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Verses from my Kitchen: Sweet Potato Bubble & Squeak

December 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Bubble & Squeak

I used to detest breakfast. Weekdays. Weekends. Early mornings or late. No matter what was said about breakfast, and I heard it all. It's the most important meal of the day. If you skip one meal, don't let it be breakfast. On and on it went. I never listened. For whatever reason I just never liked having anything on my stomach first thing in the morning. Hot or cold. Small or large. So I didn't. Almost never. The first sign of my rebellion or foray into adulthood and making my own decisions.

A funny thing happened along the way. I started to pick and choose. If my parents were heading out to some hot spot on a Sunday morning for brunch I'd hop along as well. Just not at first. But after hearing all about what I missed, I couldn't take it anymore. Slowly the wall I had put up started coming down. I started appreciating starting the day with a morning paper and eggs benny. Something so delicious and decadent that I could have been convinced it wasn't breakfast at all.

That's how it started. One meal. One weekend. One long time ago.

Now my weekdays start with some kind of light snack to fuel me through the mornings and the dreaded reality of the cold early mornings and work part of my life. And weekends I lose myself in the absence of pressure and time constraints and indulge. It doesn't matter what it is more often than not. Bacon and eggs. Eggs Benny. Croque-monsieur. Anything that I have on hand that inspires me. And helps fuel that inspiration.

Those old stolen mornings in bed sleeping away my youthful late night memories have been replaced. For good. I cherish that time in bed first thing in the morning but I cherish my morning ritual more. The first cup of coffee. The dog running around outside. Morning reading material. The smile my wife gives me when she wakes up. No where else to be. And breakfast. For two.

This past weekend was one of the new normal around here with our photography business slowing down for the season. I knew we had most of the day on Sunday to do as we wish before we had to head off to the first of many holiday dinners. This one happened to be for one of my sides of the family. I also knew I had some leftover sweet potato hash that I desperately wanted to incorporate into my lazy morning. That's just what I did.

There is something unique about the look and feel of a Sunday morning. The tension that comes with weekday mornings is released. When we first wake up we can see it out our back window. And feel in the air outside. The mood is lighter. The bed is warmer. I long for days like this. With the woman I married. And these kinds of mornings.

I gingerly rolled out of bed and whispered to my wife that I was off to start the coffee and then grabbed the dog and went downstairs. I had pre-programmed the coffee maker the night before knowing I'd be waking up somewhere and sometime between my usual weekday and weekend hours. I let the dog run outside and poured my first cup as I opened the fridge to grab yesterday's breakfast and turn it into another meal. Another breakfast. Just before I made it I went upstairs and woke up my wife with a coffee and saw that beautiful smile.

It's simple. Perfect. And everything I didn't know breakfast could be when I was young, foolish, naive. This smashed up breakfast had some of my favourite ingredients with sweet potatoes, crispy pancetta and sage tucked away inside so I didn't need to do much else. I topped it with a bit of peppery watercress and a silky smooth poached egg. And I ate it with my wife beside me. Pretty much the perfect way for me to start any day.

I used to detest breakfast. Now it's arguably my favourite meal of the day. For all the right reasons. I can make almost anything and love it and, if I have some leftovers, I can make something like this. One of my favourite Sunday starts. A real sign that I grew up along the way and embraced everything a weekend morning holds. If only I knew then what I know now.

From my kitchen to yours,


Bubble & Squeak

  • 2 tbsp. sage, chopped
  • 200 grams sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
  • 3 tbsp. pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • pinch sea salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • small handful watercress
  1. Mix the first four ingredients together and season well. Form into four small flat cakes or two larger cakes.
  2. Melt a tablespoon of butter and oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a shallow saucepan filled with water to a simmer and add in a splash of vinegar. Crack the eggs into a small cup and slowly transfer to the water. Turn down the heat and cook for about five minutes, until cooked. Drain.
  4. Place one or two cakes on a plate and top with fresh watercress and a poached egg. Serves 2.


At December 14, 2011 at 11:23 PM , Anonymous Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

What a beautiful way to start the day, a meal like that puts you in a good state of mind for what's ahead that day.

At December 15, 2011 at 8:08 AM , Blogger A Thought For Food said...

I used to hate breakfast as well... and still only enjoy it when I have a day to relax and savor each bite.

This looks magically delicious and something I would love.

At December 15, 2011 at 8:35 AM , Anonymous Sharon Stirling said...

Looks fantastic. I can't wait to make this some lazy weekend. Sometimes I find sweet potatoes a tad challenging to incorporate into a meal, this seems perfect!

At December 15, 2011 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Kristen - Dine & Dish said...

You have one lucky wife & I know you are pretty lucky to have her too. What a wonderful tribute to breakfast :) Love that finished plate shot.

At December 15, 2011 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

Not only I just adore your recipe, I adore the way you see the world. You are completely right about Sundays, and thank you for reminding me to appreciate that special Sunday feeling!

At December 15, 2011 at 9:21 AM , Blogger Maria said...

Why isn't this my breakfast? :)

At December 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM , Blogger london bakes said...

Gorgeous pictures, as ever, and a delicious sounding breakfast.

At December 15, 2011 at 2:10 PM , Anonymous naomi said...

Same here-use to hate breakfast. Now its my favorite meal of the day!

Love the photography - last two photos are my fav from the set.

At December 16, 2011 at 2:45 AM , Anonymous Purabi Naha said...

What a yummy dish it looks! I really loved your presentation. Lovely blog!!

At December 16, 2011 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Rosie @ Sweetapolita said...

I love breakfast, and this takes it to an entirely new level. I also eat more sweet potatoes and eggs than one person should, so this is my perfect meal. Love the photos and styling, particularly the last image. Thanks for sharing such a gorgeous recipe!

At December 16, 2011 at 1:18 PM , Blogger Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

Beautiful photography. That egg looks like I could touch it right through the screen. Breakfast...my favorite meal of the day!

At December 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM , Anonymous Charissa said...

There's just something so fun and magical about the phrase "Bubble and Squeak". Can't wait to try it!

At December 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the pancetta isn't cooked prior to going into the mix?

Hugh in Dallas

At December 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM , Anonymous Mike @Verses from my Kitchen said...

Hugh, the pancetta is cooked as part of the sweet potato hash and then converted to a leftover "cake." Hope that helps.

At December 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always loved breakfast!

You're writing is lovely. You possess many gifts, my friend.

At December 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM , Blogger Sippity Sup said...

I'd eat breakfast three times a day if they let me. Especially if it were "washed down" with a smile from someone I loved. GREG

At December 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM , Anonymous Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen said...

Marry me....oh wait, I'm already married.


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