For the ricotta:

1ltr whole milk

300ml double cream

55ml lemon juice

55ml white wine vinegar

2 sprigs of fresh oregano

For the pumpkin:

600-700g of pumpkin or squash such as Red Kuri, Delicata, Crown Prince or Butternut

To serve:

toasted and crushed walnuts

fried sage leaves

For the dressing:

1 clove of garlic

50ml sherry vinegar

200ml olive oil

30g dark brown sugar

200ml rapeseed oil

This is a gorgeous recipe which is simple to make but suitably indulgent for an autumnal lunch or dinner party. I like using Red Kuri squash with its dry and rich flesh which roasts beautiful and pairs perfectly with the creamy ricotta. I source Kuri squash from Tablehurst Farm, near Forest Row in East Sussex. For the dressing, use the best vinegar and extra virgin olive oil you can, such as a sherry or muscatel vinegar, or perhaps a sweet apple vinegar from your local farm shop.

Serves 6 Prep time: 20 mins, plus resting time

For the ricotta:

Measure out the lemon juice and vinegar into a bowl and set aside, while you heat the milk, cream, and oregano in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once at the boil, take off the heat and add the lemon juice and vinegar mixture and stir well. Leave to cool until room temperature and then strain and season. Keep refrigerated until needed.
Note: When straining, be careful not to strain it too much. Collect the whey in a bowl in case you need to loosen the ricotta so it’s rich and creamy.

For the pumpkin:

Heat the oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. There is no need to peel the squash, simply halve, deseed, cut into wedges and arrange onto the tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season well with salt, a crack of freshly black pepper, and a bunch of sage. Roast for 35-45 mins or until very tender.

For the dressing:

Crush the garlic in a large bowl and whisk in the other ingredients. The flavour will greatly improve if you leave to infuse overnight in the fridge and sieve before serving.

To serve:

Arrange the roasted pumpkin on a large platter, or individual plates, and spoon on dollops of the ricotta. Sprinkle with a handful of toasted and crushed walnuts, fried sage leaves and generously drizzle over the sherry vinegar dressing. Any left-over dressing will be happy in the fridge for up to ten days.

The Union’s team takes pride in hand making as much of their menu as possible in house, crafting ricotta, black pudding, crackers and ice creams by sourcing the very best ingredients they can from the East Sussex and Kentish larders. To find out more about their unpretentious, simple and restrained plates of food, and to book a table, visit or call 01797 229289.

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