Elvis burger with chopped salad and pickled gherkin

Parmesan cheese may seem a little unusual in this recipe, but it really gives the burgers a great flavour – give it a bash.

Grind up the red chilli in a pestle and mortar, and mix it in a bowl with the onion, tarragon, egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, Parmesan, nutmeg and beef. Shape into four patties and refrigerate for half an hour or so to give them a chance to firm up slightly.

When you're ready to cook the burgers, get a frying or griddle pan nice and hot. Brush the pan with a little oil, season the burgers generously with salt and pepper, and cook them for 10 minutes, turning them carefully every minute or so, until they're nice and pink and juicy, or longer if you like them well done. Make sure they don't break up as you turn them.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the lettuce, tomato and cucumber, mix together and set aside. Once the burgers are cooked, split the rolls into two and toast them quickly on the griddle or in a toaster. Sandwich the cooked 'Elvis' burger between the toasted rolls and serve them on individual plates with the gherkins and some of the chopped salad (add a little extra virgin olive oil or dressing if you like) on the side.

Pumpkin rice laksa soup

First of all you need to chop the pumpkin flesh into 2inch pieces. To make your fragrant soup base, first chop, then whiz or bash up the following in your food processor or pestle and mortar until you have a pulpy mix: the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, five-spice and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that may remain in the pulp. Put this fragrant mixture into a high-sided pan with a little oil and your finely sliced onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes to release the flavours.

Add the pumpkin and the stock to the pan. Stir around, scraping all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft. At this point, add the rice and give it a really good stir. Some of the pumpkin will begin to mush up, but you'll also have some chunks. Continue to simmer with the lid on until the rice is cooked, then off comes the lid. Add the coconut milk, stir again, taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. To give it a bit of sharpness add the lime juice – the amount will depend on how juicy your limes are, but the idea is to give the soup a little twang.

Serve the soup in warmed bowls or pour it back into the pumpkin shell. If you're going to do this, put the pumpkin shell into the oven to warm it through first. It's a great show-stopper for dinner parties. Finish sprinkled with the coriander leaves, or some extra sliced fresh chilli, or grate over some fresh coconut if you have it.

PS: If you have a Magimix food processor you can put it to good use for this recipe! If you don't have one then your pestle and mortar will come in handy instead.

Light and fluffy rice

Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can have a go at flavouring it - any flavouring you boil with the rice will infuse it with wonderful fragrances and flavours. So try boiling things like fresh herbs, a cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods, a strip of lemon zest or even a green tea bag in the water with the rice.

Doubling the amounts in the recipe will give you enough rice to serve 8-12 people.

• Put a large pan of salted water on a high heat and bring to the boil
• Rinse the rice in a colander under running water for about 1 minute, or until the water runs clear (this will stop the grains sticking together later)
• Add your rice to the boiling water and wait for the grains to start dancing around
• From that point, boil for 5 minutes
• Drain the rice in a colander
• Pour 2.5cm of water into the pan, put it back on the heat and bring it to the boil again, then turn down to a simmer
• Cover the rice in the colander with foil or a lid
• Place the colander on top of the pan of simmering water and let the rice steam over it for 8 to 10 minutes
• Remove from the heat and if you’re ready, serve immediately
• If not, leave the foil or lid on and put aside until ready to serve – it should stay warm for about 20 minutes