Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

How to teach your child to make a delicious burger

Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing shares a few fun recipes as part of a drive to get kids cooking, as Keeley Bolger reports

Tasty treats: mini beef
and hummus burgers by
Marcus Wareing
Tasty treats: mini beef and hummus burgers by Marcus Wareing

Breakfast in bed might sound like a distant dream for many parents, but for celebrity chef Marcus Wareing it's a regular treat.

 “My eldest son Jake got up on Saturday morning recently, came to us and said, ‘Would you like a bacon and egg sandwich?”' Wareing explains.

“Breakfast in bed — what more could you want in life?”

His 11-year-old lad's “mean bacon sandwich” is just one of the dishes Wareing's taught him over the past year.

Jake's not the only junior Wareing to show an interest in creating dishes. His brother Archie (8) and five-year-old sister Jessie have also served up scones and tea for Wareing and his wife Jane.

While chuffed with his children's enthusiasm for cooking, Wareing's also well aware that not all families are as passionate about food.

But the chef, whose sophisticated dishes over the years have earned Michelin stars, is a firm believer in the benefits of cooking with the kids.

Not only does it encourage them to be interested in what they're eating, it's a wonderful passion the whole family can share, and makes mealtimes more rewarding.

To inspire families to get their kids into the kitchen, recipe website www.greatbritishchefs.com is launching a new app in association with Tesco Real Food, and it's packed full of easy-to-follow recipes.

Wareing is one of a number of top chefs who has contributed after hearing about the website's Cooking With Kids initiative.

He's keen to pass on his skills — but remains realistic about the pressures parents face at mealtimes.

“It's not easy when you're sitting and eating and the kids don't want to try things. But it only takes one child to start leading and the others will follow,” he says.

This all sounds delightful — but what happens after the food's been scoffed and the mounds of used pots and pans are calling?

“The best place to start a kid in a kitchen? Washing pots,” says Wareing, laughing.

“Get them washing pots, putting things away, getting things out for you.”

Mini beef and hummus burgers (serves 6)

500g lean minced beef

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 egg, lightly beaten

50g brown bread crumbs, fresh

bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

bunch tarragon, chopped

1tbsp tomato puree

2tbsp soy sauce

2tbsp tomato ketchup

tsp salt, tsp black pepper

1tbsp vegetable oil

Caramelised onions:

25g unsalted butter

3 medium onions, peeled and sliced

bunch thyme, leaves picked

tsp salt

To serve:

3 slices Emmental cheese, sliced in half

1 ciabatta loaf

6tsp hummus

6 handfuls rocket, small

2tbsp olive oil

Ask your little helper to mix together all the burger ingredients in a bowl until combined. Then shape into six equal patties and put in the fridge.

To caramelise the onions, melt the butter into a frying pan. Add the sliced onions, thyme and salt, and cook until golden, around 20-25 minutes. In another pan, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil, then brown the burgers on both sides. Lower the heat and cook for a further 6-7 minutes.

When cooked through, remove from the heat and place a slice of cheese onto each burger to melt lightly. Slice the ciabatta loaf, brush each slice with oil and lightly toast. Spread hummus onto one slice, lay a beef patty onto the other and spoon over the rocket and onions.

Bacon roly polies (serves 10)

Bacon filling:

8 bacon rashers

1 medium onion, chopped

100g soft cheese

100g cheddar, grated

bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Pastry:

250g plain flour

3tsp baking powder

75g unsalted, cold butter, diced

225ml milk

tsp salt

20g butter, melted

Heat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Ask your little helper to crumb the butter into the dry mixture, then add the milk until combined. Place the dough onto a floured surface, then your little helper can roll it out into a rectangle, approx 1cm thick.

Brush the dough with some of the melted butter. Then top with the bacon, covering all of the pastry aside from a 2cm edge on one of the long sides of the rectangle. Mix together the parsley, onion, cheeses and garlic, then spread this on top of the bacon. Brush the 2cm gap at the edge of the dough with water. Then for the fun part: starting with the side without the 2cm gap, start rolling the dough, until one big roll is formed. Seal by pressing the water-brushed gap onto the body of the roll.

Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Then, remove and slice into 1.5cm-thick slices. Place spiral side up onto the baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Pea and pancetta risotto (serves 8)

260g risotto rice

2 litres of chicken stock

1 onion, finely diced

100g pancetta

250g button mushrooms

300g mascarpone

100g parmesan, grated

85g butter

2 garlic cloves, crushed

150ml white wine

1 handful frozen peas

1 handful chopped parsley

30ml olive oil

1 pinch salt

1 pinch black pepper

Bring the chicken stock to boil in a large pan. In another pan, sweat the onions in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Once the onion has softened, add rice and leave to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring on a reduced heat.

Add a splash of wine and continue stirring. Gradually start adding the stock using a ladle. Wait until each spoonful of stock is absorbed before adding the next. After 10 minutes, in another separate pan, fry the pancetta and mushrooms using the remaining oil. Once lightly coloured, stir into the rice mix.

Continue adding the stock, stirring occasionally until completely absorbed into the rice mix.

Add in the mascarpone and parmesan, followed by the butter and peas. Stir together then cook until the peas are cooked through. If you find the risotto too thick, add a little more stock or water. To serve, just sprinkle over some parsley when spooned into bowls.

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