Sunday, 28 October 2012

Greek Style Gyro Burgers

Now that I have Jackaroo for all my grilling needs it has given me the opportunity to expand our food preparation options to exclusively grilling.

A couple days ago we went to the “Yeero Shop” for donair/yeero/gyro/kebab and had an amazing beef something in a pita; the only downside was the price. At 25 bucks for a couple Yeero and lemonades I was full but my wallet was empty.

Today we were deciding our daily grilled meal and decided on burgers. The only issue eating burgers here is that they do not have the sharp yellow American cheddar that I have been craving so we settled on a Mediterranean flavoured burger. We lucked out with some of the food we had in the pantry and after a quick trip to the corner store we were soon munching on the most delicious juicy fresh pita burgers. There is no replacement for a standard burger but this was the next best thing.


I have never really understood people that buy premade burgers. They are pretty much the easiest thing to put together and always taste better. I made 8 “normal” sized burger patties.


-          800g fresh ground beef
-          ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
-          Juice from ½ a lemon
-          Couple spoons of tzatziki
-          1 egg
-          Bread crumbs (I just crumbled up the butt of an olive loaf that I had made a few days ago)

Mix everything together and form into burgers. I saw on a TV show that said if you wet your hands before you start mixing beef for burgers or meatballs the meat won’t stick to you - making the clean-up a little easier.

Pita and Fixens:

For a burger I’m usually happy with mustard, ketchup, cheese and onion but for these we decided to go all out and make sure the pita was bursting with goodies.


-          Pita (Our corner store has these amazing giant Lebanese pita’s that are soft, fluffy and perfect for wraps. If you can find something similar. Half the fun is pulling off little bits of pita drenched in dressing)
-          1 tomato
-          1 container of yellow cherry tomatoes
-          Heap of lettuce
-          1 red onion
-          Feta
-          More oregano


-          Tzatziki
-          Black olives/ olive tapenade
-          Baba ghanoush
-          Hummous
-          Hot sauce
-          Colby cheese slices

To put this whole thing together we grilled the burgers and just before I pulled them off I threw on a cheese slice letting it melt over the meat. I also put the red onion in some foil and grilled it to soften it up.

While I was drinking beer and looking at the BBQ Jess chopped up the veggies and mixed tzatziki with the lettuce and feta with the tomatoes and oregano. We spread the “optional” ingredients over the pita, sliced a burger in half and piled everything else in (I ended up putting two burgers in mine and all the “optionals”).
My wife is so hot!!!
This was definitely a messy meal so we grabbed our beers and ate on the patio while hovering over our plates. We still both ended up with food on our shirts! They were actually better than the pictures look. Like most things the key is to have fresh ingredients, the beef was juicy with a little crust from the grill, the lettuce had that wonderful crunch and the juices from the tomatoes blended the flavours together perfectly.
Nom nom nom!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

We went on a great walk last weekend with our roommates. This well known Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk started at the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club – an amazing beachside pool free of sharks or other ocean animals that might scare people out of swimming in the open waters of Australia. The entire walk was 5.5 km long and we were treated by an art exhibition for the first kilometre or so. Sculptures by the Sea showcased many strange and unusual art pieces – but with the beautiful background of the Bondi & Mackenzies Bay.

This route was so scenic and we passed through other beaches, (Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly & Gordon’s Bay), as well as Waverley Cemetery. A huge plot of land with large intricate head stones facing the ocean, not a bad place to be in the afterlife.

 It was a beautiful day and we were exhausted after words. Flip flops were a bad choice…

Monday, 22 October 2012

Strozzapreti – Priest Stranglers

Disclaimer: No Priests were strangled in the making of this recipe... I also still hate the Celtics despite the head to toe green outfit.

I have been spending most of my free daytime hours at the Marrickville library using the free Wi-Fi and applying for jobs. The library is great but the job hunt has been fruitless at this point. After I finish my self imposed quota of 10 – 20 job applications I reward myself with scouring the library’s collection of cookbooks. It is rare that I actually follow a recipe but one jumped out at me from David Rocco’s “Made in Italy”. David is a fellow Canadian that has split his time between Toronto and Italy showcasing rustic Italian dishes.

