Chili, garlic, lime and coriander; these four flavours crop up in my recipes more often than not. When combined, they yield a dish that is flavoursome and bright, and can be applied to almost anything. This recipe for roasted pumpkin first appeared on my Christmas table a couple of years ago, and it produced so much enthusiasm that it has become a standard side-dish for many dinner parties. The recipe is obscenely easy and as a side dish, the flavours work year round and can accompany a range of mains from beef to pork and shellfish.

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François Bonvin, Still life with a Pumpkin, Peaches and a Silver Goblet on a Table Top, 1858
oil on canvas, 38 x 46cm, Private collection

François Bonvin, a French Realist painter, was a predominantly self-taught artist who spent copious amounts of time at the Louvre where he gained an appreciation for the Dutch Old Masters. The deeply shadowed still life above, with the inclusion of the reflective cup, highlights the influence these historic paintings had on his own aesthetic. Depicting the everyday – the facets and activities of the bourgeois – Bonvin sought inspiration from his immediate surroundings. Still life was completed at the pinnacle of his career with marital and health problems circumventing any later artistic success. The painting demonstrates his understated approach to Realism with the back edge of the table, introduced in the top right of the canvas, fading into complete blackness on the left. Bonvin diverged from other practitioners of Realism, namely Courbet, through a lack of defined background as well as through his minimalist compositions.

{Chili & Garlic Roasted Pumpkin with Coriander & Lime}

Yield: 4 servings

250 grams pumpkin, sliced into wedges
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
lime wedges
handful of coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C. Arrange the sliced pumpkin on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and top the pumpkin with the minced garlic and chili flakes. Place on the top shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes until a knife can easily slide into the thickest part of the pumpkin wedge (cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the pumpkin. These times are for wedges that are 1/2 inch at the thickest point).

Remove from the oven and squeeze the lime over the top. Scatter the chopped coriander over the pumpkin and serve while warm. Can be reheated.