CHUNKY HOMEMADE BEEF BURGERS AND TOMATO RELISH…no photo this time..they were eaten before I had time to get my Lumix out..imagine some soft white buns layered with salad leaves, slices of tomato, chopped gherkins,  a very meaty burger, slightly falling apart and a dollop of delicious tomato relish. They did have a jaunty little union jack flag on top and I served them with homemade chunky chips.

Yippee the sun is shining right now in beautiful Cumbria although it may not be by the time you read this…

Kids love to cook so here is something they could make, with help, for a Father’s day barbeque. There is lots of squidgy fun to be had making these. These burgers are nothing like bought frozen burgers, they are juicy, meaty, not too fatty and full of flavour. Most children are very enthusiastic cooks and happy to get stuck in so getting them into the kitchen is easy to do-I wonder why lots of us lose that enthusiasm later on in life?

In the kitchen they will learn important lessons about where their food comes from and what happens to food when we cook it. They will learn about measuring, tasting, mixing and will pick up some basic skills that will stay with them forever – perhaps you will have a future Master chef in the making!  Children are also more inclined to taste something new if they have cooked it themselves and that has to be good. And they will be very proud to say ‘I made it myself’

I have made a chunky homemade  tomato relish to go with them- it will liven up any barbeque food or is great with other dishes such as scotch eggs or a hot quiche. Try it and see.

Plan ahead as they need to be ‘rested’ in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking if not they will fall apart during the cooking.

Serves 4

*Please note that some adult supervision is required*


1 large onion, peeled and chopped

A little vegetable oil

500g good quality beef mince

A handful of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1 med egg

2 lge tbsp. fresh breadcrumbs

Dash of Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce

1 tbsp. tomato ketchup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A little flour

4 burger buns


To serve: salad, ketchup, slices of raw tomato and onion etc.


1.  Ask an adult to help you to cut up an onion quite finely and to cook them in a little oil until golden.  Take them off the heat and allow to cool.

2.  Tip the beef into a large bowl, add the cooled onions.

3.  Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add this to the meat and onions. Add the parsley (if using), Lea & Perrins, the ketchup, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4.  Now comes the fun bit! Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.  Then divide the mixture into 4 and with clean, wet hands squeeze the meat together into a ball. Now flatten into patties about 3cm thick. You need to squeeze quite hard so that the mixture stays together. Make sure that they are all the same thickness so that they cook evenly.

5.  Dust a plate with a little flour and transfer the burgers on to this, dust a little flour on top. Cover with cling film and then leave in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 ½ hrs.

6.  Ask an adult to help you cook them. Either heat up a barbeque, and when the coals are white brush one side of the burger with a little oil and cook this side down for about 5 minutes until the meat is lightly charred. Oil the other side and use some tongs to turn them over. Or you can do them in a frying pan-heat up a little oil until very hot oil slide the burgers in (2 at a time) and let them cook well for about 5 minutes, then turn them over. With either method don’t keep moving them around or they will break up and don’t press down on the burgers as you cook them or you will lose all the juices. Cook for another 8 minutes or so, less if you like them a little pink in the middle.

7.  Leave to rest on a warm plate so that the juices can settle. Slice open a bun and toast it, cut side down, for a minute and then put the burger inside and top with your choice of accompaniments.



Make it as hot and spicy as you a like


1 tablespoon oil

2 large onions chopped

1 tbsp. of brown sugar

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

50g sultanas

1 tbsp. of tomato puree

Chilli powder to taste or dash of Tabasco (a knife tip of chilli powder or a few drops of Tabasco is usually enough

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1.       Heat the oil in a pan and then fry the onions until beginning to caramelise.

2.       Add all the other ingredients and stir.

3.       Simmer, covered for about 40 minutes.  Check seasoning

4.       If it is too thin just simmer for a bit longer.




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