Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

I got a giant sweet potato from the shops the other day, one of those really huge ones that look so much fun, until you have to try and peel them…
But I persevered, and a good job too as without it I wouldn’t have been able to make this delicious salad!
The sweet potato is roasted so it gets lovely caramelised bits, and then mixed with creamy cannellini beans, baby spinach leaves and crispy baked cavolo nero.
Simply finished with lemon zest, juice and basil leaves it made a lovely work lunch filled with great texture and flavour.


Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

makes 3 to 4 servings

1 400 g tin of cannellini beans, drained
1 really big sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 big leaves of cavolo nero, thickest section of stem removed and cut into pieces roughly 4 x 4 cm
2 tbsp oil
50 g baby spinach, roughly chopped
juice and zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
Put 1 .5 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin along with the sweet potato and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast for around 25 minutes, turning once, until the sweet potato is soft and caramelised in places.
Remove from the tin to cool.
For the cavolo nero, pour the remaining 0.5 tbsp of oil into the palm of your hand and add a little salt. Swiftly rub your hand together to distribute the oil over both, and then rub it into the cavolo nero pieces, making sure they are all coated.
Transfer to the roasting tin and bake for around 10 minutes until crisp. Keep an eye on it and check after 5 minutes, it burns quickly and if that happens it does not taste good.
Toss together the beans, sweet potato, spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest and basil along with a pinch of black pepper.
Add the cavolo nero just before serving, otherwise it will lose its crispness.

By E.


Sweet potato and chickpea burgers

I’m stuck in for the day waiting for some work to get done on the house and I’m on call, which is generally a fun time to try and get some bits of cooking done in the quiet spells. I’ve already made up a batch of our pitta dough, so just need something to stuff in them. These are a really simple and tasty recipe, and go beautifully with a soy yoghurt and mint sauce…

I’ve made these as mini burgers to fit in the pittas, but they’ll work fine as full size!


Makes 12 mini burgers

250g peeled sweet potato

1 400g tin of chickpeas (240g drained weight)

50g walnuts

25g pumpkin seeds

2 tbsps gram flour

Large pinch of salt

Steam or boil the sweet potato until soft. I did mine in a container in the microwave with a spot of water for 6 minutes

Roughly chop the walnuts and pumpkin seeds

Drain then mash the sweet potatoes and chickpeas together.

Stir through all the other ingredients

Heat a little oil in a frying pan

Place tablespoon sized dollops of the mixture into the pan

Cook until well browned on the underside ( about 5 minutes)

Then flip over and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more until that side has browned too


Lunch! burgers in the pitta with soy yoghurt and mint sauce

By A


Corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes with parsley mushrooms and avocado

This has got to be a contender for our favourite breakfast, we made it this morning and considering it was a bit off the cuff, were ever so pleased with how it came out!
It was one of those mornings when you start off with no inspiration, but a desultory (initially) trawl through the vegetable rack, freezer and store cupboard perked us up no end and we made this lovely, colourful and satisfying meal. Hooray!



Corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes with parsley mushrooms and avocado

serves 2

for the corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and skinned (we baked ours, but microwaved or boiled would be good too)
140 g sweetcorn, we used tinned
75 g frozen spinach, defrosted
a pinch of salt and black pepper
30 g rice flour, plus a little extra for coating
4 tbsp polenta
3 tbsp oil for frying
for the parsley mushrooms
150 g button mushrooms
1 tbsp oil
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 avocado, halved and sliced

Heat the oil for the mushrooms in a frying pan and saute the mushrooms, stirring often, for 6 – 8 minutes until cooked through and juicy. Season with salt and stir through the parsley. Keep warm. Roughly mash the cooked sweet potato with a fork and then stir through the corn, spinach, seasoning and rice flour. The mixture will be quite loose.
Mix the remaining rice flour and polenta together on a plate.
Heat the 3 tbsp oil in a frying pan (use the same one that you cooked the mushrooms in).
Divide the corn mixture into 4 and form each one into a patty. Set carefully into the polenta mixture and then turn to coat both sides. Transfer to the hot pan and cook for around 4 minutes per side, on a medium heat, until golden and crispy. Serve with the parsley mushrooms, and sliced avocado.

