Cheat the Hangman!

Hangman“Did you know that everytime you play Hangman, a stick family loses a father!” – Anon.

Over on Weekly Prompts, the site I share with my partner GC, our midweek word-prompt is Hearty Meals.

A few years back, the late, great and wonderful Sir Terry Wogan, writing in the Daily Telegraph, asked the question, whatever happened to ‘The Condemned Man Ate a Hearty Meal?

Apparently, a former senior judicial official in China was executed, having been found guilty of corruption, protecting crime syndicates, and rape. The man’s final meal before being executed was steamed eggs and a pear.

Terry asked, “What has happened to the good old judicial principle of The condemned man ate a hearty breakfast, why hadn’t he asked for a good old fry-up, bacon, eggs, sausages, the full works and cheat the hangman with a heart attack: the proper way to go out!”

Personally speaking, I’m trying to avoid the heart attack scenario, not to mention the executioner!

I used to wonder why the countries America and Canada ate so many pork burgers, especially as beef is farmed on such a large scale. Then I discovered that the word hamburger originates from Hamburg and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual meat content! We don’t use the term hamburger in the UK we simply say burger, cheeseburger or beef burger.

I’m very fond of burgers, but not if they’re swimming in fat. I make my own healthy ones using minced (ground) beef with less than 5% fat.

With the help of a cupboard full of herbs and spices, mustards and sauces, I spent some considerable time trying out burger recipes, often copying the recipes of top chefs, and sometimes ones recommended by friends. Eventually, I discovered the perfect ingredients to make a basic, simple, tasty burger.

I purchased a tub of burger seasoning from ‘Lakeland’, a wonderful cooking accessory store that has everything that you really, really want, but you probably don’t need!

Using approximately 750grams of minced beef (approx 1lb. 6oz), I use half the quantity to cook a bolognese and use the the other half to prepare burgers for the freezer.  

Preparing Burgers: After mixing the burger seasoning with sea salt and fine breadcrumbs and a little dash of trial and error, I finally perfected my best ever recipe.

Preparing burgers 1I long ago dispensed with the mixing bowl and now divide my minced beef into four rough squares, I sprinkle on my prepared seasoning, and mix/kneed lightly together with my fingertips before forming into a ball.

To Cook – brown the burgers by frying with 1cal fry light spray, cook a minute each side, and finish off in the oven for even cooking.

I prefer my burger in a brioche bun topped with melted low-fat cheese, under-cooked onion, and shredded lettuce; my son, who eats at the cafe of mum most weekends, prefers his burger without the bread bun, so I serve his with salad and homemade potato wedges, cooked in the oven with 1cal fry light spray and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. 

Bolognese Sauce:  Brown the mince slightly in a large pan, add two cans of chopped tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, one chopped onion, two large carrots diced small, A tablespoon of Italian herbs, Two teaspoons each of basil, oregano and marjoram, half a teaspoon of salt and a dessertspoonful of sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour, after half an hour add chopped mushrooms.

This is my own recipe and is very heavy on herbs and perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but for us, it’s exactly the way we like it. Apart from the sugar I don’t measure the ingredients so have guessed at the above herb quantities.

When the bolognese is cooked and cooled, I divide into freezer boxes of two portions in each and pop into the freezer to be used as and when required.

Bolognese 1The above picture of my chunky bolognese is a screen shot from a cookery demonstration video that I once made for GC.  We had nothing better to do with our time! 😅

These may not be the hearty meals Gerry had in mind when he chose this prompt, but they are convenient favourites in my house.

(C) 2019 Word Prompt Hearty Meal from Weekly Prompts

Editorial Comment:  Sir Michael Terence Wogan KBE DL – (3 August 1938 – 31 January 2016), better known as Terry Wogan, was an Irish radio and television broadcaster who worked for the BBC in the UK for most of his career. … He was the BBC’s commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest from 1971 to 2008 and its host in 1998.

16 thoughts on “Cheat the Hangman!

  1. Thank you Sue, I’ve been searching for a good beef burger recipe, and yours look tasty and simple…. I’ve copied printed it off, and and placed it in my recipe folder….. muchly appreciated dear Sue… xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope the burger recipe works out for you Ivor, some recipes use egg to bind together the mince, but that’s not necessary when using breadcrumbs, they do the job just as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe cooked too long? I used to add bovril to mine kept the burger quite moist. After browning I give mine five minutes in the hot oven then I add the cheese and take out when the cheese has melted Though the time in the oven depends on how thick you make them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Murphy's Law

    Great recipes Sue!! I too like to freeze portions for easy use later on.

    I’m not sure that I want to cheat the hangman by eating myself into a heart attack! With my luck, today’s medicines would keep me alive only to be hung anyway!! 😂😂
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cook healthily but I never think twice about eating a cream cake or an ice cream or anything else that takes my fancy! My freezer is ready for stocking up, after declaring he couldn’t wait for pay day, I think my son went back to his place with a weeks supply of meals!


  3. gc

    Well partner this was an eye opening as well as a mouth watering article if I ever read one. Well done. I did not know that the term “Hamburger” was related more to the name of the city than the content of the meat that went inside the bun.

    I try using “Extra lean” ground beef for my burgers and have noticed that even this term has flexibility. One supermarket’s extra lean ground beef is another’s regular. You can readily see the difference in fat content hen you grill the meat and then watch the fat content trickle down the grill’s spine.

    A number of condiments are used on my burger: mayonnaise, mustard, green relish and of course ketchup. If I feel in the mood a thick slice of sweet Spanish onion graces the top of the “burger”.

    In Canada the burger outlets state the fact that they ONLY use 100 per cent ground beef for their patties. Who knew pork could also be used to enhance the flavor?

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your burgers sound very tasty. Some supermarkets advertise 100% steak mince as opposed to other parts of the animal. The best stuff is from our village butcher where lean is standard, but more often than not I just pick up from the supermarket because of the convenience. Perhaps I should make more of an effort and support the small local businesses.
      Thank you for the comments love, I always appreciate them. xx 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are very basic, but tasty. I tried mustards and other recipes but in the end found that all I needed was balanced seasoning and fortunately I found this tub. Obviously, it’s trial and error to suit personal taste and you can always always add dressings to suit when the burger is cooked.

      I did away with the mixing bowl because I found that the seasoning was heavy in some parts but in others untouched, dividing into squares evens out the seasoning more efficiently. Thank you very much for your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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