Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Burgers, Chips and Pizza

We are now at the end of what has been a perfect summer holiday and we are all a little glum that summer can’t last forever. Ed is back to school tomorrow and Ade back to running training courses next week, leaving me plenty of time on my hands to flit from one outstanding task to another and probably achieve very little. To make the end of the holiday feel special I have given Ed control over what we will be eating this week, with the exception of Friday as we always have moules frites on Friday. Top of his list were burgers, sausages, chips and pizza – no surprise that courgette (zucchini) didn’t appear. Food should be a comforting thing that makes your mind and belly feel happy so I have no problem in indulging his wishes. However I wasn’t ready to hit the frozen ready meal section of the local supermarket, oh no, it’s all homemade here, if possible.

french village diaries burgers chips and pizza france food
100% minced beef burgers
Last night was meat feast BBQ night. The burgers were from the meat counter at the local supermarket where we watched the steaks of beef enter the mincer machine and appear as thick, pressed burgers the other end. The sausages were from a local pig-keeping friend and made on their premises last weekend. To accompany the meat we had a garden grown tomato salad, homemade oven chips, my special sweet courgette relish (see here) and griddled courgettes (he may get to choose the menu, but he can’t escape the courgettes).

Tonight is pizza night; the tomatoes have been roasted with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and put through the press to leave a delicious tomato purée. This is a daily task for us at the moment and the freezer is filling nicely with pots of puréed tomatoes that will be used all winter for pasta dishes, casseroles, soups as well as pizzas. The toppings tonight include some leftover chicken from the weekend roast, sausages that didn’t get eaten last night, fresh made pesto (see here) and butter sautéed courgettes. Here is my pizza dough recipe. This makes enough for three thin 20cm round pizzas.

french village diaries burgers chips and pizza france food
Homemade French Village pizza

½ teaspoon of dried yeast
300g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
170 ml of water

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the olive oil and warmed water. Bring together to form a dough, then turn onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball shape and place in a greased bowl or cake tin, cover with cling film and a towel and leave to rise for at least an hour. Divide into three equal balls and form the bases of the pizzas. Place on baking trays and add your favourite toppings. Bake in a very hot oven for about ten minutes, until the dough is just crispy enough and the cheese nicely melted. We always add an egg for the last two minutes of cooking, but this is optional.

French village diaries recipes tomato puree pizza toppings
Roasted tomato puree

Amazon have a similar looking (but smaller) tomato press called the Passata Machine but mine was brought from a local store by my parents.


  1. That's a nifty machine. Unfortunately I've got limited freezer space or I'd be there roasting and pressing with the best! :)

    1. It is an amazing machine and thanks to it, despite having two large freezers and a small one above the fridge in the kitchen, I too have limited freezer space at the moment and I still have loads of soup to make for winter. I normally only panic when the stocks in the freezer are running low, but there is a bit of panic taking hold now too!

  2. I am curious how your burgers turned out. I love the idea of fresh ground beef being ground in front of your eyes, but seems from the photo they are a bit on the lean side. I like a 80/20 mix for a good taste...

    1. They were delicious! Meaty, juicy and seved the French way - a little pink in the middle!

    2. When I buy mince at the butcher's I always ask them to add some fat. I'm regarded as a bit of a weirdo by the other customers but the butcher always agrees that it will be much tastier with the added fat, and it is.

    3. I'd never thought about doing that, I just let them mince whatever they choose. If I'm making pork meatballs I do make sure there is some fat included.


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