Okay. The jig is up. I'm writing this in the hangover of a not-so-summery British summer, whilst my friends in Oz are contemplating chic spring jackets and cherry blossoms. This month, I've picked a recipe for all of us. Below, and above, the equator.
Eating sweet vegetables is one of my favourite ways to curb sugar cravings all year round. Adding a little cuddly root veg or pumpkin to a meal can give your system that honey hit and quash the desire to reach for something saccharine or processed.
I love this Butternut Pumpkin recipe because it's so versatile: great as a side dish, at a BBQ, or as a working lunch with salad. Full of flavour and above all, easy.
After all, you're busy, I'm busy. Okay. Let’s do this thing.
Smoky Butternut pumpkin with Tahini Goat’s Yoghurt and Sumac:
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a light lunch with salad
Gluten-free, Cow’s milk-free
For the Pumpkin
1 medium butternut pumpkin
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp smoked paprika (the smokiness really makes this dish, so worth seeking out)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
For the Dressing
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp boiling water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup of goat's yoghurt (or your favourite, high-quality plain cow's milk yoghurt)
Handful of chopped chives (or coriander, or mint, or a mix)
1-2 tsp sumac spice
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
2. Top and tail a whole butternut pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and either cut into quarters or eighths lengthways (depending on the shape of your pumpkin – you want something that will cook in 40mins, about 3-4 cm at the widest point). I keep the skin on.
3. Combine 2 tbsp olive oil with 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tsp of smoked paprika and 1 tsp of dried oregano, plus 1tsp of sea salt. This mix also makes a fine marinade for meats.
4. Pour a little olive oil on your baking tray. Place the butternut pumpkin quarters flesh up on a baking tray. Spread the paprika mixture evenly over the flesh sides, trying not too loose too much of the mixture to the pan.
5. Bake for 40 mins (or longer, for large pumpkin, test with a skewer or fork prong)
6. Meanwhile, mix 1tbsp tahini with 1 tbsp boiling water and the juice of half a lemon. Once smooth, mix with ¼ cup goat’s yoghurt (or plain/Greek yoghurt) and season well (the seasoning takes away acidity)
7. Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature, sprinkle with a little more sea salt and drizzle with the tahini yoghurt - Jackson Pollock style. Anoint with your favourite chopped herb (I used chives and mint, but coriander or parsley could work well too) and generous sprinkles of purple-hued sumac.
Story by Josephine Taylor.