Anna: This was as advertised: fast, easy and tasted, well, kind of like a chilli. I say that because it was hot (“It has some tickle”, said Peter) though the spice combination isn’t what I’d usually choose for a chilli. Interestingly the recipe calls for curry powder. I was doubtful. Frankly it reads like something out of the 70s. Like a chilli recipe written by someone who has just discovered the concept and decides to sexy up their usual mince recipe. But I went with it. That’s what I’m here for. And do you know what? The spicing wasn’t the issue in the end. It was the sauce, or lack of it. I was so convinced there was a typo in the recipe that I searched online but could find no correction. How you can be expected to ‘simmer’ something that is made up of fried-off mince and drained beans I don’t know. So I added chicken stock. Which is what I would recommend you do too. Served with a baked sweet potato it was a decent mid-week meal. Just don’t forget the chicken stock.
What We’re Eating Again: Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce
From: “It’s All Good” – May 2013 Although we didn’t feature this recipe from the cookbook when we reviewed it, Kirstin did make a variation of it with her chicken burgers (made with turkey), Thai style. (Link here) “Jerusalem” also has a very good turkey burger recipe, which we’ve also enjoyed many times. (Link here)
Why: When we’re in the mood for burgers, but don’t necessarily want to eat red meat, turkey burgers fill the bill quite nicely. The trick is finding turkey mince, but I’ve found more and more supermarkets stock it now, including our local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Top Tips: Because turkey is, to put it kindly, somewhat lacking in taste, you really have to add a lot of flavour from other sources.
Recipe Link: You can see the recipe Gwyneth created for turkey burgers, by clicking through this sentence. The other highly-recommended turkey burger recipe from “Jerusalem”, was reproduced by 3 Bad Mice blog, which you can read by clicking through this sentence.
Anna: These are a revelation! I have made them twice in two weeks. Admittedly I have cheated a little and added some parmesan and breadcrumbs, which perhaps is going against the point of the recipe. Gwyneth would not approve. However, I’ll use the fact that I am feeding children as my excuse. Importantly these are packed with flavour (rocket, basil, flp, sage, rosemary, onion, garlic….) and super quick to make. I roll ours into the size of golfballs and serve them with a simple tomato sauce on top of braised cabbage greens. Yum. And I make them bite-sized for the kids. I credit them with helping Isabella get used to finger foods, as she’ll happily pop them in her mouth and eat 5 in one sitting. These will become a go-to recipe if the last couple of weeks are anything to go by…. highly recommended!
Nicholas (10): Turkey meatballs! Hooray!
Maureen: Yes, turkey meatballs certainly seem to be having their moment in the sun. Between this, and the ones we had from “Jersualem” and the ones from Gwenyth Paltrow, we’ve had our fair share. What do you think?
Nicholas: I like them.
Tim: Me too.
Maureen: But they could do with some sort of dip. Maybe yogurt with sumac or hummus or something, but it seems to be missing something.
Tim: You’re right. A dip would be nice. Maybe Ottolenghi has spoiled us because he has so many nice things to go with his mains.
Maureen: What do you think of the chickpea salad?
Nicholas: I don’t like it.
Maureen: I expected that. There’s cayenne pepper and sumac in there. That’s a lot of flavour for one boy, especially you.
Tim: I like it, though.
Maureen: So do I. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this again. Yum.
If you would like to try this for yourself, find the recipe by clicking on this sentence. Ah, the wonders of the Interweb.
Tim: Well look at Andrew. There’s one empty bowl already.
Andrew (12): Yes, this is very good.
Nicholas (8): I think this is just a rip-off of chicken pot pie.
Tim: No, it’s not. It’s different. The chicken pot pie we usually have has leeks and peas. This one has turkey, ham and sweetcorn.
Maureen: Do you like it? Do you want me to make it again?
Tim: Well, that would mean you have to make turkey again, and you know how I feel about turkey (Editor’s Note: He hates it). But if you’re going to use up the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this is nice.
Andrew: I think chicken pot pie is better.
Andrew: Because it has chicken, rather than turkey.
Maureen: You’re all insane. You can’t really taste the difference between chicken and turkey when it’s swimming in double cream and butter. I think this is a delicious way to use up leftover turkey. It was easy enough to do on a weeknight, since Nigella does all of her pastry in a food processor, and I thought it was really good.
Peter: This tastes of childhood.
Anna: What do you mean by that?
Peter: Well it’s a fairly innocuous base from which you can build any dish.
Anna: Sorry? Is that a metaphor for your childhood?
Anna: But you’re saying that your mum used to make one thing and then dress it up lots of different ways during the week?
Peter: Yes. So you could put potato on top and you’d have shepherds pie. You could have it with boiled potatoes. Or, as here, in a spag bol.
Anna: Sounds delicious. Well, I liked this as it was a healthy bolognese, but gutsy thanks to the wine and the mushrooms. And it was very easy to throw together. So another tick. But I have one gripe.
Peter: What’s that then?
Anna: It was way too runny. There’s just too many liquid components to the recipe. Lots of tinned tomatoes, lots of stock, lots of wine. Someone has got the proportions very wrong. You could easily cut the amount of liquid by a third.
Peter: There are lots of leftovers.
Anna: I’m not making a pie tomorrow, if that’s what you have in mind. But we will have it in a baked potato. So I guess I’m more like your mum than I thought.
Anna: I give in. Work is so busy right now I’m getting sucked into Nigella’s promise of a speedy, tasty dinner on the table in seconds. She’s offering me a solution, our lives are so similar after all!
Peter: Well, you both have dark hair. And she also is worth a hundred million.
Anna: One and the same we are. I wouldn’t normally go for a recipe like this as it’s not particularly healthy, but needs must.
Peter: It didn’t taste unhealthy. We had vegetables with it.
Anna: I guess it wasn’t that bad. It involved fried things and I try to avoid fried things.
Peter: Well I liked it anyway. The sauce on the scalopinne was a bit sharp with the lemon.
Anna: That was probably my fault for not seasoning it properly. I was in such a rush to finish my speedy meal that I didn’t have time to add salt.
Peter: I really liked the gnocchi. They were like cheat’s chips.
Anna: I have to admit they were a revalation. I like a good gnocchi and these were brilliant. I could have eaten them on their own. In fact, I think I might next time you’re out. Just like Nigella. Now, where’s my silk dressing gown?