The Empire Café and Burger Bar, Mullumbimby… a really nice place to eat a burger

the empire cafe and burger bar mullumbimby
This place is doing the town of Mullumbimby a service.

It has brought to town a cracking range of burgers so that the local burgerfiles may be satisfied. And I’m sure it has done many other good things for the town to boot – fed a lonely puppy dog or mowed lawns for the elderly or something like that, just because the people who were working in the place seemed like they would do that sort of stuff. They just seemed genuinely nice and like they actually gave a fuck about how your stupid day was going or if you were enjoying your meal. When we arrived at 11am to realise that lunch started at 12, we told them no worries but we would come back in an hour when lunch (and the freaking burgers that I had driven out here to eat) were ready to get into my face, and then do you know what the young lady behind the counter said? Probably not, unless you were one of the three folks sitting along the wall, who had their faces deeply embedded in their laptops… but I don’t think that was you… well, I don’t think it was… Well what that young lady said was this; “You can order off the lunch menu now if you want”. I did want. I did want very much and I was very thankful for the offer. That is certainly something that could be called a textbook definition of hospitality.

The menu looks almost exactly like this
The menu looks almost exactly like this

I feel like I should be taking a bit more piss out of something these folks did, but I gotta tell you, everything about these peeps was just nice. Sure it was starting to seem like they may be part of some kind of alien worshipping cult, but I was going to give their burgers a go none-the-less. I was liking this place a whole heap by now, but it was way past the time that I needed to be finding out if their Grazza McFilthy Mouth winning service was backed up by premium product!

“Zorba the Greek” ($13) for Dr Chris, the boys both ordered “the Wolverine” ($14), I hooked into “the Drover” (the name of a burger. I did not try to hook into the actual drover as he seemed like he wouldn’t really be a broke back mountain type of guy) ($13) and then I grabbed some onion rings and sweet potato wedges ($4 each) for the family… or mostly for myself.

The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!
The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!

“The Wolverine” was indeed a beast that was almost enough to leave a permanent scar on my children… almost. Although it did not come with retractable hand knife things, it did indeed come with a beef pattie, bacon, fried egg, caramelized pineapple, cream cheese, beetroot, tomato and lettuce. This thing stood tall and proud and it was not going to take shit from anyone that’s for sure. I don’t know if I was more impressed with the burger or the fact I had to fight my kids for a bite, but it was damn impressive either way. Truly a beast!

Dr Chris, who you may remember from “I’m not an actual doctor but I’m more than happy to take a look for you” fame, or possibly from the “A Current Affair” exclusive, or even from the fact that he is my dearest Jennee’s birth father, gave his lamb burger the tick of approval, although he said he was yearning for a bigger chunk of meat. Now, I’m not sure if he’d gone totally off-subject or if he was still referring to the meat in the burger but that shredded lamb would’ve done me fine.

Bloody younger generation and their damn trendiness *waves fist in air like crazy old person*

That Drover
That Drover

“The Drover” was perfect. Yeah, I know, that’s what she said. Everything I need in a burger was held between the cheeks of that decent bun; well seasoned beef pattie, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, chilli jam and chipotle mayo. So damn good.

I washed my burger down with the best sweet potato wedges I have quite possibly ever eaten and a few different condiments to lube them up a little for the journey to my belly.

The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings
The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings

OK, the question of everybody’s lips; the onion rings. You know the humble onion ring is a pretty touchy subject around these parts but, well, I’m always going to give them a go. They were OK but they were more of a thick batter ring than an onion ring. I did not send them to the lab for testing but that batter was waaaay to thick for me to find too much onion in there, so they were kind of forgettable which is probably why I kind of forgot about them. I know that you may think that I have some kind of onion ring hex on me with my luck lately, but I’m sure they will come good soon…

I don’t even know how I found out about this place but I’m sure it was an accident. Actually, that is a complete lie. I do know how I found out about this place and I know it was an accident.

