Chelsea & Me: Burgers

Chelsea & Me

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of three cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe. And of course, her new book, Homemade Happiness, is on my Christmas wish-list!

When I was growing up, hamburgers were a treat meal that dad cooked on the barbecue, while mum filled dish after dish with every possible topping imaginable. The burger was always a pattie made from mince, and there was never any deviation from this.

Fast-forward to burgers in our house, and so much has changed. The pattie might be made of any minced meat, or it might not be a pattie – or meat – at all. It might be a piece of pan-fried blue cod, or a mixture of chicken mince and Thai-style flavours, or a crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside falafel. The extras are just as varied, although I must say that a beef burger without beetroot just isn’t worth the effort.

Chelsea has a number of burger recipes that will take you out of any burger rut you might be in – and with the barbecue season upon us here in the southern hemisphere, what better time to get you inspired??

Cajun Chicken Burgers with Avocado and Mayo
Made with boneless chicken thighs, these burgers are slightly spicy and highly delicious, especially if they are charred a little on the barbecue. The homemade Cajun seasoning is so easy, made with ingredients you’re likely to have in your pantry already, and while it was spicy, the avocado and mayonnaise helped to cool the palate down. My children don’t like mayonnaise (whaaaaaaaaat??), but they still gobbled down the chicken and didn’t complain about the heat at all.

Barbecued Chicken Burgers
These burgers were very Greek in flavour, and the herby feta mayonnaise was delicious. To avoid over-dosing on dairy, I left out the cheese that Chelsea melts onto the buns, and to be honest, I don’t think it was missed. The rest of the ingredients were simple and full of flavour and crunch.

Fresh Salmon Burgers
The first time I made these, my patties fell apart because I hadn’t diced the salmon finely enough. The second time, I was much more vicious, and the patties held together beautifully. The flavour of these burgers is divine, and keeping the extras to a minimum ensures that the salmon is the (excuse the Masterchef-esque speak) hero of the dish. All three of my males loved these and fought over the extra patties.

Fresh Salmon Burgers

Steak and Bacon Sandwiches with Smoky Mayo and Crispy Onion Rings
These burgers are not for the faint-hearted…they are what an old work colleague would have called a “heart-attack sandwich”. Despite the heaviness and manliness of the recipe, the combination of flavours was delicious. The smoky mayo (mayo + smoked paprika) was genius, and cut through a bit of the fattiness. The onion rings were a bit moreish, and I had to stop myself from sampling too many; they were super-easy (if a bit messy) to make.

Tandoori-Style Chicken Burgers
Yum. Another interesting option for a chicken burger, but one that my entire family loved. I have noted in the margin of the recipe to use less chilli powder next time, which probably means they were a bit spicy for my bublettes.

Chelsea’s Cheeseburgers with Secret Sauce
Apparently this is one of the public’s favourite Chelsea recipes, but I’m afraid I’m going to buck the trend and say we found them just okay. The burger patties were okay, and the secret sauce was okay, but I’m not rushing to make them again. I don’t know what it was, but none of us were big fans…you’ll have to try them for yourselves and see!

Chelsea's Cheeseburgers with Secret Sauce

Lamb Burgers with Fresh Beetroot Relish
These delicious burgers got the big thumbs up from my beetroot-hating husband – he even took aaaaall the leftovers for his lunch the following day. The patties were full of flavour and really tender without being sloppy, and the beetroot relish…I could have eaten it by the spoonful!

Pulled Pork Burgers
From the moment I discovered pulled pork, I was hooked, and these wee beauties appealed from the moment I received Everyday Delicious. When I finally made them, I was not disappointed – they were awesome. They take a lot more effort than your average burger, but the effort is worth it. The tender pork combined with the zesty dressing was a mixture made in heaven; the crackling was a great textural element too.


Chelsea & Me: Fresh Mint & Chocolate Slice

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeWhen we moved into our new house two years ago, I was excited about having a bigger vegetable garden. The previous owners were keen gardeners, but as with most people who put their houses on the market, they’d let the vege patch go a little. As a result, the mint was flourishing. And by flourishing, I mean it was starting to take over like a scene from The Day of the Triffids.

Over the past two summers, we spent a lot of time eradicating it from the vege garden, and suddenly…we had no mint. No mint AT ALL. My mum gave me a mint root to plant in a pot (“Contain it!” she said. “Contain it goooood.”), aaaaand I forgot about it for a few weeks. When I found that dry, shrivelled root outside one day, I decided to shove it in some potting mix anyway, and wouldn’t you know, we now have a lovely pot of fresh mint in the front yard.

fresh mint & chocolate slice - chelsea winter fresh mint & chocolate slice - chelsea winter We’ve been making mojitos, adding it to fizzy water with slices of lemon and lime, and making Fresh Mint & Chocolate Slice.

