Thursday, 6 March 2014

Sweet Thangs!

Patate Dolce Ripiene, al Vapore & al Forno con Salsa di Yogurt & Erbe
Steamed & Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes & Yoghurt - Herb Dip

Sweet potatoes are such wonderful, versatile and down-to-earth vegetables, we really should be cooking them more often! They bring so much rich and wonderful flavor with them already, that all we really need to do is to make the most of that flavor, but not to overpower it as is sometimes the case. 

Although there is a little bacon smuggled in here (which DOES bring a LOT of excellent flavor that we definitely will love in this dish!), this makes for a healthy meal on the whole. There is no cheese, no cream- just the lightest drizzle of olive oil and honey along with plain low-fat yogurt in here. Can I hear a "hallelujah!" for that? Thank you! Now let me carry on and tell you how to make this...

The ingredients needed to prepare 2 mid-sized sweet potatoes were 4 lean and very thin rashers of bacon, a Spring onion, 1 red pepper, a handful each of parsley and ramps (or chives), about 2" of fresh ginger and 2-3 cups of plain low-fat yogurt.

The preparation was very simple too- the first step being to scrub the sweet potatoes clean, to halve them and to pop them into a saucepan, on a steam-rack, to cook for 10 minutes whilst I prepared the other ingredients for the topping and the yogurt dip...

For the topping, the first step was to finely chop the bacon and to start it sizzling in a dry frying pan. The next step was to finely chop the pepper, the onion and the ginger and to add this with a little salt and pepper and stir-fry them for 4+5 minutes until everything including the bacon, becomes nicely and lightly browned.

After this time, the sweet potatoes were also ready, so using a teaspoon, I carefully scooped out the soft centers and mashed them simply with a fork- there is really no need to use anything other than a fork for this. I then added the finely diced ingredients, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, salt, pepper and about a teaspoon of smoked paprika powder- yum, yum, yum!

Before I got busy with the topping, I very lightly drizzled the potato shells with just a touch of olive oil, seasoned them inside and out with a little salt and pepper and popped them into the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes, whilst I took care of the filling...

I then turned my attention back to the filling, which I stirred vigorously using a wooden spoon. This in turn transformed everything into a smoother, softer mix which would be nice and easy to fill into the hollowed out potatoes. I made a point of not adding cheese or butter as I wanted to do something a little different to the usual this time around. Well- actually, I ALWAYS like to do things a little differently- but I'm pretty sure that you have all noticed that by now!

Now that the filling was ready, I took the hollowed-out shells (carefully as they were HOT!) out of the oven and re-filled them with the seasoned mashed potato. I drizzled them very lightly with olive oil and honey, added a last sprinkle of salt and pepper and popped them back into the oven for 5 further minutes at 350°F and then for 4-5 minutes under the broiler before they came out lightly toasted and golden brown.

Whilst they were baking, I used the time to prepare the simple yogurt dip by chopping up the parsley and ramps as finely as I could and then stir them into 2 cups of yogurt, along with a tablespoon of Tahini, salt and pepper and the juice of about 1/3 of a lime. All that needed to be done here was for it to be stirred together, again, simply with a fork- no fuss but plenty of fun and flavor!

So there you go... a simple but fun baked potato idea for you, with less fat but much more flavor... and fun-factor! Also... they just happen to look as terrific as they taste! 

Hope you give these a go and see that you can indeed have a great and flavorful, fun and exciting meal without the fatty, cheesy, usual and ultimately boring suspects... and I suspect you may well like this more! Enjoy!


  1. what are "ramps" in german?
    Google translation is not very helpful.

    1. Hallo Thomas- Bärlauch heißt "ramps" auf Englisch... kein Mensch weiß warum- ist aber so! Viele Grüße, Francesco