This month’s book club choice has perhaps been most agonizing. Not because I have patisserie classes 5 days a week and spend a LOT of time commuting but because I cannot decide what I could make that would really do some justice to this post. This post is dedicated to a few of my favorite things: boarding school and Enid Blyton. Now, I know everyone out there has read Enid Blyton. Heck, its an essential rite of passage for every tween. So there is very little that I can say that hasn’t been said already. Oh, except this – Enid Blyton still remains my favorite author, right up there with Roald Dahl. There are so many happy times I’ve spent reading her books and even today, her simplicity bowls me over. I especially loved reading this series, even
now as a kid because I definitely know that these are the best days of life – sunny, happy, innocent and ingenuous.
My boarding school days were exactly like that – no scary dorm parents, no creepy buildings and definitely no horrible food – just happy ones. My most distinct food memories of those times are the ones spent over the table in the dining hall where all of us would spend hours just talking and refilling our bowls of dessert till it was time to go to bed. Saturdays were the best days of the week – every Saturday, we had a movie screening in the large amphitheatre (open air!) before dinner. Then, once the movie was over we flocked into the dining hall and ate burgers and fries but not before we were tempted to leave the movie half way because of the aromas wafting in from the dining hall! I’m not talking happy meal burgers but they were so good in a different way – more homely and oddly comforting. They were also a luxury for us – every time someone we knew was coming in from the city (our school was quite far away from the city), we would make them get us burgers from McDonalds. So it may seem odd that I’m doing a classic American meal for an English themed book but somehow, for me, boarding school and burgers go hand in hand!
Classic homemade burger patties
Yields: 5 even sized burger patties
500gms finely minced chicken
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 – 4 medium sized garlic cloves, finely chopped or ground
1 tsp celery
1 cup bread crumbs (about 3 slices of white bread = 1 cup bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp paprika powder/chilli powder/chilli flakes
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, to grill
In a large colander thoroughly clean chicken mince and ensure that you squeeze out all the water from them. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
To the minced chicken, add onion, garlic and all the seasoning and herbs. Mix with your hands to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
Add breadcrumbs tablespoon by tablespoon, and you may not even use all of it, till the chicken mince mixture feels sturdy. Try rolling a ball with your palms – if it comes together easily, put away the breadcrumbs. If not, add another tablespoon and test again. Continue till the mixture comes together easily. Cover with a lid and set aside for half an hour on the countertop for the flavors to mingle.
After half an hour, form burger patties with your palm and arrange on a plate for easy grilling.
Heat a grill or non stick pan with a few dashes of oil till it starts sputtering. Grill the burger patties without stirring or shaking till one side is evenly done which is approximately 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Its better to do them one at a time, especially if this would be the first time you attempt them.
Burgers & Assembly
5 burger buns, split and toasted
Vegetable suggestions – sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onion rings
Condiments – Mayonnaise, cheddar cheese slices
Between each toasted burger bun, add condiments on one and vegetables on one. Place a burger patties between each and serve with fries.
|Photo credit: Riya Vatnani|
|Photo credit: Riya Vatnani|