the ultimate lamb burger

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Yum. Just yum. That’s all that comes to mind. These lamb burgers are just one of those meals that satisfy your tastebuds on every level. They’re a sensory experience. It starts right as you begin making the brioche dough. The pride you feel when your dough rises beautifully and the enormous pleasure of working a perfectly elastic, silky and bouncy dough. Bliss.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

You can of course buy buns from the supermarket if you so wish but where’s the fun in that? Also- half of the pleasure of these brioche buns is the smell emanating from your oven while they’re cooking. I had a neighbour stick her nose straight through my kitchen window and ask me what on earth I was baking. Obvs she got a sample when they were ready. The trick is to butter up the neighbours with baked goods so when our dinner parties get too rowdy they’re less likely to report us to the supervisor. #threedayhangover

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Anyhoo- back to food. Apart from the bun being pretty darn important, the quality of your meat is paramount. I believe in eating as many veggies as can fit on your plate, but when eating meat it is so important to purchase only the best meat that you can afford and enjoy it as a real treat. Support local farmers and nearby markets, buy free-range, organic, pasture reared etc… I bought my free-range lamb from Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. All their meat is of the highest quality and you can be sure they know exactly where it’s coming from. So arm yourself with some great meat, roll up your sleeves and get cooking!

The Ultimate Lamb Burger

Ingredients:

serves 6 with some extra buns

Brioche buns:

makes 10

  • 250 ml warm water
  • 45 ml warm milk
  • 8,5g dry yeast
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 60g all-pupose flour
  • 13g salt
  • 55g butter, softened
  • sesame seeds

Method:

For the buns: 

Mix the warm water, milk, sugar and yeast together and leave to get frothy and foamy for about 5-10minutes.

Mix the two flours, salt and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add the yeast mixture as well as one of the eggs, beaten, to the flour mixture and let the mixer do the work for you on medium speed for about 7-10 minutes until a beautiful silky, elastic dough has formed. If you do not have a stand mixer you can combine the wet ingredients with the dry, mix well and then work the dough by stretching it, smacking it onto the counter and kneading it. You need to do this until your arms want to fall off. This is not a dough for the weak. ‘Throw’ the dough down onto the counter so that it stretches out like a slinky. Pull it back together, knead and repeat. Once the dough is at the correct consistency place it into a greased bowl covered with a dish cloth and leave to rise for 3 hours in a warm spot.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Once the dough has doubled in size turn out onto a floured work surface and divide into ten. Roll into balls and place onto a lined baking sheet or silicon mat. Cover the dough balls with greased cling wrap and once again let them double in size. Don’t rush this second rise! It’s super important.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

When the buns have doubled in size brush them with an egg wash. Mix the remaining one egg with a teaspoon of water and brush all over the surface of the buns.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Beet & onion pickle:

  • 3 large beetroot
  • 2 red onions
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml water
  • 50g sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 all spice berries
  • 5 peppercorns

For the pickle:

Julienne the onion and beetroot, or in other words slice them very finely into ribbons/ sticks/ strips. Place into a heatproof bowl.

Place the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices into a small pot. Bring to the boil and the pour the boiling liquid over the beetroot and onion. Let it cool, cover and place in the fridge.

Patty:

makes 6

  • 1kg free-range lamb mince
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp origanum
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the burger:

Mix the mince and spices together and shape into 6 patties. If you want to be pedantic like me thats 166 grams per burger. Yes, I weighed each one. Grill them on the braai for a few minutes each side.

Assemble the burger. Start by toasting the brioche bun with a swish of butter. Make some tzatziki with Greek yoghurt, Mediterranean cucumbers, garlic, salt and pepper. Then whip some Danish style feta cheese until soft and creamy. Add this to your tzatziki and start salivating. Top the burger with fresh rocket, the beet and onion pickle and a dollop of feta tzatziki. Serve with crispy roasted rosemary potato wedges and a glass of ice cold wine.

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

Lamb burger | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

strawberry cheesecake pops

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops | The Secret Life of Bee

It has been too hot to cook. Too hot to function really. In this heat I’ve been craving something cool and refreshing, lighter than ice cream and a smidge on the healthier side. Enter some sort of ice lolly. I had all of these ingredients in my fridge and they made me think of strawberry cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops | The Secret Life of Bee

These strawberry cheesecake pops really hit the spot as a treat in the pool or after dinner dessert. You can add as much or as little honey as you wish and can also play around with different seasonal fruit. I am so making these with mango and passion fruit next. In other news my thriving granadilla (passion fruit) plant has produced its first ripe granadilla! I did a happy dance and shared the delicious little purple gem with my mom. And now we wait for the other 14 to ripen. Yes I know… Not quite commercial farming levels yet but i’m flexing my green thumb. So expect a lot of granadilla recipes to come!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops | The Secret Life of Bee

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops

makes 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 100g ginger nut biscuits
  • 50g butter, melted
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 250g Greek yoghurt
  • 50g honey (2Tbsp)
  • 500g strawberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • paper cups
  • wooden lolly sticks

Method:

Crush biscuits with a rolling pin or blitz them in a food processor until they resemble a chunky bread crumb texture. Mix in the melted butter and lemon zest.

Press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of the paper cups and place in the fridge.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the Greek yoghurt and honey to taste.

Blend 3/4 of the strawberries and roughly chop the other quarter.

Fold the blended and chopped strawberries gently into the cream cheese mixture and the zest of one lemon. You want it to look marbled and not completely mixed together.

Spoon the strawberry and cream cheese mixture into the paper cups. Place a lolly stick into the centre of each one and freeze overnight or until frozen.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops | The Secret Life of Bee

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops | The Secret Life of Bee

ground almond seed bread

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Finally. It’s a miracle. I made gluten free, guilt free, low carb seed bread that doesn’t taste like bird food and cardboard had a baby.

I’ve made quite a few low carb seed breads and they never seem to satisfy me or trick my mind into believing I’ve just had a piece of bread.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This one happened by pure accident, a lack of ingredients and an attempt to say no to dough. I’ve always freshly ground my own flax seeds into a faux flour and used that as the base for my seed breads. Yesterday morning was a tad different as recently being back from the holidays our cupboards were looking rather sad and empty and I was craving a piece of toast for breakfast. So all I had as the main ‘flour source’ was ground almonds and some psyllium husks to bind things together.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

It looked a bit dodge while mixing and trying to get the consistency right but once it baked and cooled I was so surprised at this little loaf. Real bready flavour, great texture and most of all a healthy and nutritious loaf that is delicious with a myriad of toppings!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Ground Almond Seed Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 tbsp psyllium husks
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup water

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a small loaf tin.

Quite simply mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Scrape mixture into the greased loaf tin and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes.

When cool enough to handle turn the loaf out of the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Serve with your choice of meal or toppings.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

My breakfast that I was craving. A simple fried egg on the fresh out of the oven seed bread with a generous swish of butter.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Smoked salmon and cream cheese is always a winning combo with a generous squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper.

Another delight is fresh avocado on a base of rocket pesto with sumac and toasted seeds. Sumac is a spectacular Middle Eastern spice that is normally used to top hummus and other meze style dishes. It’s slightly lemony in flavour and adds a kick to many a dish!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This bread is so versatile you can use it with sweet toppings too. Cream cheese with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey hits the spot with your afternoon tea. And for the husband- peanut butter and honey. One of his favs.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee