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At Home: Lamb Burgers and Raspberry Bannock

8 Aug

Nothing says summer like food from the barbecue. On days when it’s too hot to cook inside, it’s utter perfection to sit on the back porch with a beer and grill up some burgers. Richard makes some of the best burgers I’ve ever had and I’m not just saying that because I’m his wife. Most people that we know agree that he makes some really kick-ass lamb burgers.

Lamb burgers on the grill

The problem with Richard’s recipes is that they’re never the same twice, so it’s hard to write them down, but here’s a starting point:

Lamb Burgers

1lb/500g ground lamb
1 half onion grated or finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
4 pinches ground coriander
fresh mint, chopped*
a little pepper
a little salt
1 hand fresh bread crumbs
1 egg lightly beaten

Mix all the patty ingredients thoroughly, adding more of the spices if necessary. Divide mixture into balls and mold into patties.  Cook on medium heat on the barbecue until the patty is cooked to your preferred degree of doneness. It shouldn’t be pink on the inside unless you’ve ground the meat yourself.

*I happen to hate fresh mint, so I never add this to my own burgers, but lamb and mint go hand in hand and everyone who likes mint likes it in these burgers. I’m just crazy.

Lamb burger recipe

Do you spy some local condiments behind my burger? Hint: The mustard and the barbecue sauce are both from Southern Ontario. Can you tell who they’re from?

And let’s not forget about dessert!

Bannock recipe

What’s this little guy? Why, it’s bannock of course! Anyone who’s been to Girl Guides or Boy Scouts has probably made bannock before. If you were like me you didn’t mix yours well enough and didn’t cook it long enough but you still thought that it was delicious because you cooked in the fire on a stick!

This is kind of a grown-up version of bannock, I guess. It’s stuffed with fresh raspberries because we had a ton of them, but you could stuff it with all sorts of things. Imagine bannock stuffed with apple and dulce de leche, or with grilled peaches and marscapone! I love to make this for company because it’s so easy to make and everybody always has fond memories of eating it at camp.

Bannock

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt

Measure flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour olive oil and water over flour mixture, adding more oil and water if the mixture is too dry and more flour if the mixture is too wet. Stir with fork to make a ball. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Grab handfuls of dough and flatten them in your hands, then add a bit of whatever filling you like and pinch them closed. Place on a lightly oiled piece of tin foil over the grill and cook with the lid closed until outsides begin to brown.

Bannock recipe

There are still plenty of evenings of barbecues left this summer… What have you been grilling up?

At Home: Summer Berry Crumble

14 Jun

Summer berry crumble

Last weekend we had a bit of an early Father’s Day barbecue for our dads. On the menu: Cheese, crackers and olives to start, a salad (made mostly with stuff that my dad grew in his garden… yeah.. he already has produce growing!) with a smoked balsamic vinegarette, grilled tarragon chicken, grilled Asian-marinated salmon on dill quinoa, and a summer berry crumble for dessert.

I chose the crumble because it’s easy to make and it seemed fitting to serve something summery and fruity after a barbecue. It’s not fussy at all, and because it was hot out and I didn’t want to turn on the oven, I popped it in our toaster oven (which has a convection setting) to bake. You could probably also bake this on your barbecue by placing it on the side of the grill without heat and turning the ther side to medium-high and closing the lid, but that’s a bit unpredictable and I wasn’t about to experiment with it before having company over. I have successfully baked cupcakes that way, though!

Summer berries

I didn’t really use a recipe for the filling, but here’s a rough estimate of ingredients for you:

  • 8 cups of berries, washed and cut (if necessary). I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and some rhubarb.
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of flour

For the crumble topping:

  • 6 Tbsp very cold butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of flour

Instructions:

  1. Make sure that the berries are fairly dry, then mix with the sugar and the flour. Spoon into a baking dish (I used a 6×6 square Pyrex dish but you could also use a pie dish).
  2. In another bowl, break up the flour and butter using your fingertips or a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the crumble takes on the texture of wet sand (add 1 tbsp of water if the dough is a little dry).
  3. Pour crumble topping over the berry filling.
  4. Bake at 400F for 35-45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned.

If you’re serving this after a barbecue dinner, you can do what I did and warm it up by placing it in the barbecue after the burners have been turned off. My guests were very impressed by my inginuity!

At Home: Orange Cornmeal Cake

7 May

I know that so far this blog has been about eating out in Toronto, and it will continue to be mostly about that. But I do cook and eat at home sometimes, so when I whip up a gem I want to share it with you.

The inspiration for this cake came from Rossy Earle (@PanCanCooks on Twitter), who posted a photo of her breakfast yesterday morning: A slice of homemade lemon cornmeal cake and a cup of coffee. I had never heard of cornmeal cake before, but the idea appealed to me. 20 minutes later I was in the kitchen making this cake.

I got the recipe from Everyday Baking, but made a couple of changes. Here’s my version:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Orange segments, for serving (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush bottom and sides of a bundt  cake pan with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and wine until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest; whisk gently to combine.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert cake gently onto a plate. Serve with orange segments, if desired.

The result is a light cake with the texture of cornbread, but with the clean citrus tones that I always crave when the weather starts to warm up. This would be a great cake to take as a hostess gift at someone’s place for brunch, or to bake as a refreshing dessert for your next barbecue. It’s great in the morning as a not-so-healthy breakfast or as a late night snack. I’m sure that I’ll be making it again soon!

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