After many months of dark dreary weather, many will be suffering from the common affliction known as the winter blues.
It is almost as if the lack of sunshine, the monotony of cloudy dim skies and the constant rain can actually drain your energy, make you grumpy and tired and bring out your inner Eeyore.
If that sounds like you, then I would prescribe this Creamy pumpkin, thyme and feta bake.
Not that this dish is exactly health food. Oh no, with the lashings of cream and feta, this is definitely an indulgent kind of dish, but its luscious creaminess and bright orange nuggets of pumpkin can brighten even the darkest of winter nights. So not health food; but most definitely soul food.
The recipe is actually an one from my dear friend Pip. She is one of the sweetest loveliest people I know and boy does she know how to cook! As with all of Pip's recipes, this one is simply delicious, super easy and a real crowd pleaser.
I like using butternut squash for this dish - the sweet creaminess of the butternut marries really well with the woodsy thyme and tangy feta, but of course you can use any kind of pumpkin you like.
A quick tip for getting getting the pumpkin skin off: microwave it. It makes it heaps easier to slice the skin off without sacrificing too much of the flesh and has the added bonus of shortening the cooking time too!
Serve over penne pasta with a crisp salad and big glass of sav and you have yourself a hearty soul-warming winter-banishing meal.
Creamy Pumpkin, Thyme & Feta Bake
adapted from a recipe by my lovely friend Pip
1 butternut squash or any other type of pumpkin
250g block of feta cheese
a small handful of thyme
1/4 cup white wine (or water)
1 packet white or brown onion soup
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Spray a medium baking dish with non stick spray.
2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into slices (like a melon) and arrange on a microwavable dish. Cover and microwave on high for around 5 minutes. This will soften the pumpkin flesh and make it really easy to slice off the skin. Remove the pumpkin skin and cut the flesh into chunks about 2 cm by 2 cm (or smaller if you like - the smaller the faster they will cook so you may need to adjust the cooking time) and place straight into the baking dish.
3. Mix the packet of soup with the wine to loosen then mix into the cream. Stir in the minced garlic. Pour over the pumpkin.
4. Sprinkle the feta on top. Strip the leaves off the thyme and sprinkle over the whole dish. Season with lots of black pepper and a pinch of salt (remember the feta is quite salty). Bake for around 40 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
5. Serve piping hot over penne pasta, or any other kind of pasta with a side salad and vino.