Maha’s Shane Delia wants us all to gather around the table for celebratory feasts of small plates, slow roasts, warm breads, spicy dips and fragrant rice dishes, all imbued with the seductive spices of the Middle East. ‘As long as I have good food, and family and friends to share it with, my life is complete,’ he says.


  • Pumpkin

  • 1 Japanese pumpkin

  • 600 g sugar

  • 600 g water

  • 10 cloves

  • 8 smashed cardamom pods

  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped

  • tahini

  • Candided walnuts

  • 200 g walnuts

  • 150 g sugar

  • 50 ml dark rum


  • Pumpkin:

  • 1.

    Skin and deseed pumpkin, keeping the two sides intact.

  • 2.

    Prepare a stock syrup with the remaining ingredients.

  • 3.

    Bring this to the boil, then place the pumpkin in until soft but still holding shape.

  • 4.

    Remove this from the heat and transfer into a large container, placing in the fridge to chill, covering the pumpkin with the syrup.

  • 5.

    Soak for at least 24 hours to allow the pumpkin to take on the flavour of the syrup.

  • 6.

    After 24 hours take the pumpkin out of the syrup and place in the freezer until solid.

  • 7.

    When ready to serve place plates in the freezer for ten minutes prior to serving.

  • 8.

    Shave the pumpkin with a sharp knife and place on frozen plate as desired.

  • 9.

    Drizzle with tahini* and sprinkle with the candied walnuts (violets can also be added for garnish if desired).

  • Candided walnuts:

  • 1.

    Chop walnut into small pieces.

  • 2.

    Place a wide based pot on the heat and warm the nuts.

  • 3.

    Add in half the sugar and stir through the nuts.

  • 4.

    As this starts to caramelise, add in the rest of the sugar.

  • 5.

    Once the nuts are coated and the sugar is a nice golden colour, add in the rum (being cautious as the steam is hot).

  • 6.

    Mix in the rum until the nuts are fairly loose and not clumped together.

  • 7.

    Place on silicone pare and allow to cool down and crisp up.

  • 8.

    Once cold, place in an air tight container and use when needed.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

  • Energy 765kj
  • Fat Total 22g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Protein 6g
  • Carbohydrate 140g
  • Sugar 130g
  • Sodium 8mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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