I remember how ecstatic I was when I received my invitation to apply for the Freshly Blogged challenge. Forty blogger contestants, weekly cooking challenges, great prizes and eliminations. After the initial cloud of elation dissipated I realized what this entailed and almost didn’t go ahead, the intimidation! I mean while my little blog is mostly about food, its not exactly a cooking blog. After a few tiny anxiety attacks later I applied, and I’m so happy I did. This creative cooking journey has been a huge learning curve and adventure for me, but more about that for another post (with all the flops included!).
Ten weeks later and I’m in the Top 9! And two weeks left to go for the final cook off, live in Joburg. Please take a minute to vote for my burger HERE. You can either register on the site to vote (you won’t get spammed), or sign in with your Facebook, Twitter or Gmail account. You will see the options when you click the vote button. It takes a while to load once you’ve signed in so wait a few moments until the box disappears and you’re ready to Click and help me win 🙂
This week: ‘Sauce It Up’ – a Burger Challenge. Ingredients include: 500g beef chuck, Spur basting sauce, 4 burger buns, gherkins, 1 kg potatoes, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and onions. An optional three grocery items and one meat/dairy item (I chose garlic mushroom sauce, garlic and herb spice, 1 can of tomato puree and mature cheddar cheese).
I decided to go for a satisfying, saucy and meaty feast of a burger.
Behold, this beautiful mess:Saucy and tender beef chuck piled on a roll, with melted cheese, mushroom sauce, crispy onion rings and smashed cheesy baby potatoes on the side. Roll up your sleeves and tuck into heaven.First, wash your beef and remove excess gristle, pat dry and season. Sear in a very hot pan with olive oil for 30 secs on each side. Place into an oven proof dish with a lid and cover with equal parts Spur basting sauce and tomato puree (I used 1 cup of each), 1 Tbsp garlic and herb spice, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, pepper and salt. Add fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme too!
I left it in the fridge overnight and popped on the lid and into the oven the next day. 200 deg, for 2.5 hours, and you get this beautiful pot of falling apart meat. Remove from the sauce and take out the bones. Pull it all apart. Add some sauce to it, or mix it all back into the sauce. For the potatoes: boil them whole in salted water, make a cross on each and place on an oiled baking tray. Smash each carefully with a potato masher and brush with olive oil. Add grated cheese and seasoning and spices, and bake on 200 deg until golden.
Onion rings should not slide around inside the crisp batter when you eat it, so this is my go-to recipe: Soak onion rings in milk for 15 mins, remove milk and coat in flour, salt and pepper. Add splashes of milk until its just about sticky, mixing with your fingers. Deep fry in hot oil.
Time for the eating! I started baking this when I came from work, at 6pm so of course it was too late for dinner. Its more suitable for a weekend dish, or if you get home earlier.
But that didn’t stop U from lurking around waiting for me to stop shooting and devour the masterpiece! No wonder he didn’t eat a lot suppertime, growing boys need burgers.He hates mushrooms, so I had to scoop it off with the cheese. Please Mom, can I begin? No wait! One last shot… That’s just meat and sauce, no onions or anything mixed up in there. Heaven!!! And a little mouse came in for the onion rings 🙂
Don’t forget to vote for The Hot Mess 🙂