Simple Lamb and Mint Burgers

The origins of International Burger Day are unclear with Google and Wikipedia not being able to offer up how this bizarrely named day has somehow come about so purely because we here at Love Food HQ have a number of burger recipes to hand – all low fat and nutritious recipes and NOT fat laden, artery clogging versions – we thought we’d add this here little ol’burger recipe for you to try out at home at your leisure. 

Andrew: Inspired by Dawn’s Turkey and Thyme Burgers I have been rummaging in the freezer and found some minced lamb, and with fresh mint growing aplenty in the garden, as well as a jar of the dried herb, I have devised this dish.

Dawn: It is barbecue season after all. So many of the commercially available ones are so full of fat and water that the end result is often much smaller than the burgers that emerge from the fridge or freezer.

Andrew: Quite right, Dawn. And why should beef be the only alternative in a burger, too? Do you know the origins of the word ‘Hamburger’, Dawn?

Dawn: I know there isn’t any ham in them.

Andrew: That is because the name originates from the city of Hamburg.

Dawn: Frankfurters originate in Frankfurt, Wieners from Vienna (Wien).

Andrew: A Berliner originates from Berlin, and is a filled jam doughnut, with no hole. So when a certain fast food outlet announced ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’…

Dawn: …. the crowd thought he said ‘I am a deep fried yeast based confectionery product’. No wonder some of them looked bemused.

Lamb and mint burgers

Ingredients

Makes 8

450g minced lamb

100g breadcrumbs

A bunch of spring onions, skin and leaves removed, finely sliced and pushed out of their rings

1-2tsps of dried mint (or a generous handful of fresh mint, washed and finely chopped)

A little flour

Oil of your choice to shallow fry

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Just as with the Turkey and Thyme Burgers, place the lamb, breadcrumbs, spring onions, herbs and seasoning in a bowl and mix by hand so that all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Divide into 8 roughly equal portions, roll each into a ball, roll gently in flour and set aside.
  • When ready to cook, heat a frying pan over a medium-hot hob, adding a little oil.
  • Press each burger between your hands or on a chopping board so all are of equal thickness.
  • Fry until cooked to your satisfaction on both sides, turning in the middle of cooking.
  • Alternatively griddle or barbecue your burgers, according to taste or equipment.
  • Serve with a salad, potato wedges or simply in a bun with red onion and tomato sauce, or whatever takes your fancy.

Dawn: Another winner from the Love Food Stable.

For more food tips and recipes keep following forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK. Oh, and Facebook, too – please come and “Like” us!

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Spicy Stuffed Marrow

The audience has a hushed silence hanging about it…the kind of silence that you only hear with baited anticipation holding everyones’ breaths deep within them as individual excitements mount to create a palpable collective and universal thrill as what lies in store.

The heavy auditorium curtains give little away as the audience’s excited anticipation reaches fever pitch.

Then…the curtains begin to slowly open and commence their seemingly torturous slow journey to reach their destinations at either side of the impressively large stage. Slowly the heavy fabric sleeves holding their secret are opening with a come-hither look of seductive prowess about them to reveal what the whole auditorium have been waiting for…no other than the Cooking Duo!

Yes, foodies! Live, on stage! With each beaming the widest of smiles and waving cheery greetings of “Hello, fellow Foodies!” to everyone gathered here to see and watch this dynamic Cooking Duo’s show.

Dawn: Well Andrew, what do you have for me today?

Andrew: I’ve been busy in the Love Food garden, Dawn. Have you seen the size of my marrow?

marrow

Dawn: (raises eyebrows) My! That’s an impressive size!

Andrew: The more it’s loved, the more it grows!

Dawn: I don’t wish to know that! But what to do with the beast; it looks a real monster!

Andrew: The marrow is from the same family as courgettes, but unlike its smaller cousin, it is an advantage to be this size.

Dawn: It’s about 15 inches long. Should fit nicely into that baking tray.

Andrew: Marrow is delicious, nutritious, easy to grow and cook. However, the taste is often quite bland.

Dawn: Shall we spice it up a little?

