Every year around new year's time we reflect on the past year, hope for and wish everyone a happy (or happier) New Year. Most of the time when I reflect back, I find that everything is relative and is really based on our expectations of things. Inquiring and going deeper into these expectations just bring us to a place forged from our own beliefs. The power of belief is a great one! While we all hope for a happy-everything, we tend to muffle that little bit of sour zing that in reality is the secret ingredient that really marries everything together and take us exactly where we need to be whether, in that moment, we see it or not. 2014 has been just as much a great year for me, as any other year, in many aspects and I hope it has been the same for you too! So, I wish you all the very best for a Fresh New Year, neither happy nor sad, just fresh!
Over the past week, I did make a few nice food, although I did not take as many photos. I took some time to just unwind and marinade
In the spirit of a fresh year, on new year's day, I felt like having a vegetable/bean burger, something I had not made for quite a while, accompanied by a wholesome winter salad that consistent of pasta, avocado, olives, peppers, sweetcorn, herbs and some salad greens.
Vegetable and Bean Burger
Ingredients (about 8 burgers, depending on size)
1 1/2 cups cooked white (cannellini/navy) beans
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (chopped into very small cubes or they will cause the burgers to crumble)
1 jalapeno/green chili (chopped into very fine pieces, you may deseed it for less heat)
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves (finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Pinch chili powder (or chipotle)
2 tablespoons tomato puree (or passata)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or substitute with tomato puree for soy-free)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup quick oats
Salt to taste
Bread crumbs as required for coating
Oil as required for pan frying
- Defrost the frozen peas in some warm water, then drain.
- Mash the white beans, chickpeas and peas with a fork. You may want to do this in batches of small portions. You may also use a food processor but not a blender or else the mixture will be too pasty.
- Add in all the rest of the ingredients except the bread crumbs.
- Once everything is well mixed, take a scoop of the mixture, about the size of a tennis ball, and press into a compact ball. Then roll into the bread crumbs and lightly flatten to adhere the bread crumbs. Take the ball into your hands and flatten as you press in the edge to make a compact flat patty. You may want to lay the patty again in the bread crumbs and keep compressing the edge toward the center to smoothen it as you roll and flatten the patty. Keep doing this until the patty is about 1/2-inch thick. The edge should be smooth with the least cracks possible.
- Do this with the rest of the mixture. You may also make smaller patties.
- Depending on the size of your fry pan, you may want to pan fry one or two at a time. I added about 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and pan fried 2 at a time. Allow one side to become crispy and firm before turning onto the other side. Cook on medium heat for about 5 - 6 minutes on either side (turn occasionally to avoid burning).
- If you prefer to bake them, you may want to add a couple more tablespoons of tomato puree to the mixture so that the burgers don't dry out. Brush with a little oil, bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes on one side, turn and brush the other side with oil. Then bake for another 8 minutes or until burgers are golden and crispy on both sides.
Serve with a hearty salad or in your favourite burger buns.