Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spike's Village fries

So, I've just spent a couple of hours this morning cleaning up my email inbox in an attempt to un-clutter my (digital) life somewhat. It is funny - gmail tends to keep all the email addresses you've ever sent an email to, which I guess is kind of handy, but can be confusing when you are trying to cull contacts (it makes me more confused? Who are you? Should I be keeping you? Perhaps the rule of thumb is that if you cannot remember who it is, then it is not worth keeping. Just like your freezer - if you can't remember what it is or when it got frozen, it is probably time to throw it out.

We are still in Stawell and this evening we are continuing our tour of regional Chinese restaurants of Australia. We will be moving down to Warrnambool in about a week or so, depending on the rental situation. *sigh* more moving... It is becoming rather tedious, but Food Critic Andrew and I are getting super efficient at packing and unpacking!

However, in the meantime, I have a treat for you! Spike's village fries. These are delicious and easy. Far far too easy, in fact! I had never made oven chips before and found these are well worth the peeling and cutting. As with the previous recipe, Spike Mendolsohn's sexy burgers, these are also from The Good Stuff Cookbook: Burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more which I can't wait to purchase for Food Critic Andrew. I didn't use the type of potato listed in Spike's recipe (red bliss; I used Sebago), however mine still turned out amazingly good. I urge you to try making your own oven fries! Again, I also made some small adjustments - apologies to Spike if you're reading this!

Spikes Village Fries


I kg Sebago potatoes
Canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme
1⁄8 cup sea salt


1.Wash and scrub potatoes under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut in half lengthwise, and then into long strips about 1⁄4-inch thick.

2. In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat about 3 inches of oil until a thermometer reads 120°C. Line a metal tray or plate with a few paper towels.

3. Add one handful of the potatoes to the pot. Fry until tender but have no color. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels. Repeat the procedure until all the chips are cooked. Refrigerate until cool. (This took me about 15 minutes - luckily I had to go to the shops for some forgotten ingredients!)

4. Reheat the oil to 175°C. Line the metal tray or plate with fresh paper towels.

5. Add the cooled potatoes a few handfuls at a time and fry until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on the paper towels.

6. Toss with the rosemary, thyme, and salt while the slices are still hot, and serve.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Spike Mendosohn's sexy burgers...

So we have reached the great state of Victoria. No! You haven't stumbled upon a road trip blog - we have in fact moved states from New South Wales to Victoria. If you're not entirely familiar with where I am talking about, here is a Google map of our journey. I am taking a short sabbatical before deciding what to do next. We spent most of this week either packing and driving down. It was a really lovely trip - we went through Gippsland and enjoyed watching the lovely countryside roll by as we drove. It was kind of stressful having the cat and a couple of fish tanks worth of fish with us but we managed to get to Stawell safely. We are currently staying with Andrew's parents who are kind enough to put us up (or put up with us!) for a bit.

Anyway, I've been dying to show you something Andrew found recently and decided to make - it was a real winner! I can't remember how he found it but this is probably the first cook book he has coveted. It is called "The Good Stuff Cookbook: Burgers, fries, shakes, wedges, and more" and is by Spike Mendolsohn. I haven't heard too much about him in Australia but I'm sure he is well known over in the United States.

We tried 2 of the recipes as featured on the link - "Spike's Village Fries", as well as the "Farmhouse Bacon Cheese Burger". These were great - and I urge you to try them - except be aware that the burgers are utterly, utterly huge so if you are watching your weight (as I am) you may wish to modify the amount of fillings in the burger. Even Andrew was rather full afterwards. I think - it's all about that awesome sauce!

This recipe shows my changes and additions/subtractions of this fabulous recipe.

Farmhouse bacon Cheese Burger (Spike Mendolsohn)


800 gm ground sirloin

6 hamburger buns, cut in half

500 gm streaky bacon

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

6 slices cheese

iceberg lettuce

tomato slices

red onion slices

pickle slices

About a cup of Spike's "Good Stuff Sauce" (as per recipe below)


1. To make the patties, roll six mince balls.

2. Grill or fry your bacon as you like (I prefer to grill to "crispy")

3. Heat a large skillet pan over med-high heat, and add a small amount of oil.

4. Place the mince balls into the pan, and flatten into patties. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Place 3 strips of bacon and 1 slice of the cheese on each patty and continue to cook 2 minutes more.

5. Cover with a lid for the last 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

6. Toast the buns and set aside.

7. To assemble the burgers, place 1 patty on 1 toasted bun bottom. Top the patty with a lettuce leaf, tomato slices, onion slices, and 2 pickle slices each. Slather over with some of the "Good Stuff" sauce. Cover with the bun top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Let rest for 2 to 3 minutes and serve.

Good Stuff Sauce

Spike says: "After reading several books and articles on Americans and the hamburgers they love, my mother found that people’s favorite sauces were different takes on Thousand Island dressing (ketchup and mayo). At one of our family tastings, Mike Colletti, a chef I met at Le Cirque, and I came up with our twist on it—we locked ourselves in the kitchen and added a little something to the sauce to give it a real kick."


2 cups whole egg mayonnaise (I use S & W Whole egg Mayonnaise - I haven't graduated to making homemade stuff yet but feel free to go that extra mile!)

2 tbsp ketchup (NOT tomato sauce. Ketchup is far sweeter and tastier than tomato sauce)

2 tbsp molasses (you will find this in health food stores)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp salt


Add the mayonnaise, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, and salt to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Coming Soon - "Spikes Village Fries"; the perfect accompaniment to these yummy burgers!