Rhythm ‘n’ Thyme Turkey Burgers

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la Don we now our gay apparel Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la.
Troll the ancient Yule-tide carol
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Oh…there you are! You caught me having a dance around Love Food HQ’s kitchen, doing three of my most favourite things: singing, dancing and cooking!!! Makes for a very happy me, I can tell you. 

As you’re here, I’ll share with you my super quick, delightfully tasty and surprisingly inexpensive meal which we all like in the Crimbo Limbo time between Christmas and New Year. 

The festive season is well and truly here, and as we await the close of this year’s celebrations and welcoming of the new, I’m thinking a wee tasty meal that’s both kind to wallets and waistlines while still being delicious and nutritious. Yes, this can be a challenge at this time of year. Fear not! Our seasonal zeal for all things poultry, in particular, turkey sees no abatement and with this key seasonal ingredient in mind, here’s a quick and simple recipe to take you from conservational evening meal to quick lunch before New Year’s sales shopping – and everything in-between.

Turkey is a low-fat meat and a source of protein. Here I’ve created a healthy homemade burger that’s just right for quick evening meals on the run-up to the Big Night (aka New Year’s Eve). Add various low-fat and nutritious side dishes, lashings of festive-inspired drinks plus a good dollop or two of great company and you have the recipe – excuse the pun – for a perfect occasion.IMG_5569


Makes 8

450g minced turkey

100g wholemeal breadcrumbs (or gluten-free if you prefer)

1 onion, skin removed, finely sliced and chopped

A handful of fresh thyme, washed and finely chopped (or 1-2tsps of dried thyme)

Salt and pepper to season

A little flour (any kind)

A little oil (any kind, if shallow frying)


  • Put the turkey, breadcrumbs, onion and thyme in a bowl and either by using a wooden spoon or your freshly washed hands, mix all the ingredients together. The mixture will resemble this:IMG_5520
  • Add a little salt and pepper while continuing to mix all the ingredients together.
  • When the ingredients have combined to form a large ball, divide into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into a round ball shape and set aside.
  • On a floured work surface, place a ball and gently press it down to form a flat circle. Ensure the burger is covered with flour and set it aside, ready to cook. Do this to the remaining 7 balls.
  • Next, either fire up the barbeque and gently cook the burgers on both sides until their meat is cooked thoroughly or place a frying pan on a low heat, pouring a little oil into it. Heat the oil and when the oil is ‘spitting’, it is warm enough to start putting the burgers in.
  • Cook the burgers on a gentle, low heat and periodically turn them over to ensure they cook through. Cooking them will take about 20-25 minutes and the meat will firm in texture with a caramelised look appearing on both sides of the burgers.
  • Once cooked, serve with salad, pickles, hummus and dressings. The dressing used here is a dijon mustard low-fat dressing with the recipe here: “How To Make Mustard Dressing”.



These look and taste delicious, costing pennies to make! The minced turkey was £2.49 for 450g, the thyme was out of the Love Food HQ garden so free bar lovingly tendered by my own fair hand – it’s about 69p-99p to buy fresh depending upon where you shop and you’d have some left over to use in other dishes. An onion has cost about 10p. Breadcrumbs…a couple of slices of wholemeal bread…a small loaf at 75p…so about 12p. And a splash of oil and seasoning. Under £3.00 for 8 tasty and nutritious burgers. Proving excellent value for money and you know exactly what ingredients have gone into making these tasty beauties. 

The origin of food is so important especially as we live in a time of unprecedented GM foods to be found on many supermarkets’ shelves.

I’ll be bringing you more cost-effective meals through my food ‘inventions’ very soon, fellow foodies. 

Until then: Do feel free to join me and sing along here.

Dawn x

For more simple-to-make and easy-to-follow recipes, simply follow this website to receive updates as and when they happen – straight into your ‘inbox’ – www.forfoodlovers,wordpress.com and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.



Tangy Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mackerel Risotto

I love risotto! It’s quick and oh-so-easy to make…and did I mention it costs pence to make? A big pan of risotto will make a handsome and delicious evening meal for four people or serves ample portions for two with cold leftovers thrown in containers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Originating in Northern Italy, this rice cooked in a broth dish can consist of anything you have in: from fish (fresh, frozen or canned, any variety suits this dish), through to meats of any description and then on to vegetarian versions. This truly is a dish of variation – and you can concoct any variety you happen to have the ingredients for.

