I’m generally pretty bad at making an effort when it comes to cooking vegetables. My love of them means I’m very happy tucking into a plate of steamed broccoli or carrot batons, completely unadorned with anything. This is not a love shared by the Perky Kebab, whose face says it all when I accompany something with a bowl of plain, steamed green beans.
But when I spotted this recipe for sweet potato cakes in Waitrose Season’s magazine a few months ago I knew they had to be made. They looked delicious – mashed sweet potatoes combined with paprika, fennel, garlic, wilted savoy cabbage, and baked with a sprinkling of cheddar on top. Yum. I’d happily eat that as a meal in itself, perhaps with a poached egg on top.
I’ve made a couple of changes to the original recipe. The first is due to my goldfish-esque memory, which resulted in me buying curly kale instead of the savoy cabbage that was meant to be included in the “sweet potato and savoy cabbage cakes”. The clue was in the name. The second is due to greed. Instead of sprinkling cheddar on the top, I incorporated chunks of it into the mix to achieve a deliciously melty cheese effect in the cakes.
Whilst these little numbers were definitely more effort than my standard steamed veg option, they were so good I completely forgot about the extra effort upon tucking in. In all fairness though, they weren’t actually all that time-consuming to make: boiling some sweet potatoes, mashing them briefly, wilting the kale, frying the spices, garlic and potatoes then combining everything before giving the cakes a quick blast in the oven. 20 minutes of work tops.
Totally worth it both for the taste and for the look of joy on the Perky Kebab’s face when he realised he’d escaped having to battle his way through yet another pile of green beans!
Sweet Potato and Kale Cakes
Adapted from the Waitrose Kitchen January 2014 recipe
600g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
150g kale, thick stalks removed and thinly sliced (or 1/2 savoy cabbage)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
40g cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
1. Preheat the oven to 200°c/180°c fan/gas 6. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the sweet potatoes and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and put aside. Add the kale to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes and drain.
2. Crush the potatoes lightly with a fork to keep some texture.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the fennel seeds, garlic and paprika for a few seconds, then add the sweet potato and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the kale.
4. When cool enough to handle, stir in the cheese and form into 4 patties. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Delicious served with sausages, gammon, a poached egg, or anything else you fancy.
The patties can be made a couple days before you want to eat them – just reheat before serving to get them piping hot.