Minted Lamb and Feta Burgers With a Crunchy Salad

Normally when I want a burger I want cheddar cheese, blue cheese, bacon, black pudding, burger sauce, mayo, ketchup, mustard, cooked onion, raw onion, onion rings,  lettuce, rocket and any other accompaniment you could think of, not all at once obviously although I wouldn’t say no to trying that. So when I looked at this recipe I wasn’t expecting much. A burger with no sauce! How wrong I could be.

Firstly, the peripherals. The wedges, you can’t go wrong with home made wedges, a little oil and salt and pepper and you are golden. Keep the skins on for that extra crispiness. The salad was light and refreshing. Lettuce, radish, spring onion and mint with a little olive oil. I used my good olive oil here that I got from our trip to France. The better the oil the better the flavour so therefor the better the salad.

So, onto the burger. The two most important parts of a good burger. The burger patty itself and the bun. Here we have a brioche bun which for me is the best bun you can get. I am partial to a nice soft white roll at a BBQ but where ever possible its brioche all the way. The burger here is lamb mince which apart from tasting different to your usual beef burger is also filled with a lot more fat which really, really helps. I am all for healthy eating and lean meat but I cannot sit here and lie and say that a lean piece of meat tastes as good as a fatty piece of meat. Obviously moderation is the key. Or in the wise words of Oscar Wilde “Everything in moderation, including moderation”

Along with that lovely sweet lamb that has mint, spring onion and feta all mixed in to the patty itself. You have an onion relish, this is literally onion that is stewed in a pan with some salt and a little sugar. These sweet caramelised onions really combine well with the lamb. These amazing flavour combinations make this a great burger. I didn’t miss any of my usual “must have fillings.. this time. I don’t think anything will beat my usual combination but this has opened up my eyes to other possibilities.

What

2x Large Potatoes

1 Onion

2x Baby Gem Lettuce

1x Pack Radish

3x Spring Onion

1 Bunch Mint

375g Minced Lamb

1 Block Feta Cheese

3x Brioche Buns

How

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees. while its warming up Chop the potatoes into wedges, you don’t have to peel them the skins will go nice and crispy. Toss the wedges in a splash of olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and pop them in the oven to roast for about 25 minutes.

Onion, slice it into thin half moons

Baby Gem, roughly chop it.

Radish, finely slice it

Spring onion, finely chop it.

Mint, roughly chop it.

Heat up a dash of olive oil in a small pan, add your onion with a pinch of salt and sugar. Put a lid on the pan and leave it on a low heat for around 15 minutes.

Next, mix your lamb with half the chopped mint and three quarters of your spring onion. crumble in half the feta cheese and then add a little flour, salt and pepper. mix it all together with your hands. Divide the mixture into one burger each.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the burgers. cook for around 4 – 5 minutes on each side. If you find they are cooking to quickly on the outside before the center is cooked you can turn down the heat or transfer them to the oven until cooked through.

Mix the remaining spring onion with the radish and lettuce and the rest of the mint. drizzle over some olive oil and salt and pepper and mix together.

Lastly split your buns in half and pop under the grill for around a minute each side. Keep an eye on them they burn fast.

Pop a burger in the bun with a spoonful of your onion relish. put it on the plate with some crispy wedges and a handful of salad.

 

Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Chicken With Saffron Spiced Freekeh and Zahtar Dressing

This dish received a lot of hype before I cooked it, it looks and sounds like it was going to be packed with flavour. However, it wasn’t the case. I really enjoyed it and would happily recommend it. My wife and brother on the other hand were left underwhelmed.

By the time I plated this up I was practically dribbling into the bowl (I gave that one to my brother). The dish looked amazing and smelt delicious. The flavour on the other hand was.. different to what we were expecting. Now I really liked it, it was very citrusy and spicy. There were some issues, I didn’t see the need for the saffron, I can’t say I really tasted it. Also the Freekeh wasn’t as flavourful as it has been before in other meals. I will try this one again one day. I am sure it was my cooking that let the end result down. It is hard to look at that ingredients list and not get a fantastic tasting meal. 

