By Bernie Bell

To quote the lady in ‘Goodness Gracious Me!’ – “I can make it at home – for free.”

I’m pining for vegeburger & chips at Helgi’s.  There are various contenders for my favourite eating-out vegeburger – Helgi’s, Julia’s ( once, as a special – I hope it returns!), Sound Archive ( music too loud – does my head in – shame), Robertsons in the ‘Hope – (same applies re. music).  And, Leigh’s takeaway van – vegeburgers and vegan burgers – I’m not vegan, but Leigh’s burgers don’t know that, and taste just as good for me, as for a true believer.

The one I find myself pining for, is Helgi’s. So, Mike decided to have a go at making a beany burger at home. We had some boiled potatoes left over from tea the night before, which, roasted in the oven with some peppers, tomatoes, and the burgers, kind-of replaced the chips.  I know, he could have made chips, but – waste not want not.

It has to be said, he made some crackin’ bean burgers – eaten in a bun, with lettuce from the veg patch ( you can grow lettuce in a window box, if needed), and mayonnaise – A Happy Bear!

Mike's Vege Burgers Bell

I’ll be pleased when I can feel happy about going out for a meal – even when restaurants open in Orkney, I’ll be cautious. I’ve waited this long, and – I want to stay breathing – I might not breath too well, but, I do breathe, and I want to continue to do so!

Mike has made a couple of ‘Indian Garden’ quality curries, too.

I sincerely hope that the Indian Garden will re-open, when allowed to do so – that’s another one on my list.

He just knows what to do with food – how to work with the ingredients.  I like eating, but I don’t like cooking – I do cook, or, did cook, when necessary, but I’m very much enjoying Mike doing the cooking now he’s at home  – he actually enjoys it – and it shows!

And how did he make the burgers?  Here’s how….

Bistro Bell Beany Burgers

3 oz mushrooms – sliced

Tin of borlotti beans – drained & rinsed

Large clove of garlic – finely chopped

Sage leaves – chopped

Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika

Half a teaspoon of ground cumin

Half a teaspoon of dried oregano

A medium sized carrot – grated

Handful of spinach – rinsed and roughly torn up

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 egg

1 slice of brown bread – grated into crumbs

A little flour

Oil for frying

Fry mushrooms in oil, add sage and then garlic, herbs and spices.  Stir a little, to allow spices to infuse in oil.  Add grated carrot and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add spinach and borlotti beans, crushing the beans with the back of the (wooden) stirring spoon.  Break egg into a large mixing bowl, add bean mixture, and mix in, further crushing beans.  Add, and mix in, bread crumbs.

Flour a chopping board, shape mixture into 2 or 3 rough patties, flour on both sides, and place on a greased baking tray.  Bake for 25 minutes at 200 C, turning once. Serve in buns with ….whatever you like !

These were, genuinely, going-out-for-a-meal standard.  And the difference is – at home, I could watch ‘The Young Ones’ while waiting for it to be cooked.  Not the comedy series, with Rik Mayall & Co – the original film, with Cliff Richards.  More of which, later.

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