1 Crown pumpkin
1 cup soft brown sugar
½ cup olive oil, plus a little extra for frying
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup pumpkin seeds
150g Mount Eliza Blue Monkey cheese
1 head radicchio, to serve
1 small bunch watercress, to serve

You can omit the cheese and this dish will be vegan, and you can sub most blue cheeses if you can’t find the Blue Monkey (though this is, in my opinion, New Zealand’s best blue cheese). There’s no need to use an aged balsamic, you can use a cheaper version with not too much age.

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1.Heat the oven to 165°C.
2.Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and discard (even though this recipes requires pumpkin seeds, these are not suitable to use), then peel.
3.Cut each half into 4 even pieces to give 8 pieces of pumpkin.
4.Take a deep-sided roasting dish and line it with a layer of greaseproof paper.
5.Sprinkle half the brown sugar, half the oil and half the vinegar on the base.
6.Lay the pumpkin pieces flat on their side on top of the sugar/oil/vinegar mixture.
7.Sprinkle the rest of the oil, sugar and vinegar and a good few pinches of salt over the pumpkin.
8.Cover with another layer of greaseproof paper and seal the tray with foil.
9.Place in the oven for 35 minutes.
10.Remove the foil and check to see if the pumpkin is cooked; it should be al dente but a knife should pass through the thickest part without resistance.
11.Leave to cool for 5 minutes then flip the pieces of pumpkin over so the other side can absorb the cooking liquid and set aside for 15 minutes.
12.Strain the pumpkin-cooking liquid off the pumpkin into a small saucepan and reduce on a medium heat to a syrupy consistency.
13.Fry the pumpkin seeds in a little olive oil until they are golden brown.
14.Take a large serving dish and arrange the cooked pumpkin on the plate.
15.Glaze with the balsamic caramel, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and crumble over the blue cheese.
16.Garnish with radicchio and watercress leaves.

Recipes & food styling Hayden McMillan / Photography Amber Jayne-Bain

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