honey roast pumpkin with prosciutto, sage, blue cheese & walnuts

serves 4-6

Good morning, and holy moly – check this out – the most fabulously indulgent sides for a roast dinner! Tender pumpkin wedges roasted with runny honey, sage, sea salt and black pepper, finished off with melting blue cheese, crispy prosciutto and a crumbling of crunchy walnuts. (Really bloody delicious if I say so myself.) Aaaand the all time classic creamed spinach with a whisper of garlic and freshly grated nutmeg – where a mountain of spinach is magically reduced to an intense, iron-rich and addictive side in minutes. In the pumpkin department if you don’t like blue cheese (!) you can swap it for feta and also play with other flavour and texture combinations using rosemary, pine nuts and olives and even a few chilli flakes to counteract the honey sweetness.

So – winter then (hence the roasty sides), and I am hanging out for my trip to Croatia and Italy with every fibre of my being – not least because I have just finished my second lot of antibiotics for a chest infection and consequently have been feeling a bit poo. Meanwhile what the hell is this about – every morning (and I use that term lightly) at about 3:30am two birds outside my window get together for a raucous old catch up, calling to each other and chatting cheerily and fulsomely until about 5am. I know they’re just lovely nature’s gift and all that but I don’t have much of a sense of humour at 3:30am…hahaha I sound like such a grumpy old woman! I have also been flat out with my normal round of work for Dish, Cuisine and Fairfax/Stuff with the odd collab thrown in for good measure. Despite the truly dreadful weather over the recent long weekend I hooned down (almost underwater at some points) to Whangapoua for a quick over-nighter with darling friends, with much card playing, whisky drinking (that might have been just me) and laughter. At the tail-end of my lurgy I whipped up a trio of curries to hook into with the rugby last weekend and had a hilarious time at pub quiz night on Monday (ridiculously excited to win a bowl of chips for my team – ah yes, the fun never stops)…so business as usual really. Poor old Hoob is also full of a cold in Welly and is head down bum up in preparation for uni exams (hurrah) while Pog is still in Italy being stung by bees, ‘attacked’ by ticks (well one embedded in his back any way) and on the permanent look our for snakes. So that’s it from me for today, I hope you give these a whirl, and if you do, let me know what you think…bye for now!

800grams pumpkin cut into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
80grams proscuitto
½ cup shelled walnuts
30 grams blue cheese
¼ cup fresh sage leaves

Heat the oven to 200˚C and place pumpkin in a single layer on an oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and runny honey, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and turn the pumpkin slices over. Rumple up pieces of prosciutto and poke between the pumpkin wedges. Sprinkle over walnuts and blue cheese and poke sage leaves in and around the pumpkin. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through, the prosciutto crisped, the walnuts toasted and the cheese melted.

creamed spinach:

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
240grams washed baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons cream
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the garlic and cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until wilted. Add the cream, nutmeg sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook a further 3 minutes, uncovered until the spinach is cooked and the cream slightly reduced. Serve immediately.

 

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