I made these sweet potato cakes at home recently for a brunch when the family got together for our parents’ wedding anniversary. It is a very tasty way to feed a crowd. I know I write a lot about eggs, but they are so versatile. The cheese I used that day was St Tola, a delicious feta style cheese made in Co Clare. O’Neills in Wexford make a lovely streaky bacon.

The twins, Connor and Lucia and my wife Amelda love these sweet potato cakes, so as a speedy supper I often just serve them with some nice steamed green vegetables.

An omelette is lovely with leftover ham, and this is another recipe that is popular in our house. There are a lot of exotic mushrooms available in supermarkets these days. Mushrooms are now grown in tunnels all over the country and I know of several growers in Cavan and Monaghan. Drinagh Cheddar is good in this recipe and sometimes I add a spoonful of basil pesto. I always think that omelettes are so quick to make that it is not worth cooking a large one for two people – just make one after the other.

Happy Cooking,


Sweet potato cakes with crispy bacon, smashed avocado and poached eggs

Serves 4–6

150g (5oz) plain flour

6–8 large eggs

100ml (3½fl oz) buttermilk

400g (14oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and grated

1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped

1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

200g (7oz) feta cheese, crumbled rapeseed oil, for frying

225g (8oz) dry-cure streaky bacon rashers

2 ripe avocados

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Sieve the flour into a large bowl, break in two of the eggs and add the buttermilk. Slowly whisk together to combine.

2 Add the grated sweet potatoes, spring onions, chilli and 75g (3oz) of the feta. Season with plenty of pepper and a small pinch of salt, as the feta is already quite salty. Using a spatula, mix until well combined.

3 Pour about 1cm (¼in) of oil into a large non-stick frying pan and place over a medium heat. Working in batches, place four separate heaped spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture into the pan and gently flatten down each one with the back of the spatula. Fry the sweet potato cakes for 3–4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Keep warm in a low oven.

4 Meanwhile, grill the bacon on the grill pan under a medium-high heat for 3–4 minutes, turning once. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and poach the remaining eggs for 2–3 minutes, until the whites are firm but the yolks are still soft.

5 Cut the avocados in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Roughly smash with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the sweet potato cakes on plates and top with the bacon, smashed avocado and poached eggs, then scatter over the rest of the feta to serve.

French omelette with mushrooms and bacon

Makes one omelette

2 tsp sunflower or rapeseed oil

1 large flat mushroom, sliced into small pieces

1 smoked streaky bacon rasher, rind removed and chopped

2 eggs

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

knob of unsalted butter

50g (2oz) Gruyère or Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

crusty French bread, to serve

1 Preheat the grill to medium and heat a non-stick frying pan with a base that’s about 20cm (8in) in diameter over a medium heat. Add 1 tsp of the oil and tip in the mushrooms and bacon. Season to taste, then sauté for 2–3 minutes, until tender. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

2 Wipe out the frying pan and return it to the hob. Break the eggs into a bowl and add the parsley, then season and lightly beat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining teaspoon of oil and the butter, swirling it around so that the base and sides get coated.

3 While the butter is still foaming, pour in the egg mixture, tilting the pan from side to side. Stir gently with a fork or wooden spatula, drawing the mixture from the sides to the centre as it sets. When the eggs have almost set, scatter over the cheese, if using, and place under the grill for 1–2 minutes, until the omelette has set and the cheese has melted.

4 Scatter the reserved mushrooms and bacon over the grilled omelette and tilt the pan away from you slightly. Use a palette knife to fold over a third of the omelette to the centre, then fold over the opposite third. Slide onto a warmed plate, allowing it to flip over so that the folded sides are underneath. Serve at once with some crusty bread.

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