|Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer|
Sweet potato and kale bubble and squeak recipe
Peel 1kg of sweet potatoes and cut them into large pieces. Place them in a steamer basket or colander and steam over boiling water for about 30-40 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife.
In a dry frying pan, toast ½ tsp of cumin seed and ½ tsp of chilli flakes. Remove and mix them with ½ tsp of sweet, mild, ground paprika.
Lift the sweet potatoes out, tip them into a bowl (or the saucepan emptied of its water) and mash them thoroughly with a good 50g of butter, some salt and a grinding of black pepper, and the toasted cumin, chilli and paprika.
Remove the tough stalks from 150g of kale (you need 100g trimmed weight). Cook the kale for a minute or two in a saucepan with about 1cm of water, covered by a lid. Drain and roughly chop.
Fold the kale into the sweet potato. Pile into a dish, top with a few knobs of butter and bake for about 25 minutes until lightly crisped on the top. Serves 2, generously.
A steamer basket or a colander, balanced over a pan of boiling water, is probably a more successful way of cooking sweet potato than boiling it. The exceptionally soft flesh will collapse if cooked in water and produce a soggy mash. Toast the cumin seeds and chilli flakes in a dry frying pan, using no oil or butter, watching very carefully, as they will burn in a heartbeat.
Some floury Maris Pipers will be good here instead of the sweet potato, or use half potato and half celeriac. Kale is just one of the suitable brassicas: Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage or purple kale will all work well. Sprouts are best quartered, shredded or separated into individual leaves. Fold small pieces of cheese, a good 150g, through the hot potato when it is mashed. Blue cheeses work exceptionally well here, in which case I would omit the cumin.
I would like to start this section tonight with my latest musical crush, Karine Polwart. I have just had a few of her CDs ordered for my birthday. You can judge by yourselves. Her voice sounds like pure autumn gold.
Another lady is my second guest tonight. All the way from Spain it is the hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners pop sensation, Bebe. Another voice that bubbles like the bubble and squeak recipe I have offered you tonight. Caution, though, this is no easy-listening pop, but pop with meaning and depth. Just like autumn.
Another CD I am getting soon. This is the type of collaboration I love, the sort of coming-together that makes music the beautiful human phenomenon it is. Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal, the former, a kora player, the latter, a cellist, creating magic. Just like autumn food.
Next Post: "Summer Tale for an Autumn Day", to be published on Sunday 15th November at 10am (GMT)