Recipes: Sweetest Sweet Potato / An unlikely Valentines and the recipe for success…..

What recipe would you love to have ?
Great Aunt Berthas rusks?
Mother-in-laws milk tart?
Some of my friends would say my Chocolate- Orange cake recipe .
( it will be handed out at my funeral)

What about the recipe for success, or a happy marriage, or stress- free parenting?
A no-fail recipe for raising children ? ( yes please)
Some might say, with Valentines day approaching.. L U R V E, a tried and tested recipe for perfect, works every time, you can’t go wrong, easy peasy, flop-proof love.

Often times as a food stylists I’m required to test recipes. Some work, some don’t.
Sometimes the food shoot is not about the recipe, just about making the food or product look good for the photograph.

One of my favorite things about my job is developing and trying new recipes.
A pinch of this, a touch more of that, adjusting, and even tossing the whole thing out and starting over again if necessary ( this happened yesterday in fact)
Sometimes I get a recipe right first go, sometimes not.
Sometimes it takes hours and hours, and hours ( I once made a salted caramel sauce 11 times! over 3 days ) until I’m satisfied with the result.
Is recipe testing a metaphor for life perhaps ?
Trying and testing recipes, requires above everything else one thing, and one thing only.
This is a given.
It is the only constant.
Each recipe will require different tweaks, each time it is made it might require an adjustment.
And so, maybe it is the same in our search for life-recipes. Maybe the perfect recipe is not elusive, it just requires a batch of testing, a few different attempts, hours or even days of trying and trying again, a bit of tweaking here and there and a whole lot of flexibility ?
Maybe there is no one size fits all kind of recipe, for anything, some require more salt, some more sugar, all require patience, and perseverance, whether its macaroons or marriage, children or caramel.

Below are a few tried and tested recipes for my current obsession, orange sweet potatoes.
I hope you’ll give them a go, tweak, adjust and make them your own.
As for life, and love, it’s as I said, flexibility.
Who said Valentines had to be red or pink, champagne and oyster, throw in some orange instead, and a humble sweet potato, who knows, it might just be the winning recipe!

Happy Orange Valentines day.


Sweet Potato Hummus with Sumac
Sweet Potato Hummus with Sumac


Orange Sweet Potato Hummus with Sumac

makes approx 2 – 3 cups

500g cooked sweet potato
400g can chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons Tahina paste
2 large cloves garlic
1 freshly squeezed lemon
olive oil to blend, a couple of tablespoons
couple of pinches of sumac spice
Whizz the sweet potato, chickpeas, tahina and garlic in a food processor, add a splash of olive oil if needed
serve drizzled with olive oil, a squueze of lemon and sprinkle with sumac


Soup copy
Tandoori Sweet Potato Soup with Roti

Tandoori-scented Orange Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 6

1kg orange sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons curry paste
1 small knob of ginger
2 cloves garlic
4 litres good quality veggies or chicken stock
1 tin coconut milk
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

To garnish
Sour cream
Fresh coriander

Sweat the onions in olive oil, add the curry paste, ginger and garlic, cook out the curry paste.
add the sweet potato and stock, bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are very soft.
Allow to cool before blending
Blend until smooth, add the coconut milk, and return to the pot and reheat
Serve topped with sour cream and fresh coriander
serve with naan bread or roti, or with these cauli-naan


Roast Sweet Potato, Shallot and Blue Cheese Muffins
Roast Sweet Potato, Shallot and Blue Cheese Muffins



Cheats Orange Sweet Potato, Caramelised Shallot & Blue Cheese Muffins

makes approx 14
These illicited such an amazing response on our shoot! everyone was clammering for the recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and taste so delicious you will be hard pressed to stop at only one!
White, purple skin sweet potato can be substituted, it makes no dfference to the taste, but does not look as dramatic as the orange flesh sweet potato.

1x 500g pkt savoury muffin pre mix, I used Snow Flake
500g orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 medium shallots, approx 200g, peeled and quartered
125g Blue Cheese
olive oil
Italian mixed herbs
maldon salt & ground pepper
Preheat oven to 180oC
Place the sweet potato and shallots on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, add mixed herbs and salt and pepper, toss.
Roast for 20 – 30 mins until sweet potato is soft when pierced with a fork and the onions caramelised
Make the muffins according to the instructions on the packet, and gently stir in the cooked sweet potato and caramelised shallots, be gentle and try not to mix the mixture to much to keep the chunks of sweet potato
Spoon into greased muffin cases and crumble over the blue cheese.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a knife pierced in the centre comes out clean
Serve with fresh butter




Thank you Roelene Prinsloo for the flexibility, patience and photography.


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