Homemade Burgers


In a change to my planned blog post this week about Soup; here are two recipes for Homemade Burgers! This comes in reaction to the news that the DNA from pigs and horses has been found in supermarket beef burgers in the UK and Ireland – eek!

I’m not going to dwell on this too much but the label should tell you what the product contains. I would (and have) tried many different foods but I was always knew what I was eating before hand (except the first time I had calamari, I thought they were onion rings and got a bit of a chewy surprise!).

Moving on; firstly the beef burgers. This recipe is super easy so do have a bash.

beef burger

Beef Burgers

Serves 2


250g of lean steak mince

olive oil

salt & pepper


1) Squish the mince together with your hands and then squash them into either 2 large burgers or 4 small ones.

2) Season the burgers both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper

3) Fry in olive oil over a high heat (turning frequently) until they start to caramelise on the outside.

4) Take the pan off the heat and cover with either a lid or tin foil. Allow them to rest for a good 5 minutes or so.

5) Serve in burger buns, with or without cheese, sauces and salad. We had dijon mustard, cheese, cherry tomatoes and rocket.

If you’re vegetarian or are generally feeling a bit squeamish about the whole thing – try these veggie burgers, which pretty much contain everything except meat!

veggie burger

Veggie Burgers

Serves 4


200g of potatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely grated

1 small turnip, finely grated

40g cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 egg

handful of frozen peas

large pinch of chopped fresh parsley

50g breadcrumbs

vegetable oil

salt & pepper


1) Peel the potatoes and boil for 15-20 minutes.

2) While the potatoes are cooking, gently fry the onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft and translucent. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the grated carrot and turnip to soften in the residual heat.

3) Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash.

4) Put the onion and vegetable mixture in a large bowl and add the mashed potato, nutmeg, parsley, cheese, egg, and frozen peas then season well with salt and pepper. Mix everything in thoroughly.

5) Tip the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl or dish. Divide the burger mixture into 4 portions and shape into patties. If the mixture is too wet either add a little flour or drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the bowl of breadcrumbs and turn them in the crumbs to coat them using a spoon. They will be much easier to shape and fry once coated.

6) Shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve in buns with trimmings – we had rocket and mustard mayonnaise in ours.

Experiment with different vegetables in these burgers – they’re also great for using up leftover mash and other cooked veggies.


Capers on a train



This summer I shall be spending most of August on the train.
Last weekend it all began when I headed out of London to join my parents, my brother and my sister-in-law at a holiday cottage in Hereford.

Despite somelousy weather we have had a wonderful week, exploring, cooking and playing board games together.



I’m now headed to a wedding in Derbyshire and decided that as I was booked on a train at lunchtime I would make the most of it (and test my nerve) and see if I could cook on the train.
Deciding what to make was fairly simple. I figured it ought to be a play on words from the film “Strangers on a train” but I initially had great difficulty thinking of an ingredient to rhyme with strangers. A quick text message to my good friend/frighteningly good scrabble player Tom, solved the puzzle almost instantaneously with “capers”.
My thoughts then turned to beef carpaccio and then it was just a question of how I would logistically prepare and then serve the dish on a train.
I’d read a Jamie Oliver recipe recently where he seared the beef beforehand and recommended serving it at room temperature and from there everything started to fall into place.
I packed up my prepared ingredients and seared the beef in a frying pan before I left. I placed it in a tiny plastic pot with a good lid to marinade in my handbag ready to be snipped into slices with a pair of kitchen scissors mid-journey.
When I came to serve up; laying out the salad and caperberries on the plate was fine but I must admit I was a bit nervous that fellow passengers would start to at least raise their eyebrows when I started cutting up a block of rare meat. I decided to just plough on and hope that a ticket inspector didn’t walk past. I briefly wondered whether carpaccio was an offence which could lead to being forcibly expelled from the train and a 6 month public transport ban but I soon calmed down once it was all served (and photographed of course!).

After this weekend in Derbyshire I shall rejoin my family in Nottingham and then off to Edinburgh to see Richard perform at the underbelly. Then it’s back to Nottingham once more before I finally return to London. My first train cookery experience was rather successful so it’s quite possible that in-carriage cookery will make another appearance on my travels. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Capers on a train
Serves 1

100g (small piece) of good quality beef fillet.
Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

For the marinade:
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Black pepper
Few chives cut into small pieces
Few strands of lemon zest

To serve:
Small handful of watercress
30-40g of hard goats cheese or parmesan
6-7 caperberries

At home, start by searing the beef for just a few seconds in a very hot pan with the 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Make sure you season the beef with black pepper on both sides.
When the beef is still raw in the middle but is just starting to pick up some golden/caramelised colours on the outsides then take it off the heat and leave on a plate whilst you make the marinade.
In a small pot, preferably with a tightly fitting or clip-lock lid, add the lemon juice and gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add the chives, zest and pepper and when cooled slightly, add the beef. Place the caperberries on top of the beef and close the pot until you are ready to eat it.
To serve lay the watercress out on the plate then shave the goats cheese into long strips with a vegetable peeler.
Arrange the caperberries onto the plate and the use a pair of clean scissors to cut up the beef. Lay the beef on the plate and add a little of the marinade to finish.