Napa Valley Basil-Smoked Burgers


2/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup Zinfandel wine
1/4 cup lightly packed minced fresh basil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup fine fresh Italian bread crumbs
8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic salt
6 large seeded sandwich rolls, split Vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack
8 fresh basil sprigs, moistened with water for tossing onto the fire
6 slices Monterey jack cheese
red leaf lettuce leaves
6 large tomato slices, about 1/4-inch thick
paper-thin red onion slices, separated into rings
fresh basil sprigs (optional)


  1. In a grill with a cover, prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat cooking.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and pesto. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the sirloin, Zinfandel, minced basil, minced onion, bread crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic salt to taste. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into round patties to fit the rolls.
  4. When the fire is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Toss the moistened basil sprigs directly onto the coals, then place the patties on the grill, cover, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
  5. With a wide spatula, turn the patties and cook until done to preference, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly and top each patty with a cheese slice to melt.
  6. Spread the mayonnaise on the toasted rolls. On the bottom half of each roll, layer the lettuce, burger, tomato slice, and onion ring. Add basil sprigs, if desired, and cover with the roll tops.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: James McNair’s Burgers


Black Truffle and Mushroom Country Bread


100 g assorted mushrooms
25 g black truffle paste


250 g French bread flour
3.75 g fresh yeast
125 g water
7.5 g sea salt
125 g poolish


1.8 g fresh yeast
180 g water
180 g French bread flour


  1. To make the poolish, put all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk until all flour is blended in and the batter turns sticky. Leave it for 12 hours at room temperature.
  2. Stir-fry mushrooms in a little olive oil until fragrant and done. Mix in black truffle paste. Remove and set aside.
  3. Put all dough ingredients into a mixer. Mix for about 10 minutes until elastic. Turn to low speed to mix in the mushroom mixture.
  4. Sieve bread flour to cover the bottom of a plastic square container. Put the dough in. Leave it at room temperature for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Shape them into balls and set aside for 20 minutes to rest.
  6. Press the trapped air out from the dough. Round them. Place each dough into a floured bread basket with the seam facing up. Cover with cling wrap and leave them to proof for 45 minutes.
  7. Line a baking tray with silicone baking mat. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Tip the proofed dough out of the baskets onto the baking mat. Make light incisions on the crust.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 18 to 20 minutes until golden.

Makes 2 round loaves.

Source: Devoted to Bread-making

In Pictures: Sandwiches

Simple Egg Sandwiches

Quail Egg Sandwiches

Tuna and Pickle Sandwiches

Tuna and Coleslaw Sandwiches

Avocado, Potato Salad, Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Hot ans Spicy Beef Sandwiches

Mexican Sandwiches


2 fresh jalapeno chilies
juice of 1/2 lime
2 French bread rolls or 2 pieces of French bread
2/3 cup refried beans, canned or home-made
5 oz roast pork
2 small tomatoes, sliced
4 oz Cheddar cheese, sliced
small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/2 tbsp creme fraiche


  1. Cut the chilies in half, scrape out the seeds, then cut the flesh into thin strips. Put it in a bowl, pour over the lime juice and leave to stand.
  2. Slice the rolls or pieces of French bread in half and remove some of the crumb so that they are slightly hollowed. Set the top of each piece of roll or bread aside and spread the bottom halves with the refried beans.
  3. Cut the pork into thin shreds and put these on top of the refried beans. Top with the tomato slices. Drain the jalapeno strips and put them on top of the tomato slices. Add the cheese and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
  4. Turn the top halves of the rolls over, so that the cut sides are uppermost, and spread with creme fraiche. Sandwich back together and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Mexican Red Hot Cookbook

Classic British Toast with Scrambled Egg and Anchovies


4 slices bread
60 g butter
3 teaspoons Gentleman’s Relish or anchovy paste
3 tablespoons milk
2 large eggs
60 g can anchovies with oil reserved
pinch paprika
parsley sprigs, to garnish


  1. Toast bread and remove crusts. Butter the toast and spread thinly with the Gentleman’s Relish or anchovy paste.
  2. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan.
  3. Whisk together milk, eggs and 2 teaspoons anchovy oil. Pour into the pan and stir continuously over a gentle heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, spread on top of the anchovy toast and cut into fingers.
  4. Arrange thin strips of anchovy fillets in a lattice pattern on the top and sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with sprigs of parsley and serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Breakfasts and Brunches