The story goes like this; Jennee was scouring the guide for the Mullum Music Festival (a pretty good reason to head to Mullum in itself) when she came across an ad for these guys. She sent me a pic of said ad and then I went here. That is it. I love a short story!

Nom nom chomp chomp
Nom nom chomp chomp

So yes, the Empire Burger Bar has done the little hinterland town of Mullumbimby a very generous service.

Go there so I may sleep well tonight for I have spread the good word.

Empire Café and Burger Bar Mullumbimby

Byron Burger Australia, Byron Bay

byron burger australia
As we approached Byron Burger Australia my first impression was that it looked like what I thought a burger bar should look like and that made me happy. It had seats and tables, really happy staff who seemed genuinely happy to be at work, a grill to cook burgers on, and a menu that declared that many of the ingredients that would be cooked on the aforementioned grill were sourced locally. Bang on! The only thing missing was beer, but I was happy to let that slide and grab myself the southern white trash teeth-rotting standard – the Mountain Dew. Yep, I did the Dew.

I feel I need to say that I do not often “do the Dew”, but every time I do it reminds me of a joke…

There’s these three woman (of whatever race, colour or creed you decide they should be because I am certainly no racist or hate mongerer, just a regular guy of whatever other race you want me to be… I think I need to go now) talking about their lovers… heard it? I don’t even care… anyway, they’re talking about their lovers – comparing them to soda. The first woman says “my man, my man he is seven-up… because he has seven inches and they’re always up”. The second says “well my man is Mountain Dew… because I always need a mountin’, and he always do”. Then the third says “well my man, my man is Jaaaaack Daniels”. The other two in unison, “girl, that ain’t no soda pop, that’s one damn fine liquer”. She says, “I know”.

But these here pages are not all about the jokes people so let’s get back to the food, and more specifically, the onion rings.

You might get to see the postman ride past from your seat...
You might get to see the postman ride past from your seat…

They had crisp crumbed onion rings on their menu, which I can tell you now is enough to make me crisp in certain regions of my anatomy, but when I tried to order them they were out. Done. And it was only 11:45am. There was something amiss with that whole onion ring situation but I soldiered on…

The burgers arrived and those nice peeps behind the counter of this fine establishment must’ve known how to make it up to me because the burgers had a guindilla stabbed into them like the tribesman’s spear into the head of the visiting Englishman. Guindilla = happy Grazza! Anyone who doesn’t know of the guindilla is probably also incapable of using google so I feel it is my responsibility to inform you that it is in fact a pickled chilli of the Basque Region, and also damn tasty!

Tasty tasty tasty
Tasty tasty tasty

As were the burgers.

Grilled local beef, seasoned perfectly, gently held aloft by the right amount of salad and a tasty bun, and the addition of a big fat slab of melting blue cheese on mine (the Byron Burger with Blue Cheese, $14.50). A good burger indeed!

The boys both opted for the Tropical Lighthouse ($14.90) with all the usual culprits plus bacon, cheddar and grilled pineapple. I tried a bite of this bad boy and it made me very happy inside my belly. In fact, I will return one day to eat one of these burgers all to my self.

Look at that guindilla just begging me to get in there
Look at that guindilla just begging me to get in there

Chips for the table were perfectly cooked and crisp, and if I remember correctly they were only 4 bucks. Yeah, 4 bucks. I love a bowl of good chips for 4 bucks!

We left happily satiated and thanked the Northern Rivers region for giving us another worthy burger joint… in that same leaving process we also notice that they had a $12 meal deal with a burger (your choice of the Surfer Chick or Byron Burger with Cheese), chips and drink which seemed like a pretty damn common sense option and one I would definitely be back to take advantage of… but let’s face it, at the end of the day the cracking burgers were going to be plenty enough to get me back.

Well played Byron Burger. Well played indeed.

Great wall art by Fabien Fuego
Great wall art by Fabien Fuego

Byron Burgers facey is just a click away

Coffee Beef Brisket with Spicy Barbecue Sauce… and a month in the life of foodisthebestshitever

coffee brisket with home made barbecue sauce
I don’t even know where to start about what has been happening in my life that is so damn important that I don’t have a free moment to say hi to you folks out there in Blogland. I know, I know… I should probably start at the beginning. Yes, that makes perfect sense… start at the beginning.

