Sweet and Sour Burger Buddies w/ Super Slaw

DSC_0276So you don’t normally need to encourage kids much to eat burgers.
But if you make them look like little alien friends then it’s just that little bit more enjoyable. Right kids?!
We also make it more enjoyable and healthy here by making what we can ourselves so that we know what we’re eating and also for that satisfaction of eating food you’ve created together.

We’ve made a sweet and sour ketchup using fresh ingredients, mince from the butcher to roll our own burger patties, our very own Japanese flavoured coleslaw and a couple of salad extras. We did buy the bread rolls (boring wholemeal sorry) from the bakery though.
Who has time to make bread huh? The baker, that’s who.

Maybe another time.

Sweet and Sour Ketchup – makes about 600ml
DSC_0253 DSC_0255 DSC_0262DSC_0256

1 wedge of really ripe pineapple
4-5 ripe cooking tomatoes – core them, score them ,roast them, peel them, chop them
1 red capsicum -deseeded and chopped
1 medium onion – peeled and sliced or diced
4 cloves chopped garlic
100ml malt vinegar – balsamic is good also for a darker, richer sauce
1 tablespoon sugar – I use raw wherever possible
Spices – I’ve use star anise, cumin, clove, cinnamon and mustard powder. Just a little of each

Sweat the onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the spices and capsicum and cook gently until soft and fragrant.
Add the pineapple and sugar next. Cook this until the pineapple has broken down and the sugar starts to get a little caramel. Add the vinegar and reduce until almost dry. Tomatoes next and simmer gently for 20 mins or so. Add some salt. Puree. This will keep in the fridge for about 10 days.

Super Slaw



1 wedge sugar loaf cabbage – shredded
1 medium carrot – grated
1 lime
3 spring onions – washed and sliced. I used a bunch from last week that I salvaged
DSC_0260 DSC_0263 They looked gone but some cold water and a good peeling gave me another use from them.
1 tablespoon sliced pickled ginger
1/2 cup mint leaves – slice them or tear them but wait until you’re ready to mix
2 tablespoons Japanese style mayonnaise


Put it all in a bowl and mix it well. Go on, get your  (freshly washed) hands dirty.
Super slaw doesn’t wear a cape, but it is well dressed! (boom, tish.)

Beef Burger Pattie

Here’s a secret recipe that only the very best chefs know about.
It is handed down through generations and kept within our kind.
It even has a secret handshake.



Freshly ground beef mince, sea salt, cracked black pepper (optional).
About 125 grams per serve ( quarter pounder you see) depending on your rolls.

Yep. Seriously, you don’t need to put sauces or spices or breadcrumbs in. Or egg.
You can, but you don’t need them. We’re making burgers not rissoles.
What I find works best is getting good mince from your butcher (cheap supermarket mince will taste as it sounds).
I have a hand operated bench top mincer and can make my own using cuts like chuck steak, flank or short rib for great flavour.
If you’re lucky enough to own a kitchen aid it’s possible to get a mincing attachment. Mince it twice.
Season it well. You want it to taste like beef. It’s important to make the patties 1.5 times wider than the bun.
Keep them flat.They will shrink in diameter and puff up a little.
All the other beautiful sauces and salads etc that we’ll put on is where your burger will come to life.

Cooking – use a bbq or hot fry pan. ‘Get it brown then turn it down’ is your new meat cooking mantra.
Toast the rolls with a little cheese and assemble.
I’ve put pitted green olives on skewers for burger buddy eyes.
This helps hold them together until you get to the table too.
It also helps a lot if you want to cut them in half.

What Kid Did


Rolled beef patties, stirred the sauce, mixed the coleslaw. Kid helped peel the skins off the tomatoes.
Stuck the eyes in the burgers.
Today we also went for a half hour walk together before dinner.
We are trying to make this a regular part of our dinner routine.

Burger Bling

We’ve added sliced beetroot, no surprises there.
If you don’t like cabbage, finely sliced ice berg is a good substitute.
Guacamole or even just nice slices of avocado.
Some other Asian condiments such as hoi-sin w/ coriander and peanuts.
Fried egg of course.
Grated carrot or zucchini in your burger is a good way to squeeze some vegetable content in. I highly recommend being open and up front about this though. I’m no expert but I think it’s the whole point of engaging them in the process. Otherwise kids may become suspicious of anything you put in front of them.
Feta cheese, caramelised onions, pickles etc.. whatever makes you feel happy and healthy.


Breakfast the next day saw leftover rolls, slaw and ketchup become breaky burgers with the addition of a little pancetta (fancy bacon) ,avocado and fried egg.
The sauce was also a great addition to some of Grand Dad’s sausage rolls we had stored in the freezer.
More about those another time.

A Brief History of Burgers.
This is one one of those ‘ nobody actually knows but there’s a few versions going around’ scenarios.Nobody doubts that the name we have today comes from the German city of Hamburg. There are a few claims to the original by German and American folk in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, long before it became the cult classic it is today. No doubt USA  chain restaurants have helped perpetuate it’s popularity.
There are stories though of the Mongol hordes in the 1200’s riding all day with pieces of meat wrapped in skin under their saddles. The days riding would shred the meat and the heat from the horse would cook it. I doubt they had a sesame seed bun or a sweet tangy sauce to accompany. They made their way across Europe, introducing the idea of ground meat to Russia then further afield as they went. This is where steak tartar is said to have come from. The cooking process was applied and we eventually ended up with the Hamburger. People have been sticking meat between bread for a long time so it probably belongs to the ages rather than a single bright spark.

Vive le burger evolution.

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