The recipe is a twist on the standard pasta recipe that yields pasta with a little extra kick and an even better story. The story behind the name Strozzapreti – Priest Stranglers is that these poor Italian housewives were diligently running their households when the local priest would drop by looking to spread the word and fill their bellies at the same time. The housewives would whip up some pasta putting a kink in the noodles hoping the unwitting Priest would choke on it. It seems a little complicated to try to off a Priest with pasta but I guess I’ve never really considered it. I’ve only included the pasta part of the recipe and made changes from my experience. The recipe is for 6 servings and is accurate, we fed five but Jess tossed a plate of finished pasta on the floor before we started cooking.



-          3.5 cups all purpose flour
-          3 canned peeled plum tomatoes, finely chopped, with juices
-          1 egg
-          Salt


The big difference between this recipe and any other pasta recipe is substituting the tomatoes for water or egg. Pretty much just mix the ingredients together and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough ball in cling wrap and let sit for 30min at room temperature. Roll out the dough and cut into whatever size you’d like. David’s recipe says to cut to 1cm wide and 5cm long. I find the easiest way to cut dough into noodles is to roll it up and then cut it. We cut ours into a multitude of different sizes and dusted in flour so that they would not stick together. Cook for 4 min in boiling heavily salted water. I unfortunately do not have a picture of the finished cooked product because we ate it before I thought to grab the camera… sometimes it is a good thing to just enjoy something than to get it on film. The pasta is delicious and you taste the tang of the tomatoes. The only way I could see anyone choking would be simply because of the quantity you try to ingest in one fork full.


White Bread

As someone who came into cooking as an adult I have been practising making simple things that can compliment more complicated dishes. Bread is something that generally scares me when I think about making it. It is something that can be devoured in seconds or pushed off to the side in favour of something tastier. I lean towards savoury herb breads that you can slather with butter and sop up sauces with. I have been working with a different bread recipe than before and I think this one is actually better for adding some sweeter ingredients and using with jams, jellies, or French toast.



-          Packet of dry yeast
-          3-3.5 cups plain flour
-          1 tsp salt
-          1/4 cup sugar
-          1 cup warm milk
-          2tsp melted butter
-          1 egg, lightly beaten
-          2 tbsp melted butter
-          Additional tasty ingredients

Making this bread is super easy. Mix everything in a large bowl (I’ve been using a big pot because we don’t have a mixing bowl). Knead until it is smooth and elastic. Put the dough ball into a greased bowl and cover letting it rise for an hour or so. Knock down the dough and either put it into a greased loaf pan or on a greased baking tray. Let rise again. Brush with some egg and milk if you want a crunchy crust, for the big loaf pictured I used oil and it ended up soft. Bake at 200 C for 20-25 min.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Steak with Flavoured Butter

I bought a $15 charcoal grill named “Jackaroo” from K-mart and decided I would try my hand at grilling some steak for dinner. We have not had a BBQ for nearly a year so I was eager to get something on the grill.
I have never really grilled on charcoal so I purchased a fairly inexpensive cut of meat (just in case I ruined it) and decided I’d spice it up a bit with some flavoured butter.
Making flavoured butter is about the easiest thing you can possibly do. I made Parsley Garlic butter.


-          Fresh flat leaf parsley
-          Garlic
-          Unsalted butter
-          Salt and pepper

Quantities depend on your personal tastes. I let the butter come to room temperature then chopped up the parsley and garlic and mixed it together, added a little salt and pepper and it was 95% done. I spooned it onto some cling wrap and twisted it into a little log and tossed it in the fridge to harden. You can unwrap it and cut a disc off for anything after that.

After grilling the steak I put a slab on top of the meat and let it melt into it. It actually added a ton of flavour to the meat and looks like you’ve done something pretty fancy when you literally took 5min to put it together.

Friday, 12 October 2012

NEW Home Sweet Home

We all set up in our Sydney home share in a quaint little suburb called Marrickville. It is full of hipsters, Vietnamese and lesbians. Great people watching indeed! We live in a newly renovated house with a couple, and a single gent all of whom are from the UK.
We are a 5 minute walk to the train/bus station, and so this makes it very easy to get around in the big city.

Jeff peeking out of the washroom - which is in a top secret location...the pantry!
The room that we stay in was unfurnished so we bought a new mattress from IKEA, (which arrived a speedy 4 hours after it was originally scheduled to), bought some hanging racks and storage, as well as pulled in and cleaned an abandoned desk from the front yard.
We really enjoy living here and the next step is to get jobs to pay for it. Surprisingly though the rent is cheaper than staying at a hostel and much nicer.
Our $8 lunch. Can't beat that value.
Our plans are to rent this room until January and then start our travels once again. As my Grandma once told me… “You don’t let the grass grow under your feet for very long do you?”