Well *takes a deep breath* you know how we opened a restaurant back a little bit? No? Well we did open a restaurant a couple of months back and that is well and truly sucking me dry of inkling of spare time I thought I might have had. Yes I am it’s drunkard seafarer and it is my two dollar lady of the night… except with minimal risk of venereal disease. We have been waiting for a restaurant to call our very own for quite some time now, and this restaurant was a very fortuitous opportunity indeed, that presented itself as we were in the middle of some pretty big house renos, oh, and we were already pushing extra hard to get these house renos done by the time of my fortieth birthday party… which was just last week.

*pauses for another breath*

*tries to work out what the hell the point is and possibly if there is a segue here at all*

Yep. Proper grown up now… well at least that’s what they keep telling me.

So, in rather a large “fuck off” to being old and permanently retiring my dancing shoes, we held a bit of a ho-down and partied just like it was 1998 again… minus the lollipops. Ah the lollipops. Definitely one of those stories best saved for another time, like possibly when you and I sit down with the colonel and enjoy a good stiff drink whilst wearing our brown dressing gowns… AKA not at all.

We partied like twenty year olds and then spent three days recovering, looking not at all dis-similar to a person with an acquired brain injury or possibly a group of incapacitated elderly minus the incontinence… well, mostly minus the incontinence. We certainly SHOULD have had carers but no one had the foresight to book that shit in so there we sat, verbally defecating all over anyone who was with-in earshot. We had defective head meat. My brain’s wifi was weak, very weak and there was no sign of the signal improving for a few days at least. It was like my brain was using one of those cheap and nasty service providers that give you reception nowhere… basically not even close to being able to perform the one task they were created for. So that was my brain. Got over it eventually but it was certainly not a pretty sight.

Also, just a little something I noticed this year about birthdays. Why does everyone tell you what to do on your birthday? Seriously, everyone I saw had something to say, telling me to do things like “enjoy your day”, and my social media was filled (yes filled. I’m hella popular in the virtual realm… not sure what happened in reality) with comments like “have a great birthday” – straight up just telling me what to do. Well you know what? You have a great day; I’ll do what ever the fuck I want.

Just a little something I noticed…

While my brain recovered I searched for a recipe past Graz may have had the foresight to stash for future hungover Graz so that he may appease the people and, much to his credit, past Graeme had done me proud. Here’s what that sexy bastard saved for me.

Cook some brisket
Cook some brisket

Make some barbecue sauce
Make some barbecue sauce
Put it into a burger with some 'slaw
Put it into a burger with some ‘slaw
Sit in the carpark
Sit in the carpark

Eat the shit out of that bad boy!
Eat the shit out of that bad boy!

COFFEE BEEF with SPICY BARBECUE SAUCE (for a gathering of the hungry mans club)

3-4kg piece beef brisket
2 cups strong black coffee
1 cup water
Salt and pepper
The home made bbq sauce down below
Rolls and ‘slaw to serve

• Marinate beef in coffee and extra water overnight or at least… well… overnight, just like I said
• Roast covered in 150C oven or simmer very gently on the stove top for 5 or so hours* or until very tender. If liquid dries up before meat is cooked add a little water, 1 cup at a time, until that bad boy is melting like your heart did when you first saw that young lady you now call your wife. This is also a grand opportunity to pull out your slow cooker and let the beef simmer away for the day in that. Do it, it’s feesable, don’t feel like you’re cheating anyone here
• Once that piece of sexy beefy goodness is done set aside and allow to cool for a bit
• Now slice it up (or shred it for a pulled beef type scenario) best you can and get it onto a bun of some description, possibly with a bit of ‘slaw and a little home made spicy barbecue sauce, and get it into your belly

SPICY BARBECUE SAUCE (adapted from Manfuel)

May I just say this spicy barbecue sauce certainly is the good shit.

