Monday, 29 April 2013

Week 14 - Burgers and Sliders

Well I had a craving for burgers that cheap take away was just not going to cut it.  After realising I had no mince in the freezer I decided to give a go at grinding my own in my Jamie Oliver food processor. I actually cannot believe how easy it was and how delicious it was using better quality meat in my burgers.

These turned out great and are an easy midweek meal to try.

Freshly ground meat

Caramelising the onion

Only the best mayo!



Recipe: Burgers and Sliders


Serves 4

For the burger mix

olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 Jacob's crackers, or 4 slices of bread, crusts removed
500 g quality lean minced beef
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 heaped teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large free-range egg
1 handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

For the spicy mayo

2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise, made with free-range eggs
2 teaspoons fat-free natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
1 good pinch smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
juice of ½ lemon

To serve

6 rashers higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
6 large burger buns, or 18 small burger buns
1 soft round lettuce, leaves washed and spun dry
4 tomatoes, sliced
6 gherkins, sliced
a few pickled chillies


You can make these burgers or sliders in an oven at full whack, on the barbecue or in a hot pan. If you're using the oven or barbecue, preheat it now.

Put a splash of olive oil into a large frying pan on a low heat and add your chopped onions. Fry for 10 minutes or until the onions have softened, then put to one side to cool completely. Blitz your crackers or bread in a food processor until you get a fine consistency. Oil a clean baking tray and put aside. Put the cooled onions into a large bowl with the rest of the burger ingredients. Use clean hands to scrunch the mixture together really well, then divide into 6 equal balls for burgers and 18 equal balls for sliders.

Wet your hands and roll the balls into burger-shaped patties about 2cm thick. Place your burgers or sliders on the oiled baking tray and pat with a little olive oil. Cover them with cling film and put the tray into the fridge for at least an hour, or until the patties firm up. This is a good time to make your spicy mayo, so put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix well and put to one side.

If using a frying pan or griddle pan, put it on a high heat now and let it get really hot. However you decide to cook your burgers, they'll want around 3 or 4 minutes per side – you may have to cook them in batches if your pan isn't big enough. When your burgers or sliders are nearly cooked on one side, add the rashers of bacon – whichever way you're cooking them – then flip the burgers and cook the bacon until golden and crisp. When the burgers are cooked to your liking and it's all looking really good, halve your burger buns and warm them through. Put the bacon on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.

When everything comes together pop your burgers or sliders on to their buns, add all your lovely toppings and your spicy mayo (you know how to put a burger together!), then tuck in with a lovely fresh salad, baked potato or potato wedges.

Changes Made: I decided to caramelise my onions - I used brown onions and popped them on the stove top for around 40minutes to reduce. I also ran out of mince so just made my own in the food processor. 

Results: Yum! They were just what I felt like, and mincing my own steak made these extra special. I also loved the kick that they cayenne pepper gave to the mayo.

Next Time: If mincing steak make sure that it is a bit fattier as this one was pretty lean and dried out a little. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Week 13 - Tortas De Aceite (Olive Oil Biscuits)

This was a recipe that really interested me when I first looked at it. While I love sweets I steer towards savoury 9 times out of 10. This ended up being the best of both worlds as there was hardly any sugar in the recipe, the unique taste of olive oil and a delicate crust of sugar over the top.

Be careful.. very addictive!

Olive oil & yeast

Ready to bake

Warm and ready for eating

Book: Jamie Does...

Recipe: Tortas De Aceite (Incredible Olive Oil Biscuits)


Makes 12

300g Type '00' flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Spanish extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden caster sugar plus extra for dusting
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
icing sugar, for dusting
plain flour, for dusting
1 large egg white, preferably free range, beaten


Preheat the oven to 230°c. Mix the flour, salt and fennel seeds in a bowl. Pour 100ml of extra virgin olive oil into a jug with 150ml of warm water then add the golden caster sugar and yeast and mix well. Leave for a few minutes.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the yeast mixture, using a fork gradually mix in the flour from the outside as you go. When it all starts to come together, use your hands to mix it into a lovely smooth dough.

