Yesterday the sun was shining again. We walked the dog, and then I felt all inspired to do homey things. I started by sweeping leaves and then planted some new lettuces. That was enough outdoorsy stuff for me! I retreated to the kitchen to find something delicious to make for dinner.
After discovering how good the Isa Does It Lentil-a-roni was, I decided I need to get back to cooking more of the recipes I haven’t tried in that book. It didn’t take long to find the Island Black Bean Burgers with Nectarine Salsa (p. 90).
We’re not big fans of fruit in our savoury dishes, so I omitted the nectarine salsa (and the buns) and served the burgers with avocado, green salad and chips.
Island Black Bean Burgers
This burger is really simple, and uses far fewer ingredients than I add if I invent my own burgers, but it tasted better than my inventions usually do!
I took the option of just using black beans, rather than the mix of 2 beans – mainly because that’s all I had in the cupboard.
Really, this recipe is just a matter of half mashing the beans, adding a whole lot of flavourings and some stock and breadcrumbs.
I was surprised by how well they stayed together. There was no mess or bits falling off. It helped that the burgers are baked, so I couldn’t fiddle with them while they were cooking. (I usually can’t help myself.)
Chips – (almost) just like Dad’s
As I was flipping through the pages I also noticed the Baked Garlic-Curry Fries a few pages earlier (p. 86).
These will henceforth (on this blog at least) be known as ‘chips’, because in Australia we generally only call the thin, McDonald’s-style chips ‘fries’.
I couldn’t be bothered with all that effort…but they just looked sooo good, and I kept flipping the pages over to look at them. I eventually realised that, since I had the time, I didn’t just have to drool over the picture – I could live the dream!
They involved the full business of chopping, par-boiling, plunging into iced water and drying on tea towels.
Skip this next bit if you’re not in the mood for long-winded reminiscences…
It really took me back to my childhood when Dad would (about once a year) decide he was going to cook. In those days he always made chips.
He’d shoo everyone out of the kitchen, slip on a white chef’s apron and hat (apart from chip making, these only ever appeared when he worked on the hotdog stand at the school fete), and then he’d start the whole loooong process, making a big show of every step. We (or maybe it was just me) would peep around the doorway to watch, full of wonder that Dad was standing at the stove (and saying rude words when he burnt himself)!
After what seemed like A LIFETIME we’d be called back to the kitchen to eat the best hot, salty chips ever! They were so HOT they’d burn our mouths and throats – but if we didn’t eat them fast enough, we might miss out! There were always greedy hands ready to steal your chips…and they were usually Dad’s hands! 🙂
To be honest, as I got older, it kind of annoyed me – poor Mum was stuck in the kitchen every single day for years and years cooking full meals for seven people, but the moment Dad stepped into the kitchen to make chips there was a big fuss.
Anyway, it doesn’t annoy me anymore – it was the 60s and 70s, and that’s just how it (usually) was. I wish I had a photo, but of course, my old camera probably didn’t have a flash and photos were EXPENSIVE to process, so we didn’t waste them on such mundane activities as cooking. (I sound like I’m 110!)
And now back to the chips
Anyway, the Isa Does It chip-making process was similar, but instead of deep frying the chips in a pot of boiling oil (undoubtedly the reason Dad banished everyone from the kitchen), these chips were baked as oven fries/chips.
With both the burgers and the chips being baked at slightly different temperatures, I had a bit of trouble managing the cooking process. I did a bit of a shuffle of trays and moving of the temperature dial, and it seemed to work out. If I had had an oven devoted to the chips, I would probably have cooked them a little bit longer at the top of the stove. They were still excellent – just not quite as crisp as they might have been.
Banana splits for dessert
Lately, B’s been reminiscing too – about how much he used to love banana splits – so I thought I’d surprise him for dessert.
I wanted to serve them on proper oval glass banana split dishes…but could I find them ANYWHERE. Nor could I find ceramic or metal banana split dishes. I went to 3 homewares shops, 2 retro/secondhand shops, KMart and Ikea (not all in one day!) and nobody had them, so maybe they just don’t make them right now.
I finally conceded that I’d have to use normal, boring dishes.
Don’t be put off this recipe by my pathetic whipped cream. I didn’t have time to refrigerate the coconut cream for long enough. (I used coconut cream instead of coconut milk, so maybe that made a difference too?) But I added both the vanilla and icing sugar and it tasted absolutely fantastic, and I’ll definitely make it again.
Strawberries were really cheap and plentiful at the Market this weekend, so I wanted to include those. And I found a couple of just-past-expiry-date bottles of chocolate sauce in the cupboard that needed to be used up. Sadly, I think these both contain palm oil – I need to check one of those lists before I buy them again.
I put together a rather messy banana split creation – it looked nothing like I had envisaged, but it did taste great, and B loved them.
If you happen to be in the mood for reminiscing about a 70s childhood, have a look at You know you’re a child of the 1970s if… It popped up on my Facebook yesterday, and I reckon I can tick off about 98% of the items.