Burger patty creations (& 2nd mushroom gravy recipe)

A while ago (back in April) I road-tested a mushroom gravy recipe and mentioned that I’d try a second one I’d found “the next time I had mushrooms”. Given that a friend told me the other day that they love a good mushroom gravy, I decided to show this recipe next.

It also provides a good opportunity to tell you about some of the burger patty experimentations I’ve made.

I’ve made a few burger patties now. Mostly using recipes of breadcrumbs, mince, mixed herbs + salt + pepper for seasoning, and egg. At least once, I’ve made them without egg. See below.

The top three pics are from a different occasion to the bottom two.

Now, as for the mushroom gravy and burgers recipe…. has anyone heard of Salisbury steaks?

Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy – Adam Liaw recipe

I saw this in the Sunday Life magazine when I was back at the family home one weekend in April. I saved the recipe and trialled it. It was very good. The second pic is leftovers. Mmmm.

Salisbury Steaks:

NB. It’s a different way of doing a burger patty, basically. Using ingredients one has to hand rather than, say, having to make breadcrumbs especially.


  • 1 slice bread torn into chunks
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs (optional – recipe suggests option of ground mustard instead)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • Oil, for cooking


  1. Place torn-up bread into bowl with milk and set aside (10 mins rest time)
  2. Mix milk-soaked bread, beef mince, onion, carrot, egg, mixed herbs (if using), salt and pepper together until well-combined
  3. Shape into four patties and refrigerate to firm up (10 mins rest time – I think I might have skipped this….)
  4. Add oil to large frying pan and fry patties until cooked through (~4 mins/side)
  5. Remove from pan and set aside, covered, to keep warm while you make the gravy.

Mushroom Gravy


  • Mushrooms (recipe suggests 250g button ones, but it depends what you’re going for)
  • Butter (recipe suggests 30g)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1&/12 cups stock
  • 1 onion
  • ~2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Slice onion and mushrooms
  2. Melt butter in frying pan (AFTER using it to cook meat – enhances flavour)
  3. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until golden and liquid evaporated (~5-6 mins)
  4. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly (~1 min)
  5. Gradually pour in stock, water, tomato sauce and soy sauce, stirring frequently. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently, seasoning with salt and pepper (~5 mins)
  6. Return meat to pan and coat with gravy then plate up, spooning remaining gravy over the top

Yum. Delicious.


Next time I’ll have to give the recipe I found for a veggie gravy….

Curry time!

I haven’t done a recipe post in a while. This realisation led me to spend my bus ride in on Monday playing, “Name That Dish” with my food photos – a game I’ve been meaning to play for a while.

See, I dropped off the recipes as things got busy in April, but continued taking pics. Some of which are just reminders for me, others which I’ll post here. Arranging them by name was fun. I seem to do a lot of beef and chicken recipes when making meat-based ones.

Today’s recipe post (written last night) is showcasing a couple of vegetarian curries I’ve tried. I’ve made each recipe twice, tweaking it a bit each time, and I’ll continue to make and tweak them. They’re delicious.

Curry #1: Peanut-butter curry with lentils or four-bean mix

Top row is the first time I made this curry, with four-bean mix. The bottom row is the second time I made the curry, using lentils. This is a delicious, mild, creamy curry. I got the original recipe from onemillionwomen.com but have adapted it.


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1x onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2+ tsp each spice – for me, these spices were: cumin, chilli, Moroccan spice, curry powder
  • 1-2 pinches/ a scattering of mixed herbs (oregano, marjoram, thyme)
  • 1 can lentils/ four-bean mix
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Veggies: capsicum, corn, cabbage, carrot, etc.
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Rice etc. for serving


  • 2x pots (1 medium to large, other can be smaller)
  • Stirring spoon
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Sieve/strainer to drain rice etc.


  1. In the larger pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat before adding the onion, garlic and ginger – it’s a variation of the flavour base I use for a number of dishes
  2. Allow onion to soften for a few minutes (3-5) before adding the spices “right onto the onions” – the recipe which I based my curry on says that this is “essential to developing great curry flavours”.
  3. Allow mixture to combine for a few minutes before adding the lentils or four-bean mix (drained), the tomato paste, and then the veggies.  Stir well and let the mixture another few minutes (2-3) to simmer.
  4. Begin cooking the rice etc. according to package instructions in the smaller pot
  5. When the lentils and tomato paste are combined, add the peanut butter and veggie broth and stir well until the peanut butter has dissolved.
  6. Let the curry simmer for another 25-35 minutes to allow the flavours to really combine – taste it and adjust the spice ratio as needed at the end.
  7. Serve over the rice or whatever you had to hand and enjoy. Delicious!
  8. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day – just make sure that you cleanse your mouth with a cup of tea or a mint afterwards so you don’t get accused of having garlic breath!


Curry #2: Chickpea, or “Chana” curry

This curry is lovely for cold nights when you want something to warm you up. It works well when (as in the bottom row pics) you’ve got some frozen pre-cooked veg in the freezer. So yum. I got the recipe from a website after a friend recommended it.


