Sunday 9 September 2018

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes w. Figs and Hazelnuts {vegan}

This dish feels perfect for welcoming the early Autumn as I think we're well and truly saying goodbye to Summer now, time to get out those coats and woolly jumpers people! Figs have come into season, now through till October, so you'll start to see them popping in at your supermarket. That's what actually gave me the inspiration for this recipe, simply seeing them on the shop shelf just reminded me that it had been ages since the last time I ate a fig so I just had to buy some and think of something tasty to make with it. 
Ottolenghi is one of my favourite cookbook authors of the moment, particularly the way in which he uses vegetables in an often un-thought of, and interesting way. I'm tying to cut down on the amount of meat I consume (I'm in no way a complete vegetarian or vegan) but I do enjoy eating in that vein a few times a week.
I give my full awe and amazement to all the vegans out there though, you do have to be quite imaginative, or at least, I would have to be very experimental so I wouldn't get bored having the same old boring veg day in, day out. This is where the likes of Ottolenghi can give us hand and point us in these veggie experimental directions. I mean, I say experimental, but I wouldn't even say that this so weird and out of the ordinary, the classic flavour of balsamic vinegar works well with the sweet jammy figs and together with the addition of maple (which I added to the recipe). 
The combination of warm caremelised sweet potatoes with the syrupy figs, crunchy hazelnuts and spicy seeds makes a great vegetarian/vegan main meal. I enjoyed mine served alongside some houmous and a few homemade flatbreads, or if you don't want to keep it vegan - some goats cheese wouldn't go a miss. 

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes w. Figs and Hazelnuts

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi from the book 'Jerusalem'. 


Serves 2

For the roasted potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp dried rosemary 
pinch of salt and pepper

For the balsamic reduction:
20ml (1tbsp + 1sp) balsamic vinegar
10ml (2tsp) maple syrup

For the toasted nuts and seeds:
1 tsp olive oil
10g pumpkin seeds
30g hazelnuts
pinch of chilli powder
pinch of salt and pepper

3 figs, washed and sliced into wedges

Optional: houmous, flatbread and {goats cheese - if not making vegan}


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas 4.  To prepare the potatoes, wash and slice off any imperfections, halve them length ways and then cut each again similarly into 3 long wedges. Place into a bowl with the oil, maple syrup, dried rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together so that the potatoes are coated in oil. 

Lie the potatoes, skin side down on a non-stick baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 mins until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.

When the potatoes have nearly finished cooking, make the balsamic reduction. Pour the vinegar and maple syrup into a small saucepan and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–4 minutes, or until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle. 

Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat to toast the nuts and seeds. Sprinkle over the chili powder and salt and pepper, toast until they start to sizzle and pop then remove from the heat. 

To assemble, place the roasted sweet potatoes onto a serving platter, top with sliced figs then sprinkle over the toasted nuts, seeds and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve warm or at room temperature, works well with warm flatbreads and houmous. 

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