Sweet Potato Lunches

It’s time for a healthy post, after that last one…

Higher in vitamins A and C than a white potato varieties and slightly lower in calories, the sweet potato could potentially revamp that classic baked potato favourite. If you’ve never tried it it’s a great tasting, and highly versatile alternative to the average potato. Sweet potato pie for desert is a fantastic tasty treat for late summer to autumn evenings. Sweet potato wedges with Cajun seasoning (or even just paprika) with a sour cream dip are a lovely social snack or to accompany steak nights, fajitas, barbecues or even a bowl of chilli.

But I love sweet potatoes for lunch, under a fresh salad of Cos lettuce with my favourite sweet and salty combination of goats’ cheese and pineapple chunks. What you fill a potato with is really down to preference, but is my favourite and gets my taste buds jumping for joy. What’s more is the fact that, they taste great cold too – so it’s this fantastic packed lunch-able for the school of office.

TipRun a metal skewer through the sweet potato from top to bottom. This will help to conduct the heat through the centre of the potato. Place it on a tray and rub it with olive oil and a bit of salt, before placing it in a hot oven on about 200º for around 40 minutes (depending on the size of the potato). If the metal skewer gives easily as you try to remove it, the potato is done. It will feel softer than a normal potato.

Slice it open and mash a little more olive oil (or butter if you fancy) and a crumble of goat’s cheese into the centre. Cover with your favourite salad veg – I used spring onions and celery for a peppery undertone, really sweet tomatoes, lettuce and some cucumber and radish for added crunch. Top it off with more pineapple and finally plenty of goats’ cheese.

Other great fillings that I love for a baked sweet potato are:

  • Beetroot, shallot and Emmental and watercress
  • Extra strong Cheddar, sour cream and guacamole
  • Tuna, red onion, Mozzarella and rocket

What do you like on yours? ~

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Salmon and Crab Cakes

Making fish cakes with a home made tartare sauce is as easy as mashed potato. Prepared in advance summer starter for a dinner party, lunch time snack, or quick and easy main course – these little ocean beauties will give you a healthy little dose of Omega 3 and are a darn site healthier than cardboard fish pockets you get down the local chippy.

Ingredients:
New Potatoes (half a small bag or about 1kg)
Crab meat (2 dressed crabs fresh or 1 tin – white and/or brown meat)
1 tin of salmon (tinned often works better in this case – holding the cake together.)
Small bunch of coriander
1 spring onion

2 slices of stale white bread
1 beaten egg

In a pot of salted water, boil the potatoes to a soft mash-able texture. Leave the skins on – they contain plenty of nutrients. Drain.

Finely slice the coriander and spring onion and mash these into the potato.  Add the salmon and crab meat and mix through. Leave to cool.

When the potato mix is cool make small patties; the size that fits comfortably in your hand. Or fill the inside space of a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter and push out carefully onto a plate. Do this until all your mix are in cake form. Cover with cling-film and leave to firm up and chill in the fridge for at least half and hour. (You can, at this point, freeze the patties for a later date – just make sure they are fully defrosted when it comes to cooking)

Reduce the stale bread to breadcrumbs in what ever way you please. Blitz them in a blender or freeze them and bash them out in advance. Place in a shallow dish, next to a beaten egg on a plate.

When slightly firmer, the fishcakes are ready to fry. Roll each side gently in the beaten egg and then turn them through the breadcrumbs to coat them evenly. Fry each side in a little oil for five minutes or until a nice brown, turning gently with a spatula or palette knife.

Set the cakes aside on a baking tray and keep warm in the oven on a low heat (120º) until they are ready to eat.

Serve with home made tartare sauce which is just 3:1:10 ratio of chopped capers to chopped parsley to mayonaise accordingly. Or some Thai sweet chilli sauce is great too.

~

Roast Chicken Bake

This is a quick fix recipe for one of those I’m-a-bit-stumped-as-to-what-to-have-dinner-tonight moments in life.

Ingredients:
2 large  potatoes, diced
Roasted chicken (boneless)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
A sprig of thyme
3 – 4 large leaves of Spring greens (or 1 leek/cup of spinach)
Salt and pepper to taste

50g mild Cheddar cheese, grated
30g  plain flour
1/2 cup of milk
30g butter
grated nutmeg

Par-boil the diced potatoes in some salted water until they are soft enough to run a knife through easily. While the potatoes are boiling, fry the onions and garlic, adding the spring greens and take off the heat when softened. If you are using spinach, then it doesn’t need much cooking – it will cook through enough in the oven.  Stir in the roasted chicken (and spinach) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sauce, begin with a béchamel base by melting the butter in a pan and stirring the flour in to form a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and keep stirring as you mix in the milk. Once consistent and smooth, return to the heat, melt the cheese into the sauce and finish with some grated nutmeg.

Now all the components of the bake are ready to bring together. Put the chicken filling into an oven proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Scatter evenly over the top the the diced potatoes. It doesn’t matter if some stick up more than others, these bits will catch the heat and give a characterful golden crispy texture on the topping.

Place in the oven on 200°/gas mark 6 for about 25 mins until the potatoes are a happy golden colour. ~