We’ve just had the most glorious summer here in South Australia. It was predicted to be a real stinker, with day after day of 40-plus degree heat (that’s 104 degrees Farenheit). While we got a nasty bit of that heat in early December, the rest of summer seemed to be perfect – warm enough to swim and enjoy balmy evenings but not uncomfortably hot.
Not bad for the driest state in the driest continent on Earth (or so the saying goes).
One of the great summer rituals for families in my neck of the woods is to have an evening meal at the beach. Just think. A picnic of crispy and salty fish and chips, watching the sun setting over the ocean. Maybe with the grown-ups sipping on a glass of chilled white wine.
Idyllic. Except, of course, for the gluten in the fish and chips. Yikes. That shattered that lovely picture.
Well, that was not going to deter us from family beach picnics. So instead of fish and chips, we created a new tradition. Hamburgers. And the whole family just loves them.
I cook up the hamburger patties at home and we hop it to the beach while they’re still warm. We enjoy them packed into a bun with salad ingredients such as tomato, avocado, cucumber and lettuce. Everyone makes their own and it’s a joy.
Hamburgers may be traditionally regarded as a fast food, but they can be really healthy if you make them yourself. And there are so many possible combinations. You could try the great Aussie special of adding fried egg and beetroot, or even a ring of tinned pineapple if you’re game.
The only limit is your tastebuds and imagination.
Our summer picnics got me thinking about making the patties in large batches. They’re really quick and easy to mix and shape. While they’re cooking you can prepare the salad ingredients.
The other great advantage to preparing them in a large batch is that you can use the leftover patties to make hamburgers for the next day’s lunchboxes. (Any other leftovers can be frozen for another meal.)
“What? Hamburgers for lunch?” I hear you say.
Absolutely. And yes, serve them cold. There’s nothing wrong with that. With all the protein from the beef, your kids won’t get as hungry as quickly after lunch. How good is that?
Use the salad fillings that your kids will love and that are easy for you to prepare in the mornings. For example, any combination of cucumber, lettuce, capsicum, avocado, cheese or grated carrot would be lovely. But avoid tomato if you’re not tucking in immediately as it will make the bread soggy.
Oh, and these babies are gluten-free and dairy free. Yeah!
What are your favourite hamburger fillings? Please leave a comment below.
2 gluten-free round bread rolls
1 tbs gluten-free tomato relish or tomato sauce
2 cooked hamburger patties (see recipe below)
8 thin slices of cucumber
8 thin slices of red capsicum
Small handful of assorted lettuce leaves
Slice one bread roll in half.
On the bottom cut half , spread the tomato relish (approximately ½ tbs). Place a pattie on top of the relish and top with 4 slices of cucumber, 4 slices of red capsicum and half of the lettuce leaves. Top with the upper half of the bun.
Firmly wrap in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.
Repeat with remaining roll.
Makes 2 hamburgers.
1 kg minced beef
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp gluten-free garlic salt
½ tsp fennel seed
Generous quantity of oil, for frying
Put all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl and combine thoroughly with hands or an electric mixer.
Take handfuls of the mixture and shape and flatten into large patties, approximately the size of the palm of your hand.
Heat a frypan over medium-high heat. Generously cover the base of the pan with oil.
Fry patties for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.
Makes approximately 12 patties.