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Homemade burgers with spicy mayo

It must be admitted that I am not a burger person.  Before a few weeks ago I probably had only ever had two burgers ever in my whole life, and I’m not exaggerating.  I grew up in a family who didn’t eat meat, and even when I did start eating meat I never liked burgers.  I’ve had the odd bite of someone else’s to see whether I might like them, but no.

A couple of year’s ago we had a Uni reunion in Bath – a group of about 15 of us hired a house and spent the weekend there.  Mr Rigg and I were nominated to cook dinner one night, and so decided to do burgers – probably because Jamie Oliver’s America cookbook had just come out, with a recipe for burgers (and everything that man makes seems to taste delicious) and in theory it seemed like a good thing for a large amount of people.

Obviously I ate a burger that night, and I actually really enjoyed it.  They were really tasty burgers, and I love all the extras you stuff in a burger – in particular I love gerkins.  Fast forward a few years and recently I just really had an urge to make those burgers again – they were one of those food moments that stick with you as being a really delicious meal.

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It has been days and days since I last posted about our meat-free month.  During those days (weeks really) we have had highs and lows of eating meat-free.  When I last posted, with a snapshot of a vegetarian curry we were making, I was on a real high, thoroughly enjoying our meat-free month and the delicious new recipes we were trying out.

The past week has seen that go downhill with real desperate cravings to eat bacon and egg, and sausages.  I don’t know why, but my body has just been desperate for something else – the result is we’ve eaten a lot of stodgy comfort food as you might get a glimpse of in my diary.  My lovely friend Caroline who has just finished her meat-free month also said they experienced this, getting more and more desperate for, again, bacon and egg by the end of their month.

For now, here is my better week of eating…

Monday 23rd January

potato onion stilton pie

Stilton, onion and potato pie.  Really, it is just that.  Make some mashed potato, sweat some onions down until nice and golden, then in an ovenproof dish layer mash, onion, stilton and then more mash on top.  Bake in the oven and eat.  Fabulously stodgy and simple comfort food.  Really should be eaten with lots of greenery.

Tuesday 24th January

Ah!  No idea of what we ate!  Didn’t take a picture so can’t remember.  Oh well.

Wednesday 25th January

macaroni peas

Macaroni peas.  This is a new firm (and super easy and quick) favourite from Hugh’s Everyday Veg.  You basically cook peas, then blitz half of them to a puree with some of the pea cooking water.  You also add some sliced garlic you’ve gently softened in butter, along with some grated Parmesan (it’s a bit like a pea pesto).  Then you mix together your cooked macaroni, pea puree and the remaining whole peas.  It’s really delicious.

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Halloumi burger

So whilst N eats his homemade beef burger with melted cheese AND bacon, I made myself a meat-free version.

I tossed thick slices of halloumi cheese in polenta before pan frying it in a little oil until it goes crisp and golden. 

Halloumi burger

One side of the bun was spread with homemade olive tapenade (black olives, a garlic clove and some olive oil all blitzed up), the other with mayonnaise with sundried tomato paste mixed through.

Add some lettuce and roasted red peppers (mine came from a jar), pop in the hot crispy halloumi and take a BIG bite.

Halloumi burger

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

Sandwich…burger…I’m not quite sure what this creation is, but it definitely tastes scrumptious.  This sandwich was devised to get us through Saturday – a dawn til way-past-dusk frenzy of furniture moving, hoovering, dusting, sorting, chucking, and reorganisation.  I must say our house positively gleams now, and looks beautiful.  However, this sandwich was needed to get us through that day. 

It is most definitely worth sharing and I hope you all try it – equally delicious without the sausages for a yummy vegetarian alternative.  The only thing I’d do different next time (there will be a next time I make this sandwich…I’m still thinking about it) is add a smear of sundried tomato paste to the bun before ladling in the other ingredients.

The bread baps and halloumi came from Barkbakan in Chorlton, the sausages from Little Heath Farm, and the roasted red peppers from a jar. The mayonnaise wasn’t homemade, I’m not sure it’s necessary for a dollop in a sandwich like this, but it was good quality organic mayo. I think this recipe would work equally nicely in the summer with a good handful of fresh basil.

a simple, delicious lunch

a simple, delicious lunch

Sausage, Halloumi & Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Makes two large sandwiches

2 large baps/buns/bread rolls/slices of bread
6 sausages
6 slices of halloumi
1-2 large roasted red peppers from a jar
3 tbsp semolina flour
salt and pepper
couple of dollops of mayonnaise
thyme
smear of sundried tomato paste

Firstly, turn the grill on and cook the sausages until golden brown and sizzling.

Meanwhile, combine the semolina flour, salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Take the slices of halloumi and coat in the semolina flour – this creates a nice crispy coating when they cook. If the halloumi is quite dry, smear over a little oil to mak the flour stick.

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a glug of oil – use a piece of kitchen towel to wipe it evenly around the pan to ensure the cheese doesn’t stick. When the oil it nice and hot, carefully lay the halloumi into the oil and let it cook for a couple of minutes – without moving it – until it is golden. Then flip the halloumi over and fry on the other side until golden.

crispy coated hallmoui for added crunch!

crispy coated halloumi for added crunch!

Slice your baps or bread rolls in half. Roughly slice the roasted red peppers. Smear over some sundried tomato paste and lay the cooked sausages on top (three on each). Next add the golden halloumi and a good handful of roasted peppers. Top with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves.

yum yum in my tum

yum yum in my tum

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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