Another of the warm damp days that we call summer.

Once drizzle set in for the afternoon I began to dream of hot places I’ve visited and the food you could get there. Especially of one of my favourite forms of eating, street food.

The sizzle of banana fritters at a wayside stall; roasted peanuts dusted with salt and cayenne, served up in a cornet of newsprint; vegetable samosas with chai, for breakfast.

But I was out of peanuts. Likewise bananas. Ditto most of the ingredients for samosas.

What I did have were sweet potatoes. And chillies and coriander and some smoked cheese from Cornwall. So this is what I came up with – not authentic anything, but hot, easy and good.

Sweet Potato Cakes, for 4
400g sweet potatoes
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1-2 red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1-2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
100g smoked cheese, cut into half cm pieces
4 tbs polenta
a good squeeze of lemon juice
1 egg to bind
sugar
oil

Set the oven to 200C.

Cook the potatoes either by peeling, slicing and roasting them, or by cooking whole – for about 40 minutes – and then scooping out the flesh when tender. Mash well. Add in all the other ingredients apart from the egg, and season. I also added a pinch of sugar here and then brought everything together with the beaten egg. Roll the mixture into 8 balls.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cook the potato-mix 4 balls at a time, flattening each out first with the palm of your hand. They need only a few minutes on each side.

Tomato Sauce with Chilli and Lemon
2 red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
3 cm ginger, peeled and grated
3 tbs olive oil
500g chopped tomatoes
1 tbs caster sugar
Juice half a lemon
salt

Fry the chillies and ginger in the oil for just a few minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, cook for a few and then take off the heat. Liquidise and season well. Serve hot or cold.

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