spiced lamb burgers with beetroot relish and hand-cut chips

donels

I love a good burger. There’s just something about a crisp-edged, juicy meat patty atop crusty bread with a myriad of cheeses, soft herbs and condiments. It’s portable, hand-held deliciousness, infinitely variable but perfect in its simplicity.

At present, my favourite burgers are made at a small South Fremantle cafe called Ootong and Lincoln. I was first introduced to this eclectic venue by my best friend Vicky (aka Hippy Vic) who has long held an obsession with their dukkah-crusted lentil burgers. Yep, lentil burgers. They’re absolutely delicious, even from the position of a well-entrenched carnivore.

Perfectly seasoned, crisp-edged and soft-centred, these lentil patties are house-made and coated in toasted dukkah before being piled onto a fresh roll with melting haloumi, soft greens and homemade relish. Have I made you hungry yet?

beetrootwhole beetrootgrated

Anyway, after that three paragraph speal, I’m here to tell you that I don’t have the secret recipe for Ootong’s lentil patties. Or their relish, for that matter (but they do sell their dukkah crust in jars on site at the cafe, uh… well, that’s only marginally helpful).

What I do have is a recipe for completely non-vegetarian lamb burgers with a quick, throw-together beetroot relish. Perfect for a delicious after-work dinner when you can’t get your tired ass to Ootong in Fremantle.

herbonion mortarpestle

This entire meal is cheap to make and ridiculously easy. In fact, I threw it together in about 20 minutes (discounting the cooking time). Begin with your potatoes; chop then boil them whilst you combine ingredients for your patty mixture. Mold into patties, then refrigerate whilst you start frying the chips. When the chips are in the oven, start your beetroot relish, then leave it to macerate whilst you fry your meat. Before you know it, everything’s on the plate.

burgercup chipbowl2

The original concept for these burgers was from taste.com.au. However, as per usual, I’ve bastardized everything according to my own specifications.

The recipes for the chips, patties and relish are entirely forgiving so I’d encourage you to play around with them as you see fit. Add some toasted pine nuts, feta or chopped parsley to the patties if you like. Want some extra spice on the chips? Add in some chilli flakes, lemon rind or a pinch of cayenne pepper. The relish is also hugely adaptable; I’ve made it with grated apple, red cabbage, poppy seeds, caramelised onion, with and without extra lemon rind and brown sugar. It’s also wonderful with pomegranate seeds, finely chopped coriander and crushed pistachios. Infinitely adaptable. Like most good food should be.

mincepattyls

Lamb Burgers

  • 500g good-quality lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red Spanish onion, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 generous tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • plain flour, to dust
  • olive oil, for frying

To assemble the burgers:

  • 4 crusty hamburger rolls
  • soft goats cheese
  • garlicky hummus
  • washed rocket leaves
  • beetroot relish
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • avocado, if desired

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl, ensuring that the aromatics are finely distributed.

ingredientspatty

With moist hands, separate mixture into four equal-sized portions. Flatten each portion in the palm of your hand into a rough circle, approximately 1.5cm thick.

patties

Place each patty onto a lined tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking (during this time, you can prepare your beetroot relish).

To cook: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C  (350 degrees f). Lightly dust each patty with plain flour and sprinkle with a little more sea salt. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a heavy based, oven-safe frying pan. When oil starts to smoke, carefully place patties into the pan. Fry on each side until golden but not cooked through; transfer pan into oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until just cooked through.

pattiescook

Whilst still warm, top each patty with a few slices of soft goats cheese. Toast the burger buns if desired, spread bottom half with hummus (and top half with avocado if desired) then top with a goats-cheese-topped lamb patty. Dollop on some beetroot relish, top with fresh rocket, grind over some fresh black pepper. Serve with oven chips (and aioli for dipping, if desired).

relishjar

Quick Beetroot Relish

Makes roughly 1.5 cups. Serve any remaining relish on crostini with soft goats cheese, or on toasted sourdough with poached eggs, hummus and fresh rocket for breakfast.

  • 250g peeled, cooked beetroot, grated coarsely
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 ground sumac
  • handful of mint leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • good splash (approx 1 tsp) red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dark agave syrup or honey
  • extra virgin olive oil

Place chopped onion into a small bowl with the lemon juice. Mix well, then leave to macerate for 15 minutes. Drain well.

onionsoak2

In a medium sized bowl, combine the grated beetroot with the soaked onion, agave, red wine vinegar, olive oil and spices.

beetrootsaladingredientsMix well and allow to soak for 5 minutes. Mix in the mint just before serving (for a quick version, like I did, you can just dump everything into a bowl and mix it together; however the beetroot definitely benefits from marinating).

chipsrawHand-cut Chips

This amount serves 2 (allow around 200-250g potatoes per person)

  • 450g waxy potatoes; I used Ruby Lou (approx 3 medium potatoes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil, for frying

Cut each potato into rough batons, around 1x1cm in width. Place in a pot of cold, salted water, then slowly bring to the boil.

potReduce heat slightly, allowing the potatoes to simmer until tender (but not falling apart). Drain well, then season with smoked sea salt and black pepper.

spudsteam

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees f). Heat oil in a large, heavy based oven-safe frying pan or oven tray. Add in the garlic cloves and herbs. When smoking, toss in the seasoned potatoes and allow to crisp lightly on all sides.

traygarlicherbs chipsfrying

Transfer the tray or pan into the oven. Continue cooking the chips, turning them regularly until golden and crisp on all sides.

clipsdone

Drain on paper towels prior to serving with assembled burgers.

chipbowl doneplatterEat, padawan. Eat. I know you want to.

*by the way, for those who read the Appreciation Post about Aaron, the board below is one of a set of two that he made for me. I still haven’t posted a proper shot of them, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

goatscheese

done

spiced hummus, flatbread, rainy days and radishes

I’m feeling a little sentimental today. Maybe it’s something to do with the onset of winter, the seemingly endless rain and the fact that I’m sore and sniffly for the fourth time in just over two months. Yeah, I think I’m sad. Or more accurately, suffering from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as the ‘winter blues’. That’s what I tell myself, anyway, as I curl up in a little ball under a polar fleece blanket with lingering melancholy seeping into my bones like moisture into porous stone.

Now, enough with the self-indulgent crap. I have had several opportunities today to do things that would never be possible on a normal working Tuesday:

  • I slept for seven daylight hours (SEVEN!) before waking up at approximately 8.15pm in a strange state of the unknown (ever had one of those moments where you wake up, still half unconscious, uncertain as to where you are or whether it’s night or day? Yep, it was one of those times). I then messaged my husband and was reminded that I’m Grover from the Muppets, on holidays in the Bahamas. How could I forget?
  • I read six chapters of an amazing book called Sidetracked by Henning Mankell. Now, I’m not a habitual reader of crime fiction but Swedish writer Mankell is pretty darn good. Even if I did need to Google what a ‘rape field’ was (if you’re equally curious, rape is a flowering plant related to canola, used primarily for production of vegetable oil and biodiesel. Interesting).
  • I ate snacks on the couch with my love whilst he worked on his VFX essay for college. Whilst eating radishes, hummus and seasoned flatbread I learnt that the ‘bluescreen’ method used for chroma key compositing was actually invented way back in the 1930’s by an American named Larry Butler to be used on the film ‘The Thief of Baghdad’ (1940). Smart guy.
  • I watched this video of Charley the Duck. Over and over and over. Especially 0:37. So freaking cute.

Now, as this is a food-related blog I’m naturally going to include a few notes about the snacks we had earlier, which are supremely simple to make but really delicious. Alongside instructions for seasoned flatbread and my version of hummus, I’ve also included a simple recipe for lemon-infused olive oil which is my go-to topping for extra delicious hummus, ciabatta slathered in borlotti bean puree, or even just seamed asparagus, green beans or broccolini. Yum.

So… read on for the promised recipes, young padawan. And be thankful for couch days, rain that waters the earth, sleep, ducklings, a body that heals and loved ones who give therapeutic hugs when you’re feeling down. Take pleasure in the small things. I’m beginning to realise that they’re all I need.

Spiced Hummus

Makes about 1 cup

  • 400g can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 heaped tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried cumin seeds
  • sea salt, to taste

Add your garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and a sprinkle of sea salt to a mortar and pestle and grind to a smooth paste. Place in the bowl of a food processor with your chickpeas and a little lemon juice. Blend until the ingredients form a thick paste. Add the rest of your lemon juice and about half the olive oil. Blend again, until the mixture looks thick, smooth and creamy (if it’s too thick or grainy, add in more olive oil and taste as you go). Taste, and season with a little more salt if necessary.  Place in a bowl and top with a drizzle of lemon oil to serve.

Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you can’t be bothered infusing your own oil, my favourite shop-bought variety is Australian Cobram Estate Lemon Infused extra virgin olive oil. I’m not in any way associated with Cobram Estate but their products are both delicious and easy to find in your local supermarket.

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon

Use a sharp knife to remove the zest from your lemon in large strips. If necessary, scrape off any remaining white pith prior to using.

Place your olive oil in a small saucepan over very low heat. When slightly warmed, add in the prepared lemon zest. Allow to steep for around 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place your oil and lemon zest into a sterilised bottle or jar. Cap well, and store in a cool, dark place.

Notes: the zest will continue to infuse more lemon flavour into your oil with time. When it gets to a level that suits you, remove it as required. You can also use this method to steep other flavours into your olive oil, such as chilli, vanilla beans (great with fish) or herbs. Just make sure that you don’t allow the oil to overheat (smoke) or simmer as you’ll destroy it’s flavour and quality.

Grilled Flatbread with Mint, Honey and Paprika

  • 2 large wholemeal pitta breads (substitute with lavash, mountain bread or any other flatbread)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey, to drizzle
  • Optional: 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Optional: fresh mint, chopped, and goat’s feta

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (360 degrees f). Place your flatbread directly on the bars of your oven rack to toast. When crisp but not browned, drizzle over some honey and then top with your herbs, spices, walnuts and Parmesan, if using. Place back into the oven and toast until your bread is brown and crisped, the nuts look toasted and your spices have browned and formed a gloriously sticky coating with the honey and Parmesan.

If you’re going to eat this flatbread on it’s own, I’d recommend scattering over some fresh mint and smearing it with fresh goat’s feta. You could even drizzle over some pomegranate molasses. But for a simple and delicious option, just break it into pieces and eat whilst still warm with lashings of hummus.

Notes: Feel free to use this seasoning on Turkish bread or sliced ciabatta. Grill until the exterior is crisp and browned, then dip into your spiced hummus. Yum. The flatbread is also wonderful topped with both hummus and a generous spoonful of kale salad for lunch or a satisfying snack.

About Radishes:

Today was the first day that I’ve eaten radishes in about three years, and I bought them primarily because of their beautiful crimson hue. However, I did a bit of research and they’re actually very good for you. Eat some with your hummus, and enjoy the crisp heat of yet another vegetable that not only looks good, but is great for your body. God is definitely the master designer.

  • Radishes contain only 16 calories (0.0669kj) per 100g. So you can pretty much eat them til you explode and you’ll still be thin. Just… exploded.
  • They’re a rich source of antioxidants including eaxanthin, lutein and beta carotene whilst also being packed with dietary fibre.
  • Fresh radishes provide 15 mg or 25% of the daily recommended dietary intake of vitamin C per 100g.  Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble antioxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It also fights free radicals which in turn works towards the prevention of cancer and inflammation whilst generally boosting immunity.
  • Radishes also contain folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium.

“Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea makes the starved doctors beg on their knees”

– Chinese proverb [*Please note: by including this proverb I am not condoning nor encouraging the starvation of any medical practitioners, via the purchase of radishes or otherwise]

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