Tag Archives: Fruit and Vegetable

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: Chicken & Sweetcorn Spring Rolls

Chicken & Sweetcorn Spring Rolls
Chicken & Sweetcorn Spring Rolls

Ingredients;

4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or finely chopped
Small tin sweetcorn (260g)
2 carrots, julienned
1 leek, cut in fine rings (or substitute 1 onion)
Half a bag of beansprouts
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Soy sauce
Toasted sesame oil
Oyster sauce
Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 a lemon)
Vegetable Oil
Packet of spring roll pastry (or substitute filo pastry)


Makes between 8 – 18 spring rolls, dependant on the size of your pastry sheets and amount of mix placed in each one.

Prepare all ingredients as described above. Heat oven to 200C.

Heat a wok, then add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Stir fry the ginger, garlic & chilli for approx 2 mins, stirring all the time so it does not burn. Add the carrots & leek, continue stirring for 2 mins more.

Add 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy & half a teaspoon sesame oil, along with the juice of the lime, stirring in well. Add in the sweetcorn & chicken and stir until well coated, remove from heat. Stir through the beansprouts.

Place a sheet of spring roll pastry on a clean surface, with the corner towards you. Spoon on filling in the centre, then fold up corner nearest you over the filling. Fold in the two sides, then roll entire piece over to finish sealing. Place on a non-stick baking tray and repeat until filling is all used.

Baste the finished spring rolls with some vegetable oil, then bake for 20-25 mins in the oven, until crispy to the touch. Serve as a meal or a snack.

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: Pan Fried Asparagus and Prawns

Pan fried Asparagus and prawns
Pan fried Asparagus and prawns

Ingredients;

200g packet of asparagus tips
100g king/tiger prawns
knob butter
15g parmesan, grated finely
balsamic vinegar

Serves 1

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In a small frying pan, add about 2cm deep of water and bring to the boil. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 2 mins.

Drain the water from the pan and add the butter. Once melted, add the prawns to the asparagus and butter, and cook for 2-3 mins max. Overcooked prawns will be tough and chewy and not very nice.

Once cooked, place on a heated plate and top with the parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and eat immediately.

Valentine’s Day Menu

A Selection of different coloured Carrots
Image by phxpma via Flickr

Two days to go and I’m going to be posting your starter recipe later this morning. It’s carrot and coriander soup, one that I have been working on for a while but I’ve finally tweaked the recipe to my taste and got all the measurements etc.

Why soup? I know, it’s not very imaginative as a starter but it’s only February and it’s still quite cold, so my thinking is a soup is a great way to warm up and it’s a light, flavour rich starter for what will be a large meal.

Are you cooking for someone special this Valentines? Let us know what your planning or, if you intend to follow our menu, I’ve linked to all the relevant posts below to make them a little easier to find.

    Valentine’s Day Menu

  1. Starter: Carrot & Coriander Soup
  2. Main Course:
  3. Dessert: Choconana Crumble & Berry ice-cream