Tuesday, 21 February 2017


Recipe of the week...
... Vegan Bean Burgers!

Ingredients: 400g tin chickpeas or beans, 300g root vegetables, 2 garlic cloves, a splash of oil, 2 slices of bread, some form of herbs and seasoning, and salt and pepper.

Recipe makes: 4 burgers (quite cool – you can actually freeze these burgers uncooked and then bake them from frozen another time – so you potentially could up the quantities of ingredients here and prepare more than 4 burgers... then freeze some for another day!)

Time taken: 1 hour total (half an hour to make and half an hour to bake).

Hi readers,

How’s it going today, with this wonderful life we lead? Are you battling the Tuesday blues and powering ahead with the working week? Or are you necking wine and counting the seconds til Friday 5pm?? Either way – I hope you’re keeping your spirits up and thinking positively!

My Tuesday so far, readers, has actually been one of note. Today is the day that I passed my driving theory test. For real. After a week of patchy Highway Code revision and bleary, late night attempts at practicing hazard perception.. I passed the test and walked out with a certificate in my hand.


Not exactly a fun week of my life spent prepping for the theory test.. but it’s over and done with now! I may never need to know so much about road signs or stopping distances ever again – I can just get on with learning to drive a car. That small thing. Phew.

Today, though, besides passing my theory, I’m having the kind of day where it’s possible I might be invisible. Know what I mean? People have been merrily pushing past me and the traffic lights don’t change for me anymore and my emails go unanswered. You’re familiar with this kind of day, readers, where at times you question whether you died in the night and it’s all been make believe since then? 

That kind of day.

 I want to be the swan that the police have been chasing around in Hampshire today (if you missed this gem, the news story is here). It looks like this fellow’s been having a lark. I don’t necessarily want people to be running after me.. that’s all a bit sinister, I suppose. But to bring a smile to people’s faces and be the star of their show for a day. That would be nice.

One good thing about friends and family is that, whether they love you or hate you at the time, often you’re found starring in their show. I had a fabulous friend up visiting from London this weekend and was most occupied for a couple of days, forcing her to be among squirrels at the Botanic Gardens (“rats with bushy tails”).. showing her Sheffield’s impressive waterway, the River Sheaf (entirely by accident).. taking her out for brunch at the best place in town (Tamper, of course). Was most nice.

If ever you're in Sheffield: Tamper

And we talked and talked and talked and, aside from the many tourist attractions of Sheffield, I guess I was a star in her show this weekend. She, certainly, was the star in my show. With long flowing hair which I long for, and three months of girl gossip, and tales of life living down in the Big Smoke. Sometimes, I think you just need your friends around to make you feel like the Hampshire swan you are. I hope, readers, that you’re thinking of someone now who is that friend you have that DEFINITELY brings out the swan in you. Maybe make plans to meet up with them and star in each other’s shows, sometime soon?

Anyway, readers, I feel I’ve gone off on a tangent. I’m writing to you today to share a wonderful recipe, concocted by myself and Floss this weekend, for Vegan Bean Burgers! This recipe came about totally on the fly – devised by two vegetarians with polar opposite tastes in food. Neither of us really knew what we wanted for tea on Saturday, and we definitely didn’t want anything that the other person wanted… and somehow bean burgers won out.

And we have a winner!

 Want to invite one of your fabulous friends around for tea and cook up a storm?? Here’s how to turn the most basic of ingredients (potentially, even, your moulding veg) into a healthy tea for two – enabling you to clear your cupboards and feed an amigo – in just 15 simple steps…

