Category Archives: chives

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Parsnip Fries

Sweet Potato & Parsnip Fries
Sweet Potato & Parsnip Fries served with Steak and Onion Relish

Ingredients;

4 medium-sized parsnips
3 sweet potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh herbs, as available (suggest thyme, oregano, mint, chives, parsley)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of rock salt


When I first saw the recipe this one is based on over at Donal Skehan’s blog, I wanted to make it immediately! I adore sweet potatoes, but I’ve quickly tired of simply baking them in the oven, and while they are gorgeous in stews, it’s not exactly the weather for it!

This weekend I had a batch of parsnips to use up, and some sweet potatoes in the basket too – so I figured that I’d try them together for a change, served alongside a deliciously tender fillet steak with hubbie’s onion relish. I think the addition of the parsnips made the fries even more special – it was so sweet it was practically like eating candy!

Start by picking your herbs, plucking leaves from stalks where necessary. Roughly chop up the garlic cloves and toss the herbs, garlic & salt into your pestle & mortar and bash until you have a paste – you can use your food processor if you don’t have a pestle & mortar. Add in the olive oil and stir well.

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Peel your parsnips and sweet potatoes and then chop into fry/chip shapes – I find for parsnips the best method is to top & tail, then cut in half horizontally, then split the bottom section into 4 vertically, and the top into 6-8 sections vertically – trust me, that will make sense as you are chopping! With the sweet potatoes, the important thing is to try and split them evenly – if you have thin, scraggly fries then they won’t cook evenly. Aim for similar size to your parsnip fries.

Drop the fries into a large bowl as you cut them, and once finished add the mix from the mortar to the bowl and mix it in well, until all the fries are coated evenly.

Spread the fries out onto a baking tray in one layer (use 2 trays if needed) and bake in the oven for 40-45 mins, turning once. The fries should end up soft on the inside and just charred on the edges.

Recipe: Fish cakes with parsley sauce

Fish cakes with parsley sauce
Fish cakes with parsley sauce

Ingredients;

For the fish cakes:
450g potatoes, cooked and mashed
50g butter
1 large onion, finely diced
225g smoked trout, flaked
225g fresh cod, poached & flaked
225g fresh salmon, poached & flaked
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (divide into 2 equal halves)
Zest of 3 lemons, finely chopped (divide into one-third and two-thirds)
6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices bread)
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil

For the parsley sauce:
1 medium onion, finely diced
100g butter
75g plain flour
600ml milk
Large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped (keep the stalks separate)

Makes 8 fish cakes (2 per person is a very decent meal) and enough sauce to cover them. If you are going to chill / freeze some of the fish cakes, reduce the ingredients for the sauce proportionately.

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Directions on how to make speedy mashed potatoes can be found here.

To poach the fish, cover in cold water, add 1 bay leaf and bring to boil. After boiling for 5 mins, remove from heat and flake the fish, discarding the skin and the bay leaf. Remove any bones at this point and throw away.

Heat the 50g butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, so they are well cooked but do not take on colour.

In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, half of the chopped parsley and one-third of the lemon zest. Tip out onto a plate. On a 2nd plate, spread out your flour. Finally, on a bowl (or plate with high sides), pour out your beaten eggs.

In your empty bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flaked fish, cooked onion, dill, chives and the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and divide into 8, forming into fish cake shapes. Dip each fish cake into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, coating well and set aside. The fish cakes can be chilled or frozen at this point for later use – 24-48 hours in fridge, 1 month in freezer.

Now turn your oven on to 200 C. Begin to cook the parsley sauce while the oven heats. Melt your butter over a medium heat and add in the chopped onion and parsley stalks, frying gently for about 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Reduce the heat and add in the flour, stirring well. Start slowly adding in the milk, about 2-3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in well to avoid lumps. You may need to play with the heat here, keep your mix just below a simmer.

Just after you start adding the milk to the sauce, heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Be careful not to use too much heat as they will burn easily. Once fried, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

All this time you should have been keeping an eye on your sauce, adding the milk until you get to the consistency you desire. With about 2-3 minutes before the fish cakes are ready to come out of the oven, add in the chopped parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper – this is very important as the sauce will be incredibly bland without added salt!

Note: if you can’t get the specific types or quantities of fish listed here, feel free to substitute smoked salmon, tinned tuna, etc, as needed.