Category Archives: Comfort Food

Burger Me!

As I’ve had such a long break from writing this blog there were loads of tasty things I could have chosen to write about in my return post. However, I decided to tell you about something I made recently which proved very popular on Twitter and Facebook, as well as in this house.

Spicy Bean Burgers. Cheap. Easy. Totally tasty. That ticks plenty of boxes with me. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the antithesis of a food snob and I’m proud to celebrate the so-called low-rent food I enjoy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I like a trip to Burger King now and again. Sometimes unhealthy, lukewarm, processed food served in cardboard is just what you need. These days I’m a big fan of the Bacon Double Cheeseburger but there was a time when BK’s Spicy Bean Burger was my hangover food of choice. For some reason memories of these popped into my head recently and as we don’t have a Burger King within staggering distance I decided to make my own.

Here’s the recipe. This could definitely be tweaked to include any herbs or spices, etc. you prefer. Extra vegetables could be added or different beans used but I used what I had in the house at the time. I didn’t really want any extra shopping to be involved in the making of this dinner beyond the buns and salad leaves I used.

Spicy Bean Burgers and Crispy Crinkle Spuds (makes 5 -6 burgers*)

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For the burgers:

1 tin butter beans

1 tin red kidney beans

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic, minced

Tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, crushed chillies (if I’d had any fresh chillies I would have used 2 of those finely chopped)

Salt and ground pepper

Small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

2 slices worth of brown bread breadcrumbs (white would be fine)

2 eggs, lightly beaten (1 is for dipping the burgers in before coating with breadcrumbs)

Seasoned flour

Approx 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

 

For the potatoes:

As many potatoes as you want to eat! 3 – 4 makes loads for 2 people.

Vegetable oil

Semolina

 

To make the burgers:

Drain and mash up the butter and kidney beans. I left a few of the kidney beans almost whole. Lightly fry the red and spring onions with the minced garlic. Add to the beans. Add spices, herbs, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and lightly beaten egg. Mix everything together well and put in the fridge for a while to firm up.

Get 3 bowls. In one put some seasoned flour, lightly beaten egg in the second, and the panko breadcrumbs in the third. Shape the bean mix into burger shapes. It might be easier to flour your hands first. Dip each into the flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs. Heat oil to a medium temperature. Fry each burger for about 4 minutes each side until golden brown and crispy. As I had the oven on to cook the potatoes, I put the cooked burgers into the oven for about 5 minutes just to make absolutely sure they were hot right in the middle.

*If like me you’re only cooking 2 burgers at a time you can freeze the rest before you dip in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

 

To make the potatoes:

Put the oven on to 220 degrees. Put a good glug of oil into an oven dish and put in the oven to get really hot. Peel and thickly slice your potatoes. I have a crinkle cut slicer that my Mum gave me. This is a gadget she’s had since I was a child which she then gifted to me. I’ve never seen them in the shops so if you don’t have one just slice the potatoes with a knife. They won’t be crinkly but they’ll still be good! Parboil the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Drain and then shake them gently to rough up the edges, (particularly important if you’re not using a crinkle slicer.) Sprinkle about 1 Tbs dried semolina onto the cooked potatoes and shake gently to cover them. This is the secret of super-crunchy potatoes, (thank you Nigella!) Put the sliced potatoes into the hot fat and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes. The time is really dependant on your oven and the amount of potatoes you’re cooking. You should turn the potatoes halfway through cooking. Once cooked, drain on scrunched up kitchen roll before serving.

 

To serve:

The burgers are great in a sliced burger bun with just a bit of rocket and mayonnaise and for me plastic cheese is essential, (something else I refuse to apologise for!) I use the more expensive cheese slices, not the ‘bargain’ ones but I know for some this is still a travesty. It’s our cheese of choice for a burger though. The crinkle potatoes should be on the side, salted and served with tomato sauce. The less fuss with this the better I think.

 

So there you go. A really easy, filling and economical meal. I’m not going to pretend it’s healthy due to the frying but sometimes in life you need a treat. It may also be a way of getting children to eat things like kidney beans although, as I have no direct experience of this, I’m making no promises!

N.B. I’ve just been informed by @foodiequine that Pampered Chef sell a crinkle slicer. Thanks Claire. Looks very ‘foncy’ compared to my old antique!

Another N.B.! @FabFood4All has also found (cheaper than Pampered Chef) versions of the crinkle cutter via a Google search so if you fancy buying one I suggest you might want to do the same.

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Put A Ring On It

I’ve mentioned my Killer Onion Rings in a previous post but my friend @hollymcpat recently asked for the recipe for them and they’re so darn good I thought I’d share it on here.

These are really easy to make and taste absolutely awesome! I think the secret is the batter/breadcrumb combo. Anyone from Glasgow and the surrounding areas will know the pure pleasure that is a Special Fish from the chippy, (fish dipped in batter and then breaded before frying), and these onion rings go along that sort of vibe.

Ok, the recipe, (if you can call it that!)…

1 large onion or 2 sort of medium-ish sized ones, cut into slices, (as thick as you want). For some reason I find it easier to slice with the skin left on.

