Category Archives: Pepper

Recipe: The Greatest Burgers Evah!

The Greatest Burger
The Greatest Burger

Ingredients;

500g lean ground beef
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs
Large handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Large handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 pinch of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt
Pepper
1 egg
1 teaspoon of smooth French mustard
2 handfuls of grated mozzarella cheese
1 chili, finely diced

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Burgers in general are just ground beef reformed into a convenient shape to place in a burger bun, right? Even at it’s simplest a burger is so much more than that, every burger maker has their own preference for the cut of beef to be ground for their burgers or the blend of cuts and the percentage of each. Some add nothing more than seasoning and others bulk out their burgers with all sorts of synthetic “fillers” and “flavour enhancers”.

I like the idea of a pure beef burger but in truth I find all but the most exceptional to be a little bland and lacking in flavour, which is why I go down the route of using a blend of herbs and other flavours to make every bite an event.

Once you have the onion and fresh herbs chopped, place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a large pinch of salt and pepper and the oregano in your mortar and pestle and grind them up as finely as possible. Then add this to the blender along with the fresh herbs and the bread and blend until you have nice fine herby breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them together well – get your hands in and mix everything together really well, yes even the cheese.

Next place a large sheet of clingfilm onto a clean surface and arrange the mixture on top so that you can roll it into a six to eight centimetre thick sausage and seal it in the clingfilm, making sure to have this sausage compacted into this size as much as possible. Now place this in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least an hour.

Now remove the burger-sausage from the fridge and (without removing the clingfilm) slice it into burgers about one and a half centimetres thick using a very sharp knife. Once all have been sliced it should be easy enough to remove the pieces of clingfilm.

These can then be cooked on a grill, in the frying pan, or my personal favourite, grilled over a charcoal burning barbecue for approximately 2 minutes each side. I like them served in a toasted bun on a bed of lettuce and sliced cornichon with a generous helping of grated cheddar melted over the burger, topped with some hot fresh caramelised onion chutney and a blob of ketchup.

Recipe: Caesar Salad Dressing

a jar of Caesar salad dressing
a jar of Ceasar salad dressing

Ingredients;

3/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2/3 cup of milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 level teaspoon smooth French mustard
1 anchovy fillet, minced

Makes approx 300ml

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Caesar salad dressing has gotten a bad reputation in the last few years as being extremely fattening. In truth it is quite fattening but part of the reason that it has earned this reputation is actually nothing to do with the dressing itself and more to do with fast food chains and the eaters’ own lack of self control, or more precisely, lack of portion control.

So in order to restore the balance a bit and also because it’s something I like, I recently went about looking into some recipes so I could make it at home and not buy the bottled ones with god only knows what in them.

The result of roughly 6 hours of research is this recipe, there are elements of a lot of different recipes that I found online in this and one of these days I may even decide to make my own mayonnaise to remove that unknown from the recipe, in the meantime I’ll stick with a low fat mayonnaise. Oh, and if you think that makes a difference to the taste by all means use full fat but I don’t find it lacking in anyway as it is 😉

So onto the preparation, this really is easy to make, but there are a few little tips I’ll give you to make the result even better.

As with most recipes the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the result, but even more so when it comes to salads and dressings. If you can get your hands on a more mature Parmesan cheese, do so. A good 24 or 36 month old will make a world of difference.

For the garlic, I use a garlic press and then chop the pressed garlic as finely as possible, there is nothing worse than the look on a guest’s face if they get a lump of fresh garlic in their salad. It’s only momentary but best avoided!

The anchovy can be equally as strong as the garlic, so I’ll go back and forth across it with a knife until it’s all stuck to the blade then scrape it off and repeat at least two or three times. The rest of the recipe is so quick it’s worth spending at least five minutes on both the garlic and anchovy to avoid “the face”!

Now once you have all the ingredients prepared, just mix everything (except the milk) together well then add the milk slowly until you get the consistency you prefer.

Pour this into a sterilised glass jar or bottle and store it in your fridge until you’re ready to use it. It should keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, just remember to shake the jar well before using it.

Recipe: Vinaigrette Dressing

Vinaigrette Dressing
Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients;

Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
French mustard

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Vinaigrette dressings are very quick and simple to make and this recipe is a good “standard” dressing to learn. It’s ridiculously easy and quick to make and if you store it in the fridge will keep for about a month.

The secret of a vinaigrette is simple – three parts fat to one part acid with some mustard, salt and pepper to help the emulsifying.

Get a clean and preferably sterilised glass bottle and start by putting some balsamic vinegar in, fill it about an eighth of the way up.

