Category Archives: 1 – 1.5 hours

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie hot from the oven
Sweet Potato Pie hot, Hot, HOT from the oven

Ingredients;

1 sweet pastry pie crust
1kg large sweet potatoes
50g unsalted butter, melted
100g golden caster sugar
4 level tablespoons plain flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

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This pie uses veg instead of fruit so it’s a healthy(ier) Soul Food dessert and what’s even better, it tastes great. This recipe makes enough pie filling to fill two sweet pastry pie crusts, so I usually freeze half instead of baking two pies (it’s better for my waistline:)).

To start with, heat your oven to 200C, wash your sweet potatoes and prick them all over with a fork. Then lay them out on a baking tray and pop them into the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour. When they’re done they should be soft and cooked through fully, I use a skewer or cocktail stick to check they are soft in the middle. Once they are done get them out of the oven and turn it down to 180C.

You will need to leave them to cool for a few minutes once they come out of the oven so you don’t burn your fingers at the next step, which is to peel them and get rid of the skin. This isn’t difficult, just pull at the skin and it should come off fairly easily once they’re cooked. The hotter they are the easier I find it to peel them, put it’s a fine line between hot enough and sore fingers, so be careful!

Put the flesh of the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them. I find a potato masher works best but you can use a fork. Next melt the butter over a low heat and add it along with the sugar, flour, nutmeg, vanilla extract and a large pinch of cinnamon to the mashed sweet potato.

Whisk 2 eggs in a separate bowl or mug and add this to the rest, then mash everything together until it’s completely combined.

Next spoon the mixture into the pastry case and spread it around evenly. Take the left over uncooked pastry, roll it out and cut it into strips to “cover” the pie. The easiest way I’ve found to get the woven finish is to do the weaving on a sheet of greaseproof paper and then flip this onto the rest of the pie.

Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the exposed pastry. Make sure the oven has cooled to 180C and put the pie in for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

I usually serve this with either some ice-cream or whipped cream. It’s best eaten fresh, just allowed to cool for about half an hour, but it can also be eaten cold.

Recipe: Mango Muffins

Mango Muffins
Mango Muffins

Ingredients;

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain flour

Makes approx 18 small cupcakes/muffins

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When I tried to make this, I discovered that the easiest way to get the flesh off the mango is to peel it with a potato peeler and then grate it on the coarse side of your grater, and then I chopped it lightly to make the pieces a little shorter. You can also substitute tinned mango if fresh is not available, in this case just mash the mango to a paste with your hands.

Cup measures can be bought in most large supermarkets or homeware stores these days and I find them much easier to use than having to weigh everything. A plastic set is best, as you can use them in the microwave if needed and they can also be cleaned in your dishwasher.

To melt butter, place it in a microwave proof container and heat for 20 secs on the lowest power setting (usually 30%), remove, stir and repeat until fully melted.

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Start by mixing your mangoes and melted butter.

Add in the sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda & salt and mix well.

Finally, mix the flour in and stir until fully incorporated, the mix should be damp and very sticky.

Place paper muffin covers in your muffin pan and spoon in the mixture until it sits just below the top of the pan. These muffins won’t rise very much.

For small muffins, bake for approx 40 mins at 180 C, if you are using a large muffin pan, then increase the time to approx 50 mins.

To check that muffins are done, stick a cocktail stick into one, and swirl around. If it comes out clean or with just crumbs, then they are done. Remove from tins and leave to cool.

Will store for approx 5-7 days in an airtight box.

Recipe: Allium and Root Veg Soup

A Bowl of Allium and Root Veg Soup with a drizzle of cream and some fresh chives
A Bowl of Allium and Root Veg Soup

Ingredients;

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove peeled and diced
3 large leeks, sliced
1 parsnip, diced
1 onion, diced
110ml white wine
500ml onion stock (or vegetable stock)
100ml cream
700ml vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Serves 4-6

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Place your saucepan on a medium to high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once this is up to temperature add the potato and garlic and fry gently until the potato starts to soften. Stir this regularly to avoid the garlic burning.

Once the potatoes have started to soften add the leeks and continue to fry until they too have softened.

