Recipe: Sweet Potato cakes

This is a variation on a recipe from the Yo Sushi! cookbook – the kids bought it for me for Christmas.

The originals are made from pumpkin and are one of my must have choices when the kids convince us to go for sushi. But the local shop had sweet potato and no pumpkins, so the sweet potato variation was born. Also, I only had a half packet of panko so I coated the rest of the cakes in rusk as that’s what the local shop had.

Sweet Potato Cakes

1 sweet potato
1 small onion, finely chopped
Some vegan marge
chopped parsley (start with a tablespoon)
grated nutmeg
plain flour
beaten egg

Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks. Boil for about 10 minutes until it is soft. While it is cooking fry the onion until soft (I slightly over shot this, oops, and got browned onions but it didn’t wreck anything.)

Mash the sweet potato with some marge and once it is well mashed, add the onions, parsley, salt and a fair amount of nutmeg – I like this strongly nutmeggy, you know your preferences.

Set up 3 bowls – 1 with flour, 1 with the beaten egg and 1 with the breadcrumbs. Make the sweet potato mixture into cakes and dip them into each in turn – starting with the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Fry them in hot oil for a few minutes until the outside is crispy and serve with katsu dipping sauce. I am including the Yo Sushi recipe here but the internet has hundreds, many not made from combining ketchup and HP sauce!

Katsu Sauce

125ml HP sauce
50 ml tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon honey.

Mix these, taste and decide if you like it sweeter (add more ketchup) or more tamarindy (add more HP sauce). This makes loads so you’ll have to make the potato cakes more than once in the next few weeks to use it up. Shame.

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Recipe: Leftover Chicken tacos – more of a method, really

This isn’t pretty, so no photos, but it is tasty.

The kids ate at the party they went to this morning, so I needed a quick lunch but wasn’t constrained by their campaign against taste.

If I had raw chicken I would have cut it into strips and cooked it first. Instead, I had leftover roast chicken so I shredded it. I fried some shallots (would have been onion if I had some, the cupboards are pretty bare) and garlic, when softened, I added the chicken and a drained tin of cannellini beans. I cooked these for about 5 minutes until the beans were hot through and then added a good size squeeze of thai chilli sauce and the juice of half a lemon. I left it to simmer for a minute, heated up some flour tortillas and made myself soft tacos, adding tomato salsa. I would have added avocado if there was any.

I love the sour bite the lemon adds.

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Recipes: 2 soups



So it turns out keeping the kids back from this soup for long enough for me to take a decent photo was pretty much impossible.

Turkey Noodle Soup

2 turkey steaks, sliced into strips
1 litre chicken stock (I used one of those stock pots and an extra stock cube so it would taste strongly of chicken.)
handful of spinach leaves
2 pieces of spring onion (could have been more if I’d had more)
garlic (I used paste, crushed fresh would work too)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
some chilli sauce (I used Sriracha)
mint leaves
juice of half a lemon

Heat the stock slowly, adding the garlic, fish sauce, sugar and chilli sauce to infuse.  Wait until it starts to boil, simmer for a few minutes and then add the noodles, spinach and turkey pieces. Cook for another 2 minutes, take off the heat and serve after squeezing the lemon into it and sprinkling with shredded mint leaves.

I recently fed this bean soup to a friend and promised I’d write up the recipe.

Vegan Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
a couple of carrots, chopped
Smoked paprika – how much depends on how strong you want this to taste, start with a heaped teaspoon
2 tins of mixed beans
1 tin of kidney beans
1 small tin of tomato puree
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk

Fry the onion and carrots until they soften, then add the paprika.  Fry until it smells lovely. Add the drained beans and stir to coat them in the paprika. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and 2 tins full of water.  Cook for about 20 minutes or so.  Blitz with a stick blender and add the coconut milk. Either eat then or reheat to serve later.

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Recipe: Watermelon cooler


It’s been a beautiful day here and when we got back after Woodcraft Folk I decided I needed to use the aging watermelon to make a cocktail.

3 measures vodka
1 measure sugar syrup
Half a watermelon, thoroughly muddled.

Mix these in a cocktail shaker (I was given one as a present for my 30th birthday) over a fair amount of ice.  Strain into glasses over ice if you don’t have pink elephants. Top up with either sparkling elderflower (me) or tonic water (the other half). Drink slowly while watching Nashville.

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Recipe: Peach Cobbler

Really, a cobbler is for later on in the summer, when the fruit is getting a bit old and past it, not now when they are just starting to appear in the shops.  But I foolishly left the peaches in a bag with potatoes so by the time we were home they were only good for cooking.  I read a Jamie Oliver recipe on his website, but it ended up quite different, so let’s call it inspired by Jamie

If eldest asks, this didn’t have any alcohol in them.

Peach Cobbler

Some bruised peaches – 8 or so.

Vanilla sugar (ordinary sugar will be fine, but I have vanilla sugar in our larder so used it)

White port – a good glug.

50g ground almond

100g self raising flour

50g sugar

100g cold block margarine


Put the chopped fruit, sugar and alcohol in a pan and cook it for about 10 minutes – just long enough to warm the fruit through and soften it (the port helps with that.)

Turn the oven on at 190C.

Mix the ground almonds, flour and sugar together, chop the block marg into the mixture and rub them together gently with your fingers as though you were making pastry.  You’ll probably find it pretty sticky, thanks to the almonds, but you will need to add a tiny amount of water it turn it fully into a dough.

Then put the fruit in a dish and spread the dough on top – it is too sticky to roll, so I flattened it with my hands until it was about the right shape.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes – until it is starting to darken on top.

Eaten with fake or real ice-cream, depending on your diet.

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Leftover pork tacos


I roasted some pork shoulder last week. And have had lots of leftovers. Yesterday’s soup wasn’t documented but I remembered to take this snap before eating tonight.

I fried some onions,  added garlic and sliced chilli once the onion was soft and then left it on lowish heat while I sliced the pork.

I then added the pork to the onions and fried it until it was heated through.

I had it on a flour tortilla (it’s a wrap mum! Said younger in her best long suffering 4 year old tone) with salsa and some avocado pieces. The lime juice cuts the pork fattiness.

I had 3. She had wraps with nothing inside. Her loss.

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Reuse – Peanut sauce

One of the things that makes me feel good as a household cook is when I am organised enough to use something for several different meals over the course of a week. First because it makes the prep for the additional meals easier and secondly because it saves waste and means I’m not chucking food away uneaten.

The peanut sauce I blogged last week has done particularly good service – as a dip for raw vegetables for several meals, including a sunny picnic at the local city farm and finally today to add flavour to the reheated chicken and rice I had for my lunch.  If I was a little more organised I’d try to have some in the fridge at all times, though I suppose in a month or two I might tire of peanutty umami.  Right now that seems hard to believe, though.

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