Tasty Ass Burgers and Sweet Spud Wedges

Its come to that time of year again; when I need a big pot of bolognese or soup or stew bubbling away as a constant, reassuring, warming presence. 

It’s Autumn. The changing colours make it official, and it’s been happening for some time now, but my little brain was too engrossed in surviving work to really notice it. Untill now. This week I have cooked up a storm of hearty, wholesome dishes. But amidst the soups, fresh pastas, stews and cooked breakfasts, one dish grabbed my taste buds, screaming for attention. Tasty Ass Burgers With All The Trimmings. Oh momma they were good! 

Did I mention that I made the recipe up entirely and had never made a burger before in my life?

Oh yeah…


On with the recipe.

I served my Tasty Ass Burgers with:

  • Balsamic Baby Kale (Covelo Nero)
  • Skinny Sweet Spuds
  • Avocado Slices
  • Goats Cheese and Tomato With Balsamic Glaze and Maldon Sea Salt
  • Baby Leaf Salad and Ketchup
  • Soft Wholemeal Buns that I couldn’t be bothered to make 

Today I’m posting the recipe for the burgers and spuds.

Spuds:

So easy that I’m vaguely embarrassed to call it a recipe.

Ingredients 

1 -2 Sweet Potatoes per person

A few spritzes of spray oil (I used a coconut blend spray from adds)

Salt (I used Maldons Sea Salt ‘cos I was feeling posh, but you can use any.)

Pepper and any spices of your choice to taste. (The burgers were so flavourful that I left my spuds naked – nought more than salt and pepper!)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 C.

Chop your spuds into skinny wedges and arrange them on a baking tray before giving a few spritzes of spray oil. (Alternatively you could just coat them in a drizzle of the oil of your choice.) 

Sprinkle with salt.

  
Stick them in the oven. Forget about them for half an hour or so, then panick and shout at -ask politely- The Boyfriend to remove the tray from the oven, flip the wedges, spritz with a little more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and return to the oven till well coloured with a few blackened spots. (About 15 minutes)

  
Tada! Tasty wedges. Serve with ketchup (nom!) for dipping.

Tasty Ass Burgers:

Maaaaan, these were so tasty and delicious, especially when topped with home grown kale, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, a tomato circle and a slice of goats cheese. Heaven.

The burgers are perfectly freezer safe when raw and wrapped in cling film. I reckon they’ll be good in there for about 3 months.

This recipe made 6 fat burgers.

Ingredients:

750(ish) grams of minced beef (I think ours was 15% fat, but you can use any)

Half an Onion (I used white, feel free to use red) finely chopped

One Egg

A handful of breadcrumbs 

2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced

A pinch of dried Porcini mushrooms, rehydrated as per pack instructions and finely chopped (these adds umami yummyness; feel free to add more. I added only a liberal pinch as we can’t afford to buy these regularly, and a pinch really is plenty)

Half a teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt (or any salt, for that matter)

~ Quarter of a teaspoon ground pepper (to taste)

A fistful of marjoram, thyme and chives, finely chopped

Method:


Bung all of your ingredients into a large bowl.

  Please excuse the blurry pictures!

Now roll up your sleeves and get your hands into that mix! Give it a really good squidge with your hands, and sort of squidge and kneed untill it feels fairly consistent  in texture throughout. (Bar the odd chunk of onion)

 

Squidge!

Turn on your George Foreman grill thingy, whack a pan on the hobb over a high heat or stick the grill on. (I used the George foreman pressed thingy grill for mine).

Put a piece of cling film down on your work surface.

Divide the burger mix into 6 equal(ish) chunks, and shape each one into a patty, laying it on the cling film when done.

  
Grill your burgers. (Mine went into the George Foreman one at a time) for about 5 minutes or so, flipping half way, to get a blackened(ish – you don’t want a charcoal burger!) top and base, and a tender, juicy inside. 

If you can, let the burgers sit for five minutes to relax. (I popped mine on the bottom shelf of the oven, which was switched off but still warm from the spuds.) In the meantime you can prep your ‘trimmings’.

(I couldn’t resist a few fancy pants swizzles of balsamic glaze)

  

Serve and fill your boots! (Please do try these with kale, goats cheese and balsamic glaze, it’s fit!)

  
I hope you’re having a great week in your kitchens and your gardens.

  
GG, over and out xx

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Part One Garden Concept Plans Continued…

The Back Border:

  
***Disclaimer : Untill I drew this picture I had never in my life drawn a plant. Therefore these pictures are NOT a true or lifelike representation and are not intended to be interpreted as such.

Please not steal my work. If you wish (for some reason) to use any pictures found herin , please ask permission.

Thank you.



