What a week! The poor kids have had rain nearly every day of their school holiday. They have done well to get outside at every given opportunity but it’s not quite the same as if the sun were shining and the grass dry enough to play on without turning into a swamp. We did have one dry afternoon so I quickly made up a batch of these turkey burgers and some delicious Monkeygland sauce, packed them up in a bag and headed off to the village green with a selection of bats and balls and let the kids burn off some energy before tucking into these delicious burgers.
The burgers are low fat and make a nice change from the usual beef burgers. I nearly always use turkey mince if I’m making homemade burgers as it is both cheaper and healthier than beef. The key is to not overcook them, keeping them as moist as possible. Once you’ve added all the extras and some delicious sauce, you’ll hardly notice that they are not beef burgers. Now the sauce may sound a bit odd and I have no idea where the name came from as it has nothing to do with monkeys or glands. It is a typical South African sauce and is found on nearly every menu which has burgers on it. It is sweet and rich but with a nice kick from the chilli. Every South African is familiar with Mrs Ball’s Chutney so we would typically use this brand of chutney. It is available in most of the UK supermarkets and is definitely worth a try. The recipe makes more sauce than is needed for 6 burgers but it stores well in a sterilised jar and if kept in the refrigerator.
I have to admit that this is not really much of a recipe but more of a reminder about how delicious and easy fresh fruit sauces are. They take minutes to prepare and can be used in so many different ways. Why buy a sauce which is packed full of preservatives when you can make something which tastes far nicer and is better for you and it only takes minutes to prepare? It is a great way to use up less than perfect fruit and it keeps for ages in the freezer. I freeze mine in ice cube trays and then bag them so that I always have small portions for whatever I decide to make.
The strawberry sauce which I made for this post was for strawberry ripple ice cream which was polished off before I could photograph it. It is also great mixed into a milkshake, served over fresh fruit and yoghurt in the morning, swirled through a meringue mixture or as a dessert sauce. Raspberries work equally well and make a perfect sauce to go with my lemon fridge tart which by the way is such an easy dessert and freezes beautifully (ok, it’s actually my Mum’s recipe – thanks Mum).
Today’s post is going to be a quick one because I think today is the last day to get entries into Bangers and Mash’s new challenge The Spice Trail. Vanesther chose chillies for this month’s theme and so I give you a recipe with a whole 20 hot chillies in it. This is not for the faint hearted but if you are a chilli fan then you have to try this. Peri Peri sauce or (Piri Piri sauce) was brought to South Africa by the Portuguese and has since been popularised in the UK by Nando’s. It makes a great marinade for roast chicken and another very popular dish in South Africa is Peri Peri chicken livers. I have used the very hot Scotch Bonnet chillies because they are readily available here in the UK but if you can get African Bird’s Eye chillies then even better.
My son is currently showing an interest in learning about different countries around the world and so we decided to choose one country and do a project on it. His choice was Argentina and while he showed more interest in the national sport and animals, I found myself more interested in the traditional foods (surprise, surprise). What I never knew was that one of my favourite sweet sauces, Dulce de Leche originates from Latin America. I’ve also never made my own Dulce de Leche, opting rather for the easy, off the shelf version or I make caramel sauce with cream, butter and sugar. As convenient as the tinned version is I have always thought that there is a slightly unpleasant after taste so I was keen to try and make my own. I was surprised to see that the original version of Dulce de Leche uses only milk, sugar and bicarbonate of soda and so I thought I would give it a try…
… and what started out as a simple ‘I wouldn’t mind trying that out’ became a bit of an obsession. Three days later and I have 5 jars of gorgeous, creamy, sweet, finger lickin’ good Dulce de Leche to use in all sorts of goodies in the run up to Christmas.
My first attempt was to empty a tin of condensed milk into a glass dish and bake in a water bath for about 2 hours. As the sugar in the condensed milk caramelises it turns into a beautiful golden brown and thickens up beautifully. This was the most fuss free of all methods but I did find the end result was very, very sweet and I wasn’t convinced that using a tin of condensed milk was particularly authentic. It also gave a similar aftertaste to that of the ready made tinned version.
My second attempt was to try microwaving the condensed milk in a glass bowl. This was my least favourite method. It was quick and gave the best colour but I found it hard to judge when the sauce was ready and ended up with something which resembled fudge more than a sauce.
My third attempt was to try the original method which is to boil milk, sugar and bicarb until the water evaporates from the milk and the sugar caramelises. This method was a bit more labour intensive but the flavour is far superior to the condensed milk version. The sweetness is much more subtle and just gives a nicer, smoother sauce.
I did not try the method of boiling a tin of condensed milk as I thought the end result would be too similar to the baked version.
So next time you have a spare morning at home give this a try and I guarantee you will never buy the tinned version again …
A deliciously sweet and creamy dessert sauce - perfect for filling cakes and cookies, over ice cream or straight out the jar.
Finger lickin' good!
2 litres semi skimmed milk
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Place all ingredients in a large, heavy pan. On a medium heat stir until the sugar has melted.
Reduce the heat to as low as possible and leave to simmer for another 2 - 2½ hours.
Note - During the first hour I did not have to do anything - no checking and no stirring. The next ½ an hour I just kept a close eye on the sauce and stirred every now and again. For the last ½ an hour I stirred almost constantly to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan. For the consistency that you see in the photos I stopped when the sauce was still quite runny in the pan (100° C on a sugar thermometer). It firms up once it has cooled down.
Will keep in the fridge for over a month.
It may need to be warmed up slightly to soften before use.
These blueberry and thyme curd tarts were inspired by nothing more than my love for all things purple. I had just seen Jen’s gorgeous blackcurrant & vanilla éclairs and decided I wanted to make something as colorful and vibrant and came up with these little tarts. There wasn’t much of the thyme flavour noticeable so I would probably try adding a bit more next time. The blueberry curd is finger licking good and would look and taste lovely on any sponge cake or just served with clotted cream and scones.