Recipe: Focaccish Burger Buns and How To Build an Italian Inspired Burger

I love a nice focaccia with a fluffy middle and a slightly crisp edge. It’s a bread made with a decadent amount of salt, oil and rosemary. When translating it into a burger bun though I wanted it to be slightly lighter, after all it’s going to be wrapped around a big juicy burger and a slab of cheese, so here it’s only made with the lightest spritz of oil on the outside and without the traditional salt sprinkle on top.

done

I devised the Focaccish Buns to compliment the Italian inspired flavours of the Aromatico Burger from Sagaia Meat but I’ve also had them with the Beyond Burger. Either way you can top the burger with mozzarella style cheese slices (Violife brand) and spread the bun with vegan pesto (we love the Tesco own brand) and work some veggies in there in the form of rocket or bitter salad leaves. Then serve with Kate’s current favourite potato: Pesto Wedges.

afer oven

Focaccish Buns (makes 2) 

125g strong white bread flour
75ml warm water
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, chopped small for sprinkling
Olive oil spray

Mix the flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil into a dough and knead for two to three minutes until you get a nice, strong ball of dough.

Leave to rise for one hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 220° and spray a baking sheet with olive oil.

Divide the ball of dough into two balls and flatten, until they are the width of a burger. They’re not going to be as tall as a regular bun so don’t worry about them looking a bit disc-like.

Place them on the baking tray, leave to prove for 30 minutes.

before oven

After proving make dimples in the top of the bread by poking your finger 3/4 of the way down through the dough. Spray the tops with olive oil, sprinkle over the rosemary and lightly pat down.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on top and starting to brown along the sides.

Recipe: Pesto Wedges

It’s not often that Kate actually asks me to make something specific. The other day I asked her what she wanted me to make for her birthday and she told me not to go out of my way. But Kate has, actually, requested these potato wedges.

I made them initially to go with a burger that I’d stacked with mozzarella slices, bitter greens, and pesto. I thought I’d carry the Italianish theme over to the wedges by coating them with pesto and then baking them just a little longer.

IMG_1793

Pesto Wedges (serves 2)

2 baking potatoes
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 tablespoons of vegan basil pesto

Preheat the oven to 220°C

Slice the potato into skinny wedges

Pop the potatoes into a large mixing bowl, put the oil and salt on top, and toss to coat

Spread the wedges out on a baking tray; try to keep it to a single layer

Bake for 20 minutes

Remove the wedges from the oven and carefully put them back in the bowl

Scoop the pesto on top of the wedges and toss to coat

Spread the wedges back onto the baking tray and put back in the oven

Bake for a further five minutes and you’re done!

Recipe: Battered Vegan Sausages

Edited 12.06.2020: New Pictures with Better Lighting.

Battered sausages are a chippy classic but you can basically never find a vegan version. So I figured I’d learn how to make a decent egg-free batter and make some myself.

battered on plate

Three things need to happen for you get an awesome batter. Chill your batter ingredients in advance. I measure out the flour, salt and baking powder in advance and put it in the fridge. Because they have to cook quickly I used the chilled Linda McCartney sausages rather than the frozen ones. If you use the frozen ones you’ll need to defrost them first. The third is temperature of the oil. You want to cook the sausages at 190°C.

battered

Battered Sausages

1 pack of Linda McCartney Sausages

130g flour

180ml sparkling water

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

Get everything ready to go. Set up a plate with a couple of paper towels ready to put the sausages on when they’re done.

Put enough oil to cover the sausages into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat it to 190°C

While the oil is heating, mix the batter. Don’t get too enthusiastic with the mixing: you want to have a few lumps left in.

Cover the sausage in the batter, and when the oil is up to temperature drop in the sausages. You may need to work in batches. I do three at at time.

The sausages should be cooked after three minutes or when the batter is golden. Turn them once or twice while cooking to make sure they cook evenly.

When they’re done place them on the kitchen towel to drain before serving.

Recipe: Vegan Parkin

Parkin is a traditional cake for this time of year: it’s a bonfire night special. It also requires a baking technique that’s a little out of favour: you don’t eat the cake straight away. Traditionally you wait several days, but I’ve never managed to wait longer than four days. The wait develops the flavour and makes it moist and delicious. So I’m writing up this recipe today so you can have one for bonfire night. It was originally on my old blog but I’ve made a few adjustments.

6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
100g golden syrup
100g treacle
75ml of non-dairy milk
125g of light brown sugar

225g plain flour
125g oats
2 tablespoons of cornflour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a square baking tin.

In a saucepan heat the oil, golden syrup, treacle, milk and sugar. Do this very gently, on a low heat, stirring fairly often until the mixture comes together, looking wonderfully glossy.

While that is happening mix the dry ingredients together.

Once the stuff in the saucepan is ready, pour it into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour into your prepared tin, spreading evenly. Cover the tin with kitchen foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until a skewer pushed in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the tin and store in an airtight container for at least 3 days, until moist.