I love summer, but it’s hard not to fall in love with autumn every year as the world around you turns into a tapestry of warm colours and layers. And it means it’s pumpkin season! No matter where you are in the world, everybody’s got a great pumpkin recipe tucked away to celebrate the end-of-summer harvest and the coming of the cosy months. Sage and paprika are two of my all-time favourite flavour pairings with pumpkin, which also goes so well with pork, turning this dramatic centrepiece at your harvest table into the main event!

TIME: 1 ½ hours / SERVES: 4 depending on size of pumpkin


for the roasted pumpkin

1 small pumpkin (I used a 1 kg pumpkin)

30 g (35 ml) butter

5 ml honey

1 Cape Herb & Spice True Cinnamon Quill

1 Cape Herb & Spice Star Anise

for the stuffing

15 ml butter

15 ml olive oil

250 g streaky bacon, chopped

150 g leeks, thinly sliced and well rinsed

2 shallots, finely chopped

5 ml Cape Herb & Spice Smoked Paprika

5 ml Cape Herb & Spice Freeze Dried Sage

Cape Herb & Spice Black Pepper

Cape Herb & Spice Coarse Sea Salt

100 g mature cheddar cheese, grated

for the garnish

125 ml canola oil

5 g fresh sage leaves


for the roasted pumpkin

Slice the top third of the pumpkin off using a sharp knife. Scrape out the pips with a spoon (you can keep them and roast later for your salad).

Place the butter, honey, cinnamon and star anise in a saucepan. Melt the butter over a low heat, stirring until melted, and remove from the heat.

Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the melted butter. Keep the rest to one side.

for the stuffing

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped bacon and fry until just before crispy. Add the leeks and shallots. Season with paprika, dried sage, freshly ground black pepper and salt. Then sauté until leeks and shallots are soft. Remove from the heat.

Heat the oven to 180 °C. Fill the pumkin with the stuffing and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and pop the lid onto the stuffed pumpkin. Brush the outside of the pumpkin with the infused butter and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven for 45 minutes (this time is for a 1 kg pumpkin). Keep an eye on the pumpkin as the cooking time can differ, depending on the size of the pumpkin.

Once the pumpkin is soft, take it out of the oven and heat the grill. Remove the pumpkin lid and place it next to the pumpkin on the baking tray. Place back in the oven and grill for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the cheese is has browned on top.

Heat the canola oil in a saucepan and add the sage leaves, frying until crispy. Garnish the pumpkin with the fried sage and season again with salt and freshly ground black pepper

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