Quinoa and Red Bean Burgers

5 04 2015

Veggie burgers are tricky things to get right. Too dry and they crumble apart when you try to turn them in the pan. Too wet and you end up with a sludgy mess on your plate. On a recent visit to New York i experienced the good and bad side of burgers. On the first night I thought it would be fun to try out a good old fashioned New York diner. The menu described my meal as a veggie burger. I have absolutely no idea what was in it but it tasted vile and looked like a giant shredded wheat. Possibly the worst meal I have ever eaten. Next day however we took refuge from the cold and rain in Whole Foods Market had the perfect beetburger.

The other thing that struck me is everywhere is selling dishes containing quinoa. If you haven’t tried it it’s a seed, high in protein and has a sort of nutty smell and taste to it. It comes in red, white or black though I used a bag of mised. There doesn’t seem to be a difference in taste, the colour just changes to look of your dish. Widely used in salads, quinoa also makes a great burger ingredient.

This is my adaptation of a random recipe I found on line but am unbale to find again. i served it with a simple broad bean and potato patty, a poached egg and a roasted tomato sauce. The burger would also work in well in your favourite type of bun with chili jam, mayo and lettuce.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1x400g tin red kidney beans
1 teaspoon each of paprika powder, oregano and basil
½ teaspoon each of chili powder and salt
1 clove garlic – crushed
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
65g strong cheese (optional)

First cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa into a pan, add the water then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

Drain and rinse the beans to remove the odd taste beans get when they are tinned and that horrid red sludge that sits at the bottom of the tin. Put them in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher of fork. You want something with both smooth and lumpy bits to rather than a smooth paste. Now add the garlic, the herbs, spices and salt and the grated cheese if using. Stir in the cooked quinoa and the egg, then slowly add the breadcrumbs. Panko work best here but normal bread crumbs made from stale bread work well if you can’t get Panko.

Keep adding a few breadcrumbs at a time, mixing well with a fork. You are trying to get a fairly stiffish mixture that can be squidged into burger like shapes. Once you have added enough brescrumbs, do just that. Take a handful and squidge it into a ball, then flatten the sides into a burger shape. You can get 6-10 burgers out of the mixture depending on how big or small you like them.

Take a large frying pan, heat a little olive oil then gently fry the burgers until golden and crispy on the outside, turning once. I think about 10-12 minutes each side seems about right.

Enjoy….

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Mediterranean Vegetables and Pasta

14 03 2015

During a holiday a couple of years ago in Kefalonia, this became a firm family favourite. Delicious vegetables, fresh from the local market, prepared in olive oil with pasta and cheese. What’s not to love?

The vegetables are prepared a bit like a ratatouille and can be cooked in advance. A great dish to get you in the mood for summer now that spring is well and truly on it’s way.

Serves 4
1 onion – diced
1 clove garlic – crushed or finely chopped
1 courgette – diced
1 small red pepper – diced
1 aubergine – diced
1 red chilli – chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
250g passata
2-3 tomatoes – diced
200g mozarella
150g strong cheese – mature cheddar or gruyere
250g pasta – I used Farfalle but any shape will do
Basil leaves

Heat the oil in a large frying pan then add the onions and garlic. Cook gently for around 5 minutes then add the rest of the vegetables except the tomatoes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until everything starts to get tender; around 15 minutes or so. Now add the fresh tomotoes and cook until they break down, then add the passata. Season with salt and pepper, then shred a few basil leaves and add them. Cook down until the sauce is nice and thick and the tomatoes have disintegrated.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta as per the instructions on the pack. You want the pasta to be quite firm as it will continue to cook once added to the sauce. Drain then mix in with the vegetable sauce.

Transfer to an oven dish, top with the cheeses and a drizzle of olive oil then bake in the oven at 200C until the sauce bubbles and cheese starts to brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with more shredded basil leaves and serve with a green salad, a fennel and white cabbage salad or a beetroot slaw.

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Roasted, Spiced Broccoli with Paneer

8 02 2015

I’ve been reading lately about the deliciousness of roasted cauliflower – just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, half an hour in a hot oven and out pops a delicious, charred side dish.

I wondered if I could do something similar with cauliflower’s green cousin, broccoli. To make it more interesting I added some warm spices and some cubes of paneer. Served with grilled nan and natural yogurt, this makes for a very easy supper.

Serves 2 to 3 depending on greed

1 large head of broccoli – cut into florets
150g – 200g paneer – cubed
1 onion – cut into 1/8ths
100ml light olive oil
juice of a lime
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon chili powder – more if you like it hotter
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

Put the oven on to 200C or 180C with the fan

Mix the olive oil, lime juice, salt and spices in a large bowl then add the onion, broccoli and paneer. Mix well to ensure everything is coated in the spiced oil.
When the oven is hot, tip everything into an oven proof dish and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes giving it a quite stir around every 5-10 minutes to prevent the broccoli from burning.

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Sunday Brunch

1 02 2015

I have a thing about eggs for breakfast. Poached, boiled, fried, scrambled. I love them all. I’ve now started baking them too. This is a simple and filling brunch for a cold, lazy Sunday with the newspapers. I usually add salt to potato dishes but the cheese is salty enough that it doesn’t really need any extra.

Serve with lots of ketchup and maybe a little sourdough toast if you are not watching the carbs.

This should make enough for two hungry people

4 large field mushrooms
4 eggs
about 20 baby new potatoes
1 onion – sliced
olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
50g Tallegio cheese

Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 5 minuts then drain and slice the large ones.

Put the oven on to 180C

Heat the butter in a frying pan (use one that you can put in the oven) with a little olive oil. Add the onion and fry until softened and starting to brown. Add the part-cooked new potatoes and fry gently, stirring occasionally until the potatoes start the brown. Place the mushrooms stalk side up in the pan, drizzle with olive oil then place the whole pan in the oven at 180C for around 15 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and shrunk a little.

Now take the pan out of the oven, make 4 holes in amongst the potatoes and crack the eggs into each one. Slice the tallegio and scatter over the mushrooms. Return the pan to the oven for 7-10 minutes until the eggs are done and the cheese has melted.

Scatter with a little chopped parsley and serve piping hot.

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Asian Style Tofu and Noodle Salad

3 11 2014

I made tofu banh mi over the weekend and had some of the baked tofu and pickled vegetables left over. I added some rice vermicelli and a few crushed peanuts and it made a great salad.

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recipe to follow when I remember the quantities but the ingredients include:-

firm tofu
mooli
carrot
red chili
spring or red onion
cucumber
coriander leaves
light soy sauce
dark soy sauce
lime juice
rice vinegar
maple syrup
ginger
unsalted peanuts





A cake for late summer

19 09 2014

I’m not one for cakes, but having had a bumper crop of raspberries this year I am running out of ideas. I’ve got jars and jars of jam, litres of raspberry vodka waiting patiently for Christmas to arrive and a freezer full of whole raspberries and coulis.

This is a very simple sponge recipe – the same one as in my apple cake – dolloped over late summer berries. In this version I used raspberries and blackberries, but you could use one or the other, or redcurrants, blueberries or even gooseberries.

Put the oven on to 180C and line the bottom of a 20″ – 24″ spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper or parchment. Scatter enough berries to cover the base of the tin. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of demerera sugar over and the tiniest of splashes of vanilla essence.

Blend together 130g caster sugar and softened butter until pale and fluffy. Now beat in two medium free range eggs, then add 130g self raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder for extra lift. if the mix is a little dry add a tiny splash of milk.

Spread the cake mixture carefully over the berries, then bake for 45-55 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the tin then turn out upside down on a plate. Alternatively you could serve warm with custard.

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Broad Bean Burgers

10 07 2014

For those of you who grow your own you’ll be aware broad bean season is once again upon us. Broad beans are one of the easiest things to grow, just watch out for blackfly and pinch out the tender tops as the plants grow to prevent the blackfly from spreading.

This recipe really does benefit from the extra time spent shelling the beans. Even young broad beans will work best if you remove the tough husks. I think I used about 30-40 pods when making this. I got 4 decent sized burgers out of it. You can shape the mixture into burgers and freeze for use later if you have too much to eat in one sitting.

Broad beans
2 large potatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 red chili
2-3 slices of bread
Large pinch of turmeric
Large handful of parsley and coriander
1 egg
salt

Remove the beans from their pods, place in boiling water and boil rapidly for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins and place the shiny green beans in a large bowl.

Peel and chop the potatoes. Cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Drain and add to the beans. Mash roughly.

Finely chop the onion, garlic and chili and fry gently in olive oil until tender. Add to the mashed beans and potatoes. Add the turmeric, egg, chopped herbs and season with salt. Mix well then blitz the bread into crumbs and add those too.

Heat a pan with a little olive oil. Take a handful of the burger mixture and shape into a round burger. Fry gently on both sides until browned.

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