Tag Archives: nic van wyk

beef burger – keep it simple

beef burger – keep it simple


{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #10 competition}

Burgers in my opinion are connected to experiences. The best burger I ever ate, was at the age 18, my first year at varsity, half-intoxicated after an evening of drinking and dancing. It was 4 am in the morning, my buddies and I were at a roadhouse on the PE beachfront. It was a messy tomato chillie burger. Was it the best culinary burger? No, but it was the burger I will remember forever!

I decided to ask five of my favourite chefs what was their best burger and potato side dish. Nic van Wyk (Diemersdal Eatery), Pete Goffe-Wood (Masterchef judge), Jackie Cameron (Hartford House), Henry Vigar (La Mouette), Andrew Robertson (Tsogo Sun) shared their opinions. Unsurprisingly, it’s all about honouring and respecting the ingredients… simplicity gives the burger its originality.

They wanted a good bun, a real beef patty, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, homemade mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, onion (cooked or raw), gherkins, homemade chips with aioli or mayonnaise and Nic added what I love – the Jalapeño relish.

So listening to the professionals I made a burger with a simple flavoursome beef patty, mature cheddar cheese, chunky homemade chips, homemade mayonnaise and added my favourite topping tomato + gherkin + Jalapeño relish. It was delicious, simple and honest.

By all means, taper your burger to your taste…but keep it simple, honest and true and it will be a happy memory for whoever may venture a bite.



beef burger - keep it simple
  • Beef Patty
  • 1 large onion (200g) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g beef chuck, deboned with sinews removed and milled OR 500g mince
  • 1 egg
  • ½ hamburger bun, soaked in water and then water squeezed out
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp milled black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • For patty grilling
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup Spur Original and Spicy grill basting sauce
  • Tomato, gherkin and Jalapeño relish
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes (350 g), chopped
  • 3 large gherkins (110g), chopped
  • 70g pickled Jalapeño chillies, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Spur Original and Spicy grill basting sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp milled black pepper\
  • Homemade Fries
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into your favourite chip size – do not cut them too small.
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Maldon salt
  • Two-minute stick blender mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup oil, sunflower oil – not olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Large pinch of garlic powder
  • "Raw" onion
  • ½ onion, sliced into rings
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  • Other ingredients
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 4 thick slices of mature cheddar cheese
  • iceberg lettuce, cut very finely
  1. Beef Patty - Fry the onions in olive oil for 30 minutes on slow to medium heat. This allows the onions to become soft and caramelised until they take on a deep caramel colour. We want to infuse the sweet flavours of the caramelised onions into the burger.
  2. Add the onions to all the other burger ingredients.
  3. Mix well and form patties of 150g each.
  4. Add oil to griddle pan and fry till done as per your taste, basting with the Spur sauce every time you turn the patties.
  5. Tomato, gherkin and Jalapeño relish - Add all ingredients into a pot and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. The relish should have a thick consistency.
  6. Homemade Fries - Parboil your cut chips in salted water for 4½ minutes.
  7. Drain and leave to dry. Allow at least 1 hour for the cut chips to dry properly.
  8. Heat your oil to 180 ˚C and fry until golden and crisp.
  9. Drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
  10. Two-minute stick blender mayonnaise - Break the egg into a tall container (the best is to use the stick blender’s own container) or jug, then add the oil. Let it settle for a few minutes.
  11. Place your stick blender right on top of the egg at the bottom of the jug and start blending until the mayonnaise starts emulsifying. S-l-o-w-l-y pull the stick blender up to complete the emulsification process.
  12. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  13. "Raw" onion - Pour the boiling water over the onion and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  14. By following this method, you will still retain the crunchiness, crispness and flavour that you need but will tone-down the original pungency of the onions.
  15. To assemble - Generously smear the mayonnaise on your toasted bun, adding the shredded lettuce.
  16. Add your cheese then the beef patty. Top your burger with the tomato relish and the crunchy onions. Serve with some homemade, hand-cut crispy fries.
  17. Five ideas to pimp up your homemade mayonnaise -
  18. Add chopped fresh parsley and coriander for that fresh flavour with salads;
  19. Add a bit of wasabi paste to your mayo you can really impress your guests when you serve sushi;
  20. Add some black pepper and it will be with baked potatoes;
  21. Chopped capers and lemon will work wonders to a simple fish dish;
  22. Add a bit of masala mix and try it with some home fries.

join the long table with lifeisazoobiscuit + nic van wyk

join the long table with lifeisazoobiscuit + nic van wyk

Every now and then the universe sprinkles us with some wonderful surprises …the kind of surprises that warms the heart and touches the soul. One such dream catcher moment was when I recently received a call from Nic van Wyk asking me to cook with him on the 13th June….! Well, it was just one of those moments where I had to pinch myself. Was this acclaimed chef really ask me to stir pots with him?

Nic is such a honey and all-round lovely guy and I may add … a real genius when it comes to food. In 2006 he co-founded Terroir Restaurant at Kleine Zalze Estate which was voted Eat Out Best Restaurant in South Africa. More recently he opened a farm eatery in an old stable on the Diemersdal Wine Estate outside Durbanville. Then again, you may have seen him as one of the co-judges on the extraordinary culinary competition, Kokkedoor on Kyknet (Thursdays, 20h00, Channel 144).

