October has proved a very busy month with school, soccer commitments and endless holiday celebrations. We got along to Googleween but only stayed for a short time as Elliott had not been well. Just enough time to get a bag each of the delicious kettle corn and play a couple of games. The kids really enjoyed dressing up and I was able to put a bit more planning into costumes this year. I’m sure you can guess who Tilly was dressed as just by looking at her hair. It was carefully crafted with the help of a pair of socks and lots of bobby pins in the Google carpark.
With the cooler weather I have been getting out lots and enjoying a few local hikes. One of my favourites is walking the Stanford Dish, not only for the views but also because there is a few steep hills. Everything is so flat here in the valley and the muscles I was accustomed to using on the steep hills in Brisbane have not been put to use here. So walking the Stanford Dish wakes up those muscles again and it is brilliant way to start the day.
Lately I have been making lots of warming food like soups and curries to warm us up. We have been eating more legume and bean meals instead of meat. My girls aren’t partial to red meat. Essie will eat some. Tilly doesn’t like it at all but everyone loves chicken and fish. Lately the boys have been enjoying some of the bean and lentil recipes I’ve been making which is a win win.
I have both of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbooks and I think they are really good. Everything I have made has been super tasty and quite simple to make. A couple of weeks ago I tried a new recipe of hers for Cannellini Bean and Quinoa Burgers. They were such a hit and I have made them a few times now either just to serve with a salad or like a proper burger with a breadroll, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles etc.
The key to making it super tasty is making sure all the spices cover the beans and that everything is well seasoned. Once I have sauteed the onions and spices I tip in the drained beans and let them sizzle for a minute and toss them to ensure all the beans are getting spiked with all the spice. I then turn off the heat and give it a rough mash with a potato masher before I add the cooked quinoa and the greens.
The original recipe calls for parsley to be added. I am trying to get lots of dark green leaves into my kids so it is good opportunity to sneak in some more by chopping up spinach super fine and mixing it in. A mix of parsley and spinach is ideal. As healthy as it all sounds though, the best thing about this recipe is that it is just really delicious.
cannellini bean and quinoa burgers
(adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for frying the burgers)
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
a handful of parsley, chopped
a handful of spinach, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over a medium heat. Saute the onions for a few minutes, until soft, and then add the garlic and spices. Cook for a minute or until aromatic then tip in the cannellini beans. Toss them well in the oil and spices until coated and then turn off the heat.
Mash the beans roughly with a potato masher and then add the quinoa, breadcrumbs, parsley and spinach. Season well and give everything a good mix. Taste and season more if needed.
Form the mixture into small rounds and press down so that the burgers are about an inch thick. I find it easiest to use a lever ice cream scoop to scoop out even sized burgers and then I press lightly with the palm of my hand to flatten them slightly.
Fry the burgers a few minutes each side in a lightly oiled frypan over a medium heat until golden and heated through. Be careful as you turn them as they can be a little fragile. Serve with salads or breadrolls and all your favourite burger condiments.