Legends of the fall

Pumpkin and feta pie with olive-oil pastry.
Pumpkin and feta pie with olive-oil pastry. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Pumpkins are such a symbol of autumn, but they store so well you can eat local pumpkin almost all year round. They're sometimes a bit marginalised in our cooking, but are versatile and very good for you, packed with antioxidants and potassium.

Pumpkin and feta pie with olive-oil pastry

This pie has a delicious savoury and sweet balance. It's great cold or straight from the oven. Serve with a bitter leaf salad or as a side to chicken or lamb.

Short olive-oil pastry

500g plain flour

½ tsp salt

60ml extra virgin olive oil

250ml cold water


1.5kg kent (jap) pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut in 2cm dice


Salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Knob of butter

2 leeks, white part only, finely sliced

5 eggs

120g grana padano parmesan, grated

200g feta

4 gratings nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Handful walnuts, toasted and roughly broken

1. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees fan-forced, 185 degrees conventional.

2. To make the pastry, whiz the flour and salt in a food processor. Drizzle in the oil, then add 250ml of cold water while processing until a ball forms.

3. Tip onto a floured surface and knead briefly until you have a smooth ball. Rest in the fridge for an hour, wrapped in cling film.

4. Season the pumpkin with salt and pepper, toss in oil and roast until well cooked and the flesh has dried out and concentrated, about 30-40 minutes - the pumpkin should not colour too much. Leave to cool.

5. While the pumpkin cooks, melt the butter in a small pan and sweat the leeks until softened.

6. In a food processor, add half the pumpkin, four of the eggs, the parmesan, half the feta, the nutmeg and cinnamon. Puree until smooth. Season if necessary.

7. Raise oven temperature to 170 degrees fan-forced, 190 degrees conventional.

8. Grease a 30cm pie dish and line the base with baking paper. Roll out the whole round of pastry into a large even circle, allowing enough so that the edges can be folded over to form a lid (this doesn't need to cover the whole of the filling, but allow some to fold on top). Lay into the dish.

9. Pour in the pumpkin puree and distribute evenly. Press the remaining pumpkin pieces into the puree, then spread over the leeks, sprinkle over the remaining feta and scatter the walnuts on top. Pull the edges of the pastry in to form a lid, working around the pie, pleating the pastry to form a petal-like pattern, leaving a hole in the centre of the pie. Beat the remaining egg and glaze the pastry.

10. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Drink Viognier

Serves 6 to 8


Baked lasagnette with pumpkin, anchovies and taleggio

Pasta bakes are humble rather than fine dining, but this dish takes things up a notch; the sweet pumpkin partners so well with the creamy, tangy cheese and salty anchovies.

½ kent (jap) pumpkin, peeled and sliced thinly (5mm slices)

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt flakes

Freshly ground pepper

500g lasagnette (dried) - broad-ribbon pasta with ruffled edges

350g piece fresh ricotta, sliced thinly

120g taleggio - Italian washed-rind cheese, cut or broken into knobs

5 sprigs oregano, picked, or 2 tbsp dried oregano

120ml cream

100g grana padano parmesan, grated

5 anchovies (in oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan-forced, 200 degrees conventional.

2. Toss the pumpkin in oil, season with salt and pepper and lay on a lined baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes.

3. Cook the lasagnette in plenty of boiling salted water, then drain.

4. Place a third of the pasta in a large ceramic dish, then season and drizzle with oil. Layer on a third of the ricotta, taleggio and cooked pumpkin. Sprinkle with oregano, spoon over a third of the cream and scatter with grated parmesan. Repeat the layers twice until the ingredients are done. Finish with parmesan, salt, pepper.

5. Tear the anchovies in half lengthways and criss-cross over the top. Cover with paper and foil and bake for 25 minutes. Take off the cover and put the lasagnette back in the oven to brown for 15 minutes.

Drink Pinot grigio

Serves 4-6


Roasted pumpkin and root-vegetable soup with cinnamon and ginger

This soup is complex, with a spike of ginger and spice accenting the layered flavours of the roast vegetables.

½ kent (jap) pumpkin, deseeded, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 large sweet potatoes (skin on), pricked with a knife

3 carrots, peeled, cut in large chunks

2 parsnips, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

3 medium brown onions, peeled, and sliced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

15cm piece ginger, peeled and diced

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp anise (aniseed) seeds

2 chicken stock cubes

1½ litres hot water

To garnish

8 tbsp thick plain yoghurt

2 handfuls coriander leaves

4 tbsp cooked wild black rice (optional)

1 handful pumpkin seeds

1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan-forced, 200 degrees conventional.

2. Oil and season the pumpkin and root vegetables and place on a lined baking tray.

3. Roast for an hour or until tender and cooked through.

4. While the vegetables are roasting, place a large wide-based pot over medium heat. Add a good slug of oil, the sliced onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for about eight minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to caramelise. Add the cinnamon stick and anise seeds and stir to combine.

5. Remove the cooked vegetables from the oven. Peel the sweet potato and chop roughly. Place all the vegetables in the pot with the cooked onion mix, crumble in the stock cubes and add 1½ litres of hot water. Simmer for half an hour.

6. Once cooked, remove the cinnamon stick and puree with a stick blender. Check and adjust the seasoning.

7. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, some wild rice sprinkled on top (if using), coriander leaves, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of lemon.

Drink Jasmine tea

Serves 8-10