Thursday, 21 July 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes with Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard is now a daily staple in my kitchen, the chard bed in the garden is growing wild and the more I pick, the more sprouts forth. I have been throwing it into every kind of soup, stir frying it, serving the baby leaves as salad, adding handfuls to bolognese sauce and giving it away to passers-by, but it still keeps coming. 

Fast becoming my favourite vegetable, chard (swiss or rainbow) is super healthy, full of vitamins and minerals and incredibly adaptable but almost impossible to find in the shops, the only way to get some rainbow chard is to grow it yourself. 

So every day this week I have been looking for a new way to use it. Potato cakes (or tattie scones as they are called in Scotland) are a huge favourite in our house as breakfast, after school snacks and even as canape bases, this spicy sweet potato version would make a gorgeous starter or light lunch. To use as canapes, add a little more flour and aim for a firmer mixture.

Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes with Rainbow Chard
1 tbsp olive oil
3 large handfuls rainbow chard (or spinach), chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped 

1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
100g plain flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil 
Dipping sauce
2tbsp soy sauce
1 hot red chilli, sliced

Heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan or wok, then add the chard, garlic and chilli and cook for a few minutes until the spices are aromatic and the chard wilted. 
Remove from the heat and stir in the spring onions.
Boil the sweet potatoes until tender then drain and cool. 
Mash together the potatoes with the flour and salt then stir in the chard mixture.
Using wet hands, form the mixture into patties (around 5cm in diameter).
Heat olive oil in heavy based non-stick pan and fry the patties for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. 
Serve with dipping sauce made from soy sauce with a few red chillis floating through it.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Bruschetta with Chard, Anchovies, Garlic & Lemon

At last, I am starting to see the fruits of my labour, (if you can call scattering a packet of seeds from a height very quickly on a wet day, labour) ... the vegetable patch is a late starter this year because of all the rainy weather, but today it has come good and I picked a huge bowlful of rainbow chard. The leaves are small enough to use in a salad but I wanted to make my very favourite chard dish. Super healthy, and super tasty and can easily be made with baby spinach or even spring greens (though aren't the jewel colours of rainbow chard beautiful? Do find some if you can. )

This is not hard to make, takes only a few minutes to prepare and doesn't have a huge list of ingredients. It is simply one of those Italian-inspired recipes where the freshness of the ingredients shines through - made for eating outside in the sunshine with a glass of red for lunch.

Bruschetta with Rainbow Chard, Anchovies, Garlic & Lemon

4 thin slices of baguette or crusty bread
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 handfuls of rainbow chard (or other leafy greens: swiss chard, spinach, cavalo nero etc)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 anchovy fillets, chopped finely
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1tsp sea salt
                                                      drizzle of olive oil

 Heat a griddle pan (or pre-heat the oven and bake till crisp) and toast the slices of bread until crisp. 
Rub the clove of garlic across the bread  and set aside.
Saute the chard in the olive oil and garlic until wilted then add the anchovies, lemon juice and lemon zest and warm through.
Serve the chard on top of the bread and sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Quite lovely.