NOT “Italian Superfood Burgers” from “Superfood Family Classics”

img_9461The weather on Sunday in London was absolutely glorious. It was a day begging for a barbecue, particularly when you consider we probably don’t have many barbecue days left. Consequently, I scrapped my original plan of a roast beef Sunday dinner– it had been raining and miserable when I bought the ingredients on Saturday– and pivoted over to the idea of burgers and other barbecue treats for Sunday dinner.

“Great,” I thought. “I know Jamie has a burger recipe in the book, so I can make that.” (This thought is important because we’ve been struggling to find recipes that we want to make out of this book so far.)

So we took the long way around to Waitrose– like I said, it was a beautiful day– to buy the ingredients. This is a word-for-word transcription of the conversation that occurred in the meat department:

Me: So we need 500 grams of lean mince for the burgers.

Tim: 500 grams? That doesn’t sound like very much.

Me: Well, you add cannellini beans to them to bulk them up. This is a Superfood Jamie recipe.

Tim: No.

Me: What do you mean no?

Tim: No.

Me: But it will make them healthy burgers! Jamie says so!

Tim: No.

Me: We could just try it. It won’t kill us.

Tim: No.

{This went on for a bit.}

Tim: I’m sorry, but it sounds disgusting.

Me: You’re right. It does. Let’s just make regular burgers.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is the first time in 5 1/2 years of doing this blog and testing recipes that he’s ever flat-out refused to try something. But I could see where he was coming from. What’s the point of having something delicious if you’re just going to muck it up by doing something weird* to it? Why risk buying expensive ingredients only to have everyone hate it?

*In this case, the weird was adding beans to mince. Although I was intrigued enough to want to try it, I’m not intrigued enough to make it just for me.

This conversation does go reinforce to what I said in my last post: this book is completely joyless and feels as though it was written by a team of people who don’t like food very much. I know that burgers are decidedly not the healthiest option. But surely I could have them every once in a while as part of a balanced healthy diet? Particularly on a night where we’re firing up the BBQ? Also, what does this tell people who don’t know how to cook and want a burger? The only way to have one is to add beans to it? WHY???

MAKE THIS MADNESS STOP.

When we told the boys we had elected to not try the healthy Jamie burgers the response was nothing short of rapturous. I was glad we went the old-fashioned route, otherwise I imagine we would have had several leftover burgers on our hands when it was all over.

In the end, we had our usual burgers (best-quality mince with salt and pepper),  with cheddar cheese melted on top (somewhere a nutritionist on Jamie’s team is weeping), along with grilled halloumi, grilled corn on the cob, salad and potatoes in packets.

It was delicious and we were all happier for it, as we sat on our back patio under the setting sun laughing about the weekend. That’s what I call superfood.

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NOT “Italian Superfood Burgers” from “Superfood Family Classics”

“Dirty Burgers with Secret Sauce and French Fries” from “My Street Food Kitchen”

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Burgers have seen a bit of a renaissance in London the last few years, between the huge success of Meat Liquor (well deserved; their burgers are delicious), the ubiquity of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Byron chains (both are in Greenwich and I can attest to their lip-smacking goodness), not to mention the invasion of American chains Shake Shack and Five Guys.

Needless to say, we love them.

For whatever reason, I don’t often make them at home, maybe because we have two really good chains just a 10-minute walk from our front door. But on one night during the recent Easter break (with Andrew diligently studying for his GCSEs), I decided what we all really needed was a really good burger.

We were not disappointed.

To be fair, this recipe for the hamburger itself does not deviate from the traditional hamburger recipe. Where it does deviate, however, is in the secret sauce, which was a big winner. I would tell you what’s in the secret sauce, but I signed an NDA [non-disclosure agreement]. Ha! I kid. The recipe is actually below.

I also wanted to try her recipe for french fries, having tried the same thing in our previous book. This one was slightly better in that the instructions didn’t tell me that I had to soak them in water for an hour (like in the previous one). But as a result, these chips were slighly floppier than the previous version. Not better or worse, just floppier. So maybe soaking the potatoes will be a matter of whether or not you’ve got the time.

In any case, burger night was a huge success. I suspect we will be having them again soon.

Go to page 7 to this edition of Issuu to see the full recipe for burgers and secret sauce. As a bonus, I won’t have to violate the NDA I signed.

“Dirty Burgers with Secret Sauce and French Fries” from “My Street Food Kitchen”