IT'S THE WEEKEND: Food and Drink - Try out our sweet potato recipes

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Salads, fishcakes, patties and even puddings – the potato’s sweeter (and healthier) counterpart is more versatile than you might think.

We’ve got flavours from orange to lavender, using salmon, bacon and chicken - there’s something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.

With savoury and sweet recipes that can all be prepared in under an hour, look no further for your next favourite summer lunch dish than our best picks of sweet potato recipes.

Orange and honey-glazed sweet potato and chicken skewers with sweet potato salad

Serves six

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

For the skewers:

Ingredients

Four large skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5cm cubes

Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes

Fresh bay leaves

Salt, to season

Oil, to drizzle (if using a griddle pan)

Two tbsp of honey or sugar

Bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

Marinade

One to two chillies, cut into thin strips

Two spring onions, cut into thin strips

Fresh ginger, to taste, peeled and cut into thin strips

Three tbsp honey

Juice of two oranges

Cracked black pepper

Five sprigs of thyme

Method

1. To make the marinade, put the chillies, spring onions, thyme and ginger in a large bowl. Add the honey, orange juice, black pepper and mix well. Coat the chicken in the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. In the meantime cook the cubed sweet potatoes in boiling water for four minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. When the chicken has marinated for long enough, drain and reserve the marinade. Build your skewers starting with a cube of sweet potato, followed by a piece of chicken and a bay leaf. Repeat this pattern until each skewer is full. When all the skewers have been prepared, season well with salt.

4. Cook on the barbecue or a griddle pan until the juices from the chicken run clear, turning frequently.

5. While the chicken is cooking, pour the marinade in a pan, add the honey or sugar and bring to the boil. As soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat down and reduce the marinade to a thick syrup, then remove from the heat and keep warm.

6. When the chicken is cooked, coat it immediately with the cooked marinade and serve with salad on the side.

For the salad

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled

One raw beetroot, peeled

One fennel bulb, thinly sliced

One orange

A small bunch of mint

A small bunch of flat parsley

Two garlic cloves, chopped

Salt (optional) and cracked black pepper

Five to eight tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Using a potato peeler, slice the flesh of the beetroot into thin strips, place in a large bowl of cold water and leave to soak. (You will need to change the water a few times to make sure the beetroot doesn’t stain the rest of the ingredients.)

2. Cut the flesh of the sweet potato into strips and place in a large bowl. Add the fennel.

3. With a potato peeler, remove the zest from the orange, cut into thin strips, and add to the sweet potato. Then remove the peel from the orange with a knife, and cut the flesh into segments. Add to the sweet potato.

4. When the beetroot has stopped losing colour, drain and spin in a salad spinner to remove any excess fluid, then add to the bowl with the sweet potato.

5. Pick the leaves from the mint and parsley, and add to the salad together with the garlic, salt if used, cracked black pepper and some oil. Toss and serve.

Extra tips

• If you like a more 'sticky' feel, return the skewers to the grill, but keep an eye on them as the marinade will caramelise very quickly.

• Use mushrooms or aubergines instead of meat for a vegetarian option.

• For a smoky flavour, soak a good handful of hickory or oak wood chips in cold water for an hour or so, then carefully sprinkle them into the barbecue and place the skewers around but not directly on top.

• Burning herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme or even the leftover shell of the oranges on the barbecue will add extra flavour to your skewers.

• The salad can be prepared well in advance as it won’t become soggy.

Sweet potatoes and bok choi patties, grilled bacon and poached duck egg

Serves four

Ingredients

450 grams cooked sweet potato, mashed

Crushed black pepper, to taste

One small bok choi, finely sliced

One quarter tsp smoked paprika

One quarter tsp ground cumin

One garlic clove, chopped

One tsp honey

One to two tbsp polenta flour, plus extra for coating

Oil, for frying

Eight rashers of dry cured bacon

Four duck eggs

Two tbsp white wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, pepper, bok choi, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and honey together with a little polenta flour.