  • Vegetable oil
  • Spices to taste: cumin, garlic, ginger, chilli, salt, pepper, curry powder, paprika, Moroccan spice mix
  • Mixed herbs (marjoram, thyme, oregano).
  • 1x onion
  • 1x can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1x can chickpeas
  • Veggies: whatever you have to hand – I’ve used beetroot, spinach, radish, carrot, capsicum, peas, cabbage….as you can see in the images.
  • 1x serve of rice/ couscous/etc.


  • Two pots, 1x medium-large pot + 1x smaller one
  • Stirring spoon
  • Plate and cutlery


  1. In the larger pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When oil is hot enough*, add onion then the spices – first the garlic, chilli, ginger, then (after a minute or two), the other spices. Let them combine for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, then the rest of the veggies – chunky veg are good in this dish!
  3. Raise the heat a little, if you wish, and add the chickpeas. Let simmer for at least ten minutes to create lovely flavours.
  4. Service with couscous or rice. Also beautiful for leftovers for lunch the next day – same warning about mouth-cleansing to avoid garlic breath applies.
    NB. * = I have adopted a trick learnt from this recipe’s original author about how to tell if the pan is hot enough. Test the heat of your oil by wetting your hand and letting a drop of water drip into the pan. If it sizzles, then the pan is ready.


Happy cooking!

Central Australia Trip report #4

Scheduled post. Things are still busy. Had some fun over the weekend…if I get time I might tell you about it tomorrow/later this week. I also hope to schedule some more recipe posts soon.

Oh and a reminder that MIV2018 regos are open. I’ve finalised mine. 🙂

Day 4

Camper-trailer is packed up and attached to the Nissan Pathfinder, which is being loaded

The old railway town had been abandoned gradually after it lost its purpose. A team of volunteers, plus a couple of farmers who own the homestead now, are bringing it back to life as a tourist attraction. We had a nosey around in the morning, discovering a memorial to soldiers from the town who’d served in WWI and WWII….

The town ruins….

And the now refurbished underground bakery.

We were really lucky with this – it’s only open at the moment for eight weeks of the year! And the bread is really good.

Look at that! The wheels of the cars had already gone off-road, but they’d be even dirtier by the time we were finished the Oodnadatta Track, which was ahead of us.

Tyre caked in mud on a car

Marree marked the start of the track. As Womble and I discovered, the old train station is there, but there are no trains running through it anymore. The Ghan was moved some kilometres west due to excessive flooding from Lake Eyre, we found out later.

Soon enough we were at the entrance to the Oodnadatta Track – a gravelly bumpy track that more-or-less follows the route of the Old Ghan Railway (which had followed the route of the Great Overland Telegraph Line before it). Thanks to the efforts of early explorers, we can travel south to north today. It took explorer John MacDouall Stuart three attempts to blaze the trail between Adelaide and (near) Darwin. If you’re interested, I highly recommend a book by Bill Peach called “Explorers”.

There were plenty of things to see along the Track…

The first major sight, for me, was Lake Eyre South. That’s half of a life wish fulfilled. J I’ve wanted to visit since it had a massive flood some years ago. The images of how it became so vibrant, so quickly, captured my imagination. So the other half of the life wish will be fulfilled when I return during a flood time.

We ended the day with a campfire at the Coward Springs campsite.

Central Australia Trip report #3

I’ve been so busy lately with placement – either working (9-5, whew!) or relaxing. today marks halfway – already!

So here’s the latest instalment of the trip report, thanks to the bus’ free trip wifi.

Day 3

After arriving late in Wilpena Pound the night before, we took it easy the next morning.

Including waking up late enough for breakfast to be lunch…

Two pots on the camper stove - one pot is full of mince etc.

We took a look around, including at the Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre. The Flinders Ranges has some great scenery to explore on foot or by four-wheel-drive. It’s worth a whole trip of its own. Next time maybe.

And off we went again.

We saw plenty of scenery…

And were momentarily delayed when we came across a local lizard who didn’t want to move out of our way. (We interrupted his sunbaking, I think.)

I’m not sure if he was a stumpy-tailed lizard or bone-headed one. I’ll need to compare images.

Another nice sunset finished the day.

Last rays of sun over horizon

After a long day of driving, we found ourselves at a campsite on an old homestead that used to be a railway town.


Central Australia Trip report #2

Day 2

Our cabin was on the edge of the Murray River. We woke up, had breakfast, then went on our way. We were ambitiously aiming for Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges – and there was plenty to see along the way.


And some local birdlife. I found out from the “bird book” later that this was not an unusually large moorhen but a native swamp-hen instead.

Swamp hen on river bank as sun begins to rise behind trees on far bankSomeone holding the book "Field Guide to Australian Birds" by Michael Morcombe - front cover shown

We got some delicious fruit at a roadside stop near the town of Morgan, close to the turnoff to Monash.

Sign by the side of the road saying "Fruit Stall: Fresh Seasonal Local Produce". Parked car casts a shadow on dry ground beside it.