1 1/4 cups of plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup of milk

1 – 2 cups of panko (or breadcrumbs of your choice)

Oil for frying (you’re deep frying here in about 3 – 4 inches of oil)

Salt to taste

This makes enough for 2 hungry people. You will eat them all. Trust me.

Heat your oil until sort of shimmering. Be careful. No house fires please! Once you’ve sliced and separated the onion rings dip them in a wee bit of flour and set aside. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, milk and egg together. You’ll get a batter that looks sort of like unwhisked double cream. If you leave the batter for about 10 minutes it’ll go bubbly which seems to make for a lighter batter. However, this is not essential, especially when you want to get fried onions into your mouth! Dip each ring into the batter and then put on a rack to drain any excess. I put mine on a cooling rack with kitchen roll underneath for easy cleaning. Once it looks as though most of the excess has come off, dip each ring into your breadcrumbs, scooping the crumbs all over to make sure every bit of the onion is covered. Give each one a gentle press to make sure the crumbs stick. Deep fry a few at at time until golden brown. It really doesn’t take long at all and they sort of float to the top when they’re ready, (I put a dish with scrumpled kitchen roll in it on a ring on a very low heat to keep them warm as I cook the whole batch.) Drain on kitchen roll. Season with salt. Enjoy.

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Now I have to warn you. These onion rings are seriously good. Not only do you run the risk of becoming addicted to them, but those you make them for may shower you with love, adoration and all manner of good stuff.* Chocolates, flowers, tickets to that sports event or concert you really wanted, pretty shoes, even proposals may come your way once these become part of your kitchen repertoire.** However, if you’re willing to run the risk, I strongly recommend trying these. Never again will you reach for the second-rate frozen variety.

*This is by no means guaranteed.

**This is absolutely not guaranteed!

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Elvis’ Mississippi Barbecue Pork…an addendum

As I said in the previous post, I’m obsessed with pulled pork. After making the Mississippi Barbecue Pork from the Elvis cookbook, I was really hankering for some proper pulled pork but fancied trying a recipe of my own. One night whilst watching ‘Prisoners’ Wives‘, (the programme isn’t relevant but it’s really good. You should try and catch it on iPlayer), I suddenly thought Bloody Mary Pork! I love a good Bloody Mary, (hate a bad one which is often what you get.) Pork. Good. Tomatoes. Good. Vodka. Bloody lovely! The decision was then made to create a Bloody Mary marinade for the pork joint which would be roasted for around 4 hours in a low oven, (160 degrees). I then went back to watching some gritty TV drama.

The marinade I made had all the component parts of a Bloody Mary with some garlic added to it. There was tomato, (I used a thick passata), celery seeds, chilli, (quite a lot), garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, the juice of a lemon, vodka and sherry. You know you’ve probably got a good Bloody Mary when the barman puts a dash of sherry in it. If I’d had some fresh horseradish I would have grated that in too.

I scored the pork and then smeared the marinade all over it, including the underside, covered it and left it in the fridge overnight. The smell the next day when I took it out of the fridge to get up to room temperature was amazing!

I’d been saying for ages that I was going to make us pulled pork to put into tacos instead of chilli so this seemed as good a time as any. I’ve never found a shop bought salsa that I like so decided to make Paul Hollywood’s roasted tomato salsa from his latest programme on BBC 1, (it was really good but probably made at least double what I needed). I also decided to make a BBQ sauce. It was so good but was one of those ‘fling everything in the pan’ jobs so I’m now going to try and list everything that was in it if I can remember them…finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, tomato sauce, (yes, the Heinz stuff), tomato puree, some passata, red wine vinegar, crushed fennel seeds, brown sugar, salt, pepper, star anise, chilli, wee bit of water. I think that was it. I basically brought it to a boil and then let it simmer until it thickened. Take the star anise out before serving. It was really good and could be used hot or cold.

Back to the pork. After it’s long roast in the oven it looked pretty black…

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…this is nothing to be worried about. This blackness is a good sign! The pork was then pulled. This is basically shredding it with two forks. The pulled pork was then served in corn taco shells with shredded lettuce and onion, mozzarella cheese, guacamole, sour cream and a choice of the salsa or BBQ sauce. The result was a delicious, highly messy meal. Not the thing to be eaten on a first date!

The best thing about this dinner was the leftovers. The next day Bobert was going out on a stag do so I made him Sloppy Joe’s in a vain attempt to line his stomach. Two bread rolls, (I’m proud to say they were home baked!), were split, filled with some pork, liberally drizzled in BBQ sauce and a generous sprinkling of mozzarella and put under a hot grill. They were then topped with guacamole and sour cream. Really, bloody good was the verdict. I can’t guarantee they will prevent drunkeness and ridiculous behaviour. That aside, they’re well worth a try.

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The Origin of the Bloody Mary

There’s many disputed origins to the legendary Bloody Mary but amongst the most popular is that it was first created in Harry’s Bar in Paris in 1921 where the bartender mixed equal parts vodka and tomato juice. The story goes that one of the bar’s patrons said the drink reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago and a girl there, Mary. And so the Bloody Mary was born.

 

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