I discovered that Linda's recommended amount of salt was far too much for amato mio's and my tastes, so I've reduced the amount by 50% for the quinoa, and have completely omitted it from the patty mix itself. I also made the patties thinner than Linda recommends, for no other reason than that was just the way they came out! However, having the slimline versions meant that they got completely 'lost' inside a wholemeal burger bun, and overpowered by the tomatoes I'd put in too! The second time we had them, I served them on a bed of green leaves, with some sliced raw pepper, half an avocado each, and a little of my maple and mustard dressing, which worked perfectly.
These really are very yummy, and are of course, perfect for little helpers to make (although big helpers will be required to do the actual cooking parts, and possibly chopping the onions). I don't know about you but I've found that when children are involved in the kitchen, they are much more apt to be adventurous with what they eat. (I've also found that when they help to grow the food too, they are more likely to eat their veg!) A word of warning however; this could lead to some very unique breakfast-in-bed experiences... tomato and banana sandwiches, anyone?!
A word about spray oil - please use just olive oil in a spray bottle, not something like FryLight, which is really quite horrible, in my opinion (and can do horrid things to your pans)! You've just made beautiful food, don't spoil its purity it by cooking it in something which contains flavourings, alcohol and goodness knows what else (there is no nutritional information of FryLight's website, nor ingredients list)! According to FryLight's website; "FryLight is a unique, patented technology spray cooking oil" - what does that mean? And it's not really an oil, it's an emulsion. I would much rather have something natural, grown and produced in a manner which hasn't changed for millennia, than something essentially manufactured in a laboratory. What about you? And I'd much rather this is what my children had too.
Nutritional values per patty (does not include oil for frying):
(Please note that these are based on the ingredients I used - your own may be slightly different)
For 10 patties:
185g quinoa, cooked with .25tsp salt
115g grated extra-mature Cheddar
119g low fat cottage cheese
100g grated courgette
3 large whole eggs, beaten
3tsp plain flour
2 spring onions - bulbs and stems - chopped
.25tsp freshly ground black pepper
.25tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt
Pinch of garlic salt
Spray olive oil for frying
1. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package (usually one part quinoa to two parts water, plus salt).
2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar, cottage cheese, courgette, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, and garlic salt.
3. Place a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat; spray some oil in the pan, and drop in tablespoonsful of the quinoa mix. Flatten down slightly and shape into circles, squares, hearts, Darth Vader heads...whatever takes your fancy!
4. Don't be tempted to move them around - you want to cook them for a few minutes until they form a golden crust on the underside. Apart from being delicious, it will make your life so much easier when you come to cook the other side!
5. When you're sure that the underside is cooked (should take three to four minutes), carefully scoop up each patty and turn it over. Over the years I've tried doing this kind of thing the flashy way - y'know, how you see TV cooks and people in the movies doing it.....and generally failed! So now I use a fish slice underneath to do the scooping, and a wooden spatula on the top to support the patty as I turn it over. Perfetto!
6. Cook until this side has a golden crust as well....or if you're like us and like it a little more crunchy, cook until a little more brown than golden!
And that's all there is to it!
Update: It's just occurred to me that roasted vegetables might work well in these patties instead of cottage cheese and spring onions; peppers, garlic, aubergine, onions etc. I've made roasted pepper and extra-mature Cheddar muffins, which were unspeakably gorgeous, so I think I'm going to do a little experimenting this weekend!
Also, from chatting with friends just now; if you want to make this more diet-friendly, you could use a more strongly-flavoured cheese, such as Stilton or Gorgonzola but use less of it than the Cheddar. Perhaps 75g or so. Gorgonzola is around 316cals per 100g, whereas extra-mature Cheddar, on average, is around 410cals per 100g. Fewer cals and more flavour - go Gorgonzola!