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Dinner + Condiments & Staples
Beetroot & Black Bean Burgers + Sweet Chili Jam

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Beetroot, Feta & Black Bean Burgers

A good vegetarian burger patty recipe is invaluable and in autumn these beetroot, feta and black bean burgers are my go-to. The combination of grated beetroot with precooked black beans and ground walnuts results in a scrumptious juicy patty that crisps up nicely when frying. 

The inevitable spillage out the sides always happens of course, with the children having much bigger eyes than their stomachs (or mouths!) but this is surely half the fun of having burgers for dinner. 

The addition of feta is optional - if you are vegan or prefer not to use it just leave it out and add an extra ½ teaspoon of salt to the mixture before shaping. For vegans use the chia egg option instead of an egg. 

It is important to cook the patties on low or medium low heat for 15 minutes at least on each side. I elaborate further in the method of the recipe, but just trust me on this one, it really is what makes these burgers melt in the mouth delectable. 

These patties freeze well - I just place them in a single layer on a tray and pop them into the freezer, then once they are frozen, I bag them up into appropriate portions. I usually make the full recipe of eight patties. We eat four, then I freeze the remaining four for next time. The day before you plan to have burgers for dinner remove the patties from the freezer and place them in the fridge in a single layer to defrost overnight. It is fine if the middles are still slightly frozen when you come to cook them, as you are going to give them that long slow fry which should cook them through to perfection. 

Makes 8  

Ingredients

 

For the patties 

  • 2 tablespoons rice bran or coconut oil  

  • 1 onion, finely diced 

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 

  • 1 red chili, finely chopped (optional) 

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed 

  • 400 grams beetroot, topped and tailed, scrubbed clean and grated 

  • 2 ½ cups cooked black beans 

  • 1 egg, beaten or 1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water, mixed and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken into a gel 

  • ½ c / 50 grams walnuts, ground 

  • 100 grams feta 

  • 1 teaspoon salt 

  • Rice bran oil for cooking 

 

To serve

 

Method 

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, chili and cumin seed, until the onion is cooked through. 

  2. Tip the grated beetroot and black beans into a large bowl and add the onion mixture, the egg or chia egg, ground walnuts, feta and salt. 

  3. Mix well using your hands to squeeze and incorporate the ingredients together until everything is completely combined. 

  4. Form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties, and place on a tray lined with baking paper. 

  5. Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour to chill, or overnight. 

  6. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add enough oil to cook the patties - I find more oil is better to ensure a good crust is formed.  

  7. Fry on medium – low heat for at least 15 minutes on each side. This long fry will ensure that the beetroot is cooking through, so you get tender juicy patties. If you think they are colouring too much on the bottom just turn the heat down and rotate the patties in the frypan for even cooking. It really is worth taking the time to do this slow fry, so try not to rush it. The result will be tender, juicy, “meaty” patties, but you will have to allow half an hour or longer for cooking time. 

  8. While you are waiting for the patties to cook, prepare the accompaniments. Slice the burger buns in half, mash the avocado with a little lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, wash the rocket or lettuce, and make sure you have pickles, aioli and sweet chili jam on standby. 

  9. When the patties are cooked through and crispy on both sides, leave them in the pan to stay warm while you toast the buns. 

  10. Lightly butter the buns, then spread the avocado onto the bottom one, and a thick layer of sweet chili jam onto the top one. Assemble the rest of the burgers to your liking – we usually have all the fillings spread out on the table so everyone can put their own burgers together – hence the overfilling that I was referring to earlier! 

  11. Serve with my Spicy Kumara Fries and extra Whipped Feta, Yoghurt & Fresh Chili Aioli on the side. 

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Recipe
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Condiments & Staples
 Sweet Chili Jam

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Sweet Chili Jam

When the inevitable abundance of chilis arrive, this traditional tasting sweet chili jam recipe will become your new best friend. Quick and simple to make it is a family favourite in our house just as store bought sweet chili sauce used to, but with the bonus of not containing any harmful preservatives. 

