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Continuing merrily on with the resolution bashing food, these burgers will reduce any will you have left to a quivering submissive jelly.  It’s not often that I can say I agree with Gordon Ramsey, but I have to say he’s spot on with his latest article for The Times; January is not a month to deprive yourself.  It’s absolutely freezing outside, all the presents are discarded, you’re back at work, it’s ages until summer – the only thing keeping a suicide attempt at bay is food.  So go on, tuck into these delicious homemade burgers.

Happiness Burgers

 

 

Ingredients

500g lean mince beef

2 spring onions, finely chopped

Half a white onion finely chopped (slice the other half and keep to one side)

3- 4 tablespoons gherkins finely chopped

1 egg

Salt and pepper

Tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 Packet of pre-sliced cheese (I used President Emmental)

4 cheap burger buns (sesame seeds essential)

Whatever garnish you like; mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, more gherkins

Pre-sliced cheese essential

Making

  1. Mix all the mince, onions, gherkins, egg, good grind of seasoning, olive oil and chilli flakes in a big bowl with your hands until well mixed.  Make four – six burgers, cover with cling film and put in the fridge.

  1. Get all your salad garnishes ready on a plate and your condiments on the table, buns sliced and in the toaster.  If you like your onions raw then put them on the garnish plate, if you like them burnt put them in the heavy bottomed, non-stick frying pan that you’re going to cook the burgers on (I used my new skillet which I don’t think is non-stick, it worked fine and had those lovely chargrilled lines on).
  2. Is everything ready? Right. Put a drizzle olive oil in your pan and put it on a high heat.
  3. Get your burgers out of the oven and put two on to fry. Fry on one side for 4 minutes, and the other for 5 – 7 minutes depending on how thick they are.
  4. About a minute from the end, put a slice a cheese on top of each burger and put your buns into toast. Plates ready!
  5. Put a burger on each slightly toasted bun and go through to the table where pickles and mayonnaise will spank those January blues right into March. 
  6. If there are four of you eat the remaining two burgers, if there are two of you delude yourself until about half way through that you will eat two burgers, then admit defeat and put them in the freezer (wrapped in clingfilm).

Well that didn’t last long did it?! The regular blogging I mean.  Although you could say that about Christmas.  Just two or three days and it’s all over.  Now it’s that awkward middley bit between Christmas and New Year.  It’s a time I can’t help reflecting on what I have and haven’t done this year.  I’m sorely tempted to succumb to post-Christmas blues and eat only melted cheese until New Year’s Eve when some solid carbs will be the order of the day.  Anyway, I hope you all had wonderfully decadent Christmas’ and that Santa brought you heaps of goodies.

I was obviously a very good girl this year, because he brought me a MagiMix and my first Le Creuset  pan.  It’s a cast-iron griddle, super heavy and stern looking.  It demands respect.  I feel safer with it in the house because I know that if someone tried to rob me one firm whack round the head with the Creuset would sort them out. 

Burgurlar bashing aside, both presents received girlish squeals of delight. Most excitingly for you though dearest readers; I was given an amazing camera.

No more blurry shots of my tea! 

Soon all the colourful delights of my culinary adventures will be on display.  I have misplaced the CD to upload them onto my laptop (I’m praying it’s at my parents house) so I am storing up some gorgeous shots of creamy baked spinach, cheesy cottage pie and when the MagiMix arrives (no way I was lugging that massive box on the train) there will be all kinds of cakes, dips and soups to feast your eyes on.

Until then enjoy the rest of the holidays, rave like it’s the end of a decade on Thursday and get ready for some good eating come 2010.

Last Monday, my parents, Paul and I had lunch at Pierre Koffman’s pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges.

For those who don’t read food blogs and restaurant reviews (where it’s been documented obsessively over the last month), I will provide a synopsis:

Pierre Koffman is probably the world’s greatest living chef.  He is a man of huge renown and worthy of great respect. London Restaurant Festival ran from 08 – 13 October and as part of it Koffman agreed to come back from one week only; to cook at a restaurant on the roof of Selfridges. The restaurant ended up staying open for a few weeks, due to the unrelenting demand to eat the legendary food of this French chef, who has 3 Michelin stars.

So, we were very fortunate to get a table. I have my dad to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the experience.

We met at Selfridges at 12.30. I had barely slept, terrified that I would get sudden food poisoning and not be able to go.  I was a nervous wreck because I wanted to take a jacket back whilst on Oxford Street – the shop had left the security tag in – and it kept setting of the alarms in Selfridges.  I had visions of missing the meal, sat in a windowless security room explaining how I was not a shop-lifter.  Then the improbably calm and pretty lady on the private Pierre Koffman lift didn’t have our name on the list. Oh, there we were. And then the adventure began.

I felt like Alice, falling up rather than down. As the lift went to floor 5, I left behind the London I knew and entered somewhere different, somewhere way above the rooftops, resting on the clouds. I was nearly delirious.

We started we cocktails, I had a Cosmo 150. A sharp but sweet pink number that settled my nerves.  Mum and I trying discreetly (craning our necks and barely refraining from standing on the chairs) to see if any celebrities were tucking in.

An amouse-bouche of salty cod told a promise of savoury deliciousness yet to come.  I chose the two most challenging dishes (snails, bone marrow, pigs trotters – I felt brave to order them). I read on the many, many blogs and columns about Pierre that pig trotters were his signature dish – many wrote that they were the most incredible thing they had ever eaten. It was too good a chance to miss. Although it did set the bar a little high.

My starter arrived. Succulent snails and morels cooked in meaty juices, served on a piece of bone, with a couple of unctuous lumps of bone marrow dotted about was very tasty. This was not a place for plate licking, so I did my best with a piece of bread.

I was so determined to enjoy every moment that I refused to be annoyed by the hurried service.  At this stage in the meal it resembled a table-turning waiter on Brick Lane, as my main arrived nearly on top of my starter.  And there it was – a pigs trotter – no fancy camouflage or towers or trickery to hide it actualness as a pigs foot. Wow, there are the toes, I thought as I tucked into its soft skin (ankle end first). The skin was yielding, fatty, the texture good in a way pork fat has never been good before (and probably never will be since). I cut away more of the fat, to reveal tucked inside the foot creamy veal sweetbreads. It was incredibly rich. Dense, warm, meaty, salty. I went through it slowly. If I zone out for a moment I can still just about taste it.  At the time of eating I wouldn’t have said it was the best thing I had ever eaten. It was too alien, too disorienting an object. But now I can’t stop thinking about. It has had a profound impact on my palate.

Pudding was an eggy, sweet pistachio soufflé, mercifully served a good twenty minutes after the main courses. I couldn’t have managed it any quicker. I shared Paul’s cheese, which were better than the soufflé.  Although they were nearly crawling across the plate they were so blue and runny. Not his idea of a good cheese (red Leicester is a bit exotic).

All this was washed down with one bottle of exceptional white wine, and then another, this time of red. I also had an espresso martini to finish up. Bare in mind my mum doesn’t drink, and you can see why the whole thing has started to take on the air of an alternate reality in my memory.

The abundance of wine, the party atmosphere in the room on Monday lunchtime and the vaguely chaotic service added to the feeling of being at a very fancy mad hatters tea party.

At work the next day, I could hardly talk about it. It felt like I’d experienced something other-worldly, as if I’d played at being princess for the day.  Transported to foodie heaven, never quite the same again. (I’ve eaten pigs trotter for God’s sake!)

Two sightings so far (one dead, one alive)

Traps have been brought.