Babes, Burgers and Booze

Last weekend I catered for my older sister A’s birthday. She had invited 25 of her closest girlfriends around to our place for a day of good food, good conversation, and plenty of cider. Sister-A had left the menu mainly up to me, citing that she only wanted something with salads. Easy. Not so easy was catering for her guest’s various dietary requirements, which included gluten-intolerances, lactose-intolerances, and vegetarians.

I chose a menu consisting of Salmon Gravlax to start which I offered on gluten-free bread, as well as our Grandma’s famous Nuts and Bolts for the vegetarians – a mixture of nuts and yes, those are Nutrigrain.

For the main event, I decided I was going to make 3 different types of burgers. No, not you’re average beef-lettuce-tomato ones smothered in sauce.. These were going to be a little more gourmet.. I was inspired by a recipe from Gourmet Traveller to make Prawn Burgers as they reminded me of summer. From there I decided to slow-cook some pork (as it’s a cheap meat and when feeding a lot of people it becomes a factor) and serve it with apple coleslaw. I also decided to make some satay-tofu burgers based on my favourite “Kung-Fu Burger” from Grill’d for the vegetarians. The burgers were served on small dinner rolls from bakers delight which were the perfect size.

To accompany the burgers, I also served some salads. I had been saving some great recipes from one of those Sunday magazines and decided this would be the perfect occasion to make them. I used lactose-free yoghurt for one of the dressings, but needed to add a little lemon juice and vinegar as the yoghurt was a bit sweet.

Instead of cake, A requested cupcakes. I had run trying to find a gluten and lactose-free recipe, but found a great one that substituted champagne instead of milk. I also used nuttelex margarine and gluten-free flour to keep everyone happy.

All in all it was a great day. Everyone loved the burgers and ate more than I thought! I thought I would have a huge amount of leftovers, but was surprised to only have a few of the pork ones left which I took to the moonlight cinemas that night. Yum!


Nuts and Bolts

Salmon Gravlax

Pulled BBQ pork burgers w/ apple coleslaw

Prawn burgers w/ lemon aioli & shredded iceberg
Satay tofu burgers w/ coriander, shredded carrot & lettuce

Eggplant & watercress salad w/ yoghurt dressing
Fennel, pomegranate & pink grapefruit salad
Roasted cauliflower salad w/ coriander & sesame seeds

Champagne cupcakes w/ dehydrated strawberries


375g box Nutrigrain
500g salted mixed nuts
2 x packets  french-onion soup powder
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup canola oil

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well so that the nuts and Nutrigrain are well coated.
  2. Leave to stand overnight (if possible).

Makes enough to fill 2 bowls as pictured.


350ml red wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup cointreau
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small orange, sliced
3 plums, halved, pip removed
500ml orange lemonade

  1. In a jug, combine all the above ingredients except for the lemonade. Leave to steep overnight.
  2. Just before serving, add lemonade to the wine mix. Serve with ice.

Makes approx. 1L


1kg lean, skinless pork fillet
1 brown onion, chopped
1 tinned tomatoes
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 quantity apple coleslaw (see below)
20 dinner rolls (I pre-ordered mine from Baker’s Delight)

  1. Preheat oven to 125°C.
  2. Place pork in a casserole dish and top with remaining ingredients except for the burger buns. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on a low heat for 4 hours or until falling apart
  4. Shred meat using 2 forks.
  5. Cut rolls in half and fill with apple coleslaw and top with shredded pork. Serve immediately.

1/4 red cabbage, very finely shredded
4 granny smith apples, peeled cored and grated, and mixed with juice from 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients
  2. Season to taste

Makes 20


1 kg whole green banana prawns
olive oil
20 dinner rolls
1/2 quantity lemon aioli (see below)
1/2 large iceberg lettuce, finely shredded

  1. Shell prawns and remove digestion tract by cutting a small incision down the back of each prawn.
  2. Chop prawns finely and shape into 2 patties.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat and fry patties for 3-4 minutes either side or until cooked through. Keep warm.
  4. Slice dinner rolls in half and spread with a little aioli. Fill with shredded iceberg lettuce and top with a prawn pattie. Serve warm.

5 egg yolks
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp salt
750ml canola oil

  1. In a food processor, process egg yolks, mustard, garlic, lemon zest and salt until smooth.
  2. With the motor running, in a steady stream slowly drizzle in canola oil until aioli is thick.
  3. Chill before serving

Makes 20


20 pieces satay marinated tofu (available from safeway)
20 dinner rolls
1/2 quantity lemon aioli (see above)
20 baby cos lettuce leaves 4 carrots, peeled and grated
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place tofu on a baking tray in an even layer and cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until warmed through.
  3. Cut rolls in half and spread with aioli. Fill with lettuce, carrot and a piece of tofu. Top with coriander. Serve warm.

Makes 20


3  eggplants, cut into chunks
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp sea salt
400ml lactose-free plain yoghurt (I found mine was a bit sweet so I added some lemon juice and vinegar until I achieved the desired taste)
1/2 cup shredded mint leaves
1 bunch watercress, leaves picked
1 tsp sumac (middle-eastern spice)

  1. Heat oil in pan and deep-fry eggplant pieces in small batches till golden. Drain on paper towel. Keep warm.
  2. Combine garlic, salt, and yoghurt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. When ready to serve, combine eggplant, mint leaves and watercress in a serving bowl. Drizzle over yoghurt dressing and sprinkle with a little sumac.

Serves 4-6


2 pink grapefruit
1 small fennel bulb, finely shaved
1 pomegranate
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 green Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 handful fresh coriander leaves, shredded
1 large handful  butter lettuce
10 small radicchio leaves, trimmed
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Peel and segment the grapefruit and save the juice.
  2. Cut pomegranate in half and tap the back with a wooden spoon to remove the seeds. Keep the seeds though!
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over a little olive oil before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6


2 cauliflower, cut into small florets
olive oil
2 tbsp ras el hanout
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place cauliflower on a baking tray and sprinkle over a little olive oil and the ras el hanout spice. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Keep warm.
  3. When ready to serve, combine cauliflower and coriander in a bowl. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and top with sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6


2/3 cup nuttelex
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
2 3/4 cups gluten-free plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1 cup champagne
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites
1 quantity frosting

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners (recipe makes about 15 cupcakes)
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream nuttelex and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt in three additions, alternating with two additions of the champagne combined with vanilla.
  5. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff.  Fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the batter then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  6. Transfer batter to cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.
  7. Bake approximately twenty minutes, or until cooked through and slightly golden. Cool about five minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once completely cooled, pipe on frosting and top with a dehydrated strawberry.

1 punnet large strawberries
4 cups gluten-free icing mixture


  1. Preheat oven to 50°C. Slice strawberries into 2mm thin slices and place in the oven for 4-8 hours or until dried through. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  2. Combine icing mixture and enough champagne to make a really thick icing.

Makes 15 approx.

This entry was posted in Dessert/Sweet, Lunch/Light Meal, Special Occasion Menus, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Babes, Burgers and Booze

  1. Sarah says:

    Suz this was truly a birthday to remember! Thanks for all your hard work…well worth it.x

  2. Pingback: It’s Taco Night. | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

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