1 cup tomato paste
4 cups water plus 1 cup water
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ – 1 cup chipotle chilli, depending on how much heat you like, chopped or pureed
2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, ground cumin, onion powder and garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup corn flour (starch) to thicken

• Cook out tomato paste and brown sugar on a low heat until sugar is dissolved
• Add the rest of the spices and stir until mostly dissolved. Cook out for a minute or two
• At this point add in the 4 cups of water and apple cider vinegar
• While the sauce simmers a bit, combine the 1 cup water with the corn flour (starch) in a bowl and mix thoroughly until completely dissolved
• After letting the barbecue sauce come up to a simmer, add in the corn flour mixture and stir everything thoroughly
• Once again bring the sauce back up to a simmer and you should notice it thickening up fairly quickly. Simmer the sauce for 3 – 5 minutes more stirring as it goes. Don’t simmer too long with the corn flour in there or the thickeners could break down
• Put this all over your brisket burger so it drips down your shirt and you look like an animal. I really do enjoy a good sloppy burger

Another Damn Fine Piece of Slow Cooked Beef Shin

slow roasted beef shin, dexter beef, northern rivers food nsw Boutique was once a word reserved for a place where a proper lady or the merrier of young gentlemen may be able to purchase perfume or a fashionable new handbag. Now, in these modern times we live in, boutique has become a word to describe the ever-growing number of small producers of meat, cheese, beer and things of the sort, and in equal capacity, also small hotels and guesthouses. In the Northern Rivers of New South Wales we are lucky enough to have many “boutique” producers of everything from meat to cheese to fruit and vegetables to bread to, well, even handbags for the more mature amongst us who are not embracing the current trends and require something a little more old school from the word. To get hold of a nice piece of pig or cow one need not look any further then the local farmer’s market or farm shop. Sunforest Organic Pork, Hayters Hill Beef or Cromwell Farms are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg or, if I may be so bold, the tip of the iceberg lettuce… or the cows teat… or the hipsters top knot… Whatever. Cromwell Farms, producers of old breed pork and Dexter beef, was the boutique purveyor of meats where this tasty tasty beef shin was acquired. Greg and Alison at Cromwell Farms hold regular pop-up farm shops where you can go and sample some of the produce being cooked by a local chef (yeah. It’s been me once or twice ☺) and purchase whatever it is you need to fill your home fridge and/or freezer. If per chance you do ever end up at a Cromwell Farms pop-up pork sale (maybe you wandered a little too far off the track after leaving the night club at 5am) do not, I repeat do not, leave with out a bag of bacon in your possession. Old breed pork smoked properly by Pat at the Clunes Butcher, it is amazeballs… and I don’t use that word lightly as I feel it makes me sound a little prattish. Back to the beef shin. I have said before that the secondary cuts of meat are my favourites and the beef shin certainly falls into this category. I have most definitely mentioned these cuts are a little easier on your back pocket. I have told you that if you give them a bit of love and some long and low cooking they pay you back ten fold in the flavour department. I can not force you to do anything but if I could by crikey it would be to go out and get a less favoured cut of meat, give it the love it deserves and see if that doesn’t change the way you think… but… well, I can’t fix stupid can I? Anyway, that story was nothing more than a premise as to where this beef shin came from on this one day… and I guess a little homage to the people who work so damn hard to make this available for the consumer or more importantly; just me. Also, worthy of note is this was a little almost cooking lesson with fellow bloggergeist and friend, Sam of Loving Lismore. We spent the afternoon cooking, sharing stories of strange carnie folk and one eyed goat herders and taking rightful care of the odd glass of three year old grape juice. Magic. Yep. Well done.

