It’s a known fact to all parents that most children are notoriously picky eaters, which can make it all the more difficult to vary their dinner options during barbecue season. Grabbing a box of Olly’s mini burgers to grill up is the perfect solution to give the children a break from the tired barbecue food norm.
While there are few things that adults and children can agree on in regards flavour and food, the classic bacon and egg combo is definitely one of them. I decided to put a fun twist on both components and glazed the bacon with some maple syrup, and swapped out a normal egg for a quail egg. An addition of sweet potato curls offers another healthy and quick option for the kids rather than normal oven chips and makes the whole dish fun and novel, and something the children will definitely love. The burgers themselves are true to their name, and are definitely ‘mini’, but that signature Olly’s flavour is not lost! Olly’s prides themselves on providing a flavourful product with none of the nasties usually found in frozen products, making them all the more suitable for growing children. Their mini-burgers do not disappoint, are juicy as ever, and have just enough seasoning to make these ready to be cooked straight from box, to grill, to bun.
I know that quail eggs may seem like an odd addition, but they really do taste very similar to normal eggs and are the perfect size to top these fun-size mini burgers. The small size of these eggs get bonus points with the children from my experience; the fact of never having seen an egg so small makes it all the more fun for them to eat! An important thing to remember when cooking these up is to first heat the pan with a touch of oil or butter on medium heat, and then to reduce to low heat as soon as you crack them into the pan. That way, the eggs’ shape will set immediately, but will continue to cook on low heat to ensure no burnt edges or rubbery whites! As soon as the whites of the top of the egg have just set, they’re good to go. My personal favourite component of this recipe has to be the maple bacon. I recommend making a double-batch the first time around – they are seriously addictive and you may or may not find yourself eating them straight off the baking tray! The secret to a perfectly crispy piece of maple bacon is high oven heat – the hotter, the crispier. Any lower than 210 C will cause your bacon to steam, and your maple syrup won’t create that beautiful sweet crust. The blend of sweet and salty is something that everyone will love, but can be swapped with maple-caramelised onions if you have any vegetarians on board. Finally, every good burger needs a type of sauce, and onion jam is a pretty sweet way to go. To cut hassle even further, you can just buy a ready-made jar of the stuff and keep it near the grill for the final assembly. As for the burgers, I like to de-frost them by leaving them in the fridge from the day before, but you can cook them straight out of the box if you’re really in need of a quick-fix. Two to three minutes on each side on medium-high heat will give these little burger bites a nice sear, and keep them juicy on the inside. A final touch that the kids will go crazy for is to keep these mini-burgers together with a fun toothpick – a small festive addition that makes all the difference.
Every burger needs a good side, and sweet potato curls make a fantastic addition to the table. Making curls out of the sweet potato is one of my favourite ways to cook them, since they only take a little over ten minutes and some high heat in the oven to cook up. I used a spiralizer to make these, but you could always cut them up into matchsticks and make them into traditional shoestring fries. Sweet potato is actually much healthier than the traditional white potato, and has a unique sweet flavour and beautiful colour that everyone will love. However, if all you have is the normal white potato on hand, the same recipe will still give wonderful results. The most important thing to remember when trying to achieve crispy oven fries is that they don’t touch! Crowded fries equals steaming, not crisping, which equals soggy potatoes.
INGREDIENTS (makes 15)
1 packet Olly’s mini-burgers
1 packet streaky bacon, defrosted
15 quail eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 sweet potatoes, spiralized
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 jar onion jam
- Allow Olly’s mini-burgers to defrost in the fridge the night before.
- Pre-heat oven to 210 C. In a bowl, mix the sweet potato curls with olive oil, onion powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Spread out on lined baking trays, making sure that the curls have enough space between them so as not to touch. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.
- Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces and place on a lined baking tray, making sure the pieces do not touch. Cook in the same oven for 10 minutes, until the edges begin to crisp up and the fat is rendered. Brush the bacon with maple syrup and bake for another 3-5 minutes, until the bacon turns brown and sticky. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Heat up a pan or grill on medium-high heat with a touch of oil and cook the mini burgers for two to three minutes on either side. In the same pan, turn heat to low and cook the quail eggs for about 3 minutes, until the whites have set.
- Spread a teaspoon of onion jam on the bottom of the burger bun, then top with patty, then bacon bits, and finish off with the quail egg. Hold everything together with a festive toothpick and serve sweet potato curls on the side.
Although this recipe is geared to appeal to the little ones at the barbecue, I can guarantee that adults will love them just as much, and can be served as fun appetisers at any occasion.