsnips pulled from the ground in the morning can be in a soup by 5pm.
"It doesn't get much fresher than that."