That piece of meat seasoned up and ready to hit the pan
That piece of meat seasoned up and ready to hit the pan
Sammy chops the onions
Sammy chops the onions
About to head into the oven
About to head into the oven
The beans go in and it can have another hour in the heat
The beans go in and it can have another hour in the heat

SLOW COOKED BEEF SHIN with CANNELLINI BEANS, TOMATO, GARLIC and HERBS (serves 6) 1 whole beef shin, 1kg ish 10 baby onions or eshallots (or 2 larger onions), peeled and quartered length ways 5 cloves garlic, chopped 2 punnets cherry or grape tomatoes, or a 400g tin of diced tomatoes will do the trick 2 400g tins cannellini beans 2 cups red wine 1 boquette garni of 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig rosemary and a few sprigs thyme A splash of olive oil Seasoning Salsa verde, crusty bread and a side or two to serve • Season the bejezuz out of that lump of meat. Rub it down with the massage, er, olive oil while you’re at it • Brown meat in an oven proof dish (or in a pan and then transfer to an over proof dish for baking) on the stove top • Once meat has some decent colour on it add onions and garlic and an extra splash of oil if it needs some lubricant, sauté until soft and fragrant • Deglaze with wine and add tomatoes and herbs. Cover and transfer to 170-180C oven for 3 hours or until meat is falling from grace… er, the bone… Covering the dish helps it steam a little from the inside, which in turn helps with the cooking process • Roll the meat over 1 hour into cooking, and then back one hour later. After the second turn it’s time to add the cannellini beans • When the meat is ready you will be able to push it from the bone with a spoon. If it is not ready after 3 hours put it back in for another halfa. Be patient. Do not eat it yet as it’s toughness will dishearten you and you will quite possibly end up naked in the foetal position in the corner of your bathroom… again • Pull the beef from the bone with tongs (or your bare hands if today is the day you make the world your bitch) and serve with salsa verde and your favourite sides. We had sweet potato mash and sautéed fennel, leek, cabbage and sauerkraut with a heap of butter because that’s what Sammy wanted • This is definitely one of those meals that needs to be washed down with a heap of red… a heap of red

You do not need a knife if you have cooked it properly
You do not need a knife if you have cooked it properly

Paul’s Caul… Back in Britain

Back in Britain

The time has finally arrived for Lauren and I to make the long journey home to my Motherland, my birthplace and a magical place that over the last 23 years I have build up in my mind as a place where all of my fondest memories live and skip around holding hands with chocolate bars and packets of walkers crisps. Yes I’m speaking of England, and yes in my dreams packaged treats have arms and legs, so what! Its my dreams so step off or I’ll let my army of small highland toffee attack you with axes and bagpipes… back to reality and that is what happened the second I landed back in England.

We arrived at Heathrow on a Tuesday morning at 11.45, now this bit of information actually holds no relevance at all so please forget it as quickly as you read it… we had an amazing flight on Emirates, shit loads of leg room, massive screen to watch an impressive array of movies and some pretty tasty food I must say. The food included pulled Texas beef with black bean, quinoa salad with chickpea and a very delicious breakfast with a chicken sausage and frittata, but as you would expect no pork in sight, but as I always say “when in Rome” or more accurately “when on a Muslim airline” but without a doubt it was the best service, flight and food we have experienced, so Allah be praised!

Pork pie love
Pork pie love

My cousin picked us up with his beautiful daughter Rebecca and proceeded to drive around in circles until he felt we had seen Heathrow airport in full, we had so he swiftly drove us 40 minutes away to a small village called Chipperfield where we were staying in a quintessential English pub. Now what is a quintessential English pub and when did I start using such big words? These are the burning questions on everyone’s mind… I shall answer this in a two-part answer firstly to answer the later question, get fucked! Now lets talk about what I think makes an English pub…

• Upon arrival in said pub if you don’t have to duck down to enter it either isn’t a real English pub or you aren’t over 6ft tall
• If every single room in the building other than your bedroom doesn’t have a fireplace, then your not in an English pub
• Glance at the menu and if you cant see at least one ale pie then leg it, as you ain’t in the real deal
• If more than two staff members are English then leave as you are in the wrong country
• Finally make sure that nothing and I mean nothing at all is new, and then I feel comfortable with the fact you are standing in an authentic English Pub.

