Burger with the lot thanks, mate

Aussie burger

Nationalism's a funny thing. Intellectually I find it sort of stupid when people tout their nationality as if it were some sort of personal or moral characteristic, as if they were responsible for not being the kid born 2 seconds later in whatever country they passionately rally against. But at the same time, when I think about the deliciousness, the sheer edible genius one would get down here if they ordered a 'burger with the lot', I can't help thinking Australia is objectively better than your stupid country.

What defines 'the lot' varies depending on were you go, but there's no doubt that it includes beetroot (beets) and a fried egg. Some would include grilled pineapple with that, and while it's ubiquitous up north, down here in South Australia it's not necessarily a given. And I'm not really a fan.

Regardless of what you put on your burger, the burger-making basics still apply. In making a burger one should try to construct it so that each bite contains a bit of everything. This is impossible to achieve with a fried egg — rather, one is advised to eat around the burger to ensure that last bite contains yolk. It's also easy to inadvertent made a burger middle-heavy. That is, all of the ingredients get piled into the middle, making the edge of the burger simply meat and bread, or even worse, just bread. I find that by making the burger edge-heavy, some of the ingredients naturally slide to the middle and it all works out.

Man that sounded obsessive.

For the burger patty itself, 100% beef is hard to beat. It's easy to do, and by definition couldn't possibly be more beefy. Just salt the outside to encourage caramelisation and you're laughing.

Aussie burger with the lot

The amounts will vary depending on your preference. I don't mean to insult your intelligence by telling you how to make a burger, rather this is what works for me in terms of timing.


  • Burger buns, halved horizontally
  • Minced beef1
  • Cos lettuce, julienned
  • Cooked beetroot, sliced into rounds2
  • Cheddar cheese, sliced
  • Onions, finely sliced into rounds
  • Eggs
  • Ripe tomato, sliced
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

1. Divide the beef mince and shape into burgers 1cm thick and a little wider than your burger buns3. Heat both the oven grill/broiler and a heavy frying pan.
2. Add a generous glug of oil to the pan. Salt one side of the burger and place it salt-side-down in the pan. Throw in the onions and salt these too. Meanwhile, place the burger bun halves cut-side up and toast under the broiler then set aside (leaving the broiler on).
3. Salt the burgers then flip and cook until just done. Remove the onions when they're golden brown and cooked.
4. Remove the burgers to a tray and top with cheese. Place this briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese. Meanwhile, fry the eggs in the frying pan. If your pan is cast iron and still very hot, you can probably do this off the flame with the residual heat in the pan.
5. Now everything's ready and in place. Here's how I construct my burger from bottom to top: Bun, lettuce, beetroot, burger, cheese, onions, pepper, fried egg, salt, tomato, dijon mustard, bun. Serve immediately.

(1) A cut with some fat, like chuck, works best.
(2) You can use canned beetroot — most places do — or boil raw beetroot until completely tender, then drain and rub the skin off while warm.
(3) They will shrink as they cook.



Continuing the Greek theme, I give you pastitsio, the ultimate in Greek comfort food. Much like lasagna, baked ziti, and other baked pasta dishes this is one of those meals that you find yourself sneaking back to a few hours after dinner. When I made this particular batch, if it weren't for my competing desire to leave some for the following day's lunch I'm quite convinced I would have eaten the whole thing in one sitting.

Simplistically, pastitsio is a later of pasta (ziti or macaroni, fastitiously arranged in rows if you can be bothered), topped with an aromatic bolognese, a thick layer of béchamel, some grated cheese, and baked. All of these layers are important and delicious, but the element that really makes a pastitsio sing is the bolognese. Unlike an Italian bolognese this is flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, Greek oregano and bay, which should be used in large amounts to impart a noticable flavour. The recipe for this bolognese is below, but for the rest I'm simply describing the process since the exact amounts will vary depending on the size of your dish.

For the pasta, as well as being tossed with parmesan (or any hard cheese) the pasta is mixed with egg — not so much for flavour but rather to glue the pasta together for easy and attractive servings. The béchamel is your basic white sauce: butter, flour, milk, salt, white pepper, and a grating of nutmeg. Once it's all assembled, grate some cheese on top and bake at 180ºC until golden on top (about 50 minutes).

Pastitsio bolognese sauce


  • 600g beef mince
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tsp dried Greek oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 anchovy
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

1. Heat a heavy pan until very hot, then add the olive oil, beef mince, and some salt. Cook, stirring and breaking up occasionally until the meat is very well browned, then remove and set aside.
2. In the oil left behind in the pan, add the onion, garlic, and cloves and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, the reserved beef, and 1/2 cup of water, then cover and cook on a low heat for 2 hours.