Cookies

Roasted pumpkin and rocket salad

This salad has some of my all-time favourite ingredients; fresh and slightly peppery rocket from our veggie garden, roasted, delicious pumpkin, blue cheese, walnuts and crispy prosciutto.

Today’s a springlike day that could easily be one of those beautiful, shiny days at the beginning of May. Sunny and bright! As good as it sounds, this doesn’t exactly please me; February has just started and winter so far has been too mild in general, probably one of the warmest winters I can remember. Knits and all kinds of warm clothes haven’t been used much this year and most of them are still stored away. Something’s wrong! Something’s changed!

We all know that something’s off and we’ve known for a while. It’s nothing new. We’ve all been repeatedly saying how much the weather has changed, that there are no seasons anymore, that the environment and the air that we breathe in is polluted, that the food we consume is genetically modified etc.

Regardless of how many times we repeat these facts, we don’t seem to fully realise what’s really happening. It feels like we’re in denial. Like this doesn’t affect us whatsoever, like this threat will become real in the very distant future and we won’t be here to see it. We couldn’t be more wrong! And lately, nature has been knocking on our door, sending signals of how real the danger is and how much these catastrophic changes affect us all. The clock is ticking for our planet, our home.

This year, hurricanes made their appearance in our hometown for the first time ever. I recently read that they’re caused by the rise in temperature in general and mostly by the rise in sea temperature. Seasons no longer exist and an innocent rainfall can turn into a deadly flood for people and their homes. Meteorologists have started giving names to extreme weather events. Have our lives become a science fiction film?

I’ve been taking a wine tasting course lately. As I was studying Australia’s wine map, I suddenly realized the scale of the recent catastrophic bushfires. I felt terrified thinking of the consequences of this unprecedented disaster on crops and the area’s fauna and flora. This is all happening in front of our eyes and I sadly feel we’re too small for such a huge predicament

Of course, everything’s connected. On top of all these massive natural disasters, it’s almost impossible for humans to find an antidote against new viruses, at least not fast enough. I’m referring to coronavirus, obviously. Ever since I can remember myself, I can’t think of another time that countries closed their borders in an effort to take control of the rapid spread of a virus. Humanity is threatened by widespread epidemic diseases just when we felt reassured that modern science can solve these issues in an instant.

I didn’t mean to bring you down, so I apologize in advance, I’m just truly worried! We can’t keep on closing our eyes to this real life horror film as much as we want to. This is a global emergency! I’m afraid we need to be scared, to feel how close the danger is, so that we will wake up and react, at last. But what can we do to help? Anything! For starters, we should be informed and do our best to make a positive change for the betterment of our future on earth.

Today’s dish is a salad I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this winter. Roasted pumpkin and rocket salad! I still have a few pumpkins left from our Christmas decorations and I wouldn’t let them go to waste, of course. It’s been a few years since I discovered –mostly at organic markets- a variety of small pumpkins that are incredibly flavourful and aromatic. Besides being so tasty, their small size is also very convenient compared to huge pumpkins. This salad has some of my all-time favourite ingredients; fresh and slightly peppery rocket from our veggie garden, roasted, delicious pumpkin, blue cheese, walnuts and crispy prosciutto.

As the seasonal flu outbreak continues, keep in mind that this is the perfect salad to help you recover from or, even better, avoid catching the flu. Pumpkin is a superfood with important antioxidant properties and can really boost your immune system thanks to Vitamin C and a number of other valuable nutrients it contains. It’s also low in calories, yet very satisfying and filling. As for rocket, it’s one of the most nutritious leaf vegetables. High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals too. It owes its slightly bitter and peppery taste to substances known for their anticancer properties. Here’s how a simple salad with a short list of ingredients can be extremely beneficial to your health, whether you’re trying to soothe the symptoms of the flu or keep away from it altogether.

Ingredients

10-12 thin slices of a small pumpkin with their skin

1 bunch rocket

8 slices prosciutto

60g blue cheese

15 chopped walnuts

2tbsp pumpkin seeds

 

For the dressing:

1tsp honey

½ lemon juice

5-6tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1tsp Dijon mustard

Salt, pepper

Method

1. Prepare the prosciutto. Heat the oven to 180C. Cover a baking tray with a piece of baking paper. Spread the prosciutto slices and put the tray in the oven for about 20 minutes until they’re dry and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. Keep the oven warm for the pumpkin.

2. Turn the oven heat to 200C. Wash the pumpkin externally and cut it to slices. Spread them on a baking tray and add to the oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden. Set aside and let them cool down.

3. Prepare the dressing. In a bowl, beat the olive oil, lemon, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.

4. Spread the rocket leaves on a platter. Add the roasted pumpkin slices on top. Pour the dressing over evenly. Add the crispy prosciutto slices, blue cheese, chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds on top.

Comments