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Recipes by Christine Manfield

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Cirrus, Sydney review

Cirrus moves the Bentley team down to the water and into more lighthearted territory without sacrificing polish, writes Pat Nourse.

How to grow rocket

A vegetable patch without rocket lacks a great staple, according to Mat Pember. The perennial performer is a leaf for all seasons.

50BestTalks brings World’s best chefs to Sydney and Melbourne

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

Local Knowledge: Moscow

Director of Shakespeare theatre company Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan walks us through the essential sights and his favourite cafes and restaurants of his hometown.

On the Pass: Danielle Rensonnet

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet talks us through the current menu at the restaurant and her favourite summer ingredients.

Melbourne's Tomato Festival is back in 2017

Returning for another year, Melbourne’s Tomato Festival is ripe with cooking demonstrations, talks, and produce stalls dedicated to plump produce.

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Persian love cake

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Baguette recipes

These baguette recipes are picture-perfect and picnic ready, bursting with fillings like slow-cooked beef tongue, poached egg and grilled asparagus and classic leg ham and cheese.

New South Yarra restaurants

The Melbourne suburb lost some of its lustre in recent years, but is now bouncing back.

Fast summer dinners

From an effortless tomato and ricotta herbed tart to Sri Lankan fish curries and chewy pork-and-pineapple skewers, these no-fuss recipes lend to relaxing on a humid summer's night.

Long Chim, Melbourne review

David Thompson brings the heat to Melbourne with his newest incarnation of Long Chim. Michael Harden drops by for dinner.

Curtis Stone's strawberry and almond cheesecake

"I've made all kinds of fancy cheesecakes in my time, but nothing really beats the classic combination of strawberries and almonds with a boost from vanilla bean," says Stone. "I could just pile macerated strawberries on top, but why not give your tastebuds a proper party by folding grilled strawberries into the cheesecake batter too? Cheesecakes are elegant and my go-to for celebrations because they taste best when whipped up a day in advance."


You'll need

1.2 kg medium-coarsely minced chuck steak, chilled 6 cheddar slices 6 soft white buns, split To serve: iceberg lettuce leaves, pickles, sliced tomato, Spanish onion rings, mustard and mayonnaise


  • 01
  • Working quickly, shape minced meat into six patties slightly larger than the buns, then press in the centre of each to form a dimple.
  • 02
  • Preheat a barbecue or char-grill pan to medium-high heat. Season each patty thoroughly on both sides with salt.
  • 03
  • Grill patties, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 50-60C or until cooked to your liking (2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare).
  • 04
  • Top each patty with a cheese slice and cook until cheese is melted (20-30 seconds).
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, grill bun halves, turning once, until toasted (1-2 minutes each side).
  • 06
  • Place patties between buns, wrap in foil or baking paper and stand to rest (1 minute). Unwrap, season with freshly ground black pepper, add lettuce, pickles, tomato, onion, mustard and mayonnaise to taste and serve.

Great burgers aren't all that easy to find in Australia. Beetroot isn't the problem; it's the impulse to fancy them up. Fancy bread is definitely one of the most common mistakes. A burger calls for soft white rolls, not sourdough; the bun is really just a wrapper for the meat. (If you're patient, consider steaming the buns rather than grilling them - they'll be perfectly giving.) And the use of prime cuts (let alone, gasp, a low-fat mix), though well-intentioned, is definitely a no-no.

The meat is the star and should be treated as such. But don't treat it like a steak, salting it in advance and bringing it up to room temperature. Treat it instead like you would charcuterie, working cold straight from the fridge and handling it as little as possible. Do this and the fat in the meat (a good amount of fat is what makes for a juicy burger) stays cold and the patty will hold its shape without any binder. That's right: your patty should be 100 per cent meat. No egg, no seasoning and, god help us, no breadcrumbs.

Bespoke burger mince blends are all the rage at top American burger joints, but as much fun as it is tinkering with the percentage of skirt steak and intercostals in your mix, a reasonably fatty bit of chuck is hard to beat. The trick is to get a butcher to mince it to order (a coarse grind is good), ideally the same day you're planning to cook your burgers. If it's dry-aged or wagyu or grass-fed or whatever, that's great, but the fat is the key factor.

The two other keys to maintaining the integrity of the meat are salt and proportion. Aesthetically speaking, a burger shouldn't be marred by a too-tall patty with a bun perched sadly on top. You want the meat thick, decidedly wider than it is high, and you want it to cover the bread. The trick here is to shape the patties so they're slightly wider than the bun you're using. They contract while they cook, so a good deep indent in the centre of the uncooked patty is essential if you want a nice, evenly shaped final product. Shape them lightly, too. There's no need to smoosh them down; just make sure they're stuck together. The other thing you don't need to do is mix salt through the meat. We've had the best results simply seasoning both sides of the patties very thoroughly with salt immediately before they go on the grill. Pepper can be left till after the cooking's done.

Whether you're using a char-grill pan, a barbecue or a griller, it's important to let a good crust develop on each side. If you're making cheeseburgers, it's also important to put the cheese onto the meat while it's cooking so it has the chance to melt properly. Here's another place to resist the urge for fanciness: Gruyère works, but supermarket cheese is a valid burger tradition. It's been a subject of heated debate in theGToffice. We've found Coon cheddar slices give excellent results. (Why not try one of each before jumping on either bandwagon?)

Then there's the question of how you rest the meat. Peter Serpico, chef at New York's Momofuku Ko, and a Yoda-like figure in our quest for burger perfection, suggests slipping the cooked meat into the buns and resting them wrapped in foil or baking paper for a minute; the meat relaxes, any seeping juice is saved, and the bread gets a gentle steaming from the inside.

Toppings are very much down to the individual. We like iceberg leaves, pickles, mustard, sliced onion and tomato (but only if it's very ripe), but bread, cheese and meat alone has its satisfactions, as can more baroque constructions. As for traditional go-Aussie additions such as beetroot, fried egg and pineapple, we say to each their own, but there's definitely something to be said for making sure the meat remains the star.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Jan 2011

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