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!

Recipe: Beef Parmigiana

Brr. Winter is nearly here in Australia and the past few days have shown it! When the sun’s out it’s nice but when it’s not it can feel quite cold. The trend is set to continue this week, with tomorrow only reaching a top of 12*C in my suburb. Bet my hometown’s colder!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe post. I have been cooking – just haven’t been able to write them down. I want to fix that but it’s a work in progress…at the bottom of my priority pile atm. Anyway.

Two cooked beef parmigianas in oven tray. Cheese has melted thoroughly - some is stuck to the bottom of the oven tray. Tomato salsa is visible in patches

Makes my mouth water just looking at it!

A while ago – as in, about a month ago – I spent the day with my boyfriend. We decided to have parmigiana for dinner – but as I pointed out, we’d had chicken as part of our lunch. So we used a beef schnitzel base instead. Then my boyfriend had the idea of using tomato salsa instead of plain tomato sauce/paste. It turned into a very yummy dinner.


  • Veggies, to serve with the parma
  • Beef schnitzels
  • Tomato salsa/paste
  • Cheese – we used pre-packaged grated tasty cheese
  • Other flavours if you want, especially if using tomato paste not salsa – saw a recipe online where someone added onion to theirs & seasoned it with salt & pepper


  • Frying pan
  • Oven dish
  • Spatula
  • Tongs


  1. Fry beef schnitzels to pre-cook them
  2. When finished, remove from pan and place in oven dish (preheat oven to 180*C)
  3. Spread tomato salsa thickly over schnitzels, then top with the cheese – remember that you want the salsa and cheese flavours to be balanced with each other
  4. Place oven dish in oven and cook for 30 mins or until it looks done
  5. Cook veggies while this occurs, though you’ll probably start them partway through the schnitzel-cooking time. We used peas, carrots and potato, but you can use any veggies you like.
  6. When cooked, assemble onto plates.
  7. Eat and enjoy!
Beef parma on a plate with boiled carrots, potato and peas - parma is on the left and has a dollop of extra sauce & melted cheese on top, with veggies on the right of the plate.

Mine, all mine…. so good.

Mushroom Gravy (with Roo Skewers)


Finally got around to writing this recipe up…

The other night I had some kangaroo skewers and a heap of mushrooms, ready to be used. I’d heard about mushroom gravy before, so I decided to give it a go myself.


  • Veggies (I used squash, carrot, bok choy, lettuce)
  • 2x kangaroo skewers
  • Noodles (I used “Singapore noodles”
  • Mushrooms
  • Flour
  • Garlic
  • Stock


  • Frying pan
  • Pot
  • Tongs
  • Kitchen spoon


  1. Cook veggies (in my case, all but the lettuce of course – that was just arranged on a plate at the end instead)
  2. What I SHOULD have done was cook the skewers first so I could use the juices from them in the gravy. Also, because I hadn’t cooked kangaroo skewers before so knowing when they were ready to eat while they were cooking in the gravy was a bit tricky. Using the gravy as the cooking “liquid” made it keep reducing as well, so I had to keep adjusting the flour-to-stock/water ratios (created higher possibility of lumps)… Ah well, live and learn.
  3. After making gravy and cooking skewers, cook noodles by adding them to pot of boiling water and letting them sit for a few minutes.
  4. Dish up onto a plate and serve. It was delicious.

How to Make Gravy (yes, I had part of the Paul Kelly song trying to play in my head while doing this – trouble is, I couldn’t remember most of the song…)

I used this recipe. (I swear I’m not being paid by taste.com or anything – they just have a lot of simple, easy-to-follow recipes – with minimal fancy ingredients that I don’t have/ need – on there.)

  1. Heat oil in frying pan, add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are browned
  2. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Slowly add stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens into gravy.
  5. Season with salt and pepper; adjust liquid quantity to achieve required consistency.


Recently I also saw another recipe for mushroom gravy that had a couple of extra ingredients, like tomato sauce, soy sauce and onion. It was Adam Liaw’s recipe in the Sunday Life magazine (02/04/17). He also had serving suggestions of what to try with the gravy… I’ll have to road test his version the next time I have mushrooms!


Food Glorious Food

Last week I went to the Queen Victoria Market in the hour before closing time on the Sunday. I picked up a few food bargains there because, as they close Mondays, they have to try and sell as much stock as possible – otherwise it’s not fresh or is too old, etc.

That meant I had a few new meat combos to try. Here’s what I did:

Night #1, Honey-soy chicken wings.

The marinade was provided by the butcher. Here’s a recipe I found though, if you want to make it from scratch.

I steamed veggies in one pot and cooked all the wings in another. I bought about 500g worth if I remember correctly, so that gave me nine wings in this case. I ate three with dinner and saved the other

After steaming the veggies, I used the bottom pot to fry the potatoes (when I remembered them)… I started off boiling them but hadn’t washed them properly so ended up tipping out (most of) the dirty water to finish them off.

Night #2, lemon-pepper skewers


Chicken on skewers flavoured with lemon and pepper. Yum!

Cooked in the frying pan then eaten with shredded lettuce and boiled corn, mushrooms and celery. I’d had chips earlier in the evening with friends, too, so imagine there’s a stack of wedges on the plate. 😉

Night #3, parmesan schnitzels with veggies and couscous


Two small chicken schnitzels with (store-made and -coated) parmesan-flavoured crumb, fried in the pan. The veggies (zucchini, carrot,cauliflower, mushroom) were cut as if I was going to stir-fry them, then fried in oil in the pan. The couscous was made in the usual fashion (boil water, add couscous, let stand for ~5 mins) as per the packet instructions, with a bit of salt and pepper stirred through. Yum!

Adventures with Chicken

I’ve had some cooking successes lately.

The other night I was pressed for time and needed to cook dinner quickly. I could’ve had a frozen meal (i.e. reheated a serve of leftovers) but I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed to be cooked as I’d moved them from the freezer earlier in the week.

So I googled, “cook chicken thighs in the microwave” (or something like that) and came across this recipe. Basically, it involves:


  • 2 x chicken thigh fillets
  • Chopped veggies of your choice
  • Chicken stock (made into liquid form)
  • Garlic, salt, pepper


  • Microwave-safe container
  • Oven mitt (for pulling container out of microwave)
  • Knives
  • Chopping board


  1. Smear garlic onto chicken and place in bottom of dish – season with salt and pepper to taste
  2. Pour chicken stock over chicken
  3. Add veggies on top
  4. Cover with lid and put in the microwave on high for 4-5 minutes
  5. Remove lid (or let it sit lightly) and repeat step #4
  6. If chicken is still not cooked to satisfaction, microwave dish for bursts of 1 minute until it’s cooked through

Voila – I had a piping-hot microwave meal ( 😉 ) ready to eat. Just be careful with step #5. I left the lid off completely as instructed by the online recipe, but that caused too much moisture to escape and the microwave did not like it.

No photos to show for this meal – I was a bit too busy for that. 🙂

My second success was a few nights after, when, aided only by memory and the help of a googled recipe, I made chicken curry for the first time in my new place, all by myself. So here’s another dish to add to my known repertoire!

Chicken Curry 🍛 


  • Oil/ margarine
  • Chilli, garlic, ginger, curry powder, Moroccan seasoning, cumin powder
  • Chicken stock
  • Chicken thigh fillet
  • Veggies
  • Rice/ noodles/ couscous/ potato


  • Frying pan
  • Pot
  • Stirring spoon
  • Tongs/ spatula/ etc
  • Chopping board
  • Knives


  1. Chop veggies
  2. Chop chicken into strips
  3. Heat the oil/ margarine in the pan
  4. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned
  5. Stir in garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder, cumin powder, Moroccan seasoning NB: the curry and cumin powders make this dish, with the Moroccan seasoning providing some extra flavours like hints of paprika and so on. Add as much of the cumin and curry powders as feels right.
  6. Add chicken stock after a minute and reduce heat to cook for some time
  7. Add veggies (I added them earlier than the online recipe indicated to because they needed to cook for longer).
  8. I also started cooking my potato here in the pot and ended up putting some of the harder veggies (carrots, sweet potato) in with it to reduce cooking time.
  9. Once judged that veggies were ready, I combined everything and took it over to the table. It tasted like it should, so yay.

Scrambled Egg Breakfast 

The other day I had an early-morning plasma donation appointment booked at my local Red Cross donation centre. That went well. Watching muted breakfast TV and listening to FM breakfast radio on Valentine’s Day, while the donation is on, leads to seeing/hearing some interesting things though – and reinforces why I don’t watch them usually.

I decided that I’d have eggs for breakfast to give me a good start. Below is the result. 🙂 I cracked two eggs into a microwave-safe bowl, added chopped tomato,  coriander and milk, then gave it a couple of minutes in the microwave. I paused it halfway to stir it. I also put a couple of bread slices in the toaster and added some lettuce at the end. Yum!

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Almost Burritos

The other day I made a meal using some ingredients I had to hand, following and improvising and adding from the recipe on the back of a “burrito spice mix” packet and memory. 

I didn’t have any wraps and forgot about using rice as a substitute – instead I added some fried sweet potato. Yum. 


  • 2 x bok choy leaves 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 x sweet potato 🍠 
  • 1 carrot 🥕 
  • Spinach 
  • 1 x cauliflower floret 
  • 1/6 x Onion 
  • Mince 
  • Refried bean paste
  • Burrito spice mix (Mum also adds garlic, cumin & paprika, but cumin at least is in with the refried beans) 


  • Frying pan 
  • Spatula 
  • Peeler
  • Chopping board 
  • Sharp knife 
  • Containers


  1. Chop & peel etc. veggies
  2. Tip some spice mix into a plastic bag with the mince and shake to combine 
  3. Heat oil in pan, add mince to brown 
  4. Remove mince to container, add onion & sweet potato slices to cook
  5. Cook until sweet potato is crunchy but soft adding more oil if needed then remove to same container as mince
  6. Cook other veggies now, adding refried bean paste with a bit of water as well 
  7. It’s a “to feel/ taste” recipe, so trust yourself – it’s not going to matter too much if you’ve added a little too much water. 
  8. Once veggies are cooked, remember to add other ingredients back in to cook through and be coated in the flavours. 
  9. Scoop onto plate and enjoy. I like to eat out on the balcony near my room. 

Last Friday Night’s Fry-Up

Hi all. One of the things about moving out has been having to cook for just one (or two if I invite my boyfriend over). I make meal plans to help organise myself for dinner so I don’t have to think about it too much. Most of the time it’s been pretty basic meals – steamed veggies, a carb, a bit of meat. The only thing is, as I’m on the first floor (i.e. not the ground floor), with the communal kitchen below, I have to carry my utensils up and down to cook. There’s a small kitchenette near my room but it doesn’t have a stove, just a microwave.

So last Friday, I couldn’t be stuffed carrying both the steamer pot and the frypan downstairs. I had a think and came up with a meal that just used the frying pan to cook.


Tuna with Fried Veggies


  • Can of tuna – one of the small 95g tins (with the flavours) was enough for me.
  • Bit of squash
  • 1/3 a long sweet potato (I used a variety that’s white on the outside & purple in the middle)
  • 1/3 capsicum
  • Couple of handfuls of chickpeas (from one of the regular tins)
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Mixed herbs


  • Small frying pan
  • Potato peeler
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Tongs
  • Plate, knife & fork (for serving & eating with)


  1. Wash veggies then chop them – you’re aiming for thin slices of the squash, sweet potato (both peeled) and capsicum, while the spinach should be torn up a bit and the stems discarded.
  2. Drain chickpeas and put into reusable container because you won’t use all of them. 
  3. Lay out spinach on plate – scatter it as you tear it off the stems.
  4. Turn on stove and heat oil in frying pan, then put in sweet potato – due to the size of my frying pan I did the veggies in batches.
  5. The sweet potato should be cooked until it is cooked and golden-ish but not too crispy – otherwise you’ll just taste fried starch instead of nice sweet potato! 
  6. Remove sweet potato onto plate with spinach and replace with the squash.
  7. Cooking the squash is a bit odd – I wasn’t 100% sure what it should taste like which made things interesting! I added more oil and sort-of deep fried it until it was golden and soft but with crisp edges.
  8. When the squash is cooked, dump it onto the plate with the sweet potato and spinach, then add the capsicum and chickpeas. There should be very little oil in the pan – you’re shallow-frying them. The oil is in fact mostly there for the benefit of the capsicum. Add the mixed herbs over the chickpeas – sprinkle liberally.
  9. Move the chickpeas and capsicum almost constantly with tongs or something similar – we’re looking for the chickpeas to brown up and for the mixed herbs to be spread around the pan. BE CAREFUL! The heat should be turned right down, as the chickpeas will pop out of the pan otherwise!
  10. Remove pan from heat once chickpeas are brown and capsicum is cooked. Tip everything onto the plate. Then add the tuna, including the flavouring. Mix up with your fork to stir all flavours through and there you have it.
  11. Bon apetit!

Now I’ve moved, I’m going to have more of a chance to experiment with things depending on my mood. Expect more recipes!

Recipes for When It’s Hot

It’s been very hot in my part of Australia recently. Around Christmas we had a spell of scorching hot days and we just finished another.

Naturally this means I’ve been having lots of salads and so on. I thought I’d record some.

Tuna Salad.


  • 1 bigger / 2 smaller cans of tuna (seasoned with lemon & pepper);
  • Several handfuls of lettuce (we used iceberg);
  • Ten-fifteen cherry tomatoes, halved;
  • 1 spring onion;
  • Experiment with other ingredients if you want to.


Halve tomatoes, wash & shred lettuce, chop up spring onion, and mix in a bowl with the tuna.

Serves 2.

Chicken and Salad (Wraps)


  • Chicken pieces*;
  • Handfuls of lettuce (e.g. iceberg);
  • 1 medium-sized tomato;
  • 1/2 spring (or salad) onion;
  • Extra veggies if wanted – I reckon carrot would go well with this and maybe some beetroot;
  • Grated cheese;
  • Mayonnaise if desired, or perhaps some pickle relish;
  • Wraps (or you could cook some rice instead I guess).


  1. Prep and cook the chicken pieces.
    * = depending on your tastes/ willingness-to-bother, you could use already prepped and cooked frozen chicken pieces (from freezer section of supermarket) or some breast/thigh fillets from the meat section.
  2. Assemble and prep other ingredients – wash, grate and chop them, depending on what they are.
  3. If using rice – i.e. if you’re bothered enough to cook something else as well as the chicken (remember it’s hot, as in 36*C hot 😛 ) – then cook that too, either in the microwave (15 or so mins, stir & check for water absorption, give it a bit more) or on the stove (however long it takes for the water to be absorbed by the rice).
  4. When chicken is ready, lay out plates.
    If using rice, dish that up and assemble the other ingredients into a salad around the chicken.
    If using wraps, lay them (use two at once if they’re thin) on the plates, then assemble everything else. The mayo and cheese should be added last or close to that.
  5. Close up wraps and EAT!

Chicken/etc., Salad and Noodles


  • Chicken pieces (or beef/kangaroo/etc. probably could be used?);
  • Lime juice
  • Spices/herbs: cumin, paprika, coriander;
  • Refried bean mix paste;
  • 2 carrots;
  • 1 spring onion;
  • Several handfuls of lettuce;
  • 1 cob corn;
  • 1/2 cucumber?;
  • Cherry tomatoes;
  • “Chinese noodles” of some sort – possibly rice noodles? They were long, thin and whitish.


  1. Cook chicken pieces in deep frying pan with lemon juice, spices/herbs and refried bean paste (a bit like how my house makes a burrito mix).
  2. Make salad by washing, chopping, grating/peeling and just generally preparing veggies – including halving the cherry tomatoes, grating the carrots, slicing up the spring onion and so on.
  3. Cook the Chinese noodles – it only takes a few minutes.
  4. Serve and eat!