Lightly oil two large baking trays, then dust them with icing sugar. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin. Divide your dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and roll each one into a ball, then roll out each ball until it's about 10cm in diameter. Put these on your trays, and brush each one with some beaten egg white. Dust each biscuit lightly with icing sugar so they all have an even coating, and scatter over a little golden caster sugar.

Cook in the hot oven for around 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to wire racks to cool, then tuck in.

Changes Made: Only had white caster sugar.

Results: These were so yummy, the ones that were rolled out thinner were definitely better. 

Next Time: Roll them out thinner.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Week 12 - Fish Baps with Mushy Peas

This was a fantastic weeknight meal, pretty much no prep, quick and full of flavour. Remember to get all of your ingredients if you want a truly 15 (or 20) minute meal. I nailed this one in 20 but oh my gosh you should have seen the state of the kitchen! Poor OH with the clean up.

Watch out for cayenne pepper.. much hotter than chilli powder!!! I used quite a lot so the fish had a definite kick! I loved the yoghurt tartare though, very different and helped balance the heat.

Coating the fish

Browning it off
Book: 15 Minute Meals

Recipe: The Best Fish Baps with Mushy Peas and Tartare Sauce


Serves 4


4 nice wholewheat gaps (any roll will do really!)
4 large (halved) or 8 small flat-fish fillets (around 480g) - I used Perch - skin off and pin boned
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
½ a mug of plain flour
olive oil
25g parmesan cheese
1 punnet of cress - I used pea sprouts
1 lemon


1 medium potato
500g frozen peas
½ a bunch of fresh mint


6 cornichons
1 tablespoon capers
1 little gem lettuce
250g natural yoghurt
¼ of a bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 lemon


Ingredients out, Kettle boiled, Oven at 130°c, small lidded pan high heat, large fry pan high heat, food processor (bowl blades)

Put the baps into the oven, slice the potato 0.5cm think, put it into the small pan, cover with boiling water and the lit and bring to the boil. On a sheet of greaseproof paper, season the fish with salt, pepper and cayenne, then sprinkle over flour to coat.

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the frying pan and add the fish. Cook until golden, finely grating the Parmesan over the top when you flip it over. Top the frozen peas into the pan with the potato then rip in the leafy top half of the mint and replace the lid.

Put the cornichons, capers, lettuce and yoghurt into the processor. Tear in the top leafy half of the parsley, squeeze in the lemon juice, then whiz up, season to taste and pour into a bowl. Drain the peas and potatoes, puree in the processor and season to taste. When the fish is perfect, get the baps out of the oven and serve with the peas, tartare sauce, punches of cress and lemon wedges.

Changes Made: Regular multi-grain rolls

Results: Great! Nice and light meal, pretty healthy and so tasty! The peas were fantastic and will be something to incorporate a lot more in dinners, very quick. Fish was delish although I underestimated the potency of cayenne pepper.. lucky I can handle the heat!

Next Time: Nothing :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Week 11 - Mighty Meaty Stifado

The weather in Adelaide turned chilly for a few days so I was in search for something that would warm me up from the inside. I love cooking things in the slow cooker but have not tried many on the stove top.

This recipe was full of things I would never have thought to put into a stew like cloves and all spice. It smelt amazing when marinating the meat and the finished product was so rich and refined. It definitely warmed me from the inside out and left me with the warm and fuzzy's.

I love the fact that any meat will do, as it cooks for so long you can go budget!

Add the onions
Reducing it down 

Finished product!

Book: Jamie Does...

