Before I even start, I’m going to admit something. I’m not the best cook in the world. I mean, I try, but I’m not brilliant and I’ve had my fair share of disasters. You only have to ask Mr Clothbum about the peppered beef and he’ll start making really disturbing choking noises. Then, there’s a whole plethora of other things that I’ve disastrously mucked up over the years. The limey chicken that tasted so strongly of lime it made us sick… the lasagne that tasted of nothing but burnt pasta… the list goes on and on and on…
So, yeah. With that fantastic background I decided that it’d be a fabulous idea to take part in the Mumsnet / Gourmet Garden blog off/cook off competition! This is a competition where bloggers sign up to receive a goody bag full of Gourmet Garden’s brilliant tubes of herbs/spices that make cooking really easy and stay fresh in the fridge for 3 months. I’ve used their products before and loved them, so I knew that they would be simple to use and could really make a difference to my cooking.
I reasoned with myself that it’d give me the kick that I needed to stop making ‘safe’ recipes that I know I can do well. I signed the digital form and started thinking about what I might make. Then I promptly forgot about it, due to lots going on at work and Monkey being rather sick.
When a cute little bag full of their products arrived on my doorstep, I was really excited as it was almost a surprise due to my rubbish memory, but then I started to panic. I had all these amazing products and absolutely NO idea what I was going to cook! There’s nothing quite like being prepared.
Now, I could have sat down and thought things through carefully – plan my assault on the culinary experience of my family. Plan how I was going to use each tube in great detail and then go shopping for appropriate ingredients.
But I decided not to!
I decided that as the competition wanted us to make our everyday cooking even more delicious with the products that I was going to do just that.
So I went and had a nosy in our fridge. I’ve been rather boring and organised in our shopping recently, so most of our foods are in the freezer as I’ve been buying things that we can keep for ages or batch cooking and freezing. So, in the fridge and around the house I found:
A 450g packet of lean steak mince
A sweet potato (one of the white ones)
Some frozen veg
I decided to make some burgers and use the Gourmet Garden Fresh Blends Thai tube. This is a really gorgeous, fragrant mix of lemongrass, chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander. Our little Monkey absolutely loves garlic so I thought this would be an interesting experiment! Here’s what I did:
I heated up a saucepan and fried the mince in it, not adding any oil. Once the mince was browned, I drained off most of the fat.
Whilst the meat was browning, I put some of the frozen veg (I would have used fresh but didn’t have any in) in a bowl, added a tablespoon of water and microwaved it for 4 minutes, as per the instructions.
I then chopped up an onion fairly finely before peeling and grating the sweet potato.
I squeezed about a third of the tube of Thai herbs/spices into the saucepan and then added the onions and sweet potatoes to the pan. I fried these until the vegetables became soft and then added a splash of Oatly oat milk to the pan to help the sweet potato to soften further.
Once the mince/veg was cooked through, I put everything (including the cooked frozen veg) into my blender and gave it a couple of pulses to make the mince a little easier for a toddler to chew.
I added one egg to the mix to help it all bind together and pulsed again.
When I got the mix out into a bowl, I noticed it was a little too soft to hold together as a burger so I improvised and added a small spoonful of plain flour, which made a massive difference.
I then used the teeniest amount of oil in the pan to fry the burgers with. They would have fallen apart on a grill, so a pan was a good option. They firmed up really well and I cooked them slowly to ensure that the egg was cooked through.
Using a cookie cutter, I cut small burger shapes out of muffins and added the Toddler’s burgers to them. They looked pretty good and he started licking his lips!
I then cooked our burgers in the same way and added them to muffins, along with a nice dollop of mayo
I cut the Toddler’s up into quarters and squished them down a little with my hand to stop them falling apart. He often throws ‘new’ foods straight over the side of his highchair onto the floor, but there was no stopping him with these burgers (much to my relief!) He tucked in straight away and polished off the lot remarkably quickly, making VERY loud lip-smacking noises.
Mr Clothbum and I also tucked into our adult versions and really enjoyed them. They were very tasty, nice and spicy but in a subtle way. I think I could have added more of the Gourmet Garden Thai spice/herb blend to ours but as this was a family meal I had to keep it from being too much for little man to cope with. Next time round, I’ll split the mince mix and only blitz the Toddler’s portion as it was a little too smooth for us and could have done with a bit more ‘chew’ to it.
All in all, this was actually a really great success! Monkey LOVED it and ate loads, which is great considering that for the past week he’s had no appetite due to being ill and has refused anything new. Mr Clothbum loved it and didn’t have a bad word to say about the burgers and I really enjoyed them too.
I’ll be making these again. Thank you, Gourmet Garden , for such a delicious addition to our meal!
(P.S. We don’t often have burgers at lunch – but you’ve got to live a little!!!)
daisytheclothbummum was sent the Gourmet Garden goodie bag as part of the competition. I wasn’t paid and all words, thoughts and opinions are my own.