Monday, November 24, 2008

D'Isney mange les Lentilles.

Guy: Friends and fellow gastronaughts, this is for me, a heart warming story and recipe from my dear friend Georgia. Both the Lentil burgers and her story bring waves of revery flooding back. Ah....the good times remembered, like handcuffing Martin to the fridge, or dressing up in drag and frightening drunken callers. Well I remember the punk rock days, no money, some beer and lots of friends! We prepared Georgia's signature dish and were lucky to have our dapper friend and avid foodchains reader Bill Disney over to enjoy the results (hence the title). Bill's burger got the full Aussie treatment, with a fried egg and beetroot (that's pickled beets for our U.S. readers), and he declared it "Good". Please note the recipe below provides enough burgers to fuel a small Hippy Punk army (Note to self, must mobilize a small Hippy Punk army fueled on lentil burgers and subvert the dominant paradigm!) so this one will work for a large number of guests. So with out further ado, HERE'S GEORGIA!

Georgia: I'll start this off by saying that Guy and I go way back. WAY back. I first met Guy when I was 18 or 19 years old, and had just moved back to Perth from a short stint living in Melbourne. I just turned 42 in August. Guy was living with a bunch of other guys just up the road from me in East Perth. One of those guys became my boyfriend and I remember spending many hilarious days and nights in that ramshackle house.
Those were heady days. I was still a punk but was moving away from the bondage pants and spiky hair phase, settling into a more introspective phase that included some political motivation, Black Flag and hair crimpers. We were all on the dole and spent our time enjoying life for the most part, which included going to see bands (a lot), drinking beer (a lot) and staying up all night (most of the time). I had some part time work that subsidised my income a little bit, and before too long, the Lord St guys (as I will coin them as a collective) made frequent appearances at my house when they were hungry. And I fed them primarily with one of my most famous recipes, for which I'm still renown – my lentil burgers.
At this house, and subsequent houses once we moved on from that place, we'd make sure that my makeshift barbeque was set up in the back yard somewhere. This involved a steel plate approx 1 ½ cm thick placed atop two stacks of bricks, giving enough room for a good fire to be made underneath. When the BBQ wasn't appropriate (ie when it rained), a cast iron frying pan sufficed very nicely.
During the height of my lentil burger fame, I was asked by Squasha, who ran The Wizbah (great live music venue in Perth in the 1980's) if I would like to make burgers to be given away for free on Sunday nights. I had free reign in the huge commercial kitchen, drinking as much alcohol as I could consume on the house. Squasha decided giving away my burgers for free would be a great drawcard for Sunday evening gigs.
By my 23rd birthday, we were living in a great house on Cambridge St in West Leederville which had a big back yard. The BBQ was placed in the top corner, and people would just show up on Sunday afternoons and I'd have a big mix made up ready to go. Those were some of the best days I remember – just hanging out with your friends, making good, simple food, listening to great music, and it was all so free, easy and casual.
Now for the recipe. The recipe for my lentil burgers is as fluid as you can probably make it. If you have some great fresh vegies available, use them. Quantities can vary greatly too, I have always played it pretty much by ear.

About 300 grams brown lentils, soaked overnight
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 large potato, finely grated
1 large brown onion finely chopped (these three things should always form the basis of your mix)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of plain flour
large bunch of English spinach, finely chopped (can use frozen if you like)
150 grams mushrooms (field are very good and tasty but not overpowering) finely chopped
1 medium knob fresh ginger, grated
1 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed then finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon of toasted cumin seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
Some ground chilli flakes/powder to taste
Good pinch of salt
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
Any other spices you particularly like – anything that will add the flavours you like

Put the lentils on to boil and cook til tender but not falling apart.
Grate the potato and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Add all the grated/chopped veges together into one big bowl, stir in the eggs, flour and spices. Mix thoroughly.
Place about two tablespoons of the mix together into the pan/onto the hot plate and shape into a pattie, cook fairly slowly to reduce the moisture content. Flip and when browned well on both sides, serve on a lovely toasted bun or piece of good bread (sour dough would be great). Add condiments to taste. Simple. Healthy. Delicious.


phoebe said...

so, this is somewhat out of the blue, but do you two know David Gerard, formerly of Perth and now of London? Seems like you might have crossed paths in the punk scene. He's a Wikipedia friend of mine.

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