Mr NQN has learned to not blink an eye when I buy or collect strange things from our travels or meals. We were overseas in Hong Kong when I had a mini burger at the Main Street Deli and they served them with these cute little "Main Street Deli" signs. "Do you think I could take my pick with me?" I asked our host who looked at me as if I were a bit strange because of course I was asking to take something that they would have thrown away with me. What next? A used paper serviette?
"Of course!" she said so I slipped it into my camera bag for safe keeping where I forgot about it for the next year or so. Then I found it and decided that it was the perfect prop for a burger and was glad that I risked embarrassment to take it with me. It has been a couple of months since my last In My Kitchen which is hosted by my friend Celia from Figjamandlimecordial where bloggers show you their other latest acquisitions for the kitchen. Truth be told I wanted to save it up for when I had something exciting and it was after a holiday in Bangkok that I came back laden with knick knacks and bits and pieces pushing my 23 kilo limit to just over.
These cute salt and pepper shakers are adorable aren't they? You can buy them with different colour pairs and one is salt and the other one pepper. I first saw them in New Zealand where I oohed and aahed. They're also in the above pictures along with the pick.
I'm that mad person that often brings back a glass cake tier stand from overseas. I promised Mr NQN that there would be no glass tiered stand for us to carefully carry back. But that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be decorative glasses! These glasses were from Chatuchak market and were a steal at 360THB or $13AUD for a dozen!
The Jade celadon plates and vintage plates were also a pick up and it was at this point when Mr NQN started to question just what our baggage limit was...
A trip isn't a trip without bringing back a jam and this lychee jam looked too scrumptious to pass up. It will be going on a scone with some cream.
Let's file this under "strange things that Asian people eat" ;). I call this fish candy and it's crispy sweet fish with chillies and dried kaffir lime leaves. So scrumptious!
Anyway, that's enough weirdness, let me get back to that burger. Oh yes this burger. I loved it so much I went out and bought more mushrooms and ate it for the next few lunches and dinners. It's a healthy burger just packed full of vegetables where I challenge almost anyone to miss the meat. I used large portobello mushrooms which were marinated in a flavoursome mix of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion and oil for 30 minutes.
These were then grilled until soft and then a layer of cheese was added. I placed them on a grilled bun and then served it with my latest favourite slaