Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Hello Everyone! Now this is a recipe I’ve been so eager to make since forever. I first came across this dish from a café across the road from my campus when I was still studying in Australia for my design degree. The café is known as Ampersand Café & Bookstore. I did a review of the café back in 2015, so if you have some free time up your sleeves, go and have a read, or just a look at the lovely ambiance of the café and the delicious food served there.

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

The one thing I would never fail to order off their blackboard menu? That’s right, their sweet potato crisps with aïoli. I even remember going there several times and not being able to order this dish because their deep fryer had been broken for a couple of months. At times I would even ask them “is your deep fryer still broken?” and then make a sad face later when they would unfortunately say yes.

The crisps from the café are made using orange sweet potatoes, and since we’re sharing violet recipes for this month, I decided to use purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan. The sweet, crispy, and caramelised sweet potatoes pair really well with the slightly tangy, spicy, and garlicky aïoli. It’s a perfect side dish to your main meal, or even just a light snack on its own. Either way, it’s a whole new experience of enjoying sweet potatoes!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS* | SERVES 4

* Plus additional 40 minutes for the roasted garlic (if not made in advance).

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato crisps

  • 2 small (100-200g) purple sweet potatoes, washed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the roasted garlic

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Ground paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the easy roasted garlic and chive aïoli

  • Roasted Garlic (see above)
  • 1 stalk chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper powder, plus more if needed (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Cooking oil, for deep frying

METHOD

  1. Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  2. Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of the garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
  3. Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
  4. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and flavour with your favourite herbs and spices as well (optional).
  5. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a knife.

Note: Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelised flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.

  1. Let the garlic cool slightly, and then press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.

Tip: Roasting a single bulb of garlic in an oven for 40 minutes sounds a bit excessive doesn’t it? Well, what I usually like to do is whenever I use my oven for something, be it baking a delicious sweet treat or roasting away some beautiful salmon portions, I always throw a couple of garlic heads wrapped in foil into the oven as well. That way I’m killing two birds with one stone. I then keep the roasted garlic in a jar together with olive oil to preserve and use it when I need to. Roasted garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

  1. Roasted Garlic and Chive Aïoli: Add all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Add ground cayenne pepper if you want a bit of heat to your aïoli, otherwise you may omit. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set aside to chill until ready to serve.
  2. Sweet Potato Crisps: Using a peeler, peel off the skins of the sweet potato. Continue peeling into the flesh of the sweet potato to make long and thin strips. Place on top of a kitchen towel and pat dry to remove any excess moisture from them.
  3. Pour cooking oil in a large, heavy pan to a depth of about 2 inches, and heat the oil to 165C/325F. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potatoes for about 45 seconds to a minute. Stir them a few times to keep them from sticking together. Using a metal slotted spoon, lift them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil.
  4. Season the crisps with a touch of salt and serve immediately while hot and crispy with the roasted garlic aïoli. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice onto the crisps before eating. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ampersand Café & Bookstore

Ampersand Café & Bookstore

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Ampersand Café & Bookstore is one that I am very fond of mainly because of the memories and conversations shared over food. I have been going to Ampersand on a frequent basis over the past 4 years; it was the go-to brunch/lunch spot before or after classes at the then-COFA (now known as UNSW Art & Design). I remember popping by the café with Bec many times before our 9am classes; I would always get a regular latte, and she would always get a regular flat white. Then there are many times we’d visit for a quick brunch/lunch in between classes. Most recently, it was an after photography class lunch date for Anastasia, Jess, Jialing, and myself. We would sit and talk about the most random things for 2 hours, and even quote from White Chicks all throughout lunch.

Ampersand Café & Bookstore

What I also love about this café is that it is also a bookstore! It has a rustic, or as one would use the term, ‘hipster’ feel to it which makes it even that more inviting for the suburb that it is in. The café and bookstore has three amazing floors of dining areas surrounded with an adjoining library and bookstore with many books to choose from. A great place for those who just want to sit and immerse themselves in a book over a cup of coffee, or with friends over food.

Ampersand Café & Bookstore

Besides all the fond memories I have of this café, and the cozy ambience, the coffee and food are also quite excellent! The menu that you are about to see in this post is some of the dishes that my friends and I have indulged in. I have had many more dishes from this café but I think that during first two years of visiting this café I wasn’t taking any photos or I just can’t seem to find where the photographs are if I did take any. I have indulged in the Ampersandian, the Morning After Breakfast, and their Club Sandwich from their counter items. Nonetheless, I feel like the dishes on this post are quite a good range of the food that Ampersand has to offer. Also, I should make mention that they also have another café known as Ampersand on Crown | Café, Bar & Bookstore. I actually didn’t know that this existed until I went and had brunch with some friends at  Rustic Pearl. Ampersand on Crown was just right next to it! 413 Crown Street, Surry Hills for those who want to know where!

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - HOT DRINKS: CAPPUCCINO
HOT DRINKS: CAPPUCCINO
brewed using Allpress Beans (Regular $3.30, Large $3.80)

Their coffee art amazes me every time. I have yet to come across an ampersand on the drink as I have seen in many Facebook/Instagram posts by others.

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - HOT DRINKS: LULLABY NIGHTCAP
HOT DRINKS: LULLABY NIGHTCAP
Nutmeg, malt, cinnamon, and honey served with hot milk ($4.80)

What really struck me about this drink was that, on their blackboard menu, it said ‘seahorse eggs’. Being naive and gullible at that time, I legitimately thought that the drink actually had seahorse eggs it in. Only then did I come to a realisation that the seahorse eggs referred to the frothy, fizzing bubbles in the drink. I was not disappointed though; the drink was absolutely amazing! However, probably not a great idea to have before a boring lecture (which was what I did at the time). It’s all in the name of the drink!

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: RISOTTO
LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: RISOTTO
Arborio & barley risotto, confit cherry tomatoes, garlic, halloumi, and pesto ($15.90)

What attracted me to this dish was the fact that it was originally ‘arborio & barley risotto, tiger prawns, lemon butter, and crumbed pancetta’ on their blackboard menu. The combination sounded so great in my head that I had no second thoughts of wanting to order it. However, for a reason that I cannot remember, the lady at the cashier told me that their risotto for that day was confit cherry tomatoes, garlic, halloumi, and pesto. At first I was hesitating whether or not I should have that or order something else off their menu, but at that time there wasn’t anything else that tickled my fancy. So I decided to go for this, and absolutely no regrets. It tasted amazing! But I secretly think that the tiger prawns, lemon butter, and crumbed pancetta would’ve been amazing-er!

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: THE HASH
LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: THE HASH
Braised beef cheeks (slow-cooked), seasonal veggies, potato rösti, and poached egg ($16.90)

This dish, that Jialing ordered and we shared with Annie, was again to die for! The only criticism I have with this dish that it said ‘poached egg’ and the egg we for that day was what you would get between a soft boiled egg and a hard boiled egg. No runny yolk! Disappointed. Other than that, the beef cheeks where tender and full of flavour; verging on the dry side which is why it was important that we had that runny yolk!

Ampersand Café & Bookstore

I mean, if these empty plates of the first two dishes mentioned above does not convince you of their deliciousness, then you sir are not my friend (the other empty plate is of the stuffed red capsicum which is the very last photograph on this post).

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: SWEET POTATO CRISPS
LUNCH BLACKBOARD MENU: SWEET POTATO CRISPS
served with aïoli ($6.00)

This is a winner side dish for me. I never fail to order these babies each time I visit Ampersand. But sadly over the past month in late October, early November last year, I did not get to have any. Why? Because their deep fryer had been broken during those times. But for a month? Pure torture. I have not been back since our last photography class which was in early November. Maybe it’s time I paid another visit – hopefully their deep fryer is fixed by now! I just love the thin crispy sweet potato sliced paired with garlic-y and tangy aïoli.

Besides their blackboard menu, they also have a selection of pre-cooked counter items. Possibly an easier and quick option for those who have their breakfast/lunch/brunch to go, but that never stopped us from trying them ourselves over a two hour lunch session. You can probably tell that we have a thing for their arancini as it appears in almost every counter item on this post, but are paired with a different salad each time. This is because no salad is ever the same whenever we visit the café. One thing that I do love about their salads is that they aren’t your regular Joe that you see in almost every café; they are pretty exotic to your taste buds! Black sticky rice? Miso chic pea? Cracked wheat? I mean, who would’ve thought these combinations would work so well?! Yum! So what you can do is order an arancini, sandwich, wrap, or whatever hot dish they have at the counter, and then add $5.00 on top for a salad on the side.

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & CHIC PEA SALAD
COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & CHIC PEA SALAD
Arancini with tomato & mozzarella ($5.90) & Chic pea salad with miso and red wine dressing, enoki, kale, and raw zucchini (+$5.00)

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & CRACKED WHEAT SALAD
COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & CRACKED WHEAT SALAD
Arancini with tomato & mozzarella ($5.90) & Cracked wheat salad with mixed beans, feta, grilled sweet potato, asparagus, and sweet & sour paprika dressing (+$5.00)

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & ROASTED EGGPLANT AND WHEAT SALAD
COUNTER ITEMS: ARANCINI & ROASTED EGGPLANT AND WHEAT SALAD
Arancini with tomato & mozzarella ($5.90) & Roasted eggplant and cracked wheat salad with green peas, red pepper, and balsamic reduction (+$5.00)

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - COUNTER ITEMS: BREAKFAST WRAP & BLACK STICKY RICE SALAD
COUNTER ITEMS: BREAKFAST WRAP & BLACK STICKY RICE SALAD
Poached egg, crispy bacon, spinach, tomato, cheese, and hollandaise ($9.50) & Black sticky rice salad with cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, rocket, and balsamic reduction (+$5.00)

Ampersand Café & Bookstore - COUNTER ITEMS: STUFFED RED CAPSICUM
COUNTER ITEMS: STUFFED RED CAPSICUM
with pearl barley, pumpkin, feta, and spinach purée ($5.90)

Ampersand Café & Bookstore
78 Oxford Street
Paddington, New South Wales
Australia, 2021

– Ally xx