Gorgeous Garden Burgers

veggie garden burger, dairy-free, egg-free

Late May Bank Holiday Monday is the perfect day for barbecues and nothing fits a barbecue better than a delicious veggie burger. These are what we’re going to enjoy today, wearing thick jumpers as it really isn’t that warm or sunny!

This is a recipe that has been evolving for many a year. I’ve been trying different combinations and methods to recreate a delicious garden burger I had in a motel on Highway 1 in California some years ago. D and I were doing a little tour of California – we hired a car from San Francisco and bumbled down Highway 1 then veered off to Yosemite before heading back to San Fransisco. It was a really great trip, but my, we stayed at some random places. Some really lovely, others rather spooky (I’m thinking of an ‘English style’ B and B in Monterey which was anything but English style, more Psycho style with no locks on the doors and a feeling of being watched from the lace doilies all the time!) One place which stuck in our minds was a motel near Hearst Castle where the room was just cavernous and the sea views were enormous – far more what we expected from America, and nothing like we were used to in Europe.

It was nothing fancy and we ordered room service to fit the vibe of the place – and lo behold the room service burgers were delicious and huge. I think we left half of them! Anyway, the taste of that burger stayed with me and here is my hazy recreation (probably totally different!) – a polenta based burger spiked with sweet corn, peas, spring onions, parsley and sundried tomatoes. A real garden experience. The polenta gives a lovely crisp exterior and thanks to a little addition of aquafaba there’s no fall apart factor – hooray, at last a non crumbly veggie burger and ideal for cooking on a barbecue!

polenta, sweetcorn and pea burgers

I served these with frazzled onions and in homemade salt and pepper bagel buns with a green slaw – a combination that is thoroughly recommend, especially the frazzled onions they’re well worth the frying faff!

polenta and sweetcorn burgers

Garden Burgers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan garden burgers, no nuts

serves 4

1 tin of sweetcorn

1/2 cup quick cook polenta

2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp aquafaba (the water found in a tin of beans or chickpeas)

1/2 tsp cornflour

4 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

small handful parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 spring onion, sliced

salt and pepper

large pinch cayenne pepper

  1. In a food processor, pulse half the sweetcorn to make a puree, add the polenta, flour, baking powder, aquafaba and cornflour and pulse to thoroughly combine
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and using wet hands, form into four even sized patties. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up
  3. Fry in hot sunflower oil until golden and crisp on both sides then place in a medium oven (180 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes to cook through. Or once fried, keep in the fridge for up to three days before heating through, or freeze and defrost thoroughly before placing in the oven.
  4. Or after frying finish cooking on the barbeque.

dairy-free garden burgers, vegetarian


Brilliant barbecue sauce

20140626-190337.jpg The weather has been glorious (never a given in the UK, even in the summer!) – perfect for picnics and barbecues. I think a barbecue needs more than the grill and a few salad sides, it also needs a great sauce! Used to marinate, baste or as a condiment this sauce delivers all the punch and power required. In my mind a barbecue sauce needs to be sweet, salty, sour, tangy, spicy with tons of umami – this sauce certainly has that flavour profile! It also keeps well for a few weeks in the fridge – perfect! So fire up that barbecue and enjoy! Barbecue Sauce (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian, vegan) 20140626-190316.jpgMakes a small jar ful, multiply as necessary

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or use 1 tsp marmite if avoiding soya)
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder (leave out if mustard a problem)
  • 1 tsp vegetarian Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Dried herbs of choice, I used herbs de Provence
  • Chilli (optional)

– Sweat off the onion in the oil until soft but not coloured – Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant. –  Add all the other ingredients and cook for a few minutes. – Taste and adjust as desired. – Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge 20140626-190251.jpg

Jamaican spiced jerk Aubergine Skewers

July has started with blazing sunshine. It’s quite a relief after months of cold, wet weather. We certainly needed some rays and heat. And what better food to eat when it’s hot and sunny than spicy Caribbean food? Spice and sunshine take me away to turquoise seas and dusty streets.

I can’t claim any authenticity, this is my take on a jerk-seasoned recipe. In fact I used a ready made dry jerk spice rub and added some of my own sweet and sour flavourings as well. Aubergine skewers look gorgeous I think – lovely roasted in the oven, but even better on a barbecue.

Jerk Aubergine Skewers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


  • 2 tsp jerk spice
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs lemon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Aubergine

– Cut the aubergine into even sized chunks, place in a colander and pour over the 1 tbsp salt.

– Leave for about half an hour

– Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients

– Rinse and dry the aubergine cubes.

– Thread onto skewers

– Brush all over with the marinade and leave for at least 1 hour

– BBQ or roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes

– Serve with Jamaican style rice and peas.