about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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sweet potatoes, three ways

Sweet potatoes, three ways

Sweet potatoes, three ways

I don't know if the Native Americans brought sweet potatoes to the first Thanksgiving, but it is certainly an integral part of every Thanksgiving feast today.  And, lately, we seem to be swimming in sweet potatoes, or what New Zealanders call the kumara.

Fire-roasted sweet potato

Sweet potatoes, fire charred

A few weeks ago, we directly roasted sweet potatoes in a fire, letting the skins shrivel to a charred ash to surround the tender and creamy flesh.

Fire with sweet potatoes roasting

Sweet potato, roasting in fire

Then, in Rotorua, we dabbled in traditional Maori methods by steaming Thai-infused sweet potatoes and beets in a hangi -style oven.  I will tell you all about it sometime soon but, essentially, the geothermal activity omnipresent in Rotorua creates pockets of naturally created steam which we used to cook our vegetables.  The vegetables were delicious and tinged with a faint odor of sulphur that clings to the city's air.

Hangi-cooked sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes and beets cooked in a hangi steamer

Today, we indulged in tradition and made sweet potato souffle, a necessity for our Thanksgiving table.  This is my mother-in-law's recipe, a dish that Patrick grew up with and one that we both love.

Sweet potato souffle

Sweet potato souffle

No matter how you serve up sweet potatoes today, we hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sweet potatoes

Fire-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Time: 1-2 hours
Serves: 2 people

2 sweet potatoes
1 really crackling fire


1. Build a fire.  We use the teepee method because that is what I was taught in Girl Scouts but it really doesn't matter how you get it going.  You want the coals to be hot.

2.  Place sweet potatoes in the fire under the hot coals.

3.  In about 30 to 45 minutes, check your sweet potatoes by carefully removing them from the hot coals.  The exterior should be charred but the interior should be tender.  If they are not done, place them under the hot coals again until cooked.

Sweet Potatoes in a Hangi

hangi recipe posted here

Sweet Potato Souffle

Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6 people

Ingredients for souffle:
2 small cans of yams in syrup, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs

Ingredients for topping:
1/3 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups crushed corn flakes

2 cups mini marshmallows


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Beat eggs and then add in all other ingredients for souffle.  Place mixture in a 9 by 11 baking dish for 20 minutes or until firm and inserted knife comes out clean.

3.  Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top of souffle.

4.  Top souffle with mini marshmallows and bake about 10 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.