Unlocking the Big Mac

Before we start, I need to warn you of a few things:

  1. I hardly (i.e. next to never) eat “American food”
  2. I eat fast food (McDs / Burger King / KFC / etc…) probably once every two years, barring breakfast hash browns and ice cream. Why is the ice cream so good at these places??
  3. I’m not a burger connoisseur so don’t expect any knowledge of the so-called perfect burger
  4. I will be possibly one of the last people you can expect to find eating a burger, because I get bored halfway through
  5. I don’t even like meat that much except under special circumstances

But I have a dirty secret. I dream about eating Big Macs.

I really like the sauce. The last time I ate a Big Mac was sometime earlier this year (before that, it was probably 3-4 years ago). It was pretty disappointing, all except… the sauce. Yes, I felt kinda sick after finishing the burger. As anticipated. But I had my special Big Mac sauce fix, which I thought would tide me over maybe another 3 years?

Photo 19-11-2013 15 31 55Photo 19-11-2013 19 57 14Photo 19-11-2013 19 38 13Photo 19-11-2013 20 06 44

Until Bigfoot suggested we have home made burgers one night. Home made burgers? pshaw. Not interested. Never had a good one. Whatever, burgers. Boring.

He said home made burgers are the food of kings, and that it would be different. ***

I said whatever, burgers are boring and make me feel sick after I finish eating them.

He said just try come on pleaaasseee. And agreed that I could be in charge of the sauce.

I said hmm…. could that sauce be Big Mac sauce, you say?

A deal was struck. Lamb burgers with cheese, charred onions, rocket, and Big Mac sauce. Yes, I know it sounds trashy alongside all those nice fancy words like “lamb” and “charred” and “rocket”. Boo to you too. No sauce for you.

Photo 19-11-2013 20 14 08

As I rolled around my living room floor groaning at how the burger overstretched my poor stomach, I realised that the recipe for Big Mac sauce had to be posted. Not for anyone else, because there are enough so-called secret sauce recipes out there.But for me, so I won’t forget it, and so I can eat my sauce happily without visiting McDs, thereby bypassing the after-fastfood-I-am-going-to-throw-up-feeling. Yay me!

I’ve also included the burger recipe because it was rather good, if my meat-ambivalent tastebuds dare say so.

Photo 19-11-2013 20 16 44

Big Mac Sauce

Based on a survey of ‘secret sauce’ recipes around the web… and then I used different ingredients like wholegrain mustard. It isn’t a totally faithful reproduction, rather just a reproduction that tastes similar, that we enjoyed

2 tablesp Kewpie mayo
1 tablesp Branston pickle
2 teasp wholegrain mustard
1/4 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 teasp paprika / chilli powder

  1. Mix all the ingredients. Taste and adjust. Leave to sit for at least 15 minutes so the onion softens

Lamb Burgers

Makes around 5 large burgers. Bigfoot’s own recipe.

500g minced lamb
1 1/2 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 teasp smoked paprika
2-3 teasp dried mint
1 teasp cumin
1 teasp dried oregano
A little Salt
Black pepper + salt to coat

  1. Chop the onion and garlic in a chopper. Fry them off until fragrant in a little oil.
  2. Mix everything into the lamb, without over handling it. Shape into patties. Leave patties in the fridge to firm up, for around half an hour.
  3. Heat up your grill pan until it is pretty scary-hot. Add a generous helping of black pepper and a bit of salt to the outside of each patty on both sides (amount is to your taste). Then cook them over the grill, flipping regularly.

*** yes I have taken poetic license but you get the gist.

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Not as hard as it seems. Really, I was surprised at how tasty it was considering I made it, and I’m bad at meat.

Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Inspired by a brunch I had somewhere in North Melbourne, but the recipe is mine

4 pieces round lamb bone chops – it has to be something with a bit of bone in it
8 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, diced small
1 red onion, chopped
5-7 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 tablesp tomato paste
1 tablesp balsamic vinegar
1/2 teasp cumin seeds
3 bay leaves
1/2 teasp black pepper
Salt and sugar to taste

A pressure cooker

  1. Brown onion and garlic in some oil. Add the cumin seeds.
  2. While while that’s browning, chop the carrots. Then add the carrots.
  3. Same for the tomato – while the carrot browns, chop the tomato. Then add the tomato and a little salt.
  4. Mix it around and then close the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high for around 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Clean the excess fat off the lamb. Open the pressure cooker (quick release), then add the lamb, tomato paste, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves.
  6. Close the pressure cooker, and cook on high for around an hour.
  7. Open the pressure cooker (quick release), then boil off the excess water until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the salt and sugar as needed.
  8. Serve over some small size pasta 🙂

Whoa, Tagine

Yea so I didn’t make a tagine. Your expectations of me are far too high. Bigfoot made tagine.

I said I wanted to record everything so we could make it again. Response: nod nod, yes yes Lea, don’t worry.

Hello lonely potato Yum yum corianderEverything is browning Mmm uncooked meat

The problem is that he is a more natural cook than I am, so what that means is that he chucks in lots of things until it tastes right, then remembers how it tastes, but forgets what he put in or how much.

Don't overfill and make sure you have enough water Yes, we overfilled Smells good. Tastes...like water Getting there I suppose

GAH.

The lid is slightly open because it bumped up and down scarily

Of course it isn’t entirely his fault. Once I had his agreement that he would ‘remember’ what was in the dish and what he did, I happily went off and did my own thing, disregarding absolutely everything that was going on. I cook to eat you know, not for the sake of cooking. My posts are the result of  my need for happy eating with minimal cooking. If someone else volunteers to do all the cooking, who am I to disagree? 🙂

Mmm..ahh

So, I do apologise, but in this post I will be pasting the recipe we used as-is. I’m sure it tasted awesome that way. I’m using this as a recipe binder – with the hope that next time we make tagine, I can update it to reflect how it was actually made. It tasted amazing the way we  *cough* made it too, so I hope that we can figure out how to do it again someday. Right.

Lamb, Prune, and Almond Tagine

Taken from Grantourismo. I have no idea how much we changed it, so you’re better off following their ingredients list, and method too if you like. I’ve added the method that we used below.

EDIT: you can find the original recipe on their website here. I’m a bit of a noob with regards to blog laws, and I didn’t realise you can’t paste entire recipes even if sourced.. Sorry guys, I won’t do it again, promise.
Big thanks to Terence for letting me know about my error!

I’ll add a new ingredients list once I figure out exactly what we put in our version.

Happy Bellea’s lazy unsupervised-cooking method:

  1. Fry onions, garlic, lamb, and spices in a pan until the lamb is browned. Start with the onion and garlic and add the lamb once that has cooked a little.
  2. Transfer everything to a crock pot (including the prunes and almonds). We also added some root vegetables here, like carrot and potato. Add the water here.
  3. Leave the crockpot on automatic for about 5 hours
  4. Take everything out and dump it in the tagine. Put the tagine over high heat, cover it and let it bubble. Keep going until it tastes nice, and add everything and the kitchen sink to make it so (yes, I don’t know what was added). Serve hot with crusty bread.

.

.

Note: Also now I have looked up blog laws, and apparently it’s fine to reproduce ingredients lists, and as long as they are accompanied by a re-write of the method? (link) Anyway, sorry in advance if I attribute incorrectly, just let me know and I’ll change things 🙂