Andrew: You know I can never decline an invitation like that!

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large marrow

1 red or white onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (or a teaspoon of chili flakes)

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

200g chorizo, cubed

250g baby plum/cherry tomatoes

Small glass of wine (or water)

75-100g couscous

Handful of breadcrumbs

Grated cheese of choice – we used mature cheddar but anything you have in the fridge will work just as well as well as manchego or parmesan would be just as good

Andrew: Definitely going to be a kick from this combination.

Dawn: Let’s get this party started!

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.
  • Cut the marrow in half, scoop out the seeds and the flesh leaving about a centimetre depth in each half. Season with black pepper and salt, and place in a baking tray.
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan, heat a tablespoon of any type of cooking oil – sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil – over a medium heat.
  • Sweat the onion for 5 minutes, then add the peppers for a further 5 minutes, allowing them to soften.
  • Add the garlic, herbs and spices. Mix well.
  • Add the chorizo and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing the flavour and colour to develop.
  • Throw the tomatoes in (whole or halved depending on taste).
  • Pour in the wine or water, cover and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes have split and the liquid reduced.
  • Turn off the heat, add the couscous, mix and cover again. The couscous will cook in the liquid and absorb it.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the halved marrow.
  • 20150728_192053Cover with tin foil, place in the oven and bake for half an hour.
  • Remove from oven, discard the tin foil, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly across the marrow.
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the breadcrumbs toasted, and the marrow is tender.
  • Serve with a salad of your choice, with chicken or lamb if hungry.

20150728_201131Andrew: Half of one of the halves will be sufficient for a lunch.

Dawn: And cold the next day, the spicy flavours really penetrate the marrow.

Andrew: Another winner from the Love Food kitchen.

Dawn: And excellent use of our home grown vegetables!

For more inspiring and easy-to-make recipe ideas from the Cooking Duo, keep following forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.

Vegetarian Three Beans Chilli

Are you a vegetarian? Or feeling in a “veggie” mood? Then this simple and tasty meal is a variation on my “Yummy Chunky Chilli” dish – minus the meat!

DSCI4124

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 tsps whole cumin seeds

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 red peppers, washed, de-cored, de-seeded and sliced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

500ml vegetable stock

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained and washed

1 tin of black eyed peas, drained and washed

1 tin of chick peas, drained and washed (or do your own “How to Rehydrate Dried Chick Peas”)

1/2 a butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into small squares

Method

  • Put the cumin seeds in a large saucepan and toast for about 3-5 minutes on a low heat.

Dawn: You’ll know the cumin is toasted as the seeds begin to release their ‘woody’ aroma. Mmm…delicious!

  • Next, add the paprika and a splash of warm water to prevent the spices from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding extra warm water as required to stop the ingredients from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the sliced red peppers and chopped tomatoes.

Dawn: You can roast the red peppers before adding them and this will lend a mild roasted flavour to the dish. I’ve not done this on this occasion as I was short of time but it’s worth doing as it adds another dimension to the depth of flavours achieved in the cooking.

  • The vegetable stock and three types of beans are poured into the saucepan and mixed together.
  • Next add the cubed butternut squash and stir the ingredients together. On a medium heat, cook these until they have reached boiling point and then lower the heat, cover and allow to cook on a low and gentle heat for about 45-60 minutes until all the ingredients are tender.

Dawn: You’ll know the dish is cooked when the butternut squash becomes ‘mellow-looking’ – soft and mushy – around the edges and the stock is thick and gluey-looking in appearance and texture. It’ll look like a thickish soup with lots of textures to it when it’s cooked.

  • Serve in a warm bowl with either cooked rice – see my “How to Boil Rice” – or a green salad or simply a slice of tasty bread to lap up the juices when you’ve finished.

Dawn: Voila! A glistening nest of ruby red jewels and opulent orangey gems to feast your eyes – and bellies – upon! Enjoy!

For more easy to make and oh-so simple to follow recipes, then follow this blog at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and over at Twitter @Love_Food_UK. The Cooking Whiz is also on Mumsnet and Facebook.