Friday evening fare – crispy sweet potato cakes and beer
March 4, 2011
Finally it’s Friday and I am so ready for the weekend. We’ve had visitors over from Barcelona and have been flat out eating, drinking and going to bed late then getting up to Dan to school, Auggie to the creche then ourselves to work. Bleary-eyed doesn’t come close to how I’ve been feeling these last few days. I’m ready for a beer, a movie and not much else this evening. This week’s recipe is for having with that Friday night beer – mini sweet potato cakes.
There’s nothing like fried food with beer but these aren’t heavy or greasy. I use those Japanese breadcrumbs to coat the cakes so they’re lovely and crispy (once your oil is fresh you’ll get a good result with any breadcrumbs though). Lightly perfumed with cumin and coriander seeds with a little Feta for tang, these guys are perfect for munching on while you relax and figure the weekend out. We’re getting some proper kitchen cupboards in next Tuesday so there’s all kinds of stuff to be done to get ready for that including yet another trip to Ikea, deciding on paints (it’s Mannix Flynn green on one wall then the others will be an off-white and boy is that proving tricky- does the world really need that many off whites?) plus Paul’s playing tunes in town tomorrow night ……..phew!!! I don’t think there are enough hours for all this but I’ll figure out how it’s all going to happen tomorrow.
These cakes are easy. Steam or boil the spud, fry up an onion with the spices and chilli then mix the two together with a little yogurt (takes some of the sugary intensity out of the sweet potato) and Feta. Then you make them into little cakes. Something a little shy of macaroon size is perfect for beers but you can make them a little bigger if you like aswell.
This week’s gorgeous baby salad leaves from the Healys in Wicklow picked at the crack of dawn for us (thanks a million guys!!) are a perfect complement. Serve the cakes on a bed of leaves which you can drizzle with a little pomegranate molasses (I’m so loving this stuff) or lemon juice. The final touch is some pomegranate seeds. Like sweet potatoes, pomegranate is big in the Middle East and fits right in with these flavours plus it looks so pretty and I’m such a sucker for good colours. Our mediterranean selections all have one this week (it’s the leathery thing you might be wondering about).
To extract the fruit the trick is to roll them on a flat surface before you cut into them. Apply some pressure while you do this but not too much or you’ll bruise the seeds. This loosens up the seeds inside. Quarter the fruit, then simply loosen the ruby seeds from the creamy pith and you’re set. They are fab in any fruit salad and make a great addition to any cous cous dish – on Wednesday night we had one with lots of parsley, Feta and some toasted pumpkin seeds – gorgeous.
Crispy sweet potatoes cakes
600gr sweet potatoes
2 small onion (or 1 medium) finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 green chilli finely chopped
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
60gr Feta cheese
Vegetable oil for frying
Pomegranate molasses or lemon wedges
Begin by peeling the sweet potatoes. Chop them into large chunks then boil or steam for about 12 minutes until nice and tender. While they’re cooking get the onions on a pan over a medium heat with olive oil. Put the spices in a morter and roughly crush them. You don’t need to do much, just enough to release the lovely perfume of the coriander really. When the onions start to soften, add the spices and green chilli. Continue cooking until the onions have properly softened and started to change colour. At this stage your sweet potato will be done. Take it off the heat and let it cool down a bit before you mash it adding salt and pepper as you go. Stir in the onions, yougurt and a good spritz of lemon juice. Mix well then crumble in the Feta. Taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it. At this stage you can get going on the frying or cover the mix and keep it for later in the fridge. If you’re ready to go form little medallions then dip first in flour then beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs. Heat about 3cm oil in the pan and when it’s ready slip the patties in and fry until golden on each side. This will take about 2 minutes. When they’re done sit them on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil then open those beers and sit back.
As I said, a salad of green leaves and pomogranate seeds is a gorgeous foil for these cakes. Wash and dry the leaves and pile onto a plate. Top with the seeds and a drizzle of pomogranate molasses or lemon juice. Yum yum!!!
Funny looking carrots
The carrots in your bag this week are unwashed (boo!) but don’t neglect them. Peel them and you’ll see that underneath they are a dark crimson, almost beetroot, colour on the outside then orangey yellow underneath. They have way more beta-carotene than the normal ones so are definitely worth eating sooner rather than later. Not much different tastewise, maybe a little sweeter. Just thought it might be nice to check them out. They come from Philip Dreaper’s farm in Birr Co. Offaly.
Have a great weekend,