1.     Heat the oven to 200C.
2.     Peel and roughly chop your root vegetables.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: We used some slightly mouldy carrots that I’ve had in the fridge since December and they worked a treat! Any veg you need to use up – now is the time to do something with them and save them from going to waste. Aside from carrots, you could use butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes or even parsnip in your burgers.
3.     Tip your veg into a pan and boil the kettle, then fill the pan with water and heat for around 20 minutes.
4.     While your veg are boiling, you can be using a grater to grate your slices of bread into breadcrumbs.
5.     You can also use this time to drain and rinse your tin of chickpeas or beans. Tip your chickpeas or beans into a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: This recipe presented the perfect opportunity for me to use up a tin of mixed beans, which have been sat in the cupboard for the best part of a year. If you’d prefer to use a specific bean, though, bigger beans such as borlotti, kidney or butterbeans work well.
6.     Either press or finely chop your 2 cloves of garlic, and add to the bowl along with some herbs (such as coriander or Herbes de Provence) and seasoning (such as ground cumin, paprika or chilli flakes).
7.     Use a fork to mash the contents of your bowl into a flavoursome bean paste.
8.     Then, once a stab test show your root veg have softened, take them off the heat and drain away the water.
9.     Leave to cool for a few minutes and then use either a fork or a proper masher, depending on the force required, to mash your vegetables into a pulp.
10.  Add your mashed bean mix to the mashed veg mix, and combine everything together into one big burger mix.
11.  Then, use your spoon to roughly divide the mix into quarters, and roll up your sleeves! Use your hands to roll the mix into four burger-sized balls.

Like so

ChefBeHere Top Tip: After this step, as were feeling quite hungry, me and Floss went off-recipe and decided to fry our burgers in a pan to speed up the cooking process. This was an awful decision. They stuck, they burned, they came apart.. and so then we decided to grill them! What you need to do, readers, is just put them in the oven like the recipe says to do. That is all.
12.  For those of you not careering off-recipe, prepare a baking tray by brushing the tray lightly with cooking oil, to cover.
13.  Roll your burger balls in the breadcrumbs, until they’re evenly coated with crumbs, and then place them on your baking tray and flatten the balls slightly.
14.  Brush the top of each burger with a light coating of cooking oil, and then safely transport your bean burgers into the oven to cook for cook for 20-30 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Assess the chaos around you – time to get those dishes done!! Remember to turn your burgers over midway through cooking, so that both sides will brown in the oven. Pour yourself a glass of wine.. you’re almost there now.
15.  Once your burgers are cooked through, smelling great and browned on both sides, then you can carefully remove them from the oven and turn the oven off. Serve them up and tuck in!
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Myself and Floss served our burgers with sweet potato fries and salad – a very tasty combination. Alternatively, you could serve them in burger buns perhaps, with fried onions and houmous to top? Or you could serve your burgers with a rice salad and corn on the cob, and pretend they’ve come straight from the barbecue in summertime?? Anything goes!

Adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe found here.

Floss with food

And that, readers, is all there is to it. A fun, messy, low-skill recipe. One that you can sort on the night while chatting away (glugging wine) – without the need for any preparation in advance and possibly without you even needing to buy ingredients in. What do you think?? If you’ve tried out the recipe – how did it turn out? Did you like these beautiful bean burgers, readers? If you haven’t had a go yet, does this recipe tempt you to try out homemade vegan burgers? Let me know! All your thoughts – fire away with them, readers!

I, for one, thought that these burgers tasted lush. Things were a little stressful in the kitchen, when we (the wine) decided to veer off-recipe and change things up a bit – I wouldn’t advocate doing that at all – but it all came good in the end! We sat down to a really tasty, colourful and healthy tea. And a real plateful! There was no skimping on portions.

There certainly was not

I had a wonderful weekend with Floss, readers, and whether or not you feature vegan bean burgers I do hope that you get to have an equally fab time with one of your friends soon. Don’t hesitate! Anytime now you could be the swan that doesn’t make it to the other side of the motorway.. just saying. Live for the day, every damn day.

Hang in there with the rest of your working week, readers, and high five to anyone that gives this recipe a whirl – wishing you major good luck in the kitchen!!

Mash safely,


Go swan! Run free!

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