Roasted pumpkin with buffalo mozzarella, chilli and an oregano and basil dressing

As the autumnal days pick up momentum, handsomely blowing the streets of London with fallen golden-brown-leaves, bringing back that nostalgia for running wild through the carpet of leaves, kicking your feet and feeling apart of the seasonal excitement. During this time of the year it is hard to deny the pumpkin reigning supreme. It seems that no food symbolises the blustery fall season quite like them. Groceries stock their shelves with all different shapes, colours and sizes, bringing a feeling of warmth to the maybe ones cold and sterile stores. Delicious different types of sweet treats- cookies, pies, ice creams- even favourite coffee shops are filled with the aroma of spiced pumpkin lattes, or recipes in the weekend supplements for a traditional all-time pumpkin pie classic. It’s what symbolises this coming festivity- the activity of slicing the tops off, gutting the insides, and slicing a graphic ghoulish face so a twinkling candle can glow through from the inside. Halloween originated from Celtic Ireland, making the passage from the summer harvest season to the dark of winter- where originally turnips and potatoes were carved with gruesome faces and lit with candles to scare away any passing invaders, where people would light big bonfires and deliberately make a lot of noise to unsettle the spirits and drive them away. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities- taking the name Jack-O-Lantern- which came from a haunting Irish tale. We highly recommend this Celtic pastime, carve your own for this Halloween, something very therapeutic about it- a time to calmly sit and concentrate on something and be creative. Give it a go! Then once you have admired your Jack-O-Lantern art you can slice the old boy up and make this delicious recipe- a perfect starter or sharing dish for this end of harvest season.


    Starter 4 people

    Half a medium sized pumpkin, cut into wedges
    4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked 
    2 sprigs sage, finely chopped
    half bulb garlic 
    small pinch dried chilli 
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 

    small bunch fresh oregano 
    small bunch basil
    ½ lemon
    4 tbsp olive oil
    sea salt and pepper

    two balls buffalo mozzarella 
    1 tbsp pine nuts
    1 red chilli, finely chopped 
    pretty leaves, pea shoots are nice


Preheat oven to 200C. line a large baking tray, arrange the pumpkin so they are individually placed, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil and the balsamic, scatter the garlic cloves, thyme leaves, sage, chilli and plenty of seasoning. Mix around with your hands. Roast for 20 mins. Place pine nuts in the oven for no more then 3-5 mins, take out when golden. In a blender blitz the fresh oregano and basil with the olive oil and lemon, and also the roasted garlic (when out of the oven)- pressed out from their skins. Season to taste. On a serving platter (or individual plates), arrange the pumkin so overlapping- try and get some bits standing up for presentation. Tear the mozerella in half and arrange on top, followed by the pine nuts, chopped chilli, pea shoots and then a good drizzling of the herb oil.