Here, I’m creating a tangy fish, tomatoes and mushrooms version. And for those following gluten free and dairy free diets this simple, traditional Italian starter dish makes a very delicious meal that won’t inflame any food intolerances*.

Usually a high starch white, round rice is used with one such example being Arborio rice. In this instance, and being mindful that rices such as Arborio can be relatively high priced, I tend to use a cheap “basics” white rice, having thoroughly washed it beforehand in salted water and then numerous rinses to make sure it is clean before cooking with it.


Serves 4

1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)

A glug of olive oil (optional: sunflower or a healthy choice oil)

200g white rice (thoroughly washed and rinsed)

2 tins of mackerel (optional: in spicy tomato sauce used here)

80g mushrooms (peeled, washed and sliced)

100g sun dried tomatoes, sliced

1000ml vegetable stock (made from a stock cube)

1tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper to season


  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil until it starts to spit on a medium heat.
  • While the oil is heating, make the vegetable stock as per the instructions of the stock cubes you are using. Set aside.
  • Next, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to look opaque in appearance. Now add the rice and swirl the rice around and into the chopped onion and oil. If need be and to stop the ingredients from sticking to the pan, add a little more oil or a splash of boiling water. Fry the ingredients for a few minutes until all are covered in the glistening oily liquid.
  • Turning the heat down to a low simmer, add the mushrooms, tomatoes and mackerel, and stir these into the onion and rice mixture. The tomato puree can be added now, too.
  • You are now ready to start to add the vegetable stock a little a ladle at a time. Stir the ingredients regularly so as to enable the rice to absorb the stock and when the stock looks to be absorbed, add more of it. Keep this going until all of the stock is used. You are aiming to achieve a thick broth-like consistency for the final look of the dish.
  • Once this broth-like consistency is reached, the rice should be cooked. Taste it: is it cooked? If not, add a little more liquid as you’ve used the stock by now by simply adding a little boiling water and cook until the rice is cooked. Cooking time will depend upon the rice you are using so check the packet instructions for the timing.
  • Serve on warmed dinner plates or in bowls, and season.

I used rice that cooked in 10 minutes which made this a super quick meal to make. And as the rice was from a “basics” range, it was extremely affordable, too.

And you can quite literally use any combination of ingredients when making a risotto: I’ll be bringing you a few more such examples soon.

Some people might add butter and flakes of a strong cheese such as Parmesan at the latter stages before serving but I don’t: I’m a healthy eating advocate and the dish already has fats in it from the oil. Our bodies need “good” fats in moderation – unsaturated fats – to operate so aim to incorporate some into your daily food intake. But, as with all fats, it contains calories so be aware of this fact and choose healthier options that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. More details can be found on the National Health Service website at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

* Do check the food labels to make sure you are fully aware of what each ingredient includes before using it within your recipe.

How To Butterfly A Chicken

chickenDawn: An alternative way of cooking a whole chicken other than roasting it or placing it in a casserole is to butterfly it.

Andrew: This means cutting it open and spreading it into two halves joined in the centre like a butterfly.

Dawn: If you buy from a butcher, you can have it done there, but as most of us buy from supermarkets these days, here is our simple guide to doing it yourself.

Andrew: Care is needed here. A sharp knife is essential as a blunt one is more likely to cause an accident. Strong kitchen scissors are another useful tool here.

Dawn: Once finished you have a bird that can be cooked in a deep frying pan, on the griddle or even on a barbecue.

Andrew: You can also stuff herbs, garlic, bacon and butter under the skin to provide an incredible flavour boost.


1 Chicken (fresh or frozen, the latter thawed)


  • Remove the chicken from its packaging. Place on a clean chopping board breast up. Dislocate the legs and wings by twisting them.Chicken1
  • Take the largest and sharpest knife you have and cut straight down into the breastbone. You should here a crunch as the bone breaks.20160110_172934
  • Continue to cut down, right to the neck.20160110_173001
  • Turn the bird and cut down to the Parson’s nose.20160110_173035
  • Ease the bird apart with your hands then flatten it as much as you can which will help in the cooking process.20160110_173052
  • If you wish to stuff under the skin, gently work your fingers under the skin to break the membrane between skin and flesh being careful not to tear the skin.20160110_173207
  • Move your hand side to side and use our fingers to reach right under the skin of the legs.20160110_173220

See our other fantastic recipes for stuffing ideas! They include: “How to Make Sage and Onion Stuffing” and “Apple and Dates Stuffing“.  All can be savoured at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and follow us @Love_Food_UK as well as Facebook and Mumsnet