Good Morning to you,
When it comes to food, I tend not to slot into one food genre, I have a tendency to enjoy a range of foods. My mood tends to dictate what I eat.
But I think as I have become older, I am leaning more towards vegetarian food, I often 'dip my toe' into vegetarian and vegan recipes, although as yet, I am not fully committed.
Nowadays there are so many vegetarian recipes to tantalize our taste buds that we can make a meal which is full of flavour and hardly notice that meat is missing from the plate.
I feel I am fortunate, to live in a time, when there are so many herbs and spices readily available to me. I can add hot, spicy, sweet or sour to flavour my food. If I do not have the time to make a stock, there are a range of ready made stocks lining the supermarket shelves.... I admit not all are of the same quality, as many contain a lot of sodium, but there are still good quality stocks available to make my life easier.
.... but how did my Grandmother Ivy flavour her food, especially soups. Soups need a depth of flavour which comes from a good stock. How did she make a good stock. I don't believe, for an instant, she would make stock using whole vegetables. It would have been seen as far too wasteful.
To find out I thought I would take a look at my recently acquired 1935 Round the Clock Cookery book. I wondered, if firstly, there was a recipe for stock, which of course there was and secondly if there was such a thing as a vegetarian recipe included in the book.
To be honest, I didn't think there would be, because life was different back then. I remember when I was a child, we could not pick and choose what we ate, it was a case of eat what was put on the plate.
.... and I was surprised to learn that yes, there was a recipe.... only one. The recipe was for a Vegetarian Soup, made with cauliflower, celery, carrot, onion, potato, turnip, tomatoes and stock. Which we know today as simply vegetable soup.
There was another recipe for Cabbage soup, but this was not classed as Vegetarian. Milk was included in the recipe, but I think I am right in saying that vegetarians do drink milk. I wondered if the vegetarian soup made with cauliflower, was called vegetarian, simply because it just contained vegetables. Whereas the cabbage soup included milk so was not known as a vegetarian soup.
I then went on to read about how housewives in the 1930s made their stock.
.... and I was right, the stock was not made with fresh whole vegetables. The stock was made by using the scraps from peeled vegetables.
The cookery book writes,
'A stockpot is a most useful utensil. It is usually made of tinned copper or cast iron. All vegetable scraps put into the stockpot, should be 'looked over' carefully to make sure they are clean and free from taint.
The stockpot should be cleared everyday and fresh scraps must never be added to old stock'.
I have decided that I am going back in time and I am going to read all my 1930s and 1940s cookery books to rediscover recipes.
At the moment, electricity has gone up, gas has gone up, I heard today that Council tax was going to be increased and food has certainly spiked in price. I feel it is the time to look at old recipes, maybe not to cook exactly as Ivy did, but to see if I can learn more about 'making more out of less'.... gosh that's a good title.
The first thing I am going to do is make the stock with vegetable peelings. It will be interesting to compare. I will let you know if it is successful.
.... but for today, we are staying with the vegetarian theme as we are going to make,
sweet potato burgers. This is a recipe I adapted from the May 2017 Tesco magazine. The original recipe called for carrots and less eggs, but I love sweet potato and can eat it any time, so I swapped the carrots for sweet potato.... and I am very happy with the end result.
So it's on with the pinnie and time to organise my ingredients.
SWEET POTATO BURGERS.
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 level tablespoons of olive oil
1 level tablespoon of ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic ~ grated
1 x 390g tin of Puy lentils ~ drained
1 large sweet potato ~ grated
2 slices of bread ~ blitzed to make bread crumbs
2 large eggs ~ whisked
200g Feta cheese ~ crumbled
2 baking trays lined with parchment paper
10cm x 5cm cooking rings
Pre-heat the oven 220C/200 Fan
MAKES: 8 good sized sweet potato burgers
SWEET POTATO BURGERS
1. Finely chop the red onions (I find a food processor does the job perfectly).
2. Place the olive oil into a wide pan.
3. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent.
4. Add the cumin to the pan and cook for a minute, stirring to incorporate the cumin with the onions.
5. Add the garlic and again stir for a minute.
6. Add the drained lentils to the pan and cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and place the contents into a large heatproof bowl.
8. Add the grated sweet potato and breadcrumbs and mix the ingredients together.
9. Add the whisked eggs and mix.
10. Add the crumbled Feta cheese and gently mix. You don't want the Feta cheese to become too fine in texture.
11. Place the cooking rings on to the baking trays lined with baking parchment.
Divide the mixture between each cooking ring.
Place the the lid on each cooking ring and gently press. This will make the sweet potato burgers uniform in size which will allow the burgers to cook in the same time.
Remove the cooking rings and place the sweet potato burgers into the oven for 20-25 minutes. You want the sweet potato burgers to be cooked, but you do not want the puy lentils to be crispy.
When cooked, I tend to leave the sweet potato burgers to cool for about 3 minutes, this way the burger does not break apart.
Then all there is left to do is,
add some coleslaw and a few tomatoes,
Please do not worry if you do not have moulds, this is not a problem, because the sweet potato burgers can easily be moulded by hand.
Also I use this recipe to form little sweet potato kofta which I place into warmed pitta bread with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.... and in the Cypriot way, add a little tzatziki.
If you would like to know how to make tzatziki then I have added the recipe to this week's featured post.
I feel sure you will enjoy making these sweet potato burgers, as they are perfect for the days, when you want something tasty, but meat free.
.... and my taste tester, George, loved them. I am hoping to replace his Saturday burgers with these sweet potato burgers..... I think I might just manage to convert my husband.
Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.
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Best wishes to you.