By A. and E.


Sweet potato and avocado salad

This is a nice simple little version of a potato salad, but using sweet potato and creamy avocado instead of the usual regular potatoes.
It’s so easy to make, and goes really well with lots of things!


Sweet potato and avocado salad

serves 2

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
a pinch of salt
1 avocado, diced
2 tbsp soy yoghurt (or vegan mayo, or coconut milk)

Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the sweet potato for 5 or so minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
Mix the avocado with the lime juice and then fold through the rest of the ingredients.

By E.


Sweet potato and kale traybake

There’s a monthly farmers market a 30 minute walk from here, which to my shame I tend to forget about until the week after its been on…
But last Saturday Alex and I trotted along to see what was on offer. We sorta knew that the vegetable stall would be the only one selling anything vegan, and that was the case. But it’s always satisfying to buy vegetables from the farmers instead of the supermarket!
Being February, there’s not a lot of vegetables in season, but there was gorgeous fresh kale which I’ve used for this recipe, and lovely purple sprouting broccoli which I cooked and dressed with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar to go with it. Delicious!


Sweet potato and kale traybake

makes 3 servings

420 g potato, cut into 2-3 cm chunks
320 g sweet potato, cut into 2-3 cm chunks
100 g kale, chopped
1 apple, cored and sliced (I used a russet)
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 400 g tin of butterbeans, drained
1 tbsp tomato puree
50 ml hot water
1/2 tsp caraway seed
1 tsp dried chervil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp oil for drizzling
salt and pepper
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the potato. Simmer for 5 minutes. Next drop in the sweet potato and kale and simmer for a further 4 minutes. By now, the potatoes should be softened a little. Drain the vegetables well.
Put the apple, tomatoes, butterbeans, tomato puree, caraway, chervil and thyme in a large baking dish and add the hot water (I used a bit of the potato cooking water). Season with salt and pepper and give it all a good mix. Tip the drained vegetables on top and drizzle with oil.
Bake for 1 hr to 1 hr 10 minutes until the potatoes are starting to brown and are tender, and the apples and tomatoes have cooked down and formed a sauce. After about 20 minutes of baking, tuck any bits of kale under the other veg to stop them burning. They should have gone a bit crisp and have that lovely roast kale flavour.
Sprinkle with the dill just before serving.

By E.


Rich savoury beans for three different dishes

This past weekend I had a bit of time for cooking, so thought it would be a fun idea to make a great big pan full of beans to turn into a few different meals. It’s so economical to batch cook, but I do get a little bored eating the same thing more than once! So this time I’ve tried to make dishes with different flavours and textures from the same basic beans.

The beans themselves are beautifully rich with a sauce thickened with sweet potato, and a lovely herbal smokey flavour.

I’ve made three different dishes with them, making 8 portions in total.

Here’s what I made –

Nutmeg roasted mushrooms with beans and rocket

Spicy charred vegetable and bean soup

Creamy courgette and bean bake

Each recipe uses a third of the bean mixture, ending up with two portions each of the mushroom dish and the bake, and four portions of soup.

Here’s the recipe for the basic beans and the mushrooms, I’ll be posting the bake and soup recipes over the next few days.

I feel I should point out that I’m not eating the entire 8 portions myself, I’m sharing some of them…

Nutmeg roasted mushrooms with rich savoury beans and rocket

Nutmeg roasted mushrooms with rich savoury beans and rocket

Continue reading


Sweet potato, black bean and herb burgers

I’ve been in such a burger mood recently, possibly since we came up with our new bread recipe it makes a very good burger roll, these burgers have a good zingy flavour with the fresh herbs and lime juice, the sweetness of the sweet potato, the earthiness of the black beans .. It gives a really good combination of flavours that blends really well together. 


ready to eat now

I’m using pinhead oatmeal and pea protein to bind the burgers together, if you don’t have them don’t worry at all, use an alternative like tapioca flour, potato flour pretty much any flour will help bind the mixture but start with a smaller amount first though as they will all bind differently.

