This has been a week of surprises.
First of all I discovered how incredibly easy it is to make your own sour cream. Simply add the juice of one lemon to one cup of cream. Stir and you will feel it begin to thicken slightly almost immediately. Leave out on your kitchen bench for three or four hours, giving it a bit of a stir from time to time. It will become noticeably thicker during that time. Now line a sieve with a clean piece of muslin. Pour the cream into the cloth-lined sieve and set over a small bowl. Put into the fridge overnight. The next morning you will be rewarded with beautiful thick, tangy sour cream.
Speaking of rewards, my second surprise this week came in the form of a rolling pin. Ever since losing my rolling pin in the Christchurch earthquake, I've been making doing with a wine bottle. Now a wine bottle does a passable job, but it does have its limitations. For example, you can't use a wine bottle as a substitute meat tenderiser to bash the bejeezus out of a chicken breast, or to smash up a bag of cookies for a cheesecake base. I am a huge fan of Joseph Joseph kitchen gadgets - I love the range of gorgeously stylish products, that work every bit as well as they look. I'm so enamoured of the "form meets functionality" of their products, that I have several items in my kitchen cupboards, and have for ages been coveting the adjustable rolling pin. So it was a wonderful surprise when I was gifted this rolling pin as a reward for my efforts at work. (For the record, although we sell these products in my workplace, no-one is paying me to tell you this - I'm sharing this with you solely because I absolutely love these products). Oh, and by the way, for the benefit of my New Zealand readers, you can buy Joseph Joseph products at Stevens Homewares.
You'd think that two surprises in one week would be enough. But no, surprise number three came in the form of these Sweet Potato Galettes from, you guessed it Yotam Ottolenghi. Of course I should not have been surprised - I know well enough by now, and you will too if you've been visiting here for a while, that Ottolenghi is capable of taking a few seemingly unsurprising ingredients and turning them into a flavour and texture explosion which is so much greater than you might expect.
At I Heart Cooking Clubs this week we're sharing A Little Bit of Sunshine with Ottolenghi dishes in sunny hues of orange and yellow. These gorgeous galettes seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
As usual, I've added a little bit of a personal twist to the recipe. Flaky puff pastry is smeared with sour cream, which was homemade. Also, remembering how well the hit of lime worked with sweet potatoes in this recipe, I couldn't resist adding some freshly grated lime zest. I also subbed in some blue cheese instead of goat's cheese, and replaced pumpkin seeds with walnuts.
The end result is a sensation - full-on flavour, and fantastic contrasting textures. Crisp, flaky, buttery pastry, smothered in tangy sour cream, given a bit of extra zip with a hit of lime; softness and sweetness of the potatoes meets creamy, salty blue cheese, and crunchy walnuts; all topped off with a bit of heat from chilli and garlic and a touch of freshness in the parsley. Now, who wouldn't find that surprising?
Sweet Potato Galettes Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
2x medium sweet potatoes
250g puff pastry (I used store bought)
1x free-range egg, lightly beaten
grated zest of 1x lime
blue cheese, crumbled
walnuts, coarsely chopped
1x red chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if desired)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1x clove garlic, finely chopped
handful freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Bake potatoes in their jackets until they soften, but are still firm in the centre - about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about 2mm (1/16 inch) thick. Cut into four rectangles, approximately 7cm x 14 cm (3 in x 6 in), and prick them all over with a fork. Place the pastry rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and rest in the fridge for about half an hour.
Once sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins and cut into 3mm (1/8 in) thick slices.
Remove pastry from the fridge, and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Place a spoonful of sour cream on each piece of pastry, and spread leaving a small border on all edges. Sprinkle a little grated lime zest over each one. Arrange sweet potato slices over the top, keeping the border clear. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle a little blue cheese, walnuts and chilli over the top of each one.
Bake in the oven until the pastry is golden and cooked through - about 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together olive oil, parsley and garlic, and brush pastries with the mixture as soon as they come out of the oven.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Two of these per person, accompanied by a simple salad, make a delicious light meal, or serve one per person as an appetiser. And if you're lucky enough to be enjoying some real sunshine and summer weather where you live, these would make sensational picnic food.
If you would like to get to know Yotam Ottolenghi a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...
... or check out Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Ottolenghi's other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK or Fishpond NZ.
I will also be sharing this post at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the delightful Michelle at Ms. enPlace.