Well sometimes life chucks a curved ball and you just gotta catch it and run.
Because it was Boxing Day, I had no particular plans other than breakfast with the neighbours. Which was pleasant, but at 1:30pm I excused myself on the grounds that I had two days of laundry piled on the bathroom floor and I was wasting a beautiful drying day. I left Mr Grumpybuilder happily talking with the guys about whatever it is that guys talk about after two beer’sies which requires a third one for it all to make sense.
Very early in the morning I had checked into Facebook – Mr Grumpy had gone off to grub thistles at 5:30am before it got too hot to work outside – and a post from a NZ friend working in Ireland had rather sparked my interest. Of course it did! In my mind it was a baking challenge involving bread!
So there I was in the mid afternoon with not much planned other than my self imposed baking challenge, Pizza burgers. They get a bad rap if you Google them, and to be honest, despite being a brilliant idea the ones I read about seem rather greasy, hugely calorific and unhealthy affairs. “Time for the Thymewarp treatment”, I think to myself. I have beef that I raised right here on clean grass, fresh herbs and summer veges in the garden and some proper Italian pizza flour, all organic – everything!
I immediately identified oiliness, greasiness, and wetness as issues to be avoided at all costs. The bun has to bake evenly and not be soggy on the bottom, it needs to be crispy like a pizza. The top however needs to be soft like a burger bun. “Keep it simple stupid” is running like a mantra in my head as I prepare bread dough, my trusty failsafe method that I have made so often my hands just do it, carefully measured by my eyometer.
I really pulled out the stops for the beef pattie mix. It needed to sing PIZZA as only an Italian tenor can. First problem – no salami, but I do have fresh Italian herbs growing. Basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, sage, so I think to myself, “that should do the trick”, after all this is to be a healthy option pizza burger. So I chopped the herbs finely, skinned a homemade kiwi style sausage and added some single cream to the mince (ok we are wandering from ‘healthy’ just a little) but still everything is organic, and marinating lean mince in cream makes the finished patties silky and unctuous without being oily.
While that was marinating I went and had a Nana Nap, as you do on Boxing Day in summer. The sun floods my bedroom in the afternoon and is so deliciously warm…
So in the cool of the evening the dough has proved, the mince has marinated and I have picked some perpetual spinach and the first of the tomatoes. I have an orange capsicum and a handful of mushrooms in the fridge from the farmers market. Manchild is circling and Mr Grumpybuilder is out working on the firewood pile.
Time to assemble. (The method is up in the recipes pages). I decided to sear (not cook) the patties first, just to stop any meat juices seeping into the bottom of the bun. I also, uncharacteristically, exercised huge time management skills and patience to allow everything to cool before putting the buns together. My time working at the bakery earlier in the year came in handy here, I know exactly how to form the dough and seal it. Twenty minutes to prove and into a hot oven, wishing, not for the first time, that I had a pizza stone and not a manky old aluminium tray.
Not greasy, plenty of fresh veges and a rather decadent pattie, crusty, soft – yummo. I did good.
Crikey! That was a schpiel and a half, I need to go get outside and do some work.