Home-made is better

Ever since I got a job in McDonald’s during a brief and forgettable period of my life I developed a healthy aversion to fast-food restaurants. Which is not to say I don’t crave the occasional hamburger from time to time. When that happens I get round it by making my own.

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Now, making burgers can sometimes be tricky because they are a bit temperamental and can fall apart if you’re not careful. Not these ones, though.

There are many variants to making burgers: with or without egg, with or without breadcrumbs and with various additions to the mince meat depending on whatever takes your fancy at that time, not to mention the types of mince you can use: lamb, pork, beef or a mixture of them.

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I find that using both breadcrumbs and egg helps binding the mixture together. As for what to mix the mince with, as I said, the variety is as finite as your imagination: chopped onions, grated apple, garlic, fennel seeds, peppers, and so on. Here I will reproduce the recipe I used for these. And once again, it was Jamie to the rescue! I used half his recipe, after all it was only me this time and I got two T-Rex sized hamburgers enough to keep you away from the kitchen until the following day!

To shape them, I used my ever helpful empanadas cutter which I brought back from Argentina although I think you can buy the plastic version especifically for burger-shaping. Or you can just pat them and slap them to shape them as they do back home.

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Botham burger adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver inThe Return of the Naked Chef

Makes 4 Botham burgers

1kg/2lb 3 oz minced beef, preferably organic (for one person use 400g)

2 medium red onions, finely chopped

2 eggs

1-2 handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, crushed

1 small pinch of cumin seeds, crushed

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas 8. Mix and scrunch all the ingredients together. Use the breadcrumbs as required to bind and lighten the mixture. Divide into 4, then gently and lightly mould and pack each burger together. Jamie suggests shaping them into smallish balls but that way you get the middle slightly pink and I like my burgers well done!!!!

Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes (about 12 minutes on each side). I like to finish mine off in the same grill where I warmed my buns just because I’m fussy and I like the chargrilled lines on the burger!

Serve with a griddled bun, a little salad, some gherkins, tomato salsa, a glass of beer and a bottle of ketchup.

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