Last night I revealed part one of the garden concept plans. Today, being considerably more conscious then I was last night after a day of hard graft on the oven, I want to talk you through the thought process behind this bed a little more, plant by plant.

  • Sweet Cicely: A sweet, slightly anise flavoured perennial herb which enhances sweet dishes such as apple crumble. This herb grows well in shady places, and this corner of the bed will receive considerable shade from the pizza oven. A perfect place for it.
  • Ramsons: Another shade loving perennial, also known as wild garlic. It will lend garlickiness to pizzas, pasta dishes, and a yummy recipe I found for ramson pot stickers that I’m dying to try!
  • Chop Suey Greens: An annual, edible, chrysanthemum! Apparently great in stir frys and less bitter of grown in shade over summer. These will be planted around the Ramsons, which hibernate during the summer months. I plan on using them to liven up my stir fry and oriental broth soup repertoire; with some luck, if I let some flower, they may self seed, but I’ve never grown or tasted these before, so I’ll have to wait to find out!
  • Jeruselam Artichokes: Edible tubers with an umami flavour, and flowers that look like mini sunflowers. I’m hoping this will add structure and colour to the garden, drawing in benificial insects, and providing a sofisticated autumnal veg. Another one I have as yet to try. Woohoo!
  • Malabar Spinach: This one is a bit of a gamble; also known as Indian Spinach, it prefers considerably more tropical climates than North West UK. However some people seem to have managed to grow it in the south, so I’m going to give it a go too. (Please do comment if you’ve grown or tried this one!) Described as a climbing, vining, muciligious spinach which comes in both red and white stemmed varieties. A gamble that could well be delicious. I’m hoping this will wind through and up the Jerusem Artichokes (If it grows).
  • Summer Purslane: In front of, and under the Malabar spinach, I’ll plant Summer Purslane, another annual that’s going in to provide a leafy green, high in omega 3, whilst I figure out what perennial ground cover I want in the spot. This will feature in salads, wilted into pasta dishes, and on pizza. Yum! I think I ate this in a salad in Turkey once… I could be wrong.
  • Achocha: After the total fail that my Sweet Peppers were this year, I am crazy-excited to grow this climbing vine of the Incas, which allegedly tastes of green peppers when cooked. Helloooo pizza, stir fries and pickles. Woot woot! Never grown or eaten before.
  • Rainbow Chard: Colourful leafy greens. These are usually grown as annuals, though I have read of some people getting them to pull through a few extra seasons. I’ll be interested to see how this oh-so sexy relative of spinach will do. In the kitchen I’m most excited to try the chard stalks pickled as per a recipe in A Year at Otter Farm. Used to grow these on my parents’ small holding.
  • Potato Onion: An onion that propogates itself by division like a shallot, stores like a rock, and can be either autumn or spring planted. Need I go on? Skill Cult blog, formerly Turkey Song, is a fantastic resource for learning about these bad boys and how to grow them. This year the plan is just to successfully grow them and create enough ‘sets’ to grow on for a meeningful harvest the year after. This particular one will be planted in spring, and hopefully will act as a good companion for its neighbours. Never grown before.
  • Daubentons Kale (Variegated): This one will certainly fit the ‘leafy greens’ part of the brief… Now I just have to get it past the slugs, caterpillars and pigeons. Bring on Ribolat and kale crisps.
  • Runner Beans: These were mis-labeled due to tiredness last night as broad beans. Sorry! The runner bean variety I have is from the Czech Republic and will hopefully evade the slugs more successfully this coming year. The main purpose of these beans – an annual crop – is to fix nitrogen in the spot for the surrounding crops.
  • Red Walking Onion: a self propagating onion with ‘the interest factor’. ‘Nuf said.

Part one: Garden Concept Plans

The Back Border:

So here it is! (Finally) part one of my three part garden plan reveal. I’m really excited to be sharing this with you and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

This is the plan for the back border, which is 3m long and 85cm wide. This border receives quite a lot of sun throughout the day.
Now, I was planning on scanning this in via The Boyfriends’ newfangled scanner, but he’s fallen asleep. We only just finished the first ‘oven’ layer of our pizza oven, in the dark. Hopefully I can scan it in properly tomorrow!
The plan for this particular border is for lots of visual interest, as well as some allowances for succession – annuals will be removed as some of the larger perennials, such as the Daubentons Kale, expand.
 

All rights reserved by me. If you wish to use any of my pictures, please ask.

Thank you.

(Sorry it’s wonky!) 

I can’t wait to hear what you think! Tune in next week for bed 2.

Exciting new series.

As of tomorrow, I will be running a three part series to share my drawn concept plans for the garden next year. 

