Sweet potato and rice burger

Oh dear…the Bloody Bonza Bucketty Beetroot and Bean Burgers did not pass muster from the tough judges running the Inaugural Mangrove Country Fair Veggie Burger Taste Test.

Head Taster Shrek saying “I really, really liked the flavour, quite a meaty consistency if I can use that word, and they held together pretty well.” Cheeky and Mrs Shrek however expressed their concern over the colour “I just don’t understand why any vegetarian would want a burger that looks so red – its like meat. Veggie burgers needs something green in them”.

The killer however was the case of shall we say “bottom burps” that all the tasters were afflicted with afterwards. Personally I don’t get this….the 4B burgers have been made and eaten quite a few times in the VegHead household and we can’t report any subsequent windy-pant problem. However we’ll settle for the judge’s final word in this and so we’re submitting another entrant: Sweet potato and rice burgers.

For the putting in:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and quartered
  • Sweet potato to approximately the same size, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup of dry rice, cooked to just beyond al dente
  • 2/3 cup of oats, ground to flour – not quick cook oats (to make these gluten free follow the same advice as in the 4B recipe)
  • 2/3 cup of cooked chickpeas, roughly mashed
  • 2/3 cup of green peas (either frozen, or if using fresh blanch first)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of dried mixed Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari
  • Olive oil
  • NB: For those looking to use this recipe for catering size proportions, such as we did for the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair and the Gasfield Free Mountain Districts Declaration, base all ingredient amounts on using 1kg each of sweet potato, potato, (uncooked) rice, oats and frozen peas. You can expect about 60 generously sized burgers from such a mix – which each burger formed into a ball a little smaller than a tennis ball. When making such a large mixture I have found it to be best to mix the peas through the cooked rice, and mash everything else together separately. Refrigerate both mixes overnight in covered containers. Fork the rice/pea mix to separate then combine everything in a large container (or split the mixes into equal portions and do in batches if need be). There is no better way to evenly combine such a large quantity than to just do it with your hands.

To prepare:

Boil the potato and sweet potato until soft, then drain and mash.

Meanwhile, saute the onion over a medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil until transparent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds, then add the spices (not the herbs) and continue for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Mash together the potatoes, sweet potatoes, herbs, onion/garlic/spice mix, oat flour, tamari. Once mixed add the cooked rice and the peas, and thoroughly mix by hand or with a spoon until completely combined.

Cover and refrigerate the mix for at least 2 hours before forming patties.

Cook patties in a cast iron pan until crisp on both sides.

Patties can be frozen uncooked, once formed separated by squares of waxed paper. Uncooked mix should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Handy Tip: When forming veggie patties use an “egg ring” to get a good tight burger and also ensure even sizing. Form a ball of mix (experience will show how much you’ll need) and press tightly into the ring using palm or a flat spatula. Lift off the ring before cooking. You can either do this directly into the pan, or if preparing for later cooking form the patties in this manner onto the waxed paper. If a wider, thinner burger is desired to suit the size of the bun then squash the pattie as it cooks, just before turning it over to cook the other side.

Shepherd’s pie

When I was a loinfruit, dinners followed a pretty predictable rhythm: Sunday night roast, Monday night reheated or cold slices of Sunday’s dead animal, Tuesday night Shepherd’s Pie, and so on through the week until Sunday’s roast came again. Later, whenever I could drag my teenage mind away from the distractions of girls, girls, girls, and oh…look….a pretty girl, I began to wonder why a dish made from ground up left over roast lamb under a bed of mashed spuds was called Shepherd’s Pie. I mean, isn’t the whole idea of being a shepherd meant to be that you look after the flock and bring them all back home where they can be slaughtered in the comfort of their own barn? Surely, I thought, you’re not meant to be tucking into a cheeky bit of lamb up on the mountaintop pasture. And furthermore, where did the shepherd get a spud masher? And furthermore….oooh look…a pretty girl.

And so it came to pass that many years later I turned my thoughts again to the question of making Shepherd’s Pie. Being much older and wiser now, with the cunning and sense of reason that comes with maturity, I realised that if the Shepherd had had the wisdom to bring along a spud masher, he or she would almost certainly have thought to bring along a few other little useful things too in the rucksack, so as to be able to whip up a lovely pie high on the mountain top pasture. Meanwhile, I resolved the quandary of why a shepherd would scoff into lambsie by deciding that instead, he’d save the lamb and eat kidney beans instead.

For the putting in:

  • 400g cooked kidney beans
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • Few cloves garlic, crushed
  • Large zuchinni, grated
  • Large carrot, grated
  • Medium stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g finely chopped tomatoes
  • Tspn powdered cumin
  • Tspn powdered mild paprika
  • Tspn powdered cayenne pepper (or adjust heat to taste)
  • Tbspn dried mixed Italian herbs
  • Tspn chopped fresh rosemary
  • 100ml stock
  • 50ml red wine
  • 50ml passata

Also:

  • 500-750g potatoes

Also:

  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • Tbspn of leftover rice that you happened to have some of in the fridge
  • Tbspn of pine nuts

For the doing:

  • In a largish saucepan, lightly sauté the onion in a generous splash of olive oil
  • Once the onions are clear, add the garlic and powdered spices. Continue sautéing briefly
  • Add everything else in the main list of ingredients
  • Simmer, covered, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.
  • Once the liquid is well reduced place this mixture into a large oven proof baking dish (pyrex or similar), one that is wide and shallow rather than small and deep.

Meanwhile:

  • Boil the potatoes and mash finely with a dash of olive oil, or vegan margarine

Meanwhile:

  • Whizz up the soy milk, rice and pine nuts using a bamix (or similar inferior kitchen tool) until no lumps remain

Cover the layer of sauce in the baking dish with the mashed potatoes, then spoon the soy milk mix over the top and smooth it out evenly. Bake in the oven at 180c for 30 minutes. Serve with steamed veg’ or salad.

Today’s handy kitchen trick:

Getting an even layer of something like mashed potato over a layer of something saucy can be a right pain in the donkey. This helps; get a shallow tray that is almost the same size in area as the dish you have placed the sauce into. Put a sheet of baking paper into your tray, then layer the mashed potato onto it in an even layer. In a swift, graceful manner, invert the spud filled tray onto the sauce. Then peel the baking paper off the top and discard. This should result in a nice, smooth, even layer of mash on top of the saucy stuff. Using a spoon, gently do any minor repair work required.

P.S. Keen eyed readers will note the similarity between this dish and The Templar’s Mexican chilli beans. Three words my friends: Reuse, recycle, reduce.

 

Potato and bean balls

The Larger Loinfruit polished off nine of these together with a salad for dinner, and had to be dissuaded from stealing a tenth off the plate of the Smaller Loinfruit, who isn’t as keen on them and who would have been happy to foist one off his plate if he could have got away with it.

These balls cook to a lovely light golden colour, however their popularity meant there were none left to pose for the camera so you’ll just have to take The VegHead’s word for it. Perhaps next time the potato paparazzi will be in town.

All well as keeping Larger Loinfruit fed, these are a good grown up party finger food, and can be made and refrigerated ahead of time and placed into the oven 20 minutes before you need them.

When you roll the balls, aim for a bit smaller than a squash ball.

The following makes about 12 balls, depending on how large you make them.

You will need:

  • 1 large potato; peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of cooked butter beans (or haricot)
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground roasted cashews (not salted variety)
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread, finely crumbed
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 fine slice of red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Get all dressed up and go to the Potato and Bean Ball:

  • No black tie required, but roll up your sleaves and make sure someone is around afterward to turn on the tap so you can wash your hands
  • Lightly saute the onion and garlic in olive oil
  • Mash all ingredients together
  • Knead lightly until mixture binds fairly well
  • Form into evenly sized balls
  • Grease a baking tray lightly with olive oil
  • Lightly brush each ball with same oil
  • Bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes

This recipe is courtesy of SheWhoMustBeFed

Methi Shaak Potato


Yesterday afternoon was clear and brisk. Ideal weather for slipping the iPod into the top pocket and donning the thickly knitted Moroccan skullcap hat that keeps The VegHead’s VegHead warm. Fortified by an earful of Michael Franti it is a ten mile or so cycle to the Indian grocery store. Driving to a place is travel, cycling is immersion. It also allows The VegHead to indulge in a wider range of food shopping choices while keeping the emissions down (notwithstanding the potential food miles of the purchased produce).

Methi leaves are one of those staples of Indian cooking that you would go to your grave ignorant of if you draw your view of the foodstuffs of the world from the shelves of the average big-chain supermarket. They are the leaves of the Fenugreek plant, the same plant that gives us the dried fenugreek spice (which is the ground, dried seeds). If you’ve ever been served a dish in an Indian restaurant that has spinach leaves in it, it probably is really meant to have methi leaves in it instead. Spinach is the Westernised version.

