Tag Archives: Potato

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*)


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



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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Table For One. The Single Girl Dinners

A wise man, (Oscar Wilde, to be precise), once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” How often have we shown those we love how much they mean to us by making them something really special to eat? Why then do we not show ourselves some of that love and attention from time to time?

I should clarify here that I’m not single. However, due to the nature of Bobert’s work I do eat by myself very regularly. My ‘Single Girl Dinners’, as I like to call them, are often no more than some toast, (my favourite food in the world!), or a bag of crisps. Terrible, lazy, sluttish behaviour. Now and again though, I like to take the time and effort to make myself something really nice to eat. Like having your nails done or buying some amazing shoes, it’s actually really nice to make a bit of a fuss of yourself once in a while.

Seafood often makes its way into my Single Girl Dinners. As I’ve previously mentioned, Bobert doesn’t really do food that swims. This is the ideal time to eat something that you wouldn’t normally have for whatever reason. A Single Girl Dinner should break all the rules. So if you want chocolate mousse for dinner, have it. A bowl of Frosties at 7 o’clock at night? Fabulous. This is your time to indulge yourself so if that means cooking whilst blasting out classic 80s pop tunes or playing the Revels game and calling it dinner…go for it!

I’m sure no one needs a recipe for toast or instructions on how to open a bag of Wotsits, so instead I’ll share a couple of solo dinners I’ve had in the past week.

Fridge Raid Pasta

First up was a bit of a ‘use what’s leftover in the house’ type dinner. We’d had smoked brisket hot dogs earlier in the week and there was one left. I didn’t fancy a hot dog in a bun but didn’t want it to go to waste so instead I cut it up into pieces and incorporated it into a pasta dish. Pasta isn’t actually a thing I eat a lot of but it’s quick and filling and I was really hungry so it seemed like a good idea. I’ll show you a picture of the finished dish and then go on to explain each of the stages…


Now I know this doesn’t look particularly attractive but trust me when I tell you this is purely because I’m rubbish at taking photographs of food. In ‘real life’ it looked and tasted yummy. Are you convinced? Ok, then this is what I did…

First of all I made a tomato sauce to use up some baby plum tomatoes I had. You could use any tomatoes. I put the tomatoes, (they were whole but maybe cut into smaller bits if you’re using larger tomatoes), a quartered, skinned red onion, 3 large skinned cloves of garlic, 1 sliced green chilli, (with seeds), 1/2 tsp celery seeds, (optional), 1 tsp Demerara sugar, salt and black pepper, and a good slug of olive oil into a roasting tin and roasted for half an hour or so in a 170 degree oven. Once all the veggies were roasted, (they were soft and some had little black bits on them), I blitzed them with a hand blender. What I got was a thickish, deep orange-coloured sauce.

Whilst the veggies were roasting I fried the cut up smoked brisket sausage, (you could use any sausage. This one had a fairly firm texture and it was nice to use a ‘flavoured’ sausage. Mini meatballs would also work really well with this), a sliced white onion, and a few sliced mushrooms. I didn’t add any extra chilli or garlic or anything as I thought there’d be plenty in the sauce.

Once that was cooked I kept it warm and made some pasta. I used a pasta I’d bought on a trip to the amazing Edinburgh deli, Valvona & Crolla, and hadn’t got round to using. The pasta in question was lasagne festonate by a company called la Molisana. From what I can gather festonate means ‘with ribbons’, and it is essentially lasagne with curly edges. Very pretty. I broke the pasta sheets in two before I cooked them to give me smaller, square-shaped pieces.

I also had some crusty bread to use up so I cut a fairly thick slice and cut out 3 smallish circles with a scone cutter and lightly fried those to make giant croutons.

Once everything was ready I put the pasta on the plate, added the sausage, mushroom and onion mix, spooned on the sauce and then topped with the croutons. I had some parsley kicking about so I chopped some and sprinkled that on top. It kind of looked like an open ravioli and I liked that everything was separate and not all mixed together. I added a bit more black pepper and some shavings of parmesan before eating. The finished dish was really tasty. There was slight heat from the chilli and the sausage and making a homemade tomato sauce was really worthwhile. It didn’t have that bitter taste you often get from jars of passata. Top tip: if you’re ever cooking anything with tomatoes, either tinned or fresh, add a wee bit of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. It will always make your dish taste better.

If I’d had a red checked tablecloth and a candle in an old chianti bottle it would have been, as the Italians say, favoloso!

Fennel & New Potato Salad with Grilled Mackerel

This was the next Single Girl Dinner on the menu and came at the suggestion of my friend Holly. Holly has good taste in food so I listen when she suggests! Bobert absolutely won’t eat mackerel claiming it tastes ‘too fishy’, (what the…?), but it’s probably my favourite fish. I knew I was going to enjoy this.

Again, I’ll show you a picture and then explain what I did…


I’m sorry. I know it’s another really rubbish photo. I should probably think about getting some advice on this!

Firstly I should say I would have liked to make this with fresh mackerel but, unfortunately, I had to buy the fish at my local Tesco and all they had were the packets of smoked stuff. I really like smoked mackerel but I suspect fresh would have been better with this.

Anyway, I boiled some mini sized new potatoes. If you can get them I think Charlotte potatoes would be good with this or even better would be Ayrshire potatoes which are undoubtedly the best new potato you can get. Whilst the spuds were boiling I mixed a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche with a good squirt of lemon juice, a finely chopped red chilli, (some seeds left in), salt and black pepper, and a few snips of chives. I then very finely sliced the fennel. I probably used about a third of a bulb.

When the potatoes were almost boiled I put the mackerel under a hot grill. Smoked mackerel is obviously already cooked but I grilled it anyway to heat it up and crisp it up a bit.

Once the potatoes were boiled, (I left mine to go really soft as I cannot abide any sort of bite in a potato), I added them and the fennel to the creme fraiche mix. The heat of the potatoes softens the fennel slightly. I then topped the salad with the grilled fish and sprinkled on some more chives.

I’d thought about adding some sliced red onion to the salad and it turns out that’s what Holly had done when she made hers. When I make this again I’ll definitely add the onion.

I had this with some crusty bread, (totally unnecessary but really delicious for mopping up leftover dressing!) I strongly recommend this dish. It was filling but also very light. Without the fish, the salad by itself would be really good at a BBQ, etc. The fish went very well with it though. I love horseradish with smoked mackerel and the heat from the chilli in the dressing went just as well here. If you’ve never tried fennel before and think it won’t be your thing, give it a bash. The aniseed flavour may be seen as a bit of an acquired taste but I assure you it’s totally delicious. Try it.

Single or otherwise, the next time you’re eating alone, think of Mr. Wilde’s wise words and give yourself a bit of culinary TLC.

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