If you have not had the privilege of meeting this gifted, teddy bear of a chef with heaps of talent … then join us at our long table for food, frivolity and fun … and the occasional stirring of pots of some very intriguing dishes …

The Zoobicuit cook and the Teddy Bear Chef at Diemersdal low res

i chat to nic van wyk from diemersdal eatery

i chat to nic van wyk from diemersdal eatery

One of my good friends, Errieda du Toit told me a long time ago that if ever she had the choice, then she wanted Nic van Wyk to cook her last meal on earth! This is a bold statement coming from one of the best food writers in this country! So it was with tremendous excitement that I had the opportunity to meet with him at the recent launch of the new Diemersdal Eatery. What an opportunity this was … I wanted to meet the man and I wanted to taste his food.

What I was to discover on this most amazing day was that Nic van Wyk was this uber humble man with the greatest love for peasant food – especially from Provence, Spain and the Eastern Mediterranean. What I loved about his food is his unique ability to take nostalgic dishes of South African food and turn them into plated modern wonders …without losing the taste of our past, our heritage and all the memories that goes with the food and days gone by in our beautiful land. My two favourite dishes of the day were the pulled lamb shoulder with white bean + truffle cream and the soft nougat rum poached peaches.

I had a chat to Nic and here is what he has to say …

Chef Nic van Wyk 2.jpg 1

Diemersdal  22R.jpg 2

How do you eat zoo biscuits?
Quickly and with fond memories

What did you eat / cook last evening?
My wife made a delicious Niçoise salad. Unfortunately we didn’t have baby potatoes and further happily bent the rules by adding both anchovies and tuna to the same salad – tinned tuna of course.

Are you excited to be a judge on Kokkedoor?
I am over the moon to be involved in this exciting new food series. Not only does it open up new avenues to explore food, the programme will also connect us with the traditions of the South African table. It is not only about the nostalgic side of food, but also about the food skills and techniques of the past; and adapting it for modern times.

I will also be working with loads of interesting and talented people – from artisans and farmers to chefs, food historians and local producers. I am especially excited about co-hosting with Hetta van Deventer Terblanche, whose knowledge of our South African food heritage bowls me over.

What does Kokkedoor entail?
It is a cooking competition with a lot of heart. It looks at heritage food and bringing it into the 21st century. The series will be filmed in the Karoodorp Prins Albert, known for its fantastic produce. The community will be closely involved, as enthusiastic cooks, hobby chefs and professionals take on challenges that are rooted in our food culture – from the school fete and church bazaar to padkos, the Sunday meal and other ways that we celebrate food and togetherness.
Kokkedoor will be aired from early April 2013 on KykNET channel 144.

Where did you enjoy your most memorable meal and who cooked it?
For me food is memorable – not only for what I eat but also who I share the experience with. So not an easy answer.
In South Africa: I’ve had some great meals at La Colombe when Franck Dangereax was still there) and now we enjoy his amazing food at the Food Barn. Another favourite is Mariana’s in Stanford. It is so simple; the consistency and flavours are so good that I will never tire of eating there.
Abroad: In London I had a terrific meal at St. John – heaven for an offal lover like myself. The best service I’ve ever experienced in my life was at The Square, worthy of its two Michelin stars.

Your idea of a Sunday meal?
Oozing care and generosity. No other meal reminds me so much of my ouma (and everyone else’s oumas) like the Sunday lunch, ideally served on large platters and ‘opskepskottels’.

What we serve on Sundays at Diemersdal is how I like to feast with my own family:
Starting with freshly baked bread and home made tomato jam, then on to a plated starter such as pickled fish with asparagus. Then it’s on to the Sunday Roast (with all the trimmings) from pork belly and crackling to chicken roasted in a clay tiled oven.
There must be roast potatoes (I love it with rosemary butter); pumpkin made into pampoenkoekies (fritters) or roasted to intensify the flavour; green beans or courgettes in butter, chilli and garlic; fresh asparagus; carrot salad with cumin and honey dressing and pearl barley to soak up the gravy. A good harvest of aubergine will be turned into small bites of melanzane.
And what’s a Sunday lunch without pud? I keep it fresh and fruity in the summer months – stone fruit and almond tart; lemon curd foam with fresh berries or a rich chocolate tart when there’s a nip in the air.

What is your most favourite cut of meat?
I’m one for the lesser cuts – short rib and even chuck. Have you put chuck on the braai? Truly delicious, as long as you use cool coals and don’t rush.

Any tips for the summer time salads and meals?
Summer time is perfect for casual grazing. Have lots of fresh things in the fridge to whip up a salad or lay out a tapas platter without effort. I have some good cheese at hand and a selection of cold meats. I keep the pantry well stocked with preserves – olives, chutneys and pickles.
I also love to turn the glut of fruit and vegetables into simple tasty dishes – courgettes slices thinly, dipped in tempura batter and flash fried – served with aioli – I find it’s what roast chicken has been looking for its whole life.
Summer herbs can be turned into delicious green dressings – I just tried it with beetroot ravioli. Heavenly and light. And don’t forget the summer dessert: the season is far too short for cherry clafoutis, so I now make this French countryside classic with mulberries.
I’m also a great advocate of tapas-style eating – you can turn literally any dish into a tapas dish, so think of it as a way of eating, rather than what you eat. Small dishes presented on shared platters make for leisurely eating in the summer heat – some of yesterday’s leftover meatballs served with smoked tomatoes, garden beans turned into a salad with barley and olive oil. Dessert can be part of a summer tapas presentation as well – small, individual portions of fruit-based puds.

Who is your foodie hero?
I have quite a team of food heroes I draw inspiration from. Chefs and food writers that make me think about food in such a positive way are Nigel Slater, Thomas Keller, Nico Ladines, Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal.
I also tend to think of my my grandfather, walking in his vegetable garden with a salt shaker in his one hand, picking the fresh vegetables and making me taste it there and then. To this day I am probably the most content I can be strolling through a kitchen garden.

Follow Nic van Wyk on Twitter: @nicvwyk