Guest Blog: Gus Mallett
This week we have a guest blog from my friend and yours, Gus Mallett.
We got talking at The Twelve Pins before Arsenal v Fulham in August 2022.
Gus offered to write a blog post about the press in return for a press. Who am I to turn down such an offer?
A mere 10 months later, Gus fulfilled his end of the bargain and sent us this glowing piece of meaty prose.
Gus is a keen football fan and less than enthusiastic cook as he’ll tell you. When he’s not watching football or making love, he likes to draw on his encyclopaedic knowledge of popular television dialogue which he can recall with uncanny accuracy.
Over to G.M.
Gus is on the right
Let’s just get one thing out of the way from the off – I’m no Iron Chef.
But, indulge me here – I can say with some conviction that the two nicest meals I’ve ever presided over were: smash burgers with some of those tasty little hasselback potatoes from M&S; and smash burgers with a side order of more smash burgers.
The common thread? Fatty mince procured from my local butcher (shoutout Tony), brioche buns (also from M&S I believe – shoutout M&S), and some of that delectable, sinewy, plastic-y burger cheese – you know the kind I’m talking about.
But the most important part of the equation, by some distance, was the Axel Perkins burger press. This little bit of kit elevated what would’ve been a couple of very functional, second-year-of-uni-identikit dinners into something genuinely sumptuous: rich, deep beef patty flavour encircled with a crunchy crispy crust. And the juices. Those damn juices. Each bite reveals more and more of those delicious little rivulets, running over your fingers, dripping all over the plate. All the better for mopping up with.
Have I mentioned the cheese? The residual heat of the patties melts the cheese just so. And if, like me, you’re a glutton for the stuff, layer it on like an overzealous brickie. It melds so perfectly with the mince it’s been known to bring grown men (me) to tears. The whole thing is a beautiful, beautiful mess.
What amazes me the most about these meals wasn’t the taste (but honestly, my GOD). It was the simplicity. As we’ve already established, I’m something of an amateur in the kitchen. I draw from a very small repertoire that includes, but is limited to: bean soup, pasta of some kind, occasionally a curry.
But thanks to this incredible piece of steel, I’ve created two meals (and counting – I don’t intend to stop there. Have earmarked Sunday as the third bite of the cherry, if anyone fancies coming round my gaff.) that I genuinely think about all the time. It’s ridiculously easy. Drop a ball of mince into a piping hot pan (I use a griddle – do yourself a favour and invest in something flatter. Ridges are for rookies.) and smash down within 20 or so seconds. Step back from the hob to avoid the scalding oil splashback. Grab a spatula and flip that bad boy. Chuck some cheese on. Wait 30 seconds. Decant into a bun and serve immediately.
Looking after your burger press is easier than looking after a Tamagotchi. Just give it a wipe with a soapy damp cloth and dry thoroughly after each use. Every now and again, treat it with some oil and a hot oven. Never, EVER, put it in the dishwasher. Show some respect and you will be rewarded handsomely.
This is one of the most game-changing purchases I’ve ever made. It’s raised the ceiling of my culinary abilities to no end. The kitchen is no longer an unknown realm. People actually like coming round for dinner. I implore you to impart with that measly £25. You’ll thank me.
Gus Mallett, 27