I tried cooking these in a pan and the oven, both works well, but I think the oven works a bit better (and uses less oil) as the burgers need to cook through and are moist enough not to dry out.

Makes 6 burgers.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 centigrade fan.

1 medium sweet potato peeled and grated (mine weighed about 250g peeled)

1 400g tin of black beans, drained.

25g pea protein 

50g pinhead oatmeal

10g chopped coriander

10g chopped parsley

5g chopped basil

2tbsp fresh lime juice

Half tsp salt

A little hot water to help bind the mixture 

Add the grated carrot and black beans to a large bowl and roughly squash with a fork, this is just to break the beans up a bit, which will help bind our mixture.

Add the herbs, lime juice and salt and mix gently.

Add the oats and pea protein and mix together with your hands, it’s messy I know but it helps judge how much hot water is required to help the mixture hold together. Add enough hot water to hold the mixture together, I used about 30ml.

Leave the mixture to rest for 15 minutes.

sitting waiting to become burgers

Form into 6 patties and place on an oiled baking tray, pop in the oven for about half an hour. They freeze well too.

By A.


Sweet potato hash browns

We’ve got a couple of days off from work so it seemed like a good opportunity to spend more time over making a yummy breakfast, this was a little bit of an experiment but goodness they are yum! They are sweet, and crunchy and fudgy and the caraway really adds a new dimension to them .. As you can tell I was rather pleased with them! The ones made here went into a big savoury breakfast, but they could as easily be served as a sweet with ice cream .. 


200g peeled weight sweet potato (about one medium sized sweet potato)

50g gluten free plain flour

Half teaspoon chia seeds

Half teaspoon caraway 

Half teaspoon dried marjoram

Quarter teaspoon salt

Sprinkling of crushed black pepper

Small amount of hot water

Oil for cooking

Start by grating the sweet potato, then wrap it up in a cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, this does seem to dye the cloth orange so pick it carefully .. Ahh lessons learnt through experience!


a well squeezed sweet potato

Next add the flour and all the other dry ingredients into the bowl and mix to coat the sweet potato.

After having got rid of all the water we now want to add a bit back in, using a tablespoon at a time add the hot water to the bowl and mix well, you want the mix just to just hold together when you squeeze it, if it makes a loud squelching noise then that’s too much water, just add an extra tablespoon of flour and mix it through. I needed 4 tablespoons of water to get the consistency I was after.


this is the finished mixture after it has rested

Leave it to rest for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours blend a bit and the chia to become a bit sticky.

Heat 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil in a pan on a medium heat, these really are best with a real shallow fry, until hot then form small patties in your hands (each one was about a heaped tablespoon) and put in the pan.  After about 5 minutes (or when the underside is nicely crisped and golden) flip them over and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

cooking away merrily

Pat off the excess oil using kitchen roll then yum away at them!
By A and E 


Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

We’ve both got a couple of day off work (hurrah!), so made these simple roast vegetables to go on cheese on toast for a quick tea (for those not from northern England, tea is the evening meal.. We have breakfast, dinner and tea round here!)

They’re so delicious though that we just had to share!

The marinade with maple syrup, liquid smoke and lemon thyme is gorgeous, we’ll be using it as a dressing for bean salads too I think!

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

serves 2

for the vegetables

1 small sweet potato, in 1 mm slices

1 courgette, in 2-3 mm slices

2 large flat mushrooms, in 6-7 mm slices

for the marinade

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp liquid smoke

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp chopped lemon thyme

a large pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c

So easy this one… put all of ingredients in a large roasting tin, mix together well and bake for 45 minutes, turning half way through. Yum!

By A. and E.