I hate dieting, but there are some things I try to avoid now that I'm on the right side of 40. Mainly, I just try to eat as many vegetables and lean proteins as possible and, unless I have a really good quality loaf of bread hanging around the house, I avoid it altogether.

I still eat carbs, but I just feel like your day-to-day sliced pan is full of empty calories and no nutrients.

We won't mention the pack of pop-tarts I shared with my nine year old last night. My healthy eating journey is definitely a work in progress!

The things is, fat, cholesterol or low-calorie foods are not really in my vocabulary these days. I just try to eat well and eat a lot of different colours and textures (alongside the odd treat and glass of wine).

Weekdays and nights on our farm are always hectic between school, work, travel days, calving and milking, so I always look forward to the weekends and sitting down to a nice post-morning-milking breakfast with everyone.

The kids always want pancakes, but I am more of a savoury person. Last week, I had leftover sweet potatoes from a weeknight dinner and decided to make these savoury sweet potato cakes. They really hit the spot.

Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and nutrients – and they taste great when combined with your favourite spices. They also feel really indulgent, so they fill the gap when I'm craving something satisfying.

These cakes are the perfect pillows for poached eggs and make an amazing brunch dish. You can serve them as is, or with a side salad or some toasted and buttered sourdough.

You can also drizzle some natural yogurt and a few dashes of hot sauce over the top for added layers of flavour.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it is naturally gluten-free, so you can make it for a crowd regardless of most dietary restrictions. To make it dairy free, just replace the butter with an additional 1 Tbsp of olive or Irish rapeseed oil.

Spiced sweet potato cakes with poached eggs

Serves four


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 6-8 large chestnut or button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp harissa paste, hot sauce or Korean gochujang
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 8 eggs, for poaching
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish


    1 Peel and chop the sweet potato. Add to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook the sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until fork tender. Strain and mash. Set aside.

    2 In a large frying pan, add the butter. On medium heat, fry the onion, peppers, mushrooms and garlic until soft and lightly browned (8-10 minutes). Add the harissa and smoked paprika. Cook for another minute.

    3 Add the sweet potato to the mixture. Turn the heat down to low and cook slowly for another five minutes; stirring regularly to avoid the bottom burning. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4 Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. When chilled, use lightly oiled hands to shape the mixture into eight equal portions.

    5 Heat the olive oil in a non-stick or cast iron pan and gently add each sweet potato portion. Do not touch it! Let it form a crust on the bottom. This mixture is soft and sticky to the touch, so make sure the bottom crust is formed before you try to move it around.

    6 When a golden brown crust has formed, carefully flip the sweet potato cake to brown on the other side. While the cakes are cooking, slice your green onion garnish and bring another saucepan of water to a simmer, for poaching the eggs.

    7 Once cooked, add the sweet potato cakes to a plate and keep warm in a low oven. When the saucepan of water is simmering, add the eggs to poach for three minutes.

    8 Once poached, place an egg on top of each sweet potato cake and garnish with the green onion. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    *These sweet potato cakes can be frozen and reheated in the oven as needed, so feel free to double the recipe!

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