Firstly get your grill on medium high, prep the chicken by putting it on a tray with a bit of salt and pepper mix up some olive oil and lemon zest and massage this into the chicken. Put it to one side while you carry on prepping.

Shallot, c it into thin half moons

Garlic, peel it, grate it.

Red pepper, slice into strips.

Add your shallot to a pan with some oil and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Then add your pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add your garlic and saffron and cook for 1 minute. When ready add 750ml of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the Freekeh with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

While the Freekeh is cooking, whack your chicken under the grill, probably for around 10 minutes each side depending on the size of your breasts.

Parsley, chop it

Mint, chop it

Red chilli, finely chop it. 

In a bowl mix up the Zahtar spice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a quarter of the parsley, all the mint, and some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then add as much of the chilli as you fancy.

When the Freekeh is cooked drain any excess fluid. Mix in the rest of the parsely and some lemon juice.

Slice the chicken and lay it on a Freekeh bed. Top with the Zahtar dressing and sprinkle any leftover herbs and chilli.

 

 

Caribbean Spicy Sausages

Just try and stop your mouth watering. Look at the colours, vibrant, fresh and what it all boils down to, damn tasty.

Take a good old English tradition and turn it on its head. This dish did it perfectly. Spicy sausages with roasted vegetables samothered in mango chutney and jerk seasoning revive this often dull and lifeless dinner into a fantastic assault on the taste buds. Don’t get me wrong I love bangers and mash, but so often you see cheap sausages, lumpy mash and gravy that may as well be water. Cooked properly and the traditional English staple will win hands down for me. Its what I grew up with. But this fusion of flavours is a welcome change.

The vegatables are sweet and sticky but also come with that irresistible jerk flavouring that provides that lovely heat. The sausages were just good quality sausages. I don’t know what the flavourings in them were but that had a nice spicy flavour. The mash was soft and buttery. Again I don’t know what they were but for mash you need a high starch potato like russets. This means they will mash better and soak up all that butter or milk. I always season my mash especially with pepper.

Slice your peppers into 1 to 2 cm wide slices. They don’t have to be all even, the smaller ones will roast more and get that amazing crispness on the skin. Peel and chop the onion into large 2cm peices. Peel and chop the carrot into batons as big as your little finger.

In a bowl mix olive oil, the jerk seasoning and the mango chutney mix this with the veggies in a tray so everything is covered. Season with salt and pepper and then lay the sausages on top. Prick the sausages a couple of times with a sharp knife. Put it all in a pre heated oven of around 200 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Peel and chop the potato into 2cm peices, pop the in a pot of boiling water until they are soft in the middle. Once they have cooked drain and put back in the pan with a knob of butter and a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper and mash until smooth.

Serve it up on a plate and sprinkle with some roughly chopped parsley. Amazing.

Crispy Sea Bream with Braised Fennel, Parsley Mash and Zesty Crumbs

A simple dish that is made great by a fantastic crumb that lifts the flavours from the other ingredients.

The main component of this meal, the fish, was as you would expect fresh and tasty. The skin was nice and crisp and gave a nice texture to the dish. I loved the fennel. I have only ever had the soft leafy tops before so this was another first for me. Apparently it is related to celery and you can see that when you taste it. It is fresh and crisp in flavour. It is subtle and does not overpower the delicate flavour of the fish. The potatoes were nice and buttery, the skins being left on gave a slight resistance when eating them which was nice. What stood out on this dish was the zesty crumb. The panko breadcrumbs were proper crunchy, mixed with salt, pepper, parsley and the lemon zest. They seemed to give all the other ingredients that little lift.

So for this you need chop the potatoes into pieces, leave the skin on, it adds to the texture. Pop them into a pan of boiling water and boil for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are soft through. 

While they are cooking away, remove the nice leafy tops of the fennel and finely chop them put them to one side. Cut the fennel in half length ways and remove the core at the bottom. Then slice into 1cm pieces. 

Lemon, zest it;

Parsley, chop it

Garlic, grate it

Put a splash of oil in a pan and cook the fennel on a high heat for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. A minute later add 300ml water, turn down the heat to medium\low whack a lid on a gently simmer until the fennel is tender.

