I was recently in Copenhagen. Surreally, I was invited to stay on some Royal Palace grounds, just outside of Copenhagen. The story behind such happenstance is quite long and involves my dear friend Dan Buettner and his dear friend R who spends half the year in the West Indies where he met some Royals (on a beach) and they said (about 20 years ago), come live on our grounds. And so he did. And, anyway, I wound up staying in one of R’s gorgeous cottages and he – wonderfully – decided to put on a party in my honour. Which is a very Danish thing to do and so very hygge.

And this is where it gets fun. He told the guests – about 20 or so princes, princesses, counts and countesses, one of which is next in line to the French throne (if there was still such a thing) – that I would be cooking some dishes from my I Quit Sugar cookbook. He talked me up a treat. I was Nigella in their minds by the time they arrived.

I talked myself down, and made some simple “hash” salads, throwing together ingredients I was able to get at the Torvehallerne markets. This is my style. Best to stick to one’s style. Happily, it was the guests’ style, too. They are supremely modest and casual.

And, so. One such dish was this very simple salad above. How about I share it with you now:

Simple pumpkin salad

  • half a butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbls coconut or olive oil
  • 1 tbls ras el honout (if you don’t have any, substitute with a blend of any of the following: nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, allspice and pepper)
  • extra dash of cinnamon
  • rock salt
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds), preferably activated
  • 1/2 bunch of green shallots (spring onions), chopped
  • three big handfuls of baby spinach (a bag or so)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbls rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt or sour cream
  • extra dash of ras el hanout or cinnamon

Preheat oven to about 220 C. Place the pumpkin on baking trays and pour over the oil, salt and spices. Toss roughly and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, heat the pepitas in a medium pan until they start to go golden and pop (or follow my activated nuts instructions here). Arrange the spinach leaves on a platter, scatter with the pumpkin, peptias and shallots. In a teacup, mix the tahini and syrup. Heat (in a microwave) until it’s runny. Add yoghurt, plus a good dash of ras el hanout and/or cinnamon. Stir, then pour the lot – in dollops – over the salad.

Serves: about 10 as a side dish

As an added bonus, I’m throwing in this shot of me at said soiree. Jo insists it’s hilarious. I’m drinking vodka from a plastic cup. With princesses! I believe my belt has come undone, too.

I’m sure you have a roast pumpkin salad you do… care to share?

Have your say, leave a comment.