Review: V Burger Bar

V burger Bar are a new(ish?)  burger joint towards the bottom of the Vic Park cafe strip on Albany Highway. We tried it out because 1) we were in the market for a fast food lunch in Vic Park and 2) we wanted to try something from the Entertainment Book.  V Burger Bar have a good selection of different burgers – including 2 different vege options,  but ultimately neither of us could go past the Pepperizo with chorizo and grilled capsicum.  I *loooved*  the grilled capsicum in this burger – and the chorizo was a great addition too.  The burger was pretty good – not too greasy and overall it was a very satisfying and messy experience (it’s a big burger).   We couldn’t decide between chips and onion rings, so we got both.  The chips were so-so – they had an interesting crsipy coating but were  a little on the cold side and (to be honest) I’d have had a little more salt on them.   The onion rings, however,  were delish! Unlike Hungry Jacks/Burger King,  these were real onion rings – not something that has  been reconstituted into regular rounds.

At $10-$15 (plus ~$5 for chips and a drink) a V burger is probably twice the price or more of an equivalent Hungry Jacks/MacDonalds meal. However, my V burger left me feeling *full*, rather than with a slight sense of shame and cravings for a further sugar/salt/fat fix. I’m not sure how often we’ll be back  for more burgers,  but I suspect V Burger Bar will make it even less likely that we’ll be visiting HJ/Maccas anytime in the near future – and that’s perfectly ok with me!

Details: V Burger Bar, 12/910 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park, 6101. Phone: (08) 9355 3702

Rating: 7/10

V Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

MasterChef and Social Media

Perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention last year,  but contestants from Season Two of Masterchef Australia seem to be much more prominent on social media than those from Season One – twitter in particular.  (Indeed, the only contestant from Season One I’ve seen on twitter is Poh Ling Yeow and Poh’s twitter account is as depressing, as her ABC show is divine).

Few contestants seem to have been tweeting before the show – with Marion Grasby and Adam Liaw are exceptions.  The most activity seems to have been in the last week, which is not surprising,  given that the Final was last Sunday when, presumably, all further embargoes were listed.  Content, particularly on the new websites is fairly light and I’ll be interested in seeing  who manages to sustain interest and activity over the next few months.

Here’s a round up of the on-line presences of Australia’s Top 24 Amateur Cooks from 2010*.  I’m finding the difference in twitter accounts particularly interesting – there seems to be a whole microcosm of twitter just in these contestants.

Adam Liaw tweets at @adamliaw, follows 50 people, and has 1300 followers. As previously mentioned, Adam was one of the few contestants who tweeted before the program and his final tweet before, presumably, leaving to participate in Masterche is quite sweet. Adam has resumed tweeting since yesterday (28th July) and will hopefully continue now that he has a new iPhone. (EDIT 3/08/10:  Adam has a blog at : http://adamliaw.com/ Like his twitter account, it looks to have been active before Masterchef,  though again just coming out of a long hiatus.)

Callum Hann tweets at @Callum_Hann (follows 2, 204 followers).  Callum has yet to tweet, but I can’t help but feel intrigued about the two tweeters he’s currently following: @Dymocksbooks and @HootSuite.  Go figure.

(EDIT 1/08/09:  Callum now has a new online presence: tweets at @callumskitchen (following 6, followers 345), which he looks to have started about 2 days ago. Also is an associated blog: http://callumskitchen.com/ in a festive green (no real content yet,  but lets give him a couple of weeks to settle.  Presumably the @Callum_Hamm twitter account is a fake…)

Claire Winton Burn doesn’t tweet,  but has been actively promoting on Facebook since Sunday and her website certainly looks lovely. Her blog is not yet active, but she has a mailing list to join (no mail outs yet tho). Her latest (and only) article on quinces does suggest she will be a very good food writer, however.

