Monday, June 14, 2010

Feels Like "Man vs. Food" Around Here

Friday was the day of Gable's recipes and cooking, and let me say that he was more engaged and excited about Friday's meal than any previous day in this project, bar none.  Gable picked out Aussie Burgers "with the works," bacon-wrapped baked potatoes and what is apparently the national dessert of Australia -- Pavlova.  All week, Gable kept pestering us as to whether it was "his" night or not.

Granted, I was at work while a lot of the preparations went on, but Angel reports that he was all about mixing the meat mixture for the hamburger patties -- they were more like meatloaf patties, actually, and took a fair amount of squishing to mix in the eggs and whatnot.  He and Angel also made the Pavlova while I was at work, and it was really quite pretty, all white meringue and colorful berries on top, and Gable was proud of his work.  Everybody apparently loved making the bacon-wrapped potatoes.  With their long skewers poking up out of them, the kids dubbed them "their new flags."

When I got home, though, it was crunch-time.  Angel had already started the grill, and the charcoal was just about perfect right when I walked in the door.  I changed out of my work clothes and started grilling right away -- we had just over an hour to finish preparing dinner and eat it before we needed to rush Evie to her Tee-Ball game.  Angel was in a frenzy, frying eggs, broiling bacon, sauteeing onions and toasting buns -- somehow all at the same time -- while various children orbited the kitchen.  Everything came together, however, and we assembled the "Aussie Burger With The Works" on six different plates.

The burger was constructed as follows:  Toasted bun heel, fried egg, burger patty, cheese, sauteed onions, BBQ sauce, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced raw beetroot, bacon strips, pineapple ring, bun crown.  They were big -- no, they were huge burgers, towering over the plate and seemingly swaying in the breeze.  There was no way any of us could actually get our mouth around the whole thing at once.  My tactic was to compress the burger as much as I could without shooting condiments out the side, and then eat from edges and corners at an angle...

Awesome Australian Burger

...and the burger was good.  Hm, that seems a little anticlimactic.  I should put it this way:  The Burger Was Good.  Like, really good.  I've never had a fried egg on a cheeseburger before, though I've seen it on Food Network shows, and it added a creamy, full-bodied something to the burger.  The beetroot, which I was pretty darn skeptical about, was slightly earthy and contributed some "snap", while the pineapple -- well it all really combined into a wonderful, sloppy, delicious mess.  The meatloaf-like patty crumbled quickly, and after about three bites I essentially had a handful of Aussie burger -- a beautiful, satisfying, scrumptious handful of Aussie burger.  Evie declared it "the best burger I've ever eaten in my life!"  Then again, she tends toward the dramatic.  I would truthfully rank this in the top 5 burgers I've ever had, though, and Gable's chest visibly swelled with pride when I made that pronouncement.

The side-dish, bacon-wrapped potatoes, honestly was a hit with everyone but me.  I thought they were good, but not exciting -- whole new potatoes wrapped with bacon and baked.  That's it.  The bacon-y goodness perfused the potatoes, sure.  I guess I'm not much of a baked potato fan.  The kids simply loved them, though.  Like I said, they called'em their "flags" and each of them munched through several.

Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes

Sadly, dessert had to wait, and I covered the Pavlova on the countertop -- the instructions said NOT to refrigerate it -- while we took Evie to her Tee-Ball game.  After the game we had no time for dessert, as we all went to the drive-in theater to watch Karate Kid and Iron Man 2...while huddled inside our van in the middle of a thunderstorm.  We didn't get back until 3:00 a.m.  By Saturday afternoon, the whipped cream on top of the Pavlova had started to separate and run, and the whole concoction was looking pretty rough.  We tested it and it seemed okay so we had pieces, then tossed the rest.


So granted, day-old Pavlova might not really be representative, but I thought it was pretty interesting.  Not a cake, exactly, it's kind of a meringue jello-mold, with the whipped cream and berries on top.  Very light, very moist, very tasty.


Aussie Burger:

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb of beef mince
  • 1/2 cup of dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg for beef patties
  • tomato or bbq sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 hamburger buns, which have been toasted
  • 1 cup of lettuce, shredded
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 4 beetroot slices
Cooking Instructions
Heat barbecue plate and brush with oil. Cook the onion for a 2 minutes, or until soft. Combine with mince, breadcrumbs, worcestershire sauce, egg, salt and pepper and shape into 4 patties.
Cook patties for 8-10 minutes each side until they are done, on either the BBQ plate or grill depending on which flavor you prefer.
Cook sliced onion for a few minutes on hot plate until soft and brown.
Cook eggs in lightly oiled egg rings, as desired.
Cut hamburger buns in half horizontally and toast cut sides of the hamburger buns on barbecue grill to make them crispy.
On each base, put some lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cooked beef pattie, egg, onions, and tomato or bbq sauce. Top with toasted hamburger bun.
It would be considered an aussie burger with “the works” if you also included pineapple, bacon and cheese, but these are optional.
-- from the website

Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes

Bacon-wrapped potatoes might just be the easiest side dish recipe out there and so very delicious.
To hold the bacon in place while roasting, I pierce the potatoes with bamboo skewers which have been previously soaked in water to stop them from burning.
For this recipe, it's best to use small potatoes such as fingerlings or baby potatoes as they roast quite quickly.
Try to use potatoes that are of a similar size -- about 1.5 inches x 1 inches (4cm x 2.5cm).
The bacon-wrapped potatoes are a great accompaniment to garlic roast chicken or lemon pepper salmon.


  • 1 - 1 1/2 kgs of baby potatoes, washed & patted dry
  • 25 rashers of thin, smoked bacon
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp of chopped chives
  • A pinch of sea salt


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  2. Wrap one or two pieces of uncooked bacon around the potatoes and secure with a dampened skewer.
  3. Place potatoes in a baking dish with about 1 inch (2.5cm)of space in between each potato. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until tender.
  4. Prepare the dipping sauce by combining the sour cream, garlic, chives and salt in a small bowl. Stir quickly to combine. Cover and refrigerate until you need to use it.
  5. Remove potatoes from oven and place on a serving dish.
  6. Serve potatoes with a bowl of the sour cream dipping sauce.


  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as "Berry sugar"
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups of whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, bananas, blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil with the blunt edge of a knife (don't tear the foil). Set aside.
  2. In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
  3. Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Don't just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
  4. Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
  5. Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.
  6. Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish egg shell color.
  7. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
  8. Just before serving, take the meringue out of the oven and remove it gently from the foil and place on a plate.
  9. Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms peaks. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.
  10. Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! The pavlova looks beautiful but you're never supposed to let it stand. It must be eaten immediately! I have a post on my blog with some photos of individual pavlovas I made for Xmas. It's commonly eaten at Xmas.

    As for the burger, looks great! Except beetroot is always cooked...never came across raw beetroot on a burger here. Beetroot is even available at the SUBWAYs here.