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

Wooli part 1… Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce

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We’ve hit Wooli. No not wooly, Wooli. Wooly is something like slippers or a word that is like verbal Viagra to a Kiwi. So Wooli, another of those cracking little seaside towns the boys and I like to frequent on my annual break.

We have arrived at our little holiday shack which is adorned in the very finest of beachside holiday chic; pine furniture via the 1980s, op-shop pots and pans, the odd family heirloom carafe, pelican ornaments in the front garden and, of course, ocean blue and lemon yellow painted walls through out. This never ceases to amaze and truly impress me. Maybe the owners of these places do all get their supplies from the same old junk shop and maybe the only paint they can get through the seaside village quarantine is ocean blue and lemon yellow, but it still impresses the hell out of me how the same all these places are.

We have brought with us a seafarers bounty of the finest provisions my pay check would allow thanks to Jennee (I’m pretty sure when she went shopping this week the supermarket would’ve closed for the evening to re-stock their shelves and admire their full wallet), plus (on a little more unfortunate note) a heap of cool shit from the restaurant I worked at as the owners decided to sell up and turn our two week holiday into somewhat of a permanent one. A story for another time right there.

So we’re here.

I’m sitting down having a beer and typing away, partly because it is one of those things I look forward to about a holiday partly because I think people standing up drinking and typing on a laptop just look plain silly, but soon it shall be time to cook the evening meal. And the boys, well the boys are happily catching up on the TV they don’t get to watch at home (please don’t hate me Jennee). Something easytastygood sounds like what I should make for dinner, just to ease me into this holiday thing all gentlemanly like.

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Steak. There’s plenty of steak. Steak it is – with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower (you could do a cauliflower-broccoli cheese here. That would make your life heaps simple to match your demeanor… and word skills… and performance under the sheets… I’ll stop now as this could go on forever) and blue cheese sauce. I use Nimbin Dairy Cows Blue* and their Goats Blue is a cracker too, but use whatever it is that you can get hold of.

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STEAK WITH SAUTEED BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER AND BLUE CHEESE CREAM (for 3)

3x 250g steaks that you like to eat. It was rump medallions for us
Seasoning
A few sprigs of thyme if you have some
2 bunches baby broccoli or broccolini, cut into 5cm pieces, any thick stalks halved through the middle
¼ cauliflower, cut into florets a bit bigger than your thumb
• Get your steaks out of the fridge for 15 minutes so they can come to room temp. Season and sprinkle with a little thyme
• Cook steaks exactly how you like to cook them, while this is happening get your sauce on and blanch your broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water for 1 minute
• While your steaks are resting (you know about resting steaks by now, yeah) get a pan on for the broccoli and cauliflower. Add a splash of oil and sauté veg until they are starting to get a little colour (a bit of sliced bacon could go in here right now and be very happy with how it’s life turned out). Season and get onto a plate or other suitable receptacle
• Serve with steak and heaps of sauce poured over

BLUE CHEESE CREAM

100-150g blue cheese, depending on how much you like it or how much was left over from your last day at work
400ml cream
1 clove garlic, chopped
A splash of white wine
Seasoning
• Combine cream, garlic and wine in a sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 5-6 minutes or until reduced by one third
• Add cheese off heat and stir to combine
• Check seasoning and adjust. It shouldn’t need too much salt because of the saltiness of the blue cheese

*I know the Nimbin Cheese folks do the Byron Bay and Bangalow Farmers Markets. Get some if you can

Paul’s Caul… Soups in all their wonder

People say our eyes are the windows to our souls, but then these same ridiculous people say “deodorant isn’t for me, I just use petuli oil” yeah you guessed it, they are hippies and yes you’re right again they stink and I do not like them or their passive aggressive ways. But regardless of these strange MC Hammer wearing pants, one massive tread wrapped around their foul smelling head, yet still driving the worst polluting cars on the road whilst banging on about Ningaloo reef, faux eco warriors… anyway I digress, I feel there is a few ways of judging people regardless of their eye windows, the first is to stalk them on Facebook or stalk them the old fashioned ways (the second is illegal, in fact the first may also be illegal, I must look into that) another way is as follows…

Soups to me tell you a lot about a chef/person, they are in their essence very easy but like anything it is all about the final few tweaks and the amount of love that has gone into them which will make a good soup great. What they don’t tell you about the chef is whether he/she has a beard or if they own a large comic book collection, but since non of this matters in the big scheme of things I guess a good soup is all we want to know about. But just to clarify the comic book collection thing, by large comic book collection I do not mean someone who owns gigantic comic books, I mean someone with many normal sized books… glad we sorted that out.

