The UK Burger Battle So have we rekindled your love of a good Burger? Fancy a night out with a good meaty bite and a bit of entertainment?  Well we have just the event for you.

The UK Burger Battle has been raging all over the summer throughout the Midlands, and now it is reaching it's  fiery conclusion.  The  contestants have come from far and wide.  Professional chefs bumped elbows with enthusiastic, gifted amateurs.  This mingling of creativity has ignited some interesting and unusual ideas.

The Burger Battle is the brainchild of the intrepid Ahmed Kage, who brought us the Ribs Nights event last year (which is rumoured to make a comeback in October).

The final battle - JudgeMeat Day! - will take place in Birmingham on 12th September.  Tickets are available here.

By chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Recipe: Pork and Sage Burgers with Gilmartin's own relish

#ChefsTable This week's fantastic instalment of the BBQ series from chef Nick includes his own family's secret recipe.

Good morning people, sorry I am late.  Busy life, y'know....

Anyway, to business.  We are creating minced pork burgers today.  But with a kicker - my own family recipe for burger relish.

So grab a pen and paper, this is your shopping list:

  • Minced pork
  • One egg (or specifically the white)
  • Breadcrumbs (half a teacup for one burger)
  • Half a white onion, finely chopped or grated
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh Sage

That's the burger.  For the relish you need the following

  • The other half of the white onion
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato Puree
  • Sticky brown sugar

Right, time to get messy.  Set up a mixing bowl, one red and one green chopping board.  We start by finely dicing the onion, and then the Sage.  Fresh sage works best - I grow my own in the back garden.

For each burger you want about a tablespoon of onion and a teaspoon of Sage.  Then a palm-full of minced pork.  Add (per burger) a teaspoon of egg white. Finally add the onion, a teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, Worcestershire sauce and half a cup of breadcrumbs. I prefer to make a batch of about three or four at a time, they mix better that way.

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

Now mix the ingredients together into a ball, and pull of enough to fill the palm of your hand.  Twist the palms of your hands in opposing directions to make the patty shape.

Place the finished burgers on a red meat board, until they are ready to be grilled.

Right, that's the burgers, let's move on to the sauce.

This recipe came about in the long hot summer of 1976.  My parents would have a barbecue every Saturday night, with all their friends in the street.  While my dad was figuring out how to open the party seven beer can (google it), my mum would make her tangy tomato relish.

Start with a hot saucepan and a teaspoon of oil.  Add to this half a diced onion.  Sweat this off until it starts to go golden brown.  Add two heaped tablespoons of sticky brown sugar.  Stir it in until it caramelises.  Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and two tablespoons of tomato puree.  Stir it all together and reduce for a minute.  If it reduces too far, add a tablespoon of water.

Grill your burger until it is golden brown on both sides.  Now toast the burger bun and add a spoon of relish to the underside of the burger.

And that is pretty much it.  Serve with chips or whatever you like.


Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Recipe: Bacon 'Jam' Burger

Our chef Nick continues the BBQ series with very special jimmy burgers!

Happy Tuesday everybody!

Ready to try a new way to sex up your burger?  Well step this very way.

We are making Bacon Jam, which is nothing at all like fruit jam, but has a similar process of manufacture.  It is very simple, but oh my, it does pep up the burger very nicely.  But first we need the burger.

Wash your hands, we are going to get messy.

For one individual burger you need a palm full of minced beef, of good quality.  Literally enough to fit in the palm of your hand.  Half an egg white and a quarter of a tea-cup of white breadcrumbs.  Add to this a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Mix it well with your hands and roll it into a ball.  Then twist your palms in opposite directions to make the burger patty shape.  Set it aside in the fridge to grill later.

But the burger itself isn't the star of the show today.  Set up a sauce pan and the following ingredients:

  • Two white onions, peeled and finely diced
  • Five tablespoons of thick brown sugar
  • 150 grams of Pancetta or finely chopped bacon
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Garlic puree

Take one sauce pan and add a little oil.  Put it on the heat. Start by gently frying off your onion, just enough so it goes golden brown.  Add all the sugar.  Stir it in until it melts.  Reduce heat to prevent burning.  Now add the bacon and stir it in well.  Once the bacon is visibly cooked, add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

Next, add four tablespoons of maple syrup.  Slowly continue to cook the jam until it reduces.  Stir it well, or it will stick. Finally add half a teaspoon of garlic puree and stir in well. Continue to stir until the contents reduce to a sticky,  jam like consistency.

Grill your burger until it is brown on both sides.  Add cheese to the top if you like.  Add tomato or onion on top if you like.  toast your burger bun lightly and place on a plate.

Add the bacon jam to the base of the bun.  Place the burger over this and the cheese over the burger.  Melt the cheese under the grill and add the tomato if you like.

And that, dear readers, is your Bacon Jam burger.  Burger King missed a trick or two, don't you think?

