I had a rather large and hugely satisfying burger on Saturday night. I can’t even remember the last time I visited ‘McDonalds’ or any similar establishment (I just tried really hard again and nope, we are talking years, literally) as ever since I started eating Dan’s homemade creations, everything else has faded into a dim and distant memory of very mediocre overcooked, chewy meat and soggy seeded buns. An added benefit of making them at home, of course, is that you know everything that goes into the thing. Plus you can choose your favourite accompaniments and cook it to your specification.

Dan has named this one ‘The House Burger’ and it goes onto the Saturday night menu when we feel like treating ourselves with a couple of beers and being particularly greedy (which is quite often). But don’t feel too guilty, there is a fair amount of salad involved and you can omit the cheese if preferred (although to me, a burger without cheese is like fish and chips without mushy peas) – or at least reduce the amount you use. Although to be fair, if you’re going for this meal, you may as well go the whole hog and have a blow out!

To make the house burger (to serve two) you’ll need:
– 500g of lean beef mince
– 20g slice of butter (cut in two)
– One teaspoon of cumin
– One teaspoon of oregano
– One teaspoon of thyme
– One teaspoon of paprika
– One teaspoon of salt
– One teaspoon of pepper
– Approx 12 small cubes of cheddar

– Mix the meat and spices together in a large mixing bowl.

– Shape into two patties, incorporating a slice of butter into the middle of each one. This helps to keep the meat nice and moist while cooking, as well as adding flavour.

– Simply griddle to brown on both sides until cooked to your liking.
– Add the cheese on top for the last few minutes (pop them under the grill to melt for best results).

To make the pickle:
– Finely chop one shallot and one chilli
– Place in a bowl and cover with white wine vinegar. Add a good pinch of seasoning.
– Leave to pickle for half an hour at room temperature.

We served ours with the pickle, a couple of thick slices of beef tomato and some sliced gherkin on a fresh, pain Rustica roll (with an obligatory helping of ketchup of course), alongside a portion of fries. Making your own burgers is definitely the way forward. My ‘Big Mac’ days are well and truly over.