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.

 

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

Jamie’s South East Asian Chicken Curry with Fluffy Rice

Now I am slightly biased, I would eat anything Jamie Oliver put in front of me. I have nearly all his books, dvd’s, eaten in his restaurants and had a cooking classes at his recipease store. I can honestly say he is the reason I started cooking and growing. His Jamie at home book is my favourite recipe book (and I have a lot of recipe books) and the accompanying series I could watch again and again. But.. none of this has influenced my review of this dish. Honest.

I love it, i love it, i love it. I love Jamie, I love this curry. Seriously though I cannot find fault with this. As a quick midweek curry this was as good as it gets. Its a basic curry with good natural, fresh flavours. The fresh coriander and the lime juice are the winning elements. Its easy for a curry to get bogged down and taste heavy. This on the other hand tasted fresh and vibrant while still satisfying that curry need.

So, fry your onion and pepper till soft. Then add the garlic, ginger and the finely chopped stalks from the coriander. Once these have softened add the curry powder and turmeric and keep cooking for a couple of minutes. This will release all the lovely flavours and aromas from the spices. Put the chicken thighs into the pan and cook for a few minutes to seal and then pour in the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. For the last 5 minutes add the cherry tomatoes. While this thickens cook the rice in twice as much water for 7 minutes then remove from the heat and steam with the lid on for at least another 7 minutes. Once the curry has thickened add lime juice and if you have some, some mango chutney, season to taste. When serving scatter with the coriander leaves and give every one a slice of lime. Once they taste how well it goes they will want more.

P.S. I love Jamie

This meal is from our hello fresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk

Mexican Broth with Spicy Beef and Beans

I wasn’t expecting much here. The thought of a bowl of broth doesn’t really set my taste buds tingling. It is hard to think you can be satisfied by what really amounts to a lumpy drink. Once again me and my thoughts have been proven wrong. 

Not only did this meal satisfy, it had more flavour in it than the previous weeks meals put together. There are a number of ingredients that made this dish. The smoked paprika not only imparted that deep red colour but also as it’s name states a rich smokiness that adds a whole new dimension. The Mexican spice adds a lot of heat that builds progressively, thankfully the soured cream does enough to cool it before it gets too much. 

Cook your onion and garlic in a pan before adding the beef mince, mexican spice and smoked paprika. Once the beef has browned add the pepper and potato. After five minutes pop in the mixed beans and the passata. Once its all mixed together thoroughlyadd the stock and water. Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes.

While its cooking rub your tortillas in olive oil, cut them into thin strips, season with some salt and pepper and put them into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around five minutes. They will come out lovely and crisp. Stir through the coriander before serving the broth. Top it off with a nice dollop of soured cream and some of the tortillas.

Treat Day tomato, Chorizo and Mozzarella Orzo

Just looking at these ingredients you know what this is going to taste like, and this really does live up to the expectations. Great flavour combinations literally stuck together with soft stringy mozzarella. 

For a while now I’ve been banging on about big pasta, you know the Rigatoni’, tortellini they carry more flavour and feel more substantial well I am going to add to it. I like big pasta and really small pasta. I’m still not a fan of spirals and tubes. Orzo pasta is amazing and in a dish like this when everything is combined with a melted cheesy goodness, it feels just as satisfying. The combination of chorizo, tomato and mozzarella is practically unrivalled in the food world. The only thing that could make this better is basil. I’m not sure why it wasn’t in the recipe. That lovely fragrant taste of Basil would have been a welcome voice in this harmony of flavours. I’m nit picking, this meal is fantastic.

So to make this, half your cherry tomatoes and roast them in the oven with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little sugar for about 10 minutes at 200 degrees. Fry your chopped onion and garlic in a pan with a little oil until soft, then addyour thyme leaves, tomato purée and chorizo for another couple of minutes. Once the chorizo starts releasing it’s amazing oil add the orzo. Mix it all up so it gets coated in all those incredible flavours. Pour in the water, add the stock and let it simmer until the orzo has soaked up all the liquid. Add more water if you need to but make sure the pasta is just cooked and still retains a little bite in the middle. Once the orzo is cooked mix in your mozzarella some parmasan and the cherry tomatoes. Add the spinach on top and put a lid on for a few minutes until it has all wilted. Serve it with a sprinkle of parmasan

This tastes so good you wont even care that by the time you’re finished your chin will be covered in soft stringy mozzarella. I sat there for an hour after picking it out of my beard, before you ask yes I did eat it and i’m not even sorry. And neither will you be.

Bacon Chilli and Butternut Squash Risotto

This risotto is light, fresh and so tasty I nearly didn’t share it with my wife. (her portion may have been slightly smaller than mine.. no more than a couple of tablespoons..three max.. and a few extra bits of squash.. whats four tablespoons when you love someone)

So once you have chopped your onion, garlic,parsley, Chilli, bacon and squash and grated your Parmesan. Get your pan of stock on the boil for your risotto. Put the cubed squash on a pan with some oil and salt and pepper and cook in the oven till soft in the center.  Add a bit of butter and a drizzle of oil to a large pan and cook your onion and bacon till the onion is soft. Next add your Chilli is and garlic and cook for another minute. Now add your rice and fry till it starts to go translucent around the edges. Then start adding your stock a ladle at a time, waiting each time until it has all soaked up defore adding the next. When it is cooked take it off the heat and add the squash with most of your Parmesan some more butter and most of your parsley. Mix it up with the juice of half a lemon. I added some more chilli over mine because well.. why not.

You can actually taste every ingredient in this as you eat it. The squash is amazing as it always is. I love cooking with it, the flavour it gives you after being roasted in the oven is wonderful. The lemon juice for me was the stand out performer. I wouldn’t have thought of putting it in this kind of recipe. I thought it would be to sharp and take away the flavour of the other ingredients. How wrong I was, there was no sharpness just a subtle suggestion of it throughout.

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

Beef Ragout with Rigatoni and Black Olive Salsa

A deep rich ragout, coating a soft yet firm rigatoni pasta, sweet yellow peppers and a simple salsa that seems out of place but actually combines so well you wont want to eat ragu again without it.

So lets start with the basics. I have mentioned before my love of Rigatoni pasta, it’s size and shape are perfect for sauces like this ragu. It grabs the sauce and holds onto it, and this is a sauce you want it to hold onto. It’s hearty, warming, smooth and rich. This, like most pasta and sauce dishes is where you really notice the quality of your ingredients. From the tomato purée to the beef stock the better the quality the richer the flavour. A note on the stock, I am not against the stock cubes you get I have used them all my life and will continue to use them day to day. However, If you are making something a bit more special then i’d recommeng using what i call jelly stocks. I find the flavour richer and deeper.

Before I talk about the salsa I just want to mention that for these photo’s I used my Panasonic Lumix G10. The sharpness and the quality of the photo is much better but I am struggling to get enough light. I will keep playing with it and hopefully crack it soon.

The salsa was literally tomatoes, black olives, basil and olive oil. It felt wrong adding a cold salsa to a hot soul warming ragu. The first mouthful however showed just how right it was. The cold crisp taste of the tomatoes cut through the deep flavour of the beef and sauce. The black olives added a bitterness to it that worked in ways I don’t even know how to describe. In my head they shouldn’t work in this meal but they do. They really do.

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