Saturday 28 June 2014


Fiddly little things, but well worth the effort if you have the time. I made these for an end of term dinner party I hosted recently. My first proper fully vegan dinner party, now that I think about it. Not a drop of meat or dairy to appease my non-veggie guests ;) The last time I cooked for a significant number of people, I caved at the last minute and gingerly put a chicken dish together. I tend to have pretty good instincts when it comes to flavouring/seasoning, but with no way of tasting the thing myself, goodness knows what they had to endure. At least there was no gagging... which is always a good sign.

So yes, it was a blissful experience putting the food together this time around... maxing out on flavours and techniques using all my plant-based ingredients. There were about four other dishes on my selected menu including a spicy red vegetable curry, fried rice and a couple of intricate salads. A friend had agreed to handle dessert - a simple, healthy fruit salad to balance the heavy main course.

These yam canapés easily took the longest time to make and were an accidental addition to the menu. I was all set on making just the plantain canapés (which you can sorta make out in the background of the picture below) but realised that I had only one plantain left at home and no time to go out and buy some more. They looked a bit sad on the tray and so these mini yam taste explosions were born. The filling was also an experiment using the ingredients I had lying around. If you've ever had fried yam then you know just how amazing it tastes on its own. But with the creamy avocado-pepper-potato filling...? Pure magic. 

It is absolutely important that the yam is thinly sliced or else the canapés will go from bite-sized treats to full on bricks that are awkward to eat. Just to warn you.

- 10 slices of yam (thinly sliced!)
- sunflower oil
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1 medium potato (boiled or baked whole until soft)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
- chopped red pepper and spring onions (to garnish)
- salt and pepper (to taste)

Trim around each round slice of yam to form a roughly square shape. Then cut into four equal parts.
Have a tray ready and line it with some kitchen paper. Shallow fry the yam pieces in a little sunflower oil, turning them over until lightly brown and crispy on both sides. You'll need to do this in batches in order to have enough time to turn each one over. Place each piece on the lined tray to drain off any excess oil. 

To make the filling, sauté the chopped garlic and bell peppers in the little oil left from frying the yam for about a minute on low heat. Cut the boiled potato in half and scoop out the (hopefully) soft inside. Add to the pan, along with the avocado. Mix/mash well to combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat.

To assemble the canapé in such a way that the filling doesn't ooze out when you sandwich the pieces together, spread a tiny bit of the filling on one piece of yam then pierce another piece of yam with a cocktail stick (with the red pepper and spring onion garnish on top, if you wish) just far enough that you can place it on neatly and slightly pierce the bottom half without squashing the filling out. (I hope my poor description makes some sense...)
Lay them out on some snazzy tray to serve.