Oh my. This slice is amazing. The biscuity base is chocolately but not too sweet. The mint cream is rather sweet, but offset by the inclusion of chopped fresh mint leaves. The dark chocolate icing…well…I don’t think you need me to wax lyrical about that, do you??

fresh mint & chocolate slice - chelsea winterThis recipe can be found in Everyday Delicious, but it’s also online here. If you have mint taking over your garden or politely keeping to itself in a pot, you should make this slice. It’s supposed to keep for up to a week in the fridge, but I doubt it will last that long!

(Chopping board from Needle and Nail)

Chelsea & Me: Pizza

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeThere’s something about making pizza dough that I find both satisfying and frustrating. I love that it is so easy to create your own bases on the cheap, but I really don’t enjoy the kneading. However, I’ve tried many no-knead versions and they just don’t have that same texture as a base that’s been pummeled massaged gently for a good ten minutes.

Pizza Dough - Chelsea Winter The pizza dough recipe in At My Table is very easy and relatively quick to make – the mixture rises quite quickly in a warm environment, and even though there’s still a lot of kneading involved, it’s kinda worth it in the end. The recipe makes a lot of dough, but it freezes really well, so I often make the full batch, pop one or two portions in the freezer, and when there are enough in there for a meal, out they come, almost as good as fresh.

The pizza sauce recipe is pretty standard; I switch between using it, plain tomato paste, or my own pizza sauce recipe, depending on what kind of pizzas we’re having, and how much time I have to spare.

Chelsea offers seven topping recipes, and we’ve tried five of them:

Chilli, olive and tomato – enjoyed by the adults, not by the children. They were wary of the delicious, salty wee anchovies, and the slices of tomato.

Greek lamb – this cheese-lee baby was really tasty, and even though my boys picked off the tomato, they liked the flavour of the lamb. I’ve also tried it with the addition of crumbled feta (pictured on the slightly over-cooked pizza below) which adds an extra sharpness that I liked but was a definite no-no for my babies.

Greek Lamb Pizza - Chelsea WinterPrawn, garlic and aioli – YUM. We are a prawn-loving family, and this simple pizza is now one of our favourites. Occasionally I’ll leave the cheese off my portion, but the boys (all three of ’em) prefer it to have a little hint of stretchy mozzarella.

Proscuitto, mozzarella and basil – given the price of proscuitto and fresh mozzarella, I’ve only made this once for a date-night-in dinner. The flavours were so good – the saltiness of the proscuitto was tempered by the fresh mozzarella and the freshness of the basil. I like pizzas where there are toppings added after cooking, as it keeps things texturally interesting and flavours high.

Salmon, caper and cream cheese – another divine seafood offering, using parmesan cheese. The addition of fresh rocket and lemon juice before serving cuts through the richness of the salmon and cream cheese, and we love capers. I always add a little sprinkling of dried dill, simply because I love it, and it works really well with this flavour combination.

Salmon, Caper and Cream Cheese Pizza - Chelsea WinterI don’t bother using any other pizza dough recipe now (the grease marks on the page are testament to that fact!), and it’s always nice to have suggestions for toppings when the motivation to create something that looks and tastes pretty is low.

Chelsea & Me: Eggs Benedict

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of two (nearly three, eeeeeek!) cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

Chelsea & MeOnce upon a time, in a small flat in St Albans, England, my husband made the most amazing hollandaise sauce from scratch, all by himself. He used every pot, pan and utensil in that small galley kitchen, but the resulting sauce was really good. Thinking to myself, “How hard can it be?”, I tried to reproduce his efforts one day, and it was rubbish. The mixture curdled and split, and no matter how may times I tried again, I just couldn’t get it right.

Fast forward six or so years, and I decided to try again. There was a recipe for Eggs Benedict in my then-new Chelsea Winter cookbook, and it didn’t look so hard. One Sunday lunchtime, when husband was away and my parents were coming for lunch, I assembled everything I needed, ensure the children were distracted by their grandparents and set to work.

I doubled the recipe, as the original is for two servings, and took my time. I made sure the pan of simmering water under the egg and butter mixture was barely simmering, and I whisked until my arm nearly fell off. I timed the eggs, and toasted the muffins to perfection, and when I dished it up, I may have danced a happy dance right there in the kitchen.

Eggs Benedict - Chelsea WinterIt was good. So good. Lip-smackingly, plate-licklingly good. The hollandaise was perfectly lemony, and the yolks were oozy and delicious. When husband returned home, I couldn’t wait to tell him about the dish, and with a cheeky glint in his eye, he said, “You’re going to have to prove it.”

Eggs Benedict - Chelsea WinterAnd prove it, I have. About twice a month, on a Sunday, I make us Eggs Benedict for breakfast. I’ve failed at the sauce just once, and that was when I stuck to the quantities in the recipe. It seems I am rubbish at making holldandaise that serves two, but an expert at making hollandaise that, in theory, serves four. Which it doesn’t. I don’t need to look up the recipe anymore; it’s etched into my brain so strongly that it’s second nature now. Thanks to Chelsea, I think I can say that I am now a bit of a hollandaise master.