Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Spelt crumb vegetable burgers, chocolate teapot biscuits without the chocolate (or the teapot) and Bloody Mary's


" February fill-dyke, Fill it wi' eyther black or white." 
                                                              A rural appellation. 

I love rain, but February is my least favourite month and it's performing true to folk lore. There were fourteen flood warnings on the rivers in the county over the weekend.The flood defence is back up and the main road into town has turned into a river surrounded by lakes. Canoes are the favourite form of transport today. It all looks beautiful but we are thankful to be high enough in the village to have a nice warm, dry home, to return to.

This morning the wind is howling and rain doing a drum roll on the kitchen window panes. Our lovely Father Christmas doppleganger mechanic friend, has just phoned to postpone this  mornings' appointment to sort out the problem with my car, until this afternoon.  He said there's a storm on the way. The guy who was coming to fix the back door has also taken a rain check until tomorrow. I don't blame them...

The stage is set, so now the dilemma. Work or bake ? 

Spelt three seed loaf
You can find link to the recipe here

Spelt crumb vegetable burgers

If I'm going to have a veggie burger I would rather have a 'vegetable' burger and not a 'pretend meat' burger. I want to taste the vegetables. Our local fish and chip shop make (or used to...I've not had one for a long time) an amazing vegetable burger. It's packed with vegetables plus either a little potatoes or rice. It's probably fried which is why it's so tasty. Served in a bun with salad and spicy hot chilli sauce, it's something else. 

I wanted to try and recreate the flavour without the unhealthy frying part, by making a really tasty crumb coating. 

The actual burger part is easy to make it's basically this vegetable pattie recipe. I used potatoes for the main ingredient of the burger.  You could use any other mash-able root vegetable, or squash would work and others to add crunch.They are good with something like peas or sweetcorn for a little natural sweetness. Lots of spices and seasoning. All bound with lots of good free range organic eggs. 

For the crumb topping  I used homemade spelt bread. Not newly baked as it's too soft. Slightly older bread makes firmer crumbs. Any bread would do. I used about half a small loaf as I'd made a big batch of burgers. I have a small hand blender and made the crumbs in batches. Then added the flavouring. Sea salt and black pepper, lots of crushed garlic and chilli. You may want to add different spices or lemon zest and herbs. 

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6. Then coat the little patties/burgers in the crumb topping and bake for about twenty minutes to half an hour, depending how big they are. Until they are piping hot, and the crumb golden brown and crunchy. 

These freeze really well and so I always make them in big batches, dividing them with baking parchment so they are easy to separate.

Chocolate tea pot biscuits

This isn't my recipe but I found it over on my favourite New zealand food blog written by Lucy here. It's made with a good ratio  of spelt to wheat flour. I haven't tried it with all spelt yet, I will do. I didn't have a teapot cookie cutter but had been gifted some gorgeous copper, apple and pear shaped cutters from a friend who writes this Australian blog. I also don't have a food processor so I rubbed the butter into the sifted dry ingredients in the same way that you would make pastry. Once they resembled bread crumbs I added the milk to form the dough. The rest is the same as the recipe. 

Lucy suggests that you don't make these biscuits without the chocolate unless you like very plain biscuits. I don't have a very sweet tooth and I'm not usually a biscuit eater. I made them without chocolate because I didn't have any. 

I loved them  and found them very more-ish...I can't stop sneaking them.  They have a lovely crisp but crumbly texture and remind me of shortbread with the little hit of sea salt. I think that (sans chocolate) they would be delicious with nice tangy blue cheese or a sharp cheddar.  

And whilst they were baking I pinched a little time to enjoy this:

B E A U T Y - dir. Rino Stefano Tagliafierro from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro on Vimeo.

found here, and like the author I also can appreciate this argument.

And read this: gardenista

Oh and the Bloody Mary's?  That was Friday night to toast the live winter olympic games opening ceremony in Sochi on the Black Sea. I don't usually drink, but it was in Russia, and I am a bit obsessed...

.Yey, the wind has dropped the rain subdued and sun is shining brightly and the kitchen is full of homemade goodness. February's not too shabby after all...


  1. I agree Debby, when I eat a vegetable burger I want to taste the vegetables and I can't wait to try out your recipe. Every time I visit here I am just in awe of your cooking and wished I lived next door. I think you would have a grand time.
    Don't you just love Russia? I told Mike that I was going to defect to Russia, I love Sochi, it's so beautiful. I thought I would open a yarn store over there to make a living.

  2. Oh can I come and work for you? I imagine there would be a demand for a good yarn store.

  3. Wow. All that food looks AMAZING. And I agree with you on the "veggie" burgers. (The best veg burger I had was one that was tempeh. )

    I had to laugh, I saw your comment over at Tracey's that you were still working on last years Christmas presents. I ad said the same thing.
    : 0

    1. Hi thanks for coming over. I just had to google tempeh...I'm on the look out for tempeh recipes now.

      I'm glad that I'm not the only one Cordelia. I must get my knitting organised.

  4. Another one who loves the veggies in a veggie burger. I hate soy nod commercially that's what is a veggie burger. Give me vegetables!! Lovely photos, sorry about the flood warnings though. We are expecting more snow once more!!

  5. Thanks Karen, me too. Oh more snow. I hope thats what you want. We're very lucky to have avoided any flooding. I feel so sorrry for all those affected.

  6. I have just been listening to reports of the flooding on the radio (how old-fashioned) and it doesn't make our rain seem so bad! I'm glad you are home and dry, so to speak. I'm also so pleased you like the biscuits! There is something addictive about them, isn't there? Lovely cookie cutters too. I must add apple shapes to my collection.

    1. Thanks Lucy. We are very lucky to have escaped with dry feet so far. Your recipe is amazing Lucy. As mentioned I'm not a big biscuit eater but these are something else.

  7. Debby, I get lost in your photos every time I visit here; they provide such a lovely glimpse into your life. Flooding scares me. My one recurring nightmare is of driving a car along a causeway with the water rising on both sides until it begins to pour up onto the road (shiver!). But, it looks like spring there--so much green! Spring is still a faraway hope called April here.: ) The video Beauty was . . . beautiful. I read the argument against animating great works of art and I'm not sure what I think. As I watched the film clip, it felt like being transported to the moments each artist captured. The animations, to my mind, were not as bold as the author of the article suggests in his argument. But, even so, they were a bit unsettling, even eerie. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. That's sweet, thank you Susan. I love water especially lakes and rivers but like you have a fear of water. I'm not the best swimmer, I like to be able to touch the bottom! Spring is in the air I've spotted the first snow drops...I always love that moment each year.

  8. Oh, Debby, that is a lot of rain!!! As another reader already mentioned, I have been hearing on the radio about all the flooding you have been having. My hearts go out to those you have been negatively affected by it. I feel bad for ever complaining about our snow.
    I love you blog and your photos...it allows me to visit England vicariously through you. ;)

    1. I know Emily. It's been the wettest winter in over 200 years. Some poor people have been homeless since Christmas. We are so lucky to be high and dry.