This Methi Potato dish has been adapted by SheWhoMustBeFed from a Shaak Potato recipe, which came into our kitchen from dour, plain, paperback sized Indian recipe book called “The Vegetarian Curry”.

Needing…

  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into thick “chip” shapes
  • 1 cup of methi leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (or if available, about 4cms of grated fresh turmeric root)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of palm sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Doing…

  • In a large pan (The VegHead uses the trusty wok) lightly saute the mustard and cumin seeds until they pop
  • Add everything else save the methi and fresh coriander. Add extra oil if needed. Fry until the potatoes are cooked, stirring to ensure even cooking and coating with the spice mix
  • Just before serving, add the methi leaves and stir through
  • On serving; garnish with the coriander leaves

Potato and bean balls

There is very little oil in this dish – in fact non other than however much you use to saute the onion and garlic in, and that used to grease the oven tray. The second time SheWhoMustBeFed made up a batch of these, she happened to neglect that preparatory step – they still turned out fine so if you’re looking for a very low-oil meal try that too.

Me? Olive oil is a beverage my friends….

These were initially birthed as a Loinfruit meal. They would also be ideal as a party finger food snacky thingamee.

Going in the balls…

  • 1 medium to large potato. Peel, boil and dry mash
  • 1/2 cup of cooked black beans (or substitute pinto or haricot)
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped roasted cashews
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread – finely breadcrumbled
  • pinch of finely ground black pepper
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 thin slice of red onion – finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped

Making the balls…

  • lightly saute the onion, garlic and pepper in a little olive oil
  • combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • lightly mash to combine and slightly break apart the beans
  • lightly knead the mixture until it all binds
  • form into balls, each about a little smaller than a golf ball. For anyone fortunate enough to never have played a game of golf, the balls should be about as round as the circle formed by your thumb and index finger. If you do not have a thumb, then firstly may I say that that is a great excuse to use to avoid golf, and secondly I am at a slight loss as to how to further describe the size of the balls. Just do your best…
  • bake on a lightly oiled tray in a pre-warmed, medium oven for about 15 minutes

Makes approx. 12 balls

Roast Potato and Onion Soup

Cold, grey, dreary English days call for a hearty winter soup to take the chill out of the bones. SheWhoMustBeFed had been out doing errands and came home looking all blue and frigid around the edges, so I made this soup to thaw her out. The roasted vegetables add depth of flavour and texture. This recipe will feed two very hungry people, and it takes about half an hour from clicking on the oven to sitting down to eat.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium spuds – a type that roasts up nicely
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • fresh bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, parsley, dill
  • black peppercorns (to taste: I would add about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • white miso
  • olive oil

What to do (important to do in this order if you do need to make this in less than 31 minutes)

  • crank up the oven (to whatever tempurature suits your oven for roasting vegetables)
  • top and tail the onion, remove the outer flaky skin. Place in a small roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
  • reserve one and half potatoes
  • do not peel the remaining potatoes. Dig out any nasty bits. Cube. Place in a roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
  • de-skin the garlic, place in a small covered baking container with olive oil and get that in the oven too.
  • Dry roast the peppercorns
  • ** Note: I leave it to you to remove the onion, garlic and spuds from the oven at the right time. In my oven, the onion would take the longest, followed by the spuds. The garlic would be ready in about 15-20 minutes while the peppercorns would be (dry) roasted in 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile….peel the reserved spuds. Cut in to smallish pieces and boil together with the bay leaf and the miso paste. Once the spuds are soft, gently mash them. This forms the basis of the “soup”
  • Once the peppercorns are roasted; crush them in a mortar and pestle
  • Once the garlic is roasted, puree it together with some of the soup and add to saucepan. At this time also add the chopped rosemary and thyme, and fish out the bay leaves.
  • Once the spuds and onion are roasted… the outer skin of the rost onion will be chewy and needs to be removed. Stand the onion on one end and slice in half with a very sharp knife (a blunt knife will make a right mess of this as the onion should be very soft). Lay down the halves on their cut side. Using whatever implement is to hand, “pinch” off the outer layer and discard. Cut the roast onion into largish pieces.
  • Add roast potato, onion, pepper, chopped dill and parsley to the soup.
  • Stir
  • Eat – note that the longer you delay the eating now the less the roast spuds will have a nice crispiness to them

Nice with chunky bread…