2. Adjust the seasoning, split into four equal balls, squash them down and coat with some polenta – this will help to make them nice and crisp when cooking.

3. Place a large pan of water on the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Add the vinegar to it. Crack the eggs into four individual dishes, ready to be poached.

4. Shallow fry the patties for three to four minutes on one side. When they are ready to be turned, stir the pan of water and gently pour the eggs into it, one at a time (the water should be simmering and not boiling).

5. Cook the patties for three to four minutes on the second side. When they are ready, the eggs should be as well.

6. Gently remove the eggs from the water and drain on some kitchen paper.

7. When you are almost ready to serve, place the bacon on a rack under the grill and cook until crispy. When cooked, remove and keep warm.

8. Place the patties onto four serving plates. Cut the bacon rashers in half and arrange four halves over each sweet potato patty. Top each with the poached eggs, drizzle with a little oil and serve.

Extra tips:

• The polenta can be replaced with breadcrumbs

• If you are a meat lover, add either some black pudding or chopped chorizo to the mix before shaping it into patties

Sweet potato and goat's cheese salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: Five minutes

Ingredients

One large sweet potato

Two spring onions, sliced

Small bunch of rocket

Two teaspoons honey

Juice of half a lemon

Two teaspoons sesame oil

Extra virgin olive oil

Four slices of goats cheese

Fifty grams black and white sesame seeds

Salt and pepper

METHOD

1. Peel the sweet potato and with the help of a mandolin slice into thin little strips length-wise. (If you do not have a mandolin you can simply carry on with the potato peeler to obtain thin slices).

2. Dress the sweet potato with the honey, a little salt and pepper, sesame oil and a little olive oil, mix well and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

3. In the meantime, drizzle the goats' cheese with a little olive oil and top with the sesame seeds, place under a grill for three or four minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the seeds are golden.

4. Add the rocket and onion to the sweet potato and mix.

5. Place a handful of salad on the centre of the plate, top with a slice of goat's cheese and serve.

Extra tips

• This salad is fantastic with some warm walnut crusty bread.

• A mandolin is a cooking utensil used for slicing and for cutting. You can buy one in any good kitchen shop.

Sweet Potato and Lavender Sponge Pudding

Makes six puddings

Ingredients

100 grams butter, plus extra for greasing

75 grams caster sugar

75 grams brown sugar

50ml vegetable oil

Two eggs

150 grams self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

Half a teaspoon chopped dried or fresh lavender

200 grams sweet potatoes, grated

Method

1. Grease six pudding basins with butter then dust with flour, shaking out any excess.

2. Beat together the butter, sugars and oil. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. Fold in the flour and lavender, add the sweet potatoes and combine.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pudding basins. Cover each pudding with aluminium foil.

5. Cover the bottom of a deep roasting tray with kitchen paper, place the puddings on the paper and fill the tray with water half way up the pudding moulds. Cover the tray with foil and place in a preheated oven 180°C/gas mark 4 for 40 to 45 minutes (if using a single large basin the cooking time will increase to about one hour and 15 minutes).

6. Remove the puddings from the moulds and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Extra tips:

• Lavender can be replaced with any other spice that you like.

• These freeze well and can be warmed up in a microwave.

Sweet potato, salmon and orange fishcakes

Serves four

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: Six to eight minutes

Ingredients

450 grams cooked sweet potato, mashed

150 grams salmon fillet, poached and flaked

Two to four tbsp polenta, plus extra for coating

Three spring onions finely sliced

Two garlic cloves chopped

Zest of one orange grated

A small bunch of basil and parsley, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients together, mixing gently so not to break the fish into very small pieces.

2. Split the mixture into four fishcakes and shape them.

3. Coat the outside with the extra polenta.

4. Shallow fry for three to four minutes on each side so that the inside is hot and the outside is golden and crisp

5. Serve with a side of dressed salad and mayonnaise or sweet chilli sauce.

Extra Tips:

• The polenta can be replaced with breadcrumbs

• The quantity of polenta flour needed in the mix will depend on how wet the sweet potatoes are.

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