Birthday night


Well my birthday party was a great hit, wow! Forgot how much fun girls nights and red lipstick are!! Between the 15 of us we managed to polish off all the rosewater cocktails, plenty of vino and enough mini hamburgers to feed an army – I swear I never want to see or smell a mini hamburger pattie ever again. The food (if I may say so myself) was delicious, and do think it imperative that I share my mini hamburger patties recipe with you. I used an Italian meatball recipe, but just squashed the meatballs flatter to resemble patties, see below for the recipe:

MINI HAMBURGERS
Ingredients:
 – 180ml oilve oil
 – 1 onion (finely chopped)
 – 100g pine nuts (roughly chopped)
 – 3 garlic cloves, crushed
 – 40g parsley, roughly chopped
 – 5g basil or rosemary, roughly chopped
 – 50g fresh breadcrumbs
 – 250g ricotta
 – 25g grated parmesan
 – grated zest of 1 large lemon
 – 1 egg
 – 500g minced beef or pork (I used a combination)

Method:
 – Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and pine nuts until the onion is soft and the pine nuts are light golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes, then set aside to cool.
 – Put the herbs, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, ricotta, parmesan and egg in a bowl, mix together and add the mince. Add the cooled onion and pine nuts, season with salt and pepper and mix briefly until all ingredients are combined. Leave the mixture to rest in the fridge overnight or for at least 30min.


 – To make the patties, roll the entire mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and flatten slightly.

 – Heat the remaining olive oil, and fry the meatballs until golden brown on both sides (I grilled all of mine, as I tripled the recipe and didn’t have time to fry all of them, grilling worked fine). Repeat until all the mixture is cooked.

Toppings:
 – I bought cocktail mini hamburger rolls from Woolies, they were great you just had to heat them up before.
 – I then made a variety of toppings, caramalized onions, sliced camembert, tomato and basil and then guacamole.
Was all absolutely delish!  This recipe can all be done with spaghetti and a napoletana sauce, for some great Italian meatballs!

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Birthday dilemma’s


What to make, what to make?? I am hosting 15 of my girl friends over for my bday dinner in approximately 36 hours and still have no idea what I am cooking….aahhh dilemma’s!! I know two things for sure, firstly that I do not want the evening to involve any formalities, ie: I want it to be a chilled evening and let the wine flow, I do not want to have to seat all 15 of us, this means that my dinner will need to be some sort of finger food that we can pick at and eat whist milling around. Secondly, I do not want to be slaving over the stove at my own birthday party, so this involves making something that can be prepared beforehand.

I have a few ideas that have come to mind, but can’t seem to really get excited about any of them? I thought of doing loads of different snacks, however this could make the evening feel more like a cocktail evening (hmm although cocktails are a great idea that I have just thought of) and the other thing is that no matter how many snacks I seem to eat I just never seem to feel satisfied. So have ruled out the snack option.
Thought of  doing an Italian style al-fresco meal, ie, caprese salads, meats and cheeses with bruschetta, olives etc, I love this option although it does seems more of a lunch time meal?
Then I came up with the idea of mini hamburgers? great for dinner time, substantial, tasty and can be made in advance…

I have a great Italian meatball, basil and pine-nut recipe, so was thinking I make these but turn them into patties instead of round meatballs… pre-cook these in the afternoon so they can be warmed up beforehand and then serve with mini buns and an assortment of burger toppings; camembert, grilled bacon, caramelised onions, brie, fig, gherkins…. hmmm this is sounding good, low admin and it allows for everyone to mingle around and help themselves as they please. Think I have solved my dilemma, just need to find the damn meatball recipe that has got lost somewhere down the line… What do you think? Good idea?