My children happily chow down on this jam with almost every meal, providing I use relatively mild chilis. I have found red Poblanos are perfect for giving a sweet gentle heat, but if you don’t have them on hand, you can use Jalapeños or similar. If you would like a spicier sauce, feel free to mix it up and replace some of the Poblanos with hotter Thai or Birds Eye chilis, just make sure the overall weight of the chili is 600 grams. However, I do recommend using mostly larger chilis because their flavour and texture gives the sauce body as well as heat.  

I use less sugar in this recipe than traditional jams tend to. Instead I add a  bit of cornflour to help the jam thicken and to give it a nice glossy finish. 

I have put this jam into bottles before, just be aware that if you do the same your jam will thicken over time and it may be hard to get that last bit out of the bottle!  

 

Makes 4 cups 

Ingredients 

  • 600 grams large red chilis such as Poblano or Jalapeno 

  • 2 cm long piece of fresh ginger 

  • 3 large cloves of garlic 

  • 1 ½ cup rice wine vinegar 

  • ½ cup water 

  • 1 ¼ cups golden sugar – you can use raw sugar, but it won't dissolve as fast as golden sugar 

  • 2 teaspoons corn flour 

  • ½ cup water 

 

Method

 

  1. The first thing you need to do is organise what jars (or bottles) and lids you are going to put the jam into. 

  2. You will also need to gather a small bowl, a funnel, a heatproof jug, a ladle, tongs, a tea towel or clean cloth and a wooden board to place the hot jars on. I find I can get a bit flustered when it is time to jar the jam, so it helps me immensely if I am organised with everything I need to complete the job. 

  3. Wash your jars, lids and equipment in hot soapy water and place aside.  

  4. Remove the stems from the chilis and cut each one into 5 or 6 pieces, leaving the seeds in. Place in a food processor with the chopping blade attached. 

  5. Peel the skin off the ginger and garlic and cut into small pieces. Add to the food processor with the rice wine vinegar and the first measure of water. 

  6. Blitz until finely chopped – you will need to scrape down the sides every now and then and blend a few times. You want all the pieces of chili, ginger and garlic uniformly cut into tiny pieces. 

  7. Place the chili mixture into a medium sized heavy based pot and bring it to the boil. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes with the lid on, removing the lid only to stir once or twice. 

  8. Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the jam back up to the boil and simmer on medium heat for a further 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring every now and then and ensuring the jam isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

  9. During this time, you will begin to prepare your jars. I sterilise them by first placing them into a sink of piping hot water and then into an oven set to its lowest temperature, for about 15 minutes.  I would usually put them into the oven when I am halfway through cooking the jam after the sugar is added. 

  10. While the jars are heating in the oven, take the small bowl out of your equipment stash and put the lids and the scoop end of the ladle into it. Top with boiling water to cover the lids and ladle scoop. Use the boiling water to pour inside and over the heatproof jug and place it on the bench with the wooden board and tea towel. You are now ready to jar the jam.  

  11. Combine the remaining ½ cup of water and cornflour in a small cup and stir with a teaspoon until fully mixed. 

  12. Once the jam has cooked for 30 minutes remove the lid and turn up the heat so it is boiling rapidly. Pour the cornflour and water mixture in and stir through until it begins bubbling again. Cook for a further minute then turn off the heat. 

  13. Remove the hot jars from the oven and place on the wooden board. Place your funnel over the neck of the first jar and carefully ladle the hot jam into the hot jar until it is full. Using tongs, get the lid out of the bowl of hot water and screw it onto the jar, ensuring it is tight. Turn the jar upside down on your board. Repeat until all the jars are filled, using the clean cloth to wipe residual jam from the outside of each one.  

  14. The next morning flip your jars back up the right way – the lids should have pushed down indicating they are sealed. Clean the outsides of the jars with hot soapy water if needed, and store. 

**You can use this jam straight away, but the flavours will develop and it will become spicier if stored in a dark cool place and left for a month or so. 

Sweet Chilli Jam
Jam Recipe
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