Sunday, March 13, 2011

What a monster!

Well what am I talking about? Could it be the birthweight of Ms Mova's latest grandchild? Could it be a comment on the exploits of the two year old next door? No, it is actually a homegrown variety, a garden-grown veritable leviathan in the Convolvulaceae plant family. This sweet potato is known by the scientific name of Ipomoea batatas. The well-known flower called "Morning Glory" belongs to the same botanical family as the sweet potato. Well this is certainly some kind of fantastic morning glory, an evening glory maybe, delivering enough nutrition for a small army. Weighing in at a hefty 2.2kg this exotically formed monster was being called some very rude names when Ms Tagalong spied it sitting on Ms Mova's kitchen bench.

So what would you do with such another if you happened to dig in the right place in the garden? Ms I don't want to go back to work seemed very keen to find a good recipe. Something to do with thrift Ms Tagalong suspects as much as to do with utilising the wonderful produce we produce. That could have been a typo but it wasn't! Fear not, Ms Tagalong will career to the rescue (no puns intended) and provide a recipe at the end of this blog.

A quiet weekend in the garden saw Ms Tagalong digging a big hole on the verge to take the kaffir lime from her backgarden which is not getting enough sun to grow to its full potential. As she thrust down the crowbar, juddering her back and shoulders, not to mention wrists, she ruminated on how it was that she, at the ripe old 50 something plus age was labouring like a common navvy? Sweat drops flying off in all directions, wiping the mud on her shirt, she was very glad that she did not plant trees for a living. The kaffir lime, however, looks happier already and Ms Pruner across the road will no doubt be out with her secateurs, busily nipping and tucking to give it the beauty makeover it is well in need of. It will soon look like this one with its fresh growth.

African Sweet Potato Stew (Good Housekeeping Vegetarian Cookbook)Feeds 4-6 people
1 onion peeled and chopped
2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2tsp grated fresh root ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
350g sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
15ml mild or medium curry paste
300ml passata or diced tomatoes
300ml vegetable stock
225g spinach leaves, trimmed
225g button mushrooms sliced
60ml peanut butter
30ml chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper to taste
coriander sprigs for garnish

1. Heat oil and fry onion, garlic, ginger and cayenne gently for about 10mins
2. Add curry paste to the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes and stir to coat and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the passata and stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 10 mins or so with shredded spinach added towards the end of this time.
4. Mix a few spoonfuls of juices with the peanut butter to soften and then stir back into the pan. Add chopped coriander and seasoning. Serve with rice and garnished with coriander sprigs.

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