Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Vegetarian Bean Burgers (Egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

My eldest girl is still young enough to want to tell me all about her day at school. A few weeks ago she came home and said,
Mum, a boy at school says there’s MEAT in Bolognese!’ She expected me to laugh along, but instead I felt a little uneasy. When my other big girl asked if she could go to ‘Old McDonalds’, I also worried a little. They really didn't know what they were talking about.

I don’t have a problem setting boundaries for my children, and I can be quite opinionated about certain subjects; don’t get me started on table manners. However, when it comes to beliefs and ideals I find it a bit of a grey area. I try to present both sides of each moral question that comes along, and then I tell them what I personally believe. Be it Education, War, Religion, Wearing Sandals With Socks, or Vegetarianism.

I believe that I don’t want to eat meat or fish. I believe that I don’t want to cook meat or fish in my house. What other people do or don’t eat doesn’t offend me, it is also their choice. My children say they are Vegetarian, but have they made that choice freely? From the moment they are born your children gaze up at you adoringly, and although they find convincing ways to mask the adoration, they’re still always gazing at you, watching, learning, copying. Of course they are going to do as I do.

I’ve always maintained that they should choose. If they are at a party or a restaurant and they want to try something, they should. This belief was sorely tested the day my little boy went to his first birthday party. He was three. During the tea he helped himself repeatedly to those little cocktail sausages that I suspect are hoovered up off the abattoir floor.

Isn’t he vegetarian?’ asked one of the other Mums. ‘Yes’ I replied, my smile a little too bright and shiny, ‘but of course he can choose’. I suspect my son is a meat and two veg kind of man.

I did correct my eldest daughter and explain about Bolognese. I did tell my other daughter exactly why we weren’t going to McDonalds and I make sure that they know which meat comes from which animal.

And when my uneasiness level rises too high, I cook them these burgers. It means they can hang out with their mates and say, ‘Yeh, I had burgers for tea last night too’. I mean, who wants to raise a freak?

Uneasy Bean Burgers (Makes 8 burgers)

The lovely Jane pointed out that I could make these spicy...I have missed a trick. Still, if you add 1 finely chopped green chilli, or lots of chilli flakes, when you fry up the veg, you'd be laughing. And your tongue will be tingling.

Half a large courgette

3 small cloves garlic

4 medium button mushrooms

a small handful of chopped coriander / other herb / big pinch dried herbs

Olive oil to fry and a little extra to drizzle

1 large tomato

1 tsp yeast extract (check it is gluten-free, here's one)

400g tin of kidney beans

1 tsp Dijon Mustard (check it is gluten-free, here's one)

1 tsp no egg egg replacer mixed with 1 tbsp water (you can buy 'no-egg' here)

2 tbsp linseeds (not ground)

1 tbsp gluten-free flour (I used Buckwheat flour, you could also use rice flour)

1 round pastry cutter, about 8cm in diameter. Or a smaller one.

(Note: if you only need to avoid eggs, you could use wheat flour in place of gluten-free flour. If you only need to avoid gluten, you could use 1 egg in place of the egg replacer, but you would need to compensate with more gluten-free flour. You are aiming for quite a stiff paste before cooking the burgers)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • Finely chop the courgette, garlic, mushrooms and herbs
  • Place all of the above into a frying pan with the olive oil and fry gently. When the veg has softened but is not brown, slice the tomato in half and squeeze the innards into the frying pan. Discard the skins
  • Add the yeast extract and Dijon mustard to the pan and stir everything together. Remove from the heat and place into a large heatproof bowl. (This could be chilled in the fridge for up to 24 hours if you are making the burgers in stages)
  • Drain the tin of kidney beans and mash them on a plate. I use the back of a fork because it mashes in an irregular fashion and leaves bigger chunks, but you could use a potato masher. Add the mashed beans to the veg which is in the large bowl
  • Mix up the tsp of 'no-egg' with 1 tbsp water. Add it to the bowl
  • Add the linseeds and flour to the bowl and mix everything together. You should have quite a stiff paste, not too sloppy or it won't hold together
  • Put the pastry cutter round thing onto the baking tray. Spoon a dessertspoonful of the mixture into the pastry cutter and smooth round with the back of the spoon to make an even burger. Carefully remove the cutter, you should have a perfectly round burger, aren't you clever?! Continue until you have used up all the mix
  • Put your perfect little burgers into the oven and cook for about 15 mins (but keep checking)
  • After this time, take them out and drizzle them with olive oil. Put them back in the oven and cook for another 5 or so minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. I don't have the courage to try and turn them lest they all fall apart and I have to resort to a strong drink. But if you walk on the wild side, then try and flip them, dare you!
The burger in the picture is happily residing in an Archimedes' Gluten Free Bread Roll
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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mutterings and meanderings said...