Catcha laters, sweet potatoes.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Recipe: Greek Lamb Burgers

For  the #ChefsTable series during August, our chef is bringing you recipes for the BBQ season - inside or out! Well, you have got to love the British weather.  Always keeping us on our toes.  There I was, with a lovely barbecue menu planned out and it keeps raining.  So, instead, we are going with a barbecue-adaptable menu, which you can use, depending on the weather, with either a grill or al fresco.

We are starting with something I came up with while flicking through old photos of my Malia days.

You need:

  • Minced Lamb
  • One egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Freshly chopped mint
  • Garlic powder
  • Gyros spices, if you have any
  • Oregano
  • Cucumber
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Beefsteak tomato
  • Halloumi cheese (optional)
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

Oh, and a bread cake. (I’m from Yorkshire, and we call them bread cakes, OK?)

Take one big mixing bowl and place it on a dry worktop.  Wash your hands very carefully, between your fingers and right up your wrists.

Per burger you need enough lamb mince to fill the palm of your hand, half an egg white, and a quarter of a teacup of fine, white breadcrumbs.

To this, add half a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of finely chopped mint, half a teaspoon of Oregano, and, if you have any, Gyros spices.  These are the same that the Greeks use in their kebabs. If you wish, crumble in some Feta cheese.

Now, kneed it well into a ball, and divide up into burger sized balls, and flatten down on a red chopping board, or a plate. That is your burger sorted.

Next up, you need the Tzatziki.  This will be going inside the bun, under the burger.

Take a cereal bowl, add a teaspoon of chopped mint, a tablespoon of grated cucumber, half a teaspoon of garlic powder.  Now for the shameless product placement - you need Total Greek Yoghurt for the best Tzatziki.  It is thick, creamy and totally delicious.  The rest are like thickened milk by comparison.  Add a good tablespoon and mix it well. Grill your burger until it is brown on both sides.  Lamb is relatively safe to eat medium rare.  After grilling on both sides, add your Halloumi cheese to the top and grill it until it starts to brown at the corners.  Now grill your bun until it, too, is golden brown.  Don't take your eyes off it, they burn very quickly.

Cut a nice thick slice of Beefsteak Tomato.  These tomatoes are the business, you can do so much more with them than standard size tomatoes.

Now, to assemble your burger, spread the Tzatziki over the base.  Place the slice of tomato over this, and then place the burger on top.

That is pretty much all these is to it.  If you like, serve it with chips or a small Greek salad.  Yummy.

That’s it for today, next week, we are doing regular burgers, but with one very special ingredient.  Stay tuned.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.


Six Sizzling Barbecue Tips

By Colleen Campbell The long awaited summer is finally here, and one of the favourite things to do is take the garden furniture and barbecue set out of storage and enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends.

BBQ Collage

Barbecues are commonly misconceived as being unhealthy and calorific; well this doesn’t have to be the case. Barbecues offer a great opportunity for healthy eating so instead of thinking high fat sausages/burgers, take a look at some of these nutritious barbecue ideas that will leave you feeling smug that you have cooked a healthy barbecue meal.

  1. Opt for lean cuts of meat that are lower in fat. Chicken is also delicious cooked on the BBQ, and it has a lower fat content than beef burgers and sausages. You could cut some chicken breast fillets into cubes and put them on to skewers with vegetables to make to make a healthy BBQ kebab.
  2. Fish is a great alternative to meat, and is also a low fat option to cook on the BBQ. A good fillet of marinated salmon (using homemade marinade) cooked for 10 minutes is delicious and provides you with a good dose of those healthy omega 3 fats! 
  3. Salads are light, healthy and seemingly low calorie, but beware of the salad dressings which can be a calorie trap. Reduced fat/calorie dressings or balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of fresh lemon will prevent your calorie intake going through the roof.
  4.  You can’t have a BBQ meal without a dessert, right?  Instead of the ice cream, gateaux’s and cheesecake, why not choose a selection of your favourite fruit, chop them up and pop them on a skewer and warm them through on the BBQ, and then serve with some low fat yoghurt. Or you could just keep things simple and have a refreshing bowl of fresh fruit salad.
  5. I’m not a party-pooper, so I’m not going to suggest that you should abstain completely from alcohol, however I do recommend that you moderate your intake and use strategies that can help reduce your overall calorie intake, such as having mixers with diet drinks (e.g. gin and slim-line tonic or a wine spritzer), opting for single measures instead of double and drinking water in between drinks.
  6. I can’t talk about BBQ’s without mentioning the importance of removing badly burnt bits from your meat, poultry or fish. If you are anything like my father, who is burn prone, just be mindful that the charred spots are thought to be carcinogenic (increase cancer risk) but don’t fret, just simply cut them off before serving and enjoying. Marinating the food first can lower levels of the dangerous chemicals produced, and part cooking them in the oven or microwave prior to adding them to the barbecue will reduce cooking time and the risk of burning.

So, who do you nominate to stand over the glowing coals in the baking hot sunshine preparing all the yummy food?

Colleen Campbell is a Registered Nutritionist at  and can be found on Facebook