Asian burgers


Sorry foodies that it has been so long since I last posted! I have been extremely busy riding camels in Israel, reading for class, and working on my thesis. But I made it a priority to post a new recipe this week, so here it is!

My camel

My camel

Camel in the Judaean Desert

Ty and I on our camel in the Judaean Desert

The markets in Israel were beautiful, yet chaotic and overstimulating. They were overcrowded with people and full of pungent smells, bright colours, fresh produce, and shouting, haggling, beckoning shop owners. A food adventurers heaven…

Jerusalem shuk

everyone in Jerusalem preparing for the shabbos

How we felt at the market

How we felt at the market

And now to my recipe…

I am a very traditional (I mean lazy) lunchtime cooker. I will typically choose eating leftovers from dinner the night before or throw together a sandwich with whatever fillings are in the fridge. However, my favorite thing to splurge on is a weekend gourmet sandwich made from deliciously fresh ciabatta from Knead, and layers of Woolie’s salami and edam, rocket, avo, and Pesto Princess pesto, made for Ty and I to eat while we sit on the couch watching our favorite series of the moment.

Last weekend, I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to make Asian burgers as a Sunday lunch treat. The key is to use whatever ordinary ingredients you happen to have in the fridge and turn them into something fancy and delicious.

After Ty took his first bite he said “You need to open a restaurant”. *Sigh* Maybe one day!

Asian Burgers (serves 2 + leftovers)

Asian burgers

cooking my Asian burgers

Asian burgers

The final product

Ingredients

  • 400g raw minced beef
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 sprigs finely chopped green onions
  • 1 handful finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 large brown mushroom finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 heaped tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 1 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbl curry
  • 1 tbl jeera
  • sprinkle of chili flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. gently mix all the ingredients together, minus the salt
  2. using your hands, form large, thick patties
  3. grill the patties in a lightly oiled panned for 10-15 minutes until both sides are golden
  4. sprinkle some salt on the patties
  5. serve (with mayo if you’d like) on slices of toasted bread

Veggie Risotto


The very first time I had risotto was during my second year of university.  I can’t believe I went 19 years without eating it!  A friend made asparagus risotto and it ended in violent food poisoning for him but a content tummy and a whole new world of risotto cooked with everything for me.  Food poisoning will always mystify me despite that I took epidemiology of infectious diseases last year and learned all about the nasty culprits – food handlers – and how to track a food poisoning outbreak.

Renee (who taught me how to make grape pizza) also made a killerrrrrrr veggie risotto that was so delicious, so foodgasmic, and so moreish in every way.  When I moved to South Africa I tried my hand at making risotto for Ty and I.  No pun intended, because making risotto entails pretty much continual stirring for about 40 minutes that ends in a dead arm. Risotto is kind of like a baby. You feed it, nurture it, and help it grow.  My all time favorite risotto is chicken marsala risotto but I struggle to find marsala wine here in South Africa, so the next best thing is risotto with anything else.

One major barrier to making risotto is that Ty passionately hates parmesan cheese, which is a critical ingredient.  He cannot bare the unpleasant smell and taste produced by Butyric acid, the same ingredient found in vomit.  I on the other hand, love parmesan regardless and am appalled by Ty’s distaste.  Nevertheless, to appease him, I add a small handful of whatever cheese we have in stock instead of parmesan.

This is my Veggie Risotto recipe.  I tend to just add whatever veggies I have in the fridge and so I encourage you to go crazy and add whatever your heart desires.

Ingredients (serves 2 + leftovers)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 heaped tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cheese (gouda, cheddar, edam)
  • 125g brown mushrooms coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped squash (zucchini, patty pan, round zucchini)
  • 1 chopped red or yellow pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. melt the butter in a pan and sautee the onions and garlic until lightly browned
  2. add the dry risotto and stir for about 5 minutes
  3. mix together the wine and chicken broth
  4. turn the heat down and add about 1/4 cup broth at a time and stir until the broth is absorbed
  5. while the risotto is cooking, in a separate pan, add some oil and sautee the veggies with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and paprika until al dente
  6. if you run out of broth and the risotto is still not fully cooked (a bit crunchy in the center), add more water and let it absorb. it should take about 40 minutes for the risotto to fully cook
  7. when the risotto is almost done (fluffy and gooey), stir in the veggies and cheese
  8. enjoy!

Chewy Thug Bars


At 11:00PM I got a slowly creeping then suddenly spiking craving for something sweet, which bolstered my motivation to bake for Ty’s last day of work before his final year of Architecture begins.  However, the challenge was to bake something yummy yet not so labor intensive, and with whatever ingredients I could find in the house, which was not much.

So, I perused through my recipes and remembered one from a work colleague called Ian’s Thug Crunchies (strange, I know), which I had most of the necessary ingredients to make. The first time I made these I followed the unhealthy recipe plus added even more unhealthy ingredients and they came out super sweet, crumbly, delicious, and unashamedly unhealthy.  However, this time around I decided to go the slightly healthier route and experimented with the recipe, which produced a more soft, subtle, seedy bar that satisfied Ty and his colleagues’ sweet tooths without overdoing it. The fun thing about this recipe is that it is quick, simple, and forgiving.  I completely encourage experimentation; you can make flour substitutions, sugar substitutions, saturated fat substitutions, and add all sorts of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Chewy Thug Bars

Ingredients

  • 200g margarine
  • 1 tbl golden syrup or honey
  • 1 tbl vanilla
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup mixed seeds (linseed, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut and/or fig
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • (1 bar roughly chopped dark chocolate – optional)


Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C (356F).  In a pot, melt the margarine on low heat and add the syrup and vanilla.  Add the baking powder, which will foam up, so remove from the heat and mix.  In a large bowl, mix together the oats, salt, sugar, cinnamon, seeds, and dried fruit.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until fully coated.  Mix in the flour (and chocolate). Press the mixture firmly into a deepdish ungreased pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Cut into rectangles while still warm and eat when cooled oooor, if you are impatient and too excited like me, you can eat a bar right away and risk burning your tongue, which may be a worthwhile trade-off to please your tastebuds.