Saturday, 23 July 2011

Beef Burgers with Sweet Potato Chips

Right. I've decided I'm not going to whinge about the weather any more. It's boring, it's repetitive, and it's just playing into the hands of my friends emailing from the US about their bloody heat wave, all 35 degrees, "gosh I need an iced coffee and it's only 6 in the morning", "ice cream is the only acceptable food". Hi Hermione and Anna! Glad to hear you're having such a good time!

So yes, it's been raining a lot, and it was a wee bit miserable but let's put a bit of a brave face on, shall we? The rain has stopped now! In the Dine at Mine household, we're celebrating with a barbecue and a Pimm's. Granted, they'll both have to be enjoyed inside, but when your Pimm's is mixed with champagne you can't really complain too much. Besides, I think the hot, sunny weather is just waiting until we buy a house, complete with garden, and get a chance to play with all our new garden furniture. I know this explanation may seem a bit solipsistic - sucks for everyone else who already has a garden - but it makes me feel better and inspires hopes of a glorious September. It could still happen! Don't give up!

Our inside barbecue started with the afore-mentioned Pimms Royale and continued with a massive burger served with all the toppings, and with sweet potato chips, corn on the cob and a bit of token salad on the side. It may not have been elegant, but it was an immensely yummy meal and, I have to admit, much more comfortable to eat inside at a table than outside on a nobbly bit of grass. As for the burgers themselves, a couple of years ago we were generously given a super-duper American Barbecue book with a recipe for burgers (which we've used before), but it consists purely of shaping mince into a burger shape. No seasonings, no additional flavours, just meat. We've done it, and it's nice, but without the benefit of coals and smoke we thought that our meat would need a bit of help.

So we adapted the burger recipe from one found in the Waitrose mag, leaving out their suggested chopped, fried onion and cutting down on the breadcrumbs, but including the seasonings, squeeze of ketchup and an egg to bind. Cooked on a griddle for those all-important crunchy bits, these were accompanied by a full burger board of fluffy, floury rolls; fried onion rings; slices of extra-mature cheddar; lots of gherkin (even if I'm the only one who likes it); sliced beef tomato; lettuce; mustard; mayo; ketchup. YUM. No pictures of the finished article I'm afraid, we were too busy scoffing them, but you can take my word for it that they were good. Regardless of the temperature and precipitation we had a lovely barbecue and, even more importantly, didn't have to traipse back inside to get a drink, or go to the loo, or wash the gherkin brine off our hands. See? There is an upside to our terrible weather! As long as we get a good dose of sunshine in September. I'm warning you, British weather gods, you're on borrowed time.

Barbecue (-ish) Burgers
Adapted from Waitrose Food Illustrated
Serves 6
- 1kg of very nice quality beef mince
- an egg
- salt and pepper
- good squeeze of ketchup
- a dessertspoonful of breadcrumbs
- a tablespoonful of dried oregano
Simply mix, form into six burgers and leave in the fridge until you're ready to cook. Get a griddle really hot, rub oil over the outside of the burgers and give them 4 minutes a side, or until browned and sizzling. Serve with all the toppings, clearly, and don't worry about looking unattractive while you eat them. 

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