Then add roughly three times as much extra virgin olive oil, followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Lastly add a little French mustard.

Now seal the bottle and shake it for about a minute. Take a small taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Now let it sit for about 10 minutes, if it starts to split into layers then add a little more mustard and repeat the process. All vinaigarettes will separate eventually but ideally you want one that stays emulsified for 10 minutes or so.

Store this in a cool dry place until you’re ready to use it. Then give the bottle a shake and drizzle lightly over your salad to serve.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute so many different things, I regularly use lemon or lime juice instead of balsamic vinegar.

I’ve also been known to use some truffle oil or other flavoured extra virgin olive oils to give a little variety to the taste. It’s a great recipe to experiment with as you can come up with something that is completely unique to your tastes and preference.

I have to say I find that lemon juice really freshens the flavour of any salad and makes it something special for any occasion and in case you’re wondering it’s taken me far longer to type this recipe than it takes to make it, so have fun with it and if you find a combination you really like please let us know in the comments.

Recipe: BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce
BBQ Sauce

Ingredients;


1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 fresh chillies, stalks and seeds removed
Olive oil

10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
10 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
Small bunch of fresh coriander
10 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
6 cloves
Zest of 2 oranges

Juice of 2 oranges
200g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Molasses
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
200ml tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons English mustard
200ml apple juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Continuing on from the BBQ Rub last week we have the second crucial element for making great BBQ meat, the sauce! This recipe makes about 750ml of sauce so make sure you have a few glass bottles or jars available to sterilise and store it, unless you’re planning to use it all in two or three days. Why make such a large quantity? Easy, it takes just as long to make half the amount and you’ll want to have it again and again so why not make plenty to start with :)

There are a lot of ingredients so before you begin, take them all out and prep them, I find this helps me to make sure I don’t accidentally forget something.

To start, take your onion, garlic and chillies and blitz them together in a blender or food processor until you have a paste. Then take a pan add some olive oil and get it on to a low heat. Add the paste and fry it for about 5 minutes.

While that’s happening take your thyme, rosemary, coriander, bay leaves, cumin, fennel, paprika and cloves place them in your blender or food processor. Next add the orange zest, you don’t wan’t the pith (white bit) and blitz this to a purée.

Once the paste has had it’s five minutes add the purée and cook for another minute. Next add the sugar and molasses, stir them in well and continue to cook it for another few minutes until the sugar dissolves and you have a thick brown paste.

Now add 285ml of water stiring it in well and let it heat slowly for another two or three minutes. Now add all the remaining ingredients, stir it well and bring the lot to the boil. Now take a deep breath, turn the heat down a little and let it simmer for about five to ten minutes until the mixture starts to thicken a little.

Grab a large bowl and a sieve and pour the sauce through the sieve (depending on how thick it has gotten you may need to “encourage” it with the back of a spoon) into your bowl to filter out the larger bits, and throw away the bits left in the sieve. Repeat this process a couple of times until you’re left with a silky smooth looking sauce.

Leave it to cool completely. Then either, use it straight away like a glaze (just brush it over your meat of choice in the last few minutes of cooking) or pour it into your sterilised glass jars or bottles to stored for use later.

How do I sterilise glass jars or bottles?

The easiest way I’ve found is to fill the kitchen sink with boiling water from the kettle and submerge the jars/bottles and their lids in it for about ten minutes. Once you remove them add the sauce immediately and get the lids on tight.

Once they cool they can be stored in a cool dark place or the fridge. The sauce should keep for about six months.

Oh and just to keep it in perspective, this recipe should be enough to do about eight full racks of back ribs. But we’ll get into that more on Friday, so y’all come back now! :)

Recipe: BBQ Rub

BBQ Rub
BBQ Rub

Ingredients;

1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
Zest of one orange, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
A good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, peeled

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This post is the first of 3 recipes that will be coming over the next few days, the 3 together make the best BBQ Ribs I’ve tasted, yes better than anything I’ve been served in any restaurant, anywhere, so do try this. Alternatively, it can be used on almost any meat to add a massive flavour boost.

Pound your fennel seeds to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar and mix with all the other ingredients (except the Garlic) until you have a deep red powder. I find the best way to do this is to add the lot to a small Tupperware box, seal it and then shake it (like a Polaroid picture 😉 )

Next you want to add your garlic, you will need to either finely grate the garlic or use a garlic press to mince it up real good, then add this to the other ingredients and mix it again.

Finally, apply this to your meat, rubbing it in well (get your minds out of the gutter down the back) then wrap in cling film and store in your fridge overnight, before cooking.