Fartes de Batata

In a Sainsbury's magazine from October 1997, nicked from a Portuguese cookbook. Gluten-free, but loaded with sugar.

  • 12 oz mashed sweet potato (3 – 4 potatoes should do it), cooled
  • 3 oz good quality candied fruit or peel, chopped as finely as possible
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz caster sugar
  • 1 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 oz ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

To coat:

  • A large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Caster sugar

Beat the eggs, sugar and butter well for 2-3 minutes. Put in a large, heavy saucepan with the almonds, fruit, lemon juice and potato. Beat thoroughy and then heat, gently, gently, stirring constantly so it doesn't catch, for about 10 minutes or until it feels like fairly stiff dry mash. Spread out onto a floured board (rice flour if you want to stay gf) and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 5, grease 2 baking trays.

Take walnut sized lumps and make into little cakes about 2" in diameter. Place on the greased trays brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly golden and cool before eating.

Definitely sweeties more than cakes.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

I goofed with this, and overbaked it so the topping actually melted down into it and it was swimming in goo. So we had sweet potato in sauce rather than the soft and cludgy bake that I remembered.

The basic idea is to layer cooked, peeled sweet potato with butter and sugary stuff, a bit of salt, maybe some rum, or nutmeg, and bake at about Gas Mark 5 for about half an hour until it's all soft, and top with marshmallow and bake for 10 – 15 minutes more so it gets a sweet crust.

I thought steaming the potatoes to cook them and peeling them afterwards would be easiest, it wasn't! Buying pre-prepared or peeling raw would be best. Don't worry if the cooked flesh loses its colour, cooking it again with the sugar will bring it back.

Next time I'm going to go with the alternative, which is to mash the potatoes with the seasonings, heat that, and flash grill the topping. It'll be easier to control the texture and sweetness.

Maple syrup is a good sweetener, but it creates that bit more liquid than brown sugar. I used salted butter, which I rarely do nowadays, and found I only needed to add a pinch of salt. Definitely a once a year treat, though.

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Things to do with Goose

The Cuisine for December 1984 also had a retro-article on goose cookery, it's not worth writing out the recipes, they were fairly standard, but some of the ideas were a little bit different. And would do fine for duck too.

Liver – dredge with seasoned flour and cook in goose fat on a high heat, serving with a jammy sauce made with prunes soaked in Madeira, onions and tart apples, with a little marjoram at the end.

Casserole – with onions and mushrooms, finished off with double cream, french mustard and fresh parsley

Ragout with bacon, turnips, cloves, bay leaf – caramelising the turnips in goose fat and sugar before adding them

A very complex stuffing for goose, making a cornbread with crumbled Italian sausage in it, mixing that with dried orchard fruits and mushrooms. Served with chestnuts braised with celery and goose gravy until coated and caramelised, and honeyed yams. I wouldn't do all three of those, it would be far too sweet – and certainly I'd want a watercress salad on the side, or a raw cranberry relish, or something very tart and sharp.

 

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Boxing Day Soup

Waitrose do ready-trimmed veg and fruit at exorbitant prices, and one of the packs is a mix of butternut squash and sweet potato cubes. Just not having to cut and peel the squash is worth the extravagance. I'd made the gravy for the goose yesterday with goose fat, plain flour, the juice from the roasting tin, giblet stock, seasoning including allspice, some cooking port and a big dollop of redcurrant jelly.

Today I got a big pan, tipped in the gravy, topped it up with boiling water, and added 2 packs of orange veg. Simmered for a few hours, pureed it, leaving some lumps for interest's sake, tasted and added more allspice and some pepper. No extra salt, as when I served it I stirred tiny lumps of fresh creamy stilton into the bowl, so it went soft but not too melty. 

Just what we needed this evening, rich but subtle, almost bland but very moreish, gentle on the tummy and nicely filling without being fatty or sweet.

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