Homemade Burger Buns

A homemade burger deserves a fresh baked hamburger bun and this soft bread roll recipe is the perfect solution. Soft and fluffy with just the right amount of salt and sweetness, the way bread should be.

Soft Burger Buns

Makes 8


12g dry yeast 
(3 teaspoons)
20g caster sugar 
(1 teaspoon + 3 teaspoons)
125mls warm water 
(½ cup)
125mls milk 
(½ cup)
1 large egg
30mls vegetable oil (6 teaspoons)
½ teaspoon salt
450g plain flour (3 cups, firmly packed)
15-20g butter (1 tablespoon)


•Place yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and gently whisk in warm water. Set bowl aside in a warm place for five minutes or until mixture bubbles into a froth on top.

•In another small bowl or jug whisk milk, egg, oil, salt and remaining sugar together.

•Combine both mixtures and in a large bowl/standing mixer, mix flour with wet ingredients until mixture begins to come together. Use kneading hooks to work dough until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes).
If you are kneading by hand, 10 minutes on a floured bench or dough board.

•Turn the dough out onto your clean, floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions.
Place each one in a lined or lightly greased baking dish or lined tray. Allow dough to rise (proof) for about 30 minutes before baking.

•Preheat oven to 190°C and place a bowl of water on the lowest shelf.

•Melt butter and brush over the top of each roll and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 


Fried Rice

A truely authentic fried Rice this is not. Fast, simple and versatile is what it is.

The measurements in this recipe are not terribly important. The amount of oil to rice is really the only detail that needs attention. There should be just enough to coat the rice and give it a nice glossy shine. Too much and the dish will be greasy. Too little and the rice will stick to itself and the pan. All other ingredients are not only flexible in quantity but can also be substituted or simply omitted. 

Keeps well, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Fried Rice

1 ½ cups uncooked rice
(Or 2 ½ - 3 cups cooked rice)
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup cooking oil
¼ teaspoon salt *optional
(Or 1 Tablespoon soy sauce)
1 red onion or spring onions -diced
200g canned Spiced Ham (spam) -diced
1 ½ cups frozen peas and corn (drained if canned)

To cook the rice: Place rice in a medium saucepan with  2½ cups cold water. Bring to the boil uncovered then turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and give it a quick stir before replacing the lid and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.
This can be done the day before but it is not essential.

•Heat 1 teaspoon of oil, to medium heat, in a large fry pan or wok, pour in egg and fry until just cooked. Remove egg and cut into small strips or dice.

•Heat remaining oil, to high heat, in pan and add rice, tossing/stirring quickly to coat rice with oil. *Adding salt or soy sauce optional here. Continue stirring for 2 minutes.

•Mix in remaining ingredients (adding the egg last) and continue to stir until all ingredients are heated through.


Cheeseburger Scrolls

Originally, I had thought this would be great recipe for using up leftover burger patties but, as time (and burger nights) went by, I realised how ridiculous the notion was... There's no such thing as leftover patties! If, by some miracle, you do happen to have some, just break or dice them into small pieces.

Cheeseburger Scrolls

Makes 22

Need a yoghurt free dough recipe? Try this one.
Scroll Dough
1 cup Greek or Natural Yoghurt
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Caster Sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
300g Beef Mince
½ teaspoon Salt 
½ teaspoon Pepper
1 medium Brown Onion, finely diced
60mls* Tomato Sauce (¼ cup)
30mls* American mustard (⅛ cup)
*according to your tastes
2 cups grated Tasty Cheese

•Pour yoghurt into large bowl. Add sugar to flour and mix flour into yoghurt, ½ cup at a time until dough is a rollable consistency.
You may need to add a little more flour if dough is too sticky.
•Roll dough into a rectangle, about 8mm thick, approximately 25x40cm
•Lightly score dough’s surface with a fork.
Heat oil in frypan, on high. Add beef mince, salt and pepper. Brown mince well adding diced onion halfway through cooking.
•Preheat oven to 180°C
•Spread beef and cheese evenly over dough, press down lightly.
•Drizzle tomato sauce and mustard evenly.
•Roll, lengthwise, into a log, firmly but careful not to push the filling out the top.
•Using a sharp serrated knife, cut roll into sections about 2 ½ cm thick. Place each scroll on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. Scrolls will be golden brown and aromatic.


Degradation = Popularity. No Thanks!

I may not always get it right in my personal life but when it comes to what I say on this blog and my public pages, I do tend to overthink it. Usually that's considered a bad thing when it comes to writing, particularly from the heart, but I have come to learn that in my particular area of blogging (budget and food) sensitivity of diversity is a severely lacking trait.

Yesterday I watched a Thrifty Blogger fall from grace with one single indiscretion laying insult to a large group of readers.
This lady has a reasonable sized following (although smaller now) and the opportunity to empower a great deal more but, disappointingly, has chosen to put down the very people who need her support the most. I won't go into detail but essentially, it was suggested that a lot of families make unhealthy choices simply because they are lazy. After an overwhelmingly negative response to her post, she removed it, but offered no apologies.

This is where I become disillusioned by the blogging world. The larger the following, the less they care? It's not true of all, I know that well enough. But it is true of, at least, some and it remains to be seen which is more dominant.

Is this the future for the internet? 
Does the duty of care for others cease to be important once a brand has been established?

People make mistakes. I sure as hell do. But I want to make this promise: I will not assume to know what is best for you, your family or your situation. I may not be sure of the direction I am going but I definitely know which road I do not want to take!

If you are a blogger or regular sharer of helpful advice, wouldn't you prefer to lift up one person than put thousands down?


Don't Hide The Zucchini - Just This Once

Apparently zucchini is the most common choice when it comes to hidden vegetables. Veggie smugglers seem fixated with grating it into everything. I had started to wonder if my dear friend Zucchini had super powers with all the attention it receives. But alas, a mere vegetable is he (although technically a fruit) with a noted talent for blending in with the crowd.

Even without any awesome special powers, I can't help but feel sorry for poor invisible Zucchini. Always hiding in the shadows. Never basking in the glow of centre stage.

This one is for you, Zucchini. Today you are the star!

Aglio ed Olio Zucchini

(Garlic & Oil Zucchini)

Serves 1-2

1 Zucchini
½ Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic

•Slice zucchini about ½cm thickness lengthwise.
Toss slices in oil to coat.
•Peel garlic cloves and give each one a good bash with the flat side of your knife.
Rub garlic on each zucchini slice.
•Heat a frypan, grill or BBQ to medium/high heat.
Cook zucchini and garlic together until zucchini is browned and just softened through, about 2 minutes each side.


Sunday Brunch - Scotch Pancakes

Pancake, Hotcake, Dropscone?
Who cares?!
Scotch pancakes contain raising agents for a thick and fluffy result. 
And so, in order to be foodatomically correct, I dub thee Scotch Pancakes. Rise and be fluffy!

What's in a name? Would not a flat cake by any other name taste just as sweet - or savoury?

Scotch Pancakes

2 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups milk (+ a little more)

¼ cup chocolate (chips, shaved or chopped) 

•Whisk all ingredients, except chocolate, together. Mixture should form a thick but pourable batter. If too thick add small amounts of milk until smooth and pourable.
• Heat a large frypan/skillet to medium high.
• You can use a small amount of butter or oil if necessary to keep pancakes from sticking to the base.
• Using a soup ladle or large spoon, spoon mixture into frypan - about ¼ of a cup per pancake. Sprinkle chocolate evenly on surface.
• Cook on one side until bubbles form and being to burst on the surface (about 2 minutes), flip over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

Serve as is or top with fruit, syrup, butter, whipped cream...... anything that takes your fancy!


Glazed Ham and Pineapple Skewers

A while ago I was challenged to come up with some canned/packaged goods recipes.
A big reason why struggling families might rely on canned and packaged foods is that donations need to have a reasonable shelf life. To be honest, I didn't expect this challenge to be as difficult as it is and I certainly have a new respect for those who, for whatever reason, rely on long life products as their main food source.


Baked Chorizo and Sweet Potato Risotto

When I published the third edition of  2 Weeks of Dinners for Five I did not imagine that it or the baked risotto would raise so much interest. I’d like to thank everyone who expressed an interest in this recipe and apologise for delay in getting it out to you. I hope your patience will be rewarded with what I believe is a pretty darn tasty meal.

As the name implies, it’s baked.
If, like me, you find it difficult to tend to the stove top for a full half hour with no interruptions this recipe may be the answer you’re looking for. The best part: it's adaptable. Add peas and corn, grated zucchini, swap out chorizo for ham/chicken etc. As long as whatever you add won't absorb the liquid you're good.

You will need a 4ltre (minimum) dutch oven/casserole dish OR a large fry pan and 4ltre capacity baking dish with lid.

*I usually pre-bake the sweet potato up to two days before hand whilst the oven in already in use for something else (waste not want not 😉) 6-8 x 1cm thick slices, 190°C for 20-30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

Baked Chorizo and Sweet Potato Risotto