I hate Maccy D's but I love those cocktail sausages.

You are a good mum, alooiwng them to make up their own decisions.

Out of interest, are the piglets bi-lingual?

Stay at home dad said...

Yes, good on you Pig. I too dread that McDonald's moment when it comes...

Eden said...

Do they decide freely? of course not. They soak up parental values like a sponge however hard one tries to present the other side fairly. This is not necessarily a Bad Thing. Believing passionately about something is a great thing to pass on to your kids even if they later reject it. Passing on bigotry is another matter (which I am sure you do not do).

rilly super said...

I thought vegetarians were practically outlawed in france PITK

muddyboots said...

we do offer a veggie alternative here, depends if they include dairy as well. We do have a mother & daughter 'regulars', only the daughter is veggie & she'll be about 16 l would should think. don't do macdonalds, have never done macdonnalds ever!

dulwichmum said...

Ah lovely girl, aren't you a super consciencous mum?


I Beatrice said...

Late in the day, PITK, I visit you to say thanks for the instructions on How to Link that you sent me weeks ago...

I have only just found it again (along with those from M&M), have followed iy to the letter and - voila, I have a link list!

Belated thanks therefore.

Also for the recipes. I too am un uneasy vegetarian - I think it dates back to the day in early childhood when I sussed-out that it was my own pet chicken on my plate!

I have never since been able to separate the meat on the plate from the creature running free in the field....

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello M&M, I also used to like those cocktail sausages until I overdosed and felt sick for days. The piglets are not bi-lingual, although biggest pig loves horse-riding and goes every saturday. It is a full language immersion programme for her and her french (and riding) is coming along really well. Did you know the french for crop is 'cravache'? Nor did I until she enlightened me!

SAHD...MacDonalds, (pig tuts and shakes her snout) have you seen that fabulous Morgan Spurlock film, 'Supersize Me?' You may never go again...

Hello Eden, thank-you for dropping by. You are right about how kids absorb our values...and right again about passing on passions. I hope my kids will be able to cook! I try not to pass on bigotry...although they hear me mutter a LOT about people with clean and tidy houses.
Nice shoes by the way!

Rilly, it is sad but true. And I feel very anxious in view of Sarkoszy's recent election...he has his eye on the minorities I think, how long until I will be sent back to the land of my birth? Maybe we should send HIM back to Poland? or is it Hungary?

Muddyboots, well done you for offering veggie alternatives! As rilly (above) says, the French have yet to cotton on to alternative eating...

DM, I have my moments of conscientiousnesseeseess (sp?), but they tend to be of the fleeting variety.

I.B, welcome! No worries about the link thing, glad you sorted it out. I didn't work out the link between animals and shrink-wrapped slabs of meat until I was 21! The clue is in the name though isn't it, chicken!

lady macleod said...

It is a fine line to teach them values yet not to impose your beliefs. Tricky business, but you appear to be doing well. I banned Barbie dolls for all of my child's life, so everyone has something eh? She doesn't seem to have suffered. This is the time you will have the most influence you know, before the dreaded peer pressure becomes overwhelming so I say go for it.

Brom said...

Hmm tricky one that. I had not twigged that your recipies were Veggie.

I am a vegetarian too... between meals. ;-)

Suffolkmum said...

Grea recipe, thanks for that. So hard not to force your own values on them - but nothing wrong with beleiving in something and passing on your passion either..

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Lady M, thank-you for wise words, I'm always pleased to hear advice from women (and men) who are further along the parenting path...I try not to think about the teenage future, it scares me.

Brom, 'hello my name is Pig and I'm a vegetarian'...just not the red-eyed vitriolic kind.

Suffolk Mum, the burgers are yummy, and I think I'll try them spicy next time, washed down with a beer!

Dianne said...

These look good and as I am now cutting right back on meat, I'm going to try them, without the chilli!


Pig in the Kitchen said...

Dianne, hello! I hope you like them, feel free to drop by afterwards with some feedback!

Spice Rack said...

Hello, I followed your blog and I noticed that it's gluten free, I know there are diseases that should avoid gluten products. You really made an effort for those people who can't intake gluten. You can still made the food delicious by adding spices and herbs from your healthy spice rack. It is really a good idea.