Burgers, Recipes & France
Fri 17th, Sep, 2010
**issuing a BC warning, here follows one of my rambles, not sure quite where it came from but I’m trying to avoid de-cluttering the study :-)
G’day Mate. Sorry I had to do that after seeing it on Oprah. I find it h i l a r i o us now that I live here how everyone thinks Down Under is all Paul Hogan
Anyway, I digress, (and yes I would love to have Afternoon Tea with Oprah), this post is about home-made burgers, because on Facebook we’ve been loving and sharing and enjoying chatting about family recipes for real people….but it takes me a while to get to burger, so you may or may not choose to leave now.
A good few years ago now, after many a trip to France..the South in the warm & the North so beautiful, I really got interested in simple home-cooked food…miles away from the insipid offerings ‘home-cooked’ might conjure up and in contrast to the fad for tiny bits of food arranged as art that was so hip at the time.
This newfound love for really gob-smackingly tasty real food came not long after I had been working in London for a PR company (yawn yawn up themselves yahhhwwwn) & many of the clients were in the food industry and at that time eating and food fashion really took off in the UK...I was seriously turned off by that and still am….nothing…nothing worse than some self proclaimed foodie boring you to death with truffle oil and how they make their pasta from scratch dahling…. but in France I felt as far removed from that world as can be.
I had spent many an evening and lunch standing on the sidelines in a horrible little navy blue dress and heels, at big London hotels, of some pretentious champagne event (oh the stories) held for even more pretentious food writers and critics and watched as they ponced around sniffing food and wine…
But on our holidays and daytrips to France, Mr BC and I were in our element…on holiday a lot of the time with other Brits, who and I say this without wishing to impart any judgement, were kinda out looking for spaghetti bolgnese, we would often sneak off from the pack in search of the elusive and lovely Plat du Jour and spend a couple or two leisurely hours being served how only the French can do it…a pile of regular but wonderfully grown lettuce leaves doused with a potion that made lettuce taste like gold and slivers of cheese arranged just so, house wine, chosen with pride sloshed in a weathered caraffe and a piece of meat or fish grilled and doused in some simple sauce that made one feel one may well have arrived in heaven. For 10 bucks.
One year at Christmas we went to Lille for lunch (we could hop on the train & be in France in 30 mins from where we lived – I hear it’s even easier now)…we froze, I bought a new handbag with most of the month’s earnings, browsed the Christmas markets, found a Plat du Jour and absolutely revelled in the phenomonon that is good, easy, cheap and attainable eating.
This sparked in me a love of real food….and back on good old Blighty, when I was young and with just Honeymoon Baby and me at home, I took myself on a culinary adventure with mostly in mind re-creating simple food from regular things. I lapped up Elizabeth David and tried to make good things outta lettuce leaves.
Mr BC was commuting hard, we were young, saving and naive…we thought with one baby we were busy, that life was full but every night we ate well, I skipped around full of enthusiasm, head full of Nigel Slater’s writings and blown-away by Jamie of Oliver fame and his down-to-earth approach to food. Mr BC never had it so good in the secret cafe at number 5.
Baby number 3 came along.
Mrs BC wasn’t skipping anymore, baby was big, 10lbs of stocky delight and hungry most all of the time. And the offers of help & support weren’t flooding in…we struggled on exhausted & Mr BC boiled pasta every night and then, one day after 12 or probably much more weeks of pasta & cheese every single day (no deliveries of home-cooked meals for me) I sat on the cold kitchen floor, next to the big bouncing baby and cried.
I couldn’t look another piece of pasta in the eye.
And for some reason, sitting down there with the kitchen cabinets I remembered the crock pot tucked to the back, a wedding present. I sought it out…one of those old-fashioned ones you don’t see now…a kinda creamy plastic outer and hugely thick brown dish…round not like the oval ones you see now.
I don’t remember what went in it..but twelve long hours later, Mr BC walked in the door and smelt Plat du Jour.
And there began a revolution. I sought out crock pot recipes from anywhere I could find and to my amazement began to find all sorts of things that, via the internet and the greatest thing ever, honest real-life reviews from real people, I began to learn that slow cookers are an under-rated thing.
Yep I’m getting to the burgers.
And now, still with a love of easy cooking, but far far away from not only the land of the Plat du Jour but the life of a gal with one baby and lots of time, I rely on my trusty crock pot many a night.
And that’s how I found a recipe for burgers in the crock.
And how this, not a leetle French dish, came to be my kids favourite meal, apart I suppose, from Sunday’s roast.
And so the other night I made this and we Facebooked about it and I thought I ‘d tell you about it cos as they were going off to training and asked what was for dinner you’d think I had said we were eating pure gold..homemade burgers….HOORAY…there were actually real cheers and jumps.
But my little secret is this is super-easy and though it ain’t for you if you don’t do fat, shudder at mince or sniff food too insidiously , but if you have 3 very active kids, one little girl who eats more than your husband, one teenager whose shoulders stick out like chicken wings even though you spend most of your waking hours feeding him and a husband who can eat for England, oops now we are official I should say Australia, and still have no love handles…well then this might be for you.
And just as an aside, I was recently watching a cooking show were the humble crock was scorned, big cookery star lamenting his skills and eschewing this gadget as sublimely ridiculous.
I had to chuckle to myself.
Obviously he’s never cried on the kitchen floor.
p.s. After blabbering on about crockpots, for the first time I actually was late home when I did this & didn’t have enough time to crock and made this in a pan and so I wrote the recipe with a stove-top affair in mind, mine is, I guess, not much more than a shallow pan cum saucepan with a lid/
But if you do have a crockpot (which I have been calling it since those years ago since sitting on the kitchen floor) lurking.
my next crock pot endeavour is Vegetable & Chickpea Curry here via Alison on Facebook…