Happy Monday eager readers! Welcome to a new week of meal plans, shopping lists and cooking! My shopping list this week was super simple as I picked up the latest Tesco Food Family Living magazine last week on my shop, and there were enough appealing recipes in it for me to plan three day's worth of meals from it. This is good, because generally their recipes are very simple but reasonable interesting, or they can easily be added to to make more interesting. In case you have the magazine and are wondering which ones I've picked, I went for Beef and Beetroot Burgers with Buttermilk Slaw (which I'm sharing with you tonight), Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils with Harissa Aubergine, Moroccan Meatballs with Orzo (clearly a bit of a Moroccan theme going on there, plus, I love orzo - could you call a child Orzo? Haha!) and for lunch one day, Lettuce and Avocado soup.
This recipe for Beef and Beetroot Burgers was great, because we were out for a bit this afternoon for Big Tonju's swimming lesson but it was all preparable in advance. I made the slaw and burgers and put them in the fridge, so all I needed to do when I got home was put the ciabatta in the oven and griddle the burgers. I do have a couple of recommendations if you decide to make this recipe. First, the recipe says to barbeque the burgers. I didn't do this: the Braii is Husb's domain (in that "familiar to all women" way of you preparing everything and carrying it out to the man, but they've somehow implicitly done all the work, even though they just turned some meat over on a metal grille, and maybe basted it a couple of times during cooking! Hey men, don't be offended, I'm just having a little private joke with my female readers!) Oh dear, what a diversion that turned out to be. So, I decided to griddle the burgers, but they were a bit too thick to leave on the griddle for the full amount of cooking time they actually needed. I used a 500g pack of steak mince between the four of us (two adults, two children) and made two of the burgers bigger, but I found the griddle was just taking too long, so I put mine and the Tonju's burgers in the oven for 15 minutes after they had been on the griddle for about 15 minutes already, to ensure they were cooked through. Husb actually ended up finishing work late this evening, so I cooked his solely in the oven for about half an hour. I realise that sounds like a long time, but I guess the adult burgers were rather hefty! As it turns out, you can cook the burgers with the bread, if you do choose to oven cook the burgers. Whenever a recipe requires a ciabatta, I always buy the type which is partially cooked, which just needs to be put in the oven for around 10 minutes to finish cooking. This means you have a freshly baked ciabatta without needing to worry about bread not being fresh if you buy your food in advance. I should really look into making fresh ciabattas sometime though.
I'm just going to briefly go through the recipe and pretty it up with some more process photos and a couple of tips to help your preparation go more smoothly. Please refer to the original recipe, linked to above, for an ingredient list and method. Also, please note that I omitted the horseradish.
I made the slaw first. It says in the recipe to make the slaw and refregerate it for an hour, whereas the formed burgers need 15 minutes refrigeration. I really can't see the necessity to refrigerate the slaw for such a length of time, but also, since I was going out and both slaw and beef were going to be refregerated for a couple of hours, it didn't make much difference. The main reason I made the slaw first was because I was going to use my food processor to shred all the veg, including the beetroot for the burgers, and I didn't want beetroot stains all over the pale coloured slaw! Ok, I could have washed out the processor bowl, but I hate washing bits and pieces in the middle of a recipe.
Remember to season your slaw to taste. Rather than adding the 1/2 tsp salt to the sauce, as specified in the recipe, I would give it a good grinding of black pepper and freshly ground sea salt, then just check the seasoning once the sauce and vegetables have been mixed, adding more if necessary, to taste.
Next come the burgers. Before I show the process, Husb and I agreed something was missing from them. I think that something(s) is (are) onion and garlic, so if you haven't made this yet, I would absolutely finely chop an onion and a large clove of garlic and quickly fry them on a medium to hot heat to get them nice and pre-charred, before adding them to the burger mix. You could also add them raw, then the ones in contact with the pan (or barbeque or oven) would take on a nice, crispy texture and taste. Also, please remember to season the burger mixture. In my opinion, seasoning is vital to give any meal a necessary depth of flavour.
If you're going to barbeque these for immenent consumption, I suggest you get out in the garden and get it lit! Otherwise, pre-heat the oven to fan 200C, ready for the bread if you've bought a half-baked loaf, and the burgers if you decide to oven cook them.
I really do recommend these partially baked breads. Mini French batons are also easy to come by, and they are ideal for freezing and having with soup if you need something quick and crusty!
I'm not going to show photos of the cooking process, since I played around a bit and I've described what I found to be the best method above. So I'm going straight into the constructed burgers, the photos of which I'm not entirely happy with; I didn't get a good enough angle with the "lid" on, so I hope you get the general idea.
If you don't own a food processor, the cabbage can easily be shredded simply by slicing it thinly with a long, sharp knife. The carrot and beetroot can be grated using a standard box grater, although prepare for beetroot hands for the duration of the evening.
I heartily recommend this recipe overall. It's a really good spring evening or Saturday afternoon barbeque family dish. The ciabatta went well well with the other ingredients, but you could always experiment with the type of bread, or make your own ciabatta. It would be nice served with a flavoured cousous perhaps, or some garlic roasted potato wedges. The ideas just keep on coming!
I'm going to leave you with a a couple of outtakes which I found amusing. Firstly, trying to stop two-year-old hands from grabbing my ingredients...
...and trying to distract big T from little T using his tablet to pose with the freshly shredded veg!
What do you have planned for your week's meals? Anything interesting or a bit experimental? Are you maybe using a new ingredient or doing something old in a new way? Leave a comment, I'd love to share your cooking adventures too!