Sunday, 19 June 2011

Burgers cooked nicely

This needs a subtitle ... "In which Poki learns how to use a food processor"

Doris is away for 3 months, on a work secondment to Australia, so I need to fend for myself (with instructions when required over MSN, although the timezone difference might make this tricky.

We had minced beef in the fridge. It had just passed it's "use by" date, but had been kept chilled, so wouldn't have been bad yet.

I've cooked pasta for the past two days, so didn't want to cook it again. I asked Doris for alternatives, and she suggested rice, then mashed potatoes, until we finally agreed when she reminded me that there were some Birds Eye Potato Waffles in the freezer (they're waffly versatile).

Doris has a burger press, and a food processor, so she suggested that I make burgers.

We discussed the food processor functionality. I've heard bad things about them before, so I wanted to be sure about it before I committed myself to actions that would be too difficult.

She said that I should use the ordinary blades. I had to ask for a definition of "ordinary" in this instance, and Doris explained it as a pair of blades around the plastic hub, shaped like an S. I should whizz an onion until chopped, then add the mince, 2 teaspoons of salt, crack an egg in and add two handfuls of oats, whizz again and them press into patties using the burger press.

We are experienced in msn instructions for cookering things, so after we'd ascertained that it would be 5 minutes of whizzing rather than the 30 minutes I was assuming, that it would be like paste instead of burger if I over-whizzed it, that I wouldn't need to cook the mince first and that I wouldn't need to add anything else, I went to try it.

I had trouble finding the food processor. My youngest daughter found it hiding behind the ice cream maker and a smoothie jug. It already had the S blade in the jug, and once I realised that this blade was supposed to have the inch-high kink in it between the blades, I reinstalled it and looked at the controls.

It has a dial from 1 to 8, and a two-way, three-position power button. You press the outer button (only after securely shutting the lid, I discovered) to be able to twist the inner button either to "P" (pulse?) and "1" (on?). I left the dial at "8" and after a few seconds, my daughter noticed the unmistakeable smell of burning electrics, so I switched the processor off.

I halved an onion and dropped it through the chimney. I then whizzed this until I got the electric smell again, and decided that it was done. I took the lid off because I was unable to feed the mince and crack the egg through the chimney, and dumped everything in, with only a slight mistake of pouring oats all over the floor, after I had discovered that we have both oats and muesli in jars. I also didn't measure-out the salt - it would have been too tricky to try to grind salt onto a teaspoon, so I just ground it straight on top of the mince until my daughter said "That's 33 times you've ground that salt. Don't you think that's enough?". She's 12, so perhaps she knows more about cookistry than I do.

It only took about 30 seconds of whizzing for the electric smell to reappear, so I decided that this was long enough, regardless of the 5 minutes that we had discussed on msn.

I retrieved the burger press and associated greaseproof paper discs from the cupboard, and started pressing the meat mixture into it. Doris has shown me how to do this in the past. Once I realised that the spring was disconnected from the internals and I re-seated it, I was able to force the mixture into the press, shut the pattie between two sheets of greaseproof paper and the plastic press components and WHACK! it hard with my hand onto the work surface to mould it into the correct shape and density. From the 500g of mince, along with the other ingredients, this only made 6 burgers. If we have 6 burgers, that's two each (I have my two youngest children with me this weekend) so needs 6 potato waffles to match them (and some sweetcorn as a nod to healthy eating).

I started grilling the waffles and moved-on to washing up the food processor items.

On an unrelated note, have you noticed how disconcerting it is, on turning around after finishing the washing-up, to see plumes of acrid black smoke billowing from the grill?

After completing the toasting of the waffles, I started grilling the burgers, then microwaved some sweetcorn, reheated the now-cold waffles and served it all on the third strike of the smoke alarm.

My verdict is that, after all that effort, the burgers tasted just like minced beef. I was hoping that I would have a more interesting combination of flavours. I had served the burgers on top of the waffles, so the waffles all want soggy. For some reason I can't discern, the sweetcorn smelled vaguely of custard. Fortunately, I like custard, but it was unexpected. The kids liked the meal, though - much better than bought burgers, was their verdict.

If I continue like this, my blog is going to be less about disasters and instead overlap with "proper" cookerying blogs. I'm not sure my experiences are interesting enough to warrant a serious blog!

1 comment:

  1. I am still mystified as to why you would try to grind onto a teaspoon, when there are at least two and probably three tubs of cooking salt in the cupboard...