Soups come in many forms from broths, consommé’s to puree’s… personally I love pureed soups they just have such a warmth about them, not only the warmth you get from eating them, or the warmth you get from dropping a small amount on your naked genitals (this is how much I love soup, commando souping is what this fetish is called…FACT!!) but I truly love the whole process of making them. So I will from this point, be banging on about pureed soups just incase you get confused, if you don’t care for pureed soups then you can take your chunk loving self and leave…

If you have ever been to any of my restaurants then you would know that every customer got a small cup of soup upon arrival, generally it wasn’t given to you as you parked your car or entered the room but it was provided sharpish, this was as much to let people know that I welcome them with open arms as it was to allow people to begin to trust me as a chef. Also it did help sell shit loads of soup and helped my food costs J

As previously stated soups are simple and can be remarkable cheap but in both cases there is no need to either put no love in the soup or use old veg that is nearly off, because in both cases you will end up with a pot of dirty vegetable water… and no one wants that!

I will give you a quick overview of the soup making process then I will give you a few recipes, I would like to think that after reading the overview you would not need the recipes. But just incase you are special and by special I actually mean that you have less commonsense then a shrillex fan (he’s a weirdo that plays shite music) I will give them to you anyway, because I’m nothing if not cautious.

• To start making any soup I slice up onion and celery and start to sauté them off in a little oil and a little butter, not forgetting a little salt to help them on their way…
• At this point if I was going to add some flavouring like garlic, bacon, woody herbs, spices or anchovies etc then I would do so now to allow them to cook of a little before the pan filled too much…
• Next I choose a star of the show it may be zucchini, sweet potato, eggplant, leek, potato the list is endless… but what you should then think about is can you make the product tastier before adding it to the pot. (What do I mean by this, simply if it’s a root vegetable maybe roast it in some honey or herbs, if its leeks caramelize them, add love where ever you can)…
• Then add your star to the onion and celery mix, now add liquid this can be a stock (chicken, fish, beef or veg) or it could be wine or port or all of the above, sometimes I even use fruit juice to add a little sweetness and flavour…
• You generally need the liquid to just cover your vegetables, now simmer your soup until the vegetables are completely soft…
• Blend your soup either with a stick blender or bit by bit in a normal blender…
• Add this point check seasoning I really prefer to use salt and white pepper in my soup I find the white pepper has a better roundness…
• Next some people strain the soup and add a little cream, maybe even chop some fresh leafy herbs up and mix through the soup, its now your soup so do what you feel best and then you’ve created something that is yours…

Zucchini, bacon, corn & caraway
2 onions sliced
2 sticks of celery sliced
2 rashers of bacon sliced
3 cobs of corn, stripped of all kernels and centers disguarded
3 zucchini’s chopped into cubes
1 large potato chopped into cubes
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary
2 litres chicken stock
50g butter
50ml olive oil
Salt
White pepper
• Place butter, oil in a medium sized pan, add onions and celery with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent…
• Add bacon, caraway seeds and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes until they get a little colour…
• Add corn, zucchini, potato and stock, simmer for an hour or until the vegetables are soft…
• Blend with stick blender and check seasoning, then pass through strainer…
• Serve immediately with heaps of crusty bread and butter.

Roast red capsicum, paprika and fennel seed
2 onions peeled and sliced
2 sticks celery sliced
4 large red capsicums, roasted and skin and seeds removed
6 large tomatoes roasted
1 cup red wine
2 litres veg/chicken stock
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoon picante Spanish paprika (the good stuff)
White pepper
Salt
50ml olive oil
• To roast the capsicum rub with oil and salt and roast in oven on a tray for 30 minutes on high heat turning every ten minutes, do this until the skin goes nearly black, remove from oven place in a bowl and cover with glad wrap. When cooled peel off skin and remove seed, this should be very easy and can be done with hands. (if you have gas burners you can blacken the capsicums straight on the flame then place in bowl with glad wrap and do same process, this will leave you with a firmer product if you needed it for something other then soup)
• To roast the tomatoes rub with olive oil and salt and roast on tray in a hot oven for 15-30 or until they start to blister and collapse
• Now fry off your onions, celery and fennel seeds in a little oil and salt until they go translucent…
• Add in capsicum, tomatoes, paprika and red wine then reduce for 2 minutes…
• Add stock and simmer for 30 minutes then blend with a stick blender, strain and season…
• Serve immediately with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread.

Creamy parsnip & blue cheese
2 large onions peeled and sliced
2 sticks celery sliced
4 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
6 parsnips peeled and sliced
2 large potatoes peeled and sliced
1.5 litre veg/chicken stock
500ml milk
600ml pouring cream
100g blue cheese (any will do)
White pepper
Salt
50ml olive oil
50g butter
• Fry off onions, celery and garlic in the oil and butter with a little salt until they are translucent…
• Add in the parsnip, potato, stock and milk…
• Simmer for 30 minutes or until all veg is tender…
• Add the cream and half of the cheese, blend with stick blender, strain and season…
• Serve immediately with a small amount of flaked blue cheese on the top.

There you go, lots of soups to help you on your way… your welcome J