Next add the wine, onion stock and cream and bring this to a simmer, cover the saucepan and leave to simmer and reduce for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point you should have very little liquid left in your saucepan. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for a further 15 minutes, then remove from it the heat and allow it to cool a little.

Next, pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. As always if the soup is thicker than you would like you can thin it with some additional stock. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed, and you’re ready to serve.

I’ve served this alongside a pizza base, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, some Gruyère and goats’ cheese (no tomato sauce), baked for about 8 minutes as you would a normal pizza. This combination brings out the flavours, even more, in both.

This soup can be frozen although it is best served fresh with a little drizzle of cream and some chopped chives sprinkled over the top.

Recipe: Banana Bread

Freshly sliced Banana Bread
Freshly sliced Banana Bread

Ingredients;

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed banana (approx 3 bananas)

You will need 2 bowls and a 2lb loaf tin. The older and browner the bananas, the better this recipe will turn out.

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Preheat your oven to 190 C.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a second smaller bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar (easiest done with a hand mixer). Stir in the eggs and banana to this bowl.

Finally add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well until the flour mix is incorporated fully.

Liberally grease your 2lb loaf tin with cooking spray or butter and pour in the mix.

Bake at 190 C for approx 50 mins. Test if it is done by sticking a cocktail stick into the loaf and swirling around gently. If the stick comes out clean or covered in crumbs, then the loaf is done.

Remove from loaf tin and leave to cool before cutting. Gorgeous served with a thin spread of butter or some Nutella. This loaf will improve after a few days storage, keeps for 5-7 days in an airtight container.

Recipe: Choconana Crumble & Berry ice-cream

Choconana crumble with the chocolate bubbling through the crumble
Choconana crumble: Photograph by Redmum

Ingredients;

225g Plain Flour
60g sugar
145g butter
a pinch of salt
195g Dark Chocolate
6 Tablespoons of cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of cognac
115ml Water
6 medium sized bananas

Serves 6

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Making the crumble

Take your flour, 60g of sugar, 115g of butter and a pinch of salt and place them in a bowl, simply scrunch the lot together with clean hands until it looks like breadcrumbs and put this to one side.

Making the chocolate sauce

Take a small saucepan and place it on a low heat, to this add 115ml of water and a tablespoon of sugar. Bring this to a low simmer while stirring. Keep it simmering until all the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and add 30g of butter and the dark chocolate while stirring constantly. It’s best to break the chocolate and butter up into small chunks as they will melt quicker this way. Keep stirring until all the chocolate and butter have melted completely.

Next, add the Vanilla essence, cognac and cream and keep stirring until they all combine to give a smooth looking sauce.

Assembly

Peel the bananas and split each of them lengthways into 3. This is done by gently pushing your finger into the end of the banana where that tough seed like lump has been removed and running your finger to the other end. This should leave you with 3 separate segments.

Arrange all the segments in a large oven-proof dish and pour the chocolate sauce over them, making sure that all the bananas are chocolate coated.

Unless you are planning on cooking and eating immediately stop at this point and cover both the crumble and the chocolate+banana and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When you are ready to cook, get your oven up to 200C. Sprinkle the crumble over the chocolate+banana making sure to spread it out evenly. Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. If the crumble has not turned a golden brown at this point simply pop it under the grill for a minute or 2 to brown the top and let it stand for a few minutes before serving with a few scoops of berry ice-cream.

Berry Ice-cream

Berry ice-cream
Berry ice-cream

The Berry Ice-cream I make to go with this is based on Kieran’s Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings recipe over on Ice-cream Ireland. Many thanks for sharing this recipe Kieran, I would have given up on trying to making ice-cream myself long ago without this.

I follow this recipe exactly except for 3 things…

  1. I use 150g of Raspberries and 170g of Blackberries instead of the Bananas
  2. I mash the Rasperry & Blackberry mixture through a sieve as I add them to the custard
  3. I don’t add the chocolate shavings

This gives an ice-cream that while it is sweet and creamy, it is also tart enough to balance the sweetness of the rest of the dish.

Please give this a try, it’s a wonderful dessert. As always we’d love to here about your results and your thoughts on the dish as a whole.