Add some oil to a pan on medium heat and add the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt. Once the crumbs are nice and golden put them in a bowl to one side. Once they have cooled, add half of the parsley and a pinch of lemon zest. Wipe out the pan with some paper towel.

Drain your potatoes once they are cooked. Put them back in the pot and add in the butter, mash it all till its nice and smooth then mix in the rest of the parsley and some salt and pepper. Keep it warm with the lid on while you cook the fish.

Add some oil to the pan and cook the fish skin side down for 3 minutes and then turn it over for another couple of minutes. When the center is white you know its cooked. 

Mix the fennel tops into the fennel and serve it next to a dollop of mash and that’s lovely sea bream. Scatter over some of the zesty crumb mix and get stuck in. 

This meal is from our HelloFresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk

Cheats Lamb Moussaka

Lamb, just using it instead of beef gives you such a rich flavour. Soft aubergines and a mouthwatering creme fresh and Parmesan topping will have you wishing you made enough for thirds.

When I think of Moussaka I think of Greece. It does however, like most dishes, have many variations. Across the Balkans for instance it is more likely to see potatoes instead of aubergine, and to use pork mince over lamb. In Turkey the dish is not layered instead the eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat are sauteed together and served with pilaf and tzatziki. Across the Eastern Mediterranean the dish varies so much it can become unrecognisable. The Greek version has three layers cooked separately then assembled and baked together.

Cook the onion in some oil for a few minutes before adding the carrot and grated garlic. Before the garlic browns add the lamb mince and cinnamon stick. Cook the Lamb until it has browned, then add your chopped tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes adding a little seasoning and a little sugar if you are feeling a bit naughty. While it is cooking, drizzle some olive oil over your aubergine slices and season Grill them for around 10 minutes on either side. 

This is where we assemble the moussaka, Remove the cinnamon stick from the lamb mixture and pour into an oven proof dish. Spread your grilled aubergine slices over the top. Then spoon on the Creme fraiche and spread it evenly over the top. Grate over the parmasan and grill it until you get that amazing brown crispy top. Remove it from the grill and then cut the last garlic clove in half and rub it over your sliced ciabatta. Grill it till nice and crisp. While it is grilling toss the rocket in some Extra Virgin Olive oil and salt and pepper. Serve together and enjoy these amazingly simple flavours.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk

Pan-Fried Sea Bass, Butternut Squash Wedges and Garlicky Bacon Kalettes

Five ingredients, that’s it, five. Proof that if you want good food you just need good quality food.

Sea Bass, what I would call a fishy fish, flavour wise (i know I should be a food critic with descriptions like that). It is though a nice change from the over used cod. The skin was nice and crisp, i used a small sprinkling of pepper to give it a little kick. The flesh was flaky and soft as it should be. It has reconfirmed that I do like fish. I never eat it, I will always choose meat over fish but I think things may change.

Onto the squash, such an amazing flavour. Roasted squash has become one of my favourite flavours. I have always skinned them though no matter how I have cooked them. My mind was blown when I read that you can roast them with the skin still on. I thought they would be tough and chewy but like always I was wrong. They were soft and sweet and the best part of the dish.

Kallets? Never heard of them? Don’t worry I hadn’t either, they are a cross breed between kale and Brussels sprouts. I am going to do a post about them so I wont go into to much detail here. I will say they were lovely. I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts so I wasn’t to eager to try them. Thankfully they are sweeter and taste more of kale than of Brussels sprouts.


Slice your squash into some form of wedges, toss in some olive oil with salt and pepper and put into a pre heated oven for thirty minutes at 220C. Cut the tough bottoms off the kalettes, like you would to your sprouts. Grate your garlic and chop your bacon. Cook the bacon for a few minutes in a pan with a splash of oil, then add the kalettes and cook for another five minutes stir in the garlic and keep it on the heat for another thirty seconds. Remove the mixture from the pan and into a bowl, cover with tinfoil to let the kalettes steam till the rest is cooked. Wipe out your pan and when your squash is nearly done add some oil and cook the sea bass skin side down for three minutes, turn it over and cook for another three minutes. Once everything is cooked plate it up and enjoy the great flavour of simplicity.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk