ALMA and former Vue Grand chef Jesse Hughes has revealed the recipe for signature dish

ALMA and former Vue Grand chef Jesse Hughes has revealed the recipe for signature dish

Geelong really scored big when chef Jesse Hughes (formerly Vue Grand Queenscliff) opened up ALMA, a contemporary South American shared-style restaurant back in 2017.

In what was Hughes’ first venture, ALMA has become one of Geelong’s best dining destinations, earning a solid reputation for their South American flavours featuring the best produce served in an unadulterated way, edgy styling and exceptional service.

Well good news, ALMA is one of the four Central Geelong businesses who are sharing an exclusive recipe for foodies to try at home as part of the Tastes of Central Geelong Festival, with Jesse revealing the secrets behind his famed Salted Baked Pumpkin – perfect for any occasion.

Better still, not only are we gifted with the delicious recipe to try, but there’s also a chance to win one of four $150 vouchers by doing so.

All you have to do is take a photo of the end product of your attempt at one or more of the recipes, upload it to, and complete the form before 31 July to go into the draw. There will be one winner for each recipe and each winner will receive a voucher to the business whose recipe they won with.

Now without further ado, here’s the how-to for Jesse Hughes Salted Baked Pumpkin.

• Butternut Pumpkin
• 600gm plain flour
• 300gm table salt
• 120gm egg white (chickpea liquid can be substituted for vegan)
• 250ml cold water
• 4 tbsp cumin seeds
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp smoked paprika

• Toast all your seeds in a dry frypan. The best way to do this is to keep the seeds moving in the pan until the pan smokes a little bit and the aromas of the seeds start to release, be careful not to burn them.

• Crush all the seeds in a mortar and pestle and add them to the rest of the dry ingredients.

• Mix in the water and egg whites and kneed on the bench until the dough forms a firm ball.

• Egg whites can be replaced by the juice that comes in a tin of chickpeas (or any tinned bean) to keep the recipe vegan.

• Roll the salt crust out on a lightly floured bench until it is about 3mm thick and large enough to roll your pumpkin in. I use small butternut pumpkins because I find them to be sweeter and easy to deal with once cooked. Be sure to cover the entire pumpkin (not peeled) in the crust so no juices can escape during the cooking.

• Cook pumpkins at 180 degrees for about 2-3 hours depending on the size of your pumpkin and serve them by cutting the pumpkin lengthways and scooping out all the seeds. We then put an onion jam, spicy chickpeas and goats curd to finish the dish but you can use any toppings you like, or even just serve as it is.

This is a versatile salt crust that can be made days in advance and used on all sorts of vegetables and proteins to enhance the flavour of your dish. It is quite a simple method but some steps are important to get the best result.