The latter town name caused some discussion, as we wondered if the namesake was Sir John Monash or not. Apparently, it is!

Roadside direction signs at a turn-off, with a car shadow at the bottom of frame and blue sky at the top.

There were also plenty of fruit trees in the area…

Rows of fruit trees

We stopped after crossing the river (at least, I think so?).

Two cars - 1 4WD and one large other - are parked in the shade of a tree. Womble sits under the bullbar of the 4WD

We looked at it and the flood marker. In September 1956, floodwaters peaked at 11.3 metres above sea level! Wow.

The other interesting object near the river was an old building which apparently was once the town morgue. According to the plaque I read, a man who helped build it – and speculated about who would be the first to be laid out there – was the first to be laid out there.

Morgue building - sandstone - in background, in front of the river. Before it is sandy ground with a tree overhanging

They’d got a mock person laid out inside, which gave Womble and I a bit of a shock when we looked through the grille.

We drove on, seeing our first examples of “old man saltbush”, a native species of hardy plant that became quite common as we drove further into the outback.

Old man saltbush - a field of greenish silver plant

We then stopped for a look at an old mine that had been turned into a lake.

The rusted barrier between the road and mine fence is in the foreground. The old mine has water in it and rocky "cliffs"

And, moving on, saw our first (of many) old rail bridges.

Green grass leads to a

Central Australia Trip “report” #1

Here’s the first of the posts I promised about the trip. These are all scheduled and will be dropped over the next few weeks – except this one, finished hastily thanks to trip-free-wifi on the way to placement/work.

Day 1

We set off late in the day after packing the two cars and camper trailer. Meals had been precooked and were stored along with other food items in our new portable freezer, bought especially for the trip. We were aiming to get to Mildura – a good five hours from our starting point. We settled in – four in one car, two in another.

After Mildura, we went on to Renmark – across the South Australian border – to a cabin for the night.

Pics from the day:

The camper-trailer, with tent strapped down on top. WOmble is sitting on the toolbox at the front of the trailer and it's sunny.

The sun shines on both the cars (silver-green Nissan Pathfinder towing the camper-trailer, with maroon Nimbus Mitsubishi in the background of the picture. We're in a carpark and it's sunny.

These two cars and the camper-trailer carried everything for the trip. Womble enjoyed the sun in the first shot.

Tree with no leaves is in silhouette against the sky thanks to the setting sun, visible only as a pale orange strip at the skyline - the rest of the sky is deepening blue

First sunset of the trip!


Statue of a famous man in a rural Victorian town - it's bronze and he's doffing his hat with a riding crop in hand. There's a plaque at his feet explaining who he is and he's surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.

Some famous guy in some rural town…. can’t remember who or where.

Picture taken out a car window - you can see the car mirror outside - of a stop sign.

Picture taken out a car window of a stop sign and warning

Border station – please declare and dispose of all fruit (and some other products).

Taken looking out the car windscreen - the Pathfinder and camper-trailer are lit up by streetlights and approach an arch over the road that signals the South Australian borer

Approaching the South Australian border

Shot of the Pathfinder and camper-trailer, with the car's new floodlights on.

Don’t the floodlights look cool?

Day 2 and 3 will follow soon.

#MIV2018 Update: Registration is OPEN! 

I’m so excited right now. If you’re interested, follow the links below from the email I received overnight. I’ll be doing that tonight after placement. It’s going to be a blast. Come along!


From the Convenors’ desk…

Hi groovers,

Exciting things are happening in Melbourne. At our AGM a few weeks ago we welcomed Cameron, Gemma and Justina to the committee and we’re glad to have them on board.

And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for. We are so incredibly excited to announce that registrations for MIV 2018 are officially open!

Register now for the festival and secure your place in the Summer of 69.
We can’t wait to see you – there’s only 6 months to go!

Peace and love,
Alex and El xoxo

Life Update, number whatever…. :)


So I’ve survived my first two days of placement. It’s going well, I think… the plan appears to be to get me out on at least one home visit per day. Today there were two. So I am zonked. Because there’s a lot of write-up to do afterwards, especially if both home visits are with new clients rather than follow-up ones.

It’s rather intense. But fun. I admit, I was a little uncertain of how things would go when I started yesterday. When we’d done class- and assignment-based activities at uni that relate to what I’m doing on placement, it felt kinda boring? Soooo many measurements and so on. (Seriously, one of the things that saved me during the environmental modification assignment was that we could be creative with our query letters….) But out in the field, it’s actually quite fun, or at least interesting. After all, we’re helping real people and hearing their stories.

I got praised today for my clinical reasoning skills, so I must be doing something right!

I get very tired by the end of the day though. All I want to do is go home and “flop”. Well, I did think about and plan to go to fencing tonight, but only remembered at home that I don’t have my runners with me at the moment. Next week!

Now, I should get to what I’ve thought about doing since I got home… writing up posts about my trip, as well as food posts. Then I can get an early night after that.

Check back in later this week, hopefully tomorrow – there is one hell of a good #MIV2018 Update coming. (Six months to go!!!)