‘The Two brewers’ was all the above and more, it had Marmite portions on the breakfast buffet which was a highlight of the week for me, they had Aspall cider on tap and they served baked wheels of Camembert (which appeased Laurens veracious appetite for fromage). It was located in a quaint village which offered a nice walk around a small wooded area and… actually that is all it offered, but regardless of it lack of anything, it was brilliant to be back on home soil (or clay like mud as it was).
My memories of childhood chocolate treats were a little shattered as this country much like the entire world had become Americanised, but I still managed to get some Irn Bru, a toffee crisp and some mini cheddars (branston pickle flavour) which definitely hit the spot and most likely will bring on diabetes in some form, but well worth it.

Street pig
Street pig

Now what about pork you say? Good point, what would travelling be without seeing what different countries do with the magical creature we call Pig. Well this is the place for you my non-Islamic brothers, they effing love the stuff here,. They sell bacon rolls in just about every shop; newsagents sell them, café’s sell them, small stands/vans on the road sell them, I’m pretty sure they deliver them like papers straight to your door in the morning. I kid you not, they eat them like apples over here. There are bacon roll bowls on the kitchen bench and they are served with coffee instead of those ridiculously small biscuits… And this is just bacon. What they also do with pork will blow you mind, that is unless you’ve already seen a pork pie, in which case it may not even excite you. If this is the case stop reading now and never revisit this site ever… Good. All we left are the true pork pie loving people of this world who love the soft yet crunchy pastry made with lard and the salty jelly surrounding the blend of pork shoulder, pork belly and bacon cooked with mace and seasoned with the history of a nation that was built on such products.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get pork pies in Australia, but unless my good friend Gavin the Jordie pastry chef extraordinaire makes it then it will be pretty average. If you are in Perth go to the ‘Moon and Sixpence’ pub in the city and order the ploughman’s, as Gav has the pork pie well sorted as well as many other English treats… but I digress, what I love about here is that every second shop sells pork pies and as a whole they are delicious with the pastry being the major difference between a decent pie and a “fuck off that pie was the balls” kind of pie.

Bacon chips and beer… life just keeps getting better
Bacon chips and beer… life just keeps getting better

Other than delicious pork products I was uber excited to be back home so I could see my family, we were staying in Chipperfield purely because my Uncle and Auntie live in the town that is 5 minutes down the road, also their kids (my cousin’s) and their families all live close. We were given the royal treatment and taken out many times in the one week, really getting to sample a cross section of British food from awarded British pub food which was beyond what I expected to get from a pub in the middle of nowhere, to a nice night in with my cousins eating England’s national meal (curry) then finishing the week with Chinese (English style, which is a lot of battered meat with sweet sauce) with my other cousin and her lovely family and finally the tradition that is the Sunday roast with the family.

We choose to have our Sunday roast at a French Brassiere (Raymond Blanc’s restaurant) because they do a cracking roast with big fuck off Yorkshire puddings and bread and butter pudding for dessert (or pudding as it is over here) and lets face it, Waterloo was a long time ago so lets give those cheese eating surrender monkeys another go… well it was a triumph, the company which included two beautiful little cousins and their parents as well as my uncle and Lauren made the day very special, and I think horseradish is the best condiment for company.

Lauren (the pretty half of the Paul and Lauren crew). Somewhere with some other people taking photos
Lauren (the pretty half of team Paul and Lauren). Somewhere with some other people taking photos

We are now in Birmingham visiting some good friends Dom and Alec plus their awesome boys Francis and Jack that have just moved back from Perth where they were for a few year’s, one of our favourite bits of this trip has been catching up with friends old and new. We love getting to be part of a family for a week, cooking, drinking and having a laugh with the kid’s, we are so lucky to such great friends all over the world. And contrary to public opinion we are having a lovely time in Birmingham, so be it we go for runs in the morning around the canal wrapped up like crazy homeless people, but that just adds to the charm. We are very excited to be getting a Balti Curry from number 3 on the UK’s top takeaway joints… Balti curry was actually invented here in Birmingham by the local Pakistani community (that I believe is larger than the one in Pakistan). So needless to say we cannot wait for culinary curry cuisine served by the peeps that created and perfected the Balti curry.

I off course have been exploring local supermarkets and cooking up regular feasts for all that are lovely enough to put up with us. The supermarkets here do seem to have a larger range of many things that I love, for instance you can get rabbit, duck, venison and black pudding from Sainsbury’s, this pleases me greatly. I cooked a banging braised beef with Stilton penne last night and here is the recipe.

Marmite love
Marmite love


500g gravy beef (shin meat), left whole and sealed in a pan
1 onion
2 sticks celery
1 leek
1 fennel bulb
1 carrot
• Cut all above veg into small dice and fry off in pan of meat juices after the meat has been sealed
• Add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds and fry
• Add 1 cup of red wine, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 bays leaves and a handful of fresh thyme (be generous)
• In a large oven dish with sides, place meat down first then pour veg and wine mixture over top. Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 cup of beef stock
• Cover with lid or with tin foil and bake @ 120c for 5-6 hours until the meat just falls apart when pushed with a spoon

At this point you could serve straight onto some mash, but I spooned all the meat into a beef braise and added some cooked green beans cut into small lengths, whacked in a handful of stilton, some spinach, chives and a whole lot of cooked penne and chucked it into bowls with a fork sticking out… then stood back and marvelled at what I had created like a proud father.

Next off we travel down to Gloucester to spend some time with Kev and Sue. We have never actually meet these lovely people but as they are my sister and husbands friends I just know that the week will be filled with laughter, wine, food and most likely more wine followed by a little more laughter… god I love travelling and more accurately I love eating and drinking with amazing people.

Burger Buns a la Stephane Raynaud’s “Gourmet Hotdogs”

burger, burger buns
I have had burgers before, not in the biblical sense, but a good burger is something I like to eat on a regular basis. It is not about the weather, or a mood thing, or to do with religion, I just like to eat burgers… straight into my face hole.

During my last twenty years on this earth I have certainly cooked a few of these one hand delivery, covering all food groups, suductively shaped, alluring, tasty little morsels and if you’re keen you can find a recipe for one in a heap of different places on this blog. I would suggest typing “burger” into the search bar in the top right corner of this page. Or, alternately, go to someone else’s better blog and type “burger” into the search page on theirs.

But today it isn’t about the burger. Much like the sexy all-male review sans the sweaty middle-aged women and fifty dollar notes, today it is all about the sweet, buttery buns.

This recipe was handed to me from Stephane Reynaud via his book “Gourmet Hotdogs – How To Dress Your Dog With Style” which was gifted to me on my last birthday by great friends and, without even close competition, my favourite will-they-ever-actually-be-married couple, Mark and Kate, who bought (or possibly stole… I saw no receipt…) it from a bookshop, the owner of said bookshop having purchased it from a book wholesaler. So that is how I have come to be in possession of this sweet milk bun recipe… and it was a cracker. Kinda brioche-y, but not.

I’m trying the straight ol’ milk buns next to see which I prefer… who cares? I know.

The book. There's some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too
The book. There’s some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too

Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven
Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven
Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns
Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns
Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers
Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers
Especially when they have cheese and bacon on top
Especially when they have cheese and Cromwell Farms bacon on top
It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It's not though, because it is a burger
It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It’s not though, because it is a burger

(I kinda stuffed up the measurements a little because the acid was just starting to kick in, so what I’ve ended up with is a cross breed of his milk buns and sweet milk buns. Deal with it)


1 sachet (7g) yeast
200ml lukewarm milk
400g strong flour
50g castor sugar
75g softened butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds
• Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk
• Combine all ingredients and kneed until smooth and elastic to form a compact ball. Cover with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 1 hour at room temperature
• Punch the air out of the dough, shape into six pretty evenly sized rolls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a warm damp cloth and let them rise again at room temperature for 1 hour
• Glaze with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15 minutes
• Slice it open and fill it with whatever it is you like to put on a burger