Recipe: Mighty Meaty Stifado


Serves 6


1½ teaspoons allspice berries or whole pimento
6 cloves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 fresh bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried oregano
125ml dry Greek red wine
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar


600g stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces
600g trimmed pork shoulder, cut into 4cm pieces
olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon raisins, roughly chopped
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
juice of ½ a lemon
a bunch of flat-leaf parsley



Bash the allspice berries, cloves and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Add the peeled garlic and keep bashing until your have a paste. Tip it into a bowl, tear in the by leaves and add the rest of the marinade ingredients. Toss in the meat until well coated, then cover with glad wrap and put into the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.


When ready to start cooking, heat a few lugs of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the peeled onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened and golden. Add the meat and its marinade, then the raisins, tomatoes and puree, and pour in just enough water to cover everything. Season well and bring everything to the boil, then reduce to a low heat, put the lid on and leave to summer for 1½ hours. Take the lid off and cook for a further 45minutes or until the meat is really tender and beginning to fall apart and the sauce is thick and delicious. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. Have a taste and add the lemon juice and more seasoning if necessary. Finely chop the parsley leaves and sprinkle them all over, then finish with a drizzle of good extra virgin oil. 

This can be served with pilaf rice or mashed potato with hot crusty bread.

Changes Made: Nothing!

Results: This was one fantastic and very different stew.. cook it now!

Next Time: Nothing :)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Week 10 - Vindaloo Beef Curry

After coming home from Thailand I was keen to try my new skills from a Thai cooking class. One thing that I learnt was just how easy curry paste is to make and how different it tastes when done fresh. Gone are the days of store bought paste! This was a great, easy recipe that really anyone could do. It came out amazing and was a big hit in the house.

The rice is a recipe/method I use every time to make rice, it's really simple and always turns out perfect. Try adding things like chicken stock and cloves for an enhanced flavour!

You can make this curry with a jar of paste if time short, but I really recommend that you give the paste a go, you wont be sorry.

Grinding those spices

Curry paste!

Coating the beef with paste

Finished produce

Book: Minstry of Food

Recipe: Vindaloo Paste, Curry and Fail Safe Rice


Serves 4-6


1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 cloves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or curry powder)
2 cloves garlic
a thumb size of fresh ginger
4 dried chillies
1 tablespoon tumeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 fresh red chillies
a small bunch fresh coriander


2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh chillies, to your taste
a thumb size of fresh ginger
a small bunch fresh coriander
4 ripe tomatoes
groundnut oil
a knob of butter
800g diced pork shoulder (or any meat)
½ a 283g jar of vindaloo curry paste or curry paste above
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon runny honey
200g natural yoghurt
1 lemon



Peel the garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the peppercorns, garlic, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds to a dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious then remove pan from the heat. Add toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine (you could use a food processor also). Add the rest of the ingredients and grind until you have a smooth paste.


Peel, halve and finely slice your onions. Peel and finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely slice the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Cut the tomatoes into quarters.

Get a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high hear and add a couple of lugs of groundnut oil and the butter. Add onions, garlic, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for 10 minutes, until softened and golden. Add the pork and curry paste, stir well to coat everything with the paste and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, honey and about 400g of water, enough to cover everything and stir again. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on. Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not sticking to the pan and add extra water if necessary. Only when the meat is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper - season carefully.


Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to a boil. Rinse rice in a colander under running water for 1 minute or until the water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water  and wait for the grains to start dancing around. From that point, boil for 5 minutes. Drain rice and pour 2.5cm of water back into the pan. Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid and place on top of the simmering water and let the rice steam over it for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover until ready to serve. It should stay warm for 20 minutes.

Serve the curry with rice, natural yoghurt, coriander leaves and lemon wedges.

Changes Made: I did not have any fenugreek or curry powder so omitted this ingredient. I also used beef rather than pork.

Results: Oh my goodness! This was flavour central, I had thought that the paste was a little wet, but turned out so good. I loved the yoghurt and lemon and for someone who does not really like coriander it really balanced out the whole dish.

Next Time: Nothing! Success!