Jimmy Seervai tweets at @Jimmy_Masterchef (following 54, followers 703) and has a website at http://www.jimmysspicekitchen.com.au/ Jimmy’s only been tweeting for a week, but he seems keen and I’m certainly looking forward to trying his Chai Brulee (assuming it sets this time). His website is slick, but suffers from a background picture that took an interminable length of time to download at low internet speeds (at work, don’t ask) and a few spelling mistakes. I’d probably prefer something a little less designed but that had easy and obvious places to comment and follow an RSS feed.  His Sunday Roast Lamb does, however, look delish.

Courtney Roulston is not yet on my radar.

Alvin Quah launched his website very soon after he left the show,  which I thought was a great move.  However it’s not been updated in over 2 weeks now,  which kinda loses momentum (to be fair,  he has been selling iPhones with Adam – he might be busy). His blog entries so far have been content free, and he currently  a single recipe for his drunken and bruised (which I am looking forward to trying).  I want to LOVE what Alvin does,  so I’m hoping for more content soon.

Aaron Harvie has protected his tweets (following 49, followers 235), but seems willing enough to allow people to see them if you request access (he did for me).  Is it worth it? Lets just say Aaron rarely gets close to his 140 character limit.  His tweets are short, obscure and probably most charitably considered a form of performance art.  No sign of his line of sauces, but his facebook site has more activity (could do with a name change though). (EDIT 03/08/10:  Arron has started a tumblr blog: http://foodthatrocks.tumblr.com/  So far it includes one recipe and more performance art)

Jonathan Daddia started tweeting strongly (following 899, followers 890), but, like Alvin, has dropped off in the last 2 weeks. His website still  documents his (former?) life as business consultant, though there’s a small note saying an update will come. Perhaps his new restaurant is keeping him busy.

Marion Grasby is possibly the only contestant to be food blogging before the Masterchef competion.  Her twitter account is: @hostesshedonist (following 499, followers 1341) and her blog is: http://www.hedonistichostess.com.au/ Happily, after no tweets for almost 9 months, Marion appears to have started tweeting again (like, yesterday).  I hope her blog (not updated since last August) will be back in action soon too, as it has some lovely food writing and some great recipes.

Peter Kritikides has a twitter account set up at @PeteKrita (following 75, followers 369).  He’s using it sporadically but it seems to be for a bit of social interaction, rather than promotion.

Joanne Zalm’s twitter account (@joanneazalm, following 27, followers 65) also seems to be set up for social interaction rather than promotion.  And, er, commenting on UFC.

Matthew Caldicott tweets at @mattcaldi (following 51, followers 318) and has a website at http://www.makesyouscreamforicecream.com/ Matt’s blog is an old school blogspot account.  His blog shows promise as a casual food blog (if some ‘homestyle’ photography); from his tweets it looks like he’s trying to get old-school commercial restaurant experience to rather than leverage for fame.

Sharnee Rawson is tweeting at @Sharnee_R (following 87, followers 232)  and like Matt has set up a blogspot account: http://sharneerawson.blogspot.com/ (with an unforutately busy background).  It’s only been going three days, but there’s a good mix of topics so far.

Skye Craig has twitter (following 49, followers 604), facebook and a website, and is using them all fairly heavily to promote he new dessert business, Wild Sugar.  Like Jimmy, Skye is leveraging herself pretty effectively and her desserts do look delicious

Jake Bujayer has set up a website to promote his seafood market stall, which sounds like it’s going great guns.  It’s a pretty static website, however,  so I’m not sure we should expect much more interaction from Jake in the future.

And the rest? Perhaps not making the top 15 has shamed them,  but I  haven’t found much (any) evidence of the rest of the Masterchef contestants (Fiona Inglis, Carrie Johnston, Philip Vakosl, Daniel Aulsebrook, Dominic Corrigan, Adele Fragnitiol, Kate Nugara, Devon Headland, Sarah Carmichael) on the web. More news as it come to hand….

Finally, a special shout out to to Matt Preston (@MattsCravat, following 67, followers 13,955).  Matt has been an entertaining tweeter during the  competition and I think the fact that his total followers is greater than the sum of all the Masterchef finalists demonstrates his effectiveness and appeal.

* Do you have an update or further info?  Let me know in the comments!!

The Scones are a Lie

Scones my Arse

This is my pumpkin and date scone dough after I had added (approximately) double the self raising flour to the recipe in an attempt to form a workable scone dough. It was at the point I ran out of extra flour.

The recipe in question was from taste.com, who are normally very reliable, though not in this case: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/23985/pumpkin+and+date+scones

I didn’t even add all the pumpkin and milk I was supposed to, and yet I ended up with batter, not dough. Indeed, if I’d bothered to read the comments I would have found someone who had experienced the exact same problem, and possibly I would  have not added quite so much milk (or perhaps *any* milk, until I had determined whether it was needed). Anyway, I took the advice of Bonnie9683, added a bit more brown sugar and spices, and bunged it in to two loaf tins. Apart from taking much much longer cook than the 15 minutes quoted for the scones, the bread actually turned out very well. Great flavour and I loved the vivid orange of the bread. I’d definitely try this again, just not so much milk this time.

Scones my Arse

MasterChef’s Fried Masterstock Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

Breaking news: deep fry a chicken and add sufficient quantities of sugar and salt, and the results are indeed delicious…

MasterChef's Masterstock Fried Chicken Orange Salt MasterChef's Masterstock Fried Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt

Claire’s MasterChef’s Masterstock Fried Chicken with Chilli Caramel and Orange Salt is the first MasterChef recipe I’ve made (actually technically this was made for me for my BF,  but I helped out) and it  was very yum – sticky and messy but yum.  Perhaps the best part was the chilli caramel.  It’s not many dinners I’ll eat that covered in such a hot, sweet, sticky treat (and to be fair it’s probably just as well).  I’m not a sweet tooth by nature,  but the addition of chilli to the caramel made all the difference

A couple of notes:

  • I’ve reviewed the video and Claire’s masterstock was different! It had whole orange segments and onions in it, whereas the recipe had no onions and orange peel, not segments.  I’m not sure why they needed to change it – was it because the recipe Claire was following was actually one she’d memorised from somewhere else and therefore it had to be changed?
  • Deep frying  half a chicken? Bit of a pain in the arse actually. I think if future,  I’d probably make this with chicken thighs or drumsticks and possibly even just shallow fry it in a pan.
  • OMG! Masterstock!  I’ve read about masterstock in the past, and now that I have one of my very own, I’ll treasure it.  I’m not sure how much chicken poaching I’ll do on a weekly basis,  but for now the stock is safely in the freezer, and at the very worst I’ll be using this pungent liquid for flavoring stir fries or soup.
  • Orange salt is orangey! At first the orange salt just tasted like salt,  but the orange flavor seemed to intensify with time. I do need to find other things to use it on now though….

Chicken + Beer Can = BFF??

Beer can chicken - before Beer can chicken - done!

Beer Can Chicken.  Yes,  I didn’t quite believe it when I saw it either.  Still within a couple of days of seeing the post on simply recipes, I had my chicken and my beer, and I’d cooked it within a week. My verdict? I can’t deny that the skin on the chicken was some of the crispiest I’ve ever had – and the chicken was some of the moistest, most falling-off-the-bone. Still, for all that,  I really felt there was something missing from the chicken – stuffing.   Stuffing is one of my most favorite things in the world and I missed it here.  The chicken also could have benefited from some additional flavouring .  I’d rubbed the skin with a chipotle rub I picked up in New York last year (which is *fantastic* on kebabs),  but it didn’t seem to make much impact here. If I have to go stuffing-free, I think my favorite method of roasting a chicken remains Nigella’s basic roast chicken where she sticks a half lemon up the chicken’s bottom (see: How To Eat, Basic Roast Chicken Recipe, page 8). The lemon imparts such a lovely *lemony* flavour  – and the juices make a great gravy.

But I love stuffing the best.

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