Beetroot, Chick Pea and Quinoa Burgers

I now realise you can make burgers from pretty much anything provided you follow a few basic principles. You need something dry, something sticky to bind it together and lots of flavours. The dry part tends to be oats, or breadcrumbs, or nuts. The sticky comes from eggs, cheese or mashed pulses.

This came about as a somewhat random recipe. made from the sort of things I have lying about the kitchen. A few vegetables, a pulse I can mash to get the stickiness and some quinoa – yeh I know quinoa is becoming all a little bit too 2015, but it adds a wonderful nutty flavour to the dish and, when the burgers are fried, it’s the quinoa that gives it it’s crispy exterior, without the need to roll the burgers in breadcrumbs or the like. Apart from the quinoa, everything else is used raw until you cook the burgers themselves.

This made four large burgers – though I think dividing it into six would be more elegant perhaps

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 medium beetroot – peeled and grated
1 medium carrot – peeled and grated
2 clove garlic – roughly chopped
1x400g tin chick peas – drained
a handful of fresh parsley leaves and stalks
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
a splash of tabasco
juice of half a lime
a handful or so of rolled oats
olive oil for frying

Put the quinoa and water in a pan, bring to the boil, cover then simmer for 10 minutes. Leave the lid on and allow to cool.

Put the chick peas, garlic and tahini in a food processor and blitz to a rough mixture, a little bit like crunchy peanut butter. Add the grated carrot and beetroot, the parsley, paprika and oregano. Whiz for few seconds, then add the lime juice, tabasco, salt, pepper. Whiz again briefly then slowly add the oats and cooked quinoa with a quick pulse in between, until you have a firm, but still a little moist mix.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Divide the mixture into six (or 4, or even 8!). Roll each into a ball, squash into a flattish disc and fry gently in the oil for 7-9 minutes on each side. The top and bottom should be browned and crispy and the middle nice and hot.

I served mine with a red cabbage, carrot and chili slaw and a jacket potato. How are you having yours?

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Beet ‘n’ Bean Burgers

I first had a beetroot burger at Wholefoods Market on a recent trip to New York while trying to escape the cold and the rain. Then on a flying visit to Cornwall last weekend I had them again – this time at the takeaway hole-in-the-wall at Watergate Bay.

These can be made in advance and frozen. They work well on the BBQ too, just handle with care.

Make 6 burgers

1 onion – chopped
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium beetroots
1 courgette
1x400g tin red kidney beans – drained
breadcrumbs – about 3-4 slices worth
2 tablespoons tahini
a handful each of parsley and mint
a few flakes of chili – depending how hot you like it
salt and black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until softened. Allow to cool.

Grate the courgettes into a muslin or teatowel and squeeze as much water out as you can. Put the courgette into a large bowl along with the peeled and grated beetroot.

In your food processor, put the cooled onion and garlic, the drained beans, herbs and tahini. Blitz until it looks like a smooth hummus then tip out into the bowl along with the courgette and beetroot. Add a few chili flakes, mix well then slowly add breadcrumbs until you get a dryish, sticky mix. Season with salt and pepper, mix again then shape into six burgers.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan then fry the burgers over a medium heat for about 8-10 minutes on each side until browned.

Here I have served the burgers with a smokey walnut muhammara (from Anna Jones’ brilliant book) and a fatoush salad.

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Beetroot and Celeriac Slaw (and a Baba Ganoush recipe)

It’s been quite a while since I posted an update here. With this post you get two for one. Two recipes in one post, but perhaps not for dishes that work together. The main reason for writing up both recipes in the same post is that I only have the one photo, with both dishes in it!

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The first is for a beetroot and celeriac slaw/salad. Whilst this dish uses beetroot and celeriac you can substitute any similar root vegetable (swede, turnip, fennel, or , though not strictly a root, kohl rabi), just shred them finely and use them raw. Beetroot does work well though both for colour and that earthy sweetness that compliments the creamy yogurt-based dressing

1 medium beetroot
½ head of celeriac
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and black pepper

Peel the beetroot and celeriac then grate by hand or in a food processor. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the grated vegetables and mix well until all the vegetables are coated in the creamy dressing.

The second recipe is for a baba ganoush, sometimes referred to as moutabal. I beautifully creamy, subtly smokey aubergine sauce or dip which can be served as part of a mezze. The smell of burnt aubergine skin is not particularly pleasant and can linger a little in your kitchen but you need to make sure the skin is blackened to get that smokey flavour.

1 large aubergine
1 tablespoon tahini
juice of ½ lemon
1 small garlic clove – crushed
salt
olive oil
sumac

Prick the skin of the aubergine with a skewer or knife then place directly over a gas burner on your cooker. If you don’t have gas, place the aubergine under the grill. Make sure you do prick it in several places else it will explode.

Turn the aubergine occasionally until the skin is well charred and the aubergine is soft and collapses when you try to pick it up. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, scrape out the flesh and discard the burnt skin. Finely chop the flesh then add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and enough olive oil to make a smooth paste (about 2-3 tablespoons). Season with salt, mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of ground sumac.

Tahini Flapjack

Adapted (only very slightly) from master baker Dan Lepard’s brilliant Halva Flapjack recipe. The only changes I made were to add pine nuts and flax seeds and to use Agave Syrup in place of honey – mainly as I didn’t have any honey in the house at the time. The tahini gives the flapjack a wonderful fudge-like texture and nutty flavour.

100g butter
75g soft light brown sugar
1 can (197g it says on the tin!) condensed milk
4-5 tablespoons tahini
3-4 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey
100g dried figs – roughly chopped
100g shelled walnuts – roughly broken
50g pine nuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds/linseeds
approx 200g porridge oats

I tried this the first time with Greek tahini, but after my day with Yotam Ottolenghi, I have switched to using tahini from the middle eastern shops in and around Edgware Road. The Al Yaman one is great.

Heat the oven – 180C for a normal oven, reduced to 160C for a fan assisted one.

Now melt the butter, sugar and condensed milk either in a large pan over a low-medium heat or in a large mixing bowl in the microwave for a minute or two. Add the other ingredients except the oats and mix well. Now add the oats until the mixture holds its shape. The more you add the firmer the end result. I think a little over 200g works best.

Take a baking tray – somewhere around 25cm square or slightly bigger if you want the flapjack to be thinner. Line with parchment then spread the mixture into the tray pressing down firmly.

Bake for approx 20 minutes until starting to brown. Remove and cut into squares while still hot. Leave to cool in the tray then store in an airtight container. If you can resist eating it all it lasts a several days.