I’m super excited to share what I’ve been working on with you, and am really looking forward  to any feedback you may have for me!
The Brief:

  • Must be totally made up of plants in some way edible.
  • Lots of leafy greens for The Boyfriend.
  • Mostly perennial, with a few annuals that either self seed or will be replaced with perennials I cannot yet afford.
  • Must be visually pleasing, with varying levels and colours.
  • Preferably to produce some edible element at all times of the year.
  • Must fit into our tiny ~5 x 4 meter (with a little extra round the side) garden
  • Must be able to survive the climate in the North West.
  • Must be fun and relaxing, drawing in benefits by way of attracting beneficial insects, relaxing the mind and showing that edible gardening can be fun and beautiful to friends and family who come over for Pizza.

I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been up to!!
I hope you’re having a great weekend in your gardens.
GG x

Sad News

I caught up with The Parents last night, and was very sad to hear that Errol, the owl they rescued died a few days later. The owl rescue man reckons something was wrong with his neck. 
Though this news saddened me greatly, I couldn’t help but be gladdened by the fact that people partake in charities such as this owl rescue, dedicating their precious free time to helping the helpless in society/nature etc. 

so if you are part of a charity, or volunteer your time to help those human or otherwise, thank you. You make this world a better place.
GG x

The Best Layed Plans…

 Never quite work out…

At least, not in my experience. 
I had  fabulous plans for this weekend. The clay for the oven would arrive, I would materialise sand from a destination as yet unknown, the first layer of the pizza oven would commence and I’d outwit time herself to concurrently implement the raised beds, tidy the garden and earn my Superwoman stripes. 
Then the clay got locked into the post depot, and I was pretty sure the world had decided to conspire against me. (Yes, I was feeling. Little melodramatic this week).

This turned out to be a blessing. With a day and a half to work, we just managed to finish two raised beds, tidying the garden as we went by way of dumping all organic matter into the base of the beds. In went the shrubs I chopped down a few weeks ago, in went the fallen leaves, in went the cardboard, and paper, and compost. Phew! We worked darn hard! The beds were then topped off with a mix of compost, horticultural  grit, manure and topsoil, followed by a fine sprinkling of compost to lock in moisture.
Last but not least I re-planted my rhubarb (can’t remember the variety for the life of me!) and Finally was able to plant out a raspberry, the Japanese wineberry, two of the walking onions, a ransom, the daylilly ‘Stella d’oro’, and one experimentally autumn planted potato onion.

  
I am so SO happy! The edible perennial garden is finally coming together!!

I hope you’ve had a fabulous weekend.
GG x

Potstickers

I am a sucker for comfort food, and potstickers are the perfect comfort food; flavoursome, meaty little dumplings that can be steamed, fried, boiled or (according to my local takeaway) grilled, you can choose the blanket of loveliness that you’ll  wrap your tummy in.

I use this recipe, and have done many times. You can play about with it a bit and it never fails. (I’ve only made the pork one, can’t afford shrimp!)
For the love of good food, please find a spare hour or so to make these, the recipe makes loads, so you can freeze any extra for another day.
My cupboards were fairly bare when I made these, so I improvised my dipping sauce with Japanese Rice Wine Vinegar, Soft Brown Sugar and Reduced Salt Soy Sauce, all to taste. (Just dip a spoon in and adjust till you think “yum!”)  

 

Udo

A few posts ago I unwrapped my Poyntzfield Herb Nursery order with you, and you may recall that even I couldn’t remember why Id bought an Udo plant! (Whoops.)
You see, the thing is, I have a habit… Not a drugs habit or anything like that; I have an edible plant habit. 

There. I said it.

If I get so much as a sniff of a new edible I may be able to grow, then anyone hoping to share any of my attention with the search for said plant is hoping in vain. I am obsessed. And I seriously need to start recording my findings better, because this feverish search banishes all other thoughts from my mind; including the plant before.


Therefore I had to repeat my search for Udo recently to bring you the following findings:
Udo is a shade loving perennial, growing to about a meter high and wide, (though some sources say up to two meters high). It is the shoots of Udo which may be eaten, peeled and raw or briefly blanched or stir fried. The flavour is often described as lemony. 
I’d love to get you a picture of Udo in its full glory, but it shall have to wait as it is currently dying back for winter and not exactly looking it’s best… However there is a top secret project currently underway, which I hope to reveal next year, in which I hope Udo will partake. 
I wish you the best of weekends in your gardens,
GG x

Pizza Oven Plinth (Almost) Complete

The plinth is SO close to being completed!! 

We have now filled the plinth and layer the brick base, but we were left a few half bricks short! Next weekend I plan on batting my lashes at the local builders merchants in the hope that they will cut some bricks to size for me. – Then it will be on to building the actual oven, finally!

 Edit   
I hope you’ve all had a great week.
GG x
(P.s. The Boyfriend has been playing with a comic app, as you can probably tell…. I hate to admit it, but it is pretty cool…)