May 15, 2012

Evening Walks. Weeknight Burgers.

The streets where I live have a different feel to them in these cool autumn evenings.  When I'm lucky enough to get home from work early, I like making the most of the evening light and going for a short walk down to the river.

The streets and sidewalks softly glow in the fading light as the streetlights flicker on and the first homeward bound cars pull into driveways.  Even the sound of car engines is less agitating in the evening.

Kitchen lights flick on and with them, the smells of dinner being cooked.

Down by the river, the trees that arch just before where the boats are anchored glisten purple and silver when I use the flash on my iPhone to take a photo of them in the final moments of sunlight.  Somehow, the thought of cooking dinner from scratch isn't as overwhelming when I've had an after work walk.

Another thing that makes weeknight cooking less stressful are those mini cookbooks that the AWW publish from time to time.  I usually find them at the check out, amongst the magazines and chocolate bars.  I'm going to sound like my mother now and confess that spending a few dollars on these booklets has been a far wiser investment than the ridiculous amount I've spent on impulse purchase weekly magazines over the years.  While it's  nice to know that Brad and Ange are finally getting hitched and that Victoria Beckham finally had her baby girl, none of this has made me get dinner to the table any faster.

Cajun Spiced Chicken Burgers = cajun spice + flour + chicken mince.  

But I digress.  All the recipes in the mini books are quick and easy.  The recipes in the mince booklets are divided by type of meat and are quite diverse with the old favourites but also many Asian and Middle Eastern recipes included as well.  Mince is your passport to the world.  On this trip, my chicken mince took me to Louisiana, home of Cajun cooking.  The Cajun Spiced Chicken Burgers (page 42 of 'Smart Mince') are simply 150g patties of chicken mince rolled in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning.  You way wish to season the mince with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I then chilled my patties in the fridge whilst I made the accompanying salad.

The salad is just as easy.  A stick of sliced celery, chopped tomato, thinly sliced green capsicum, 2 chopped shallots and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.  Mix gently in a bowl and stir through 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of whole grain mustard.  Season to taste.

All my patties flipped.  No casualties!

For me, the trickiest step in the recipe was easing my chicken patties off their plate and into the frying pan.  I cooked mine for 5 minutes or so per side.

The bun for these burgers is toasted Turkish bread.

To assemble, place some of the salad, a few lettuce leaves and some mayo on a toasted halve ofTurkish then top with the burger and sandwich with the remaining bread.  Serve with a lime wedge if you like.

There were no words at the table for quite a while.  I've never really liked chicken burgers at takeaway  places and now I  know why.  Because home made is so much better.  The patties were purely chicken and their lightly spiced coating of flour was all they needed.  No crumbs or cheese necessary.  The freshness of the salad with its parsley and celery contrasted perfectly to the creaminess of the mayonnaise.  And it took around the same time as a round trip to a fast food outlet to get onto the table.


  1. I LOVE those little books.  Mum made the most amazing sticky date pudding from the cafe eats book the other day.  I don't think I have the mince one, possibly I need to do some investing.

  2. I get suckered into buying those mini cookbooks at the checkout too! Your right though, they are fab and a good little investment. I'm a big burger fan, so I'll have to give those delicious looking ones a go! xx

  3. i read mini cookbooks while traveling from office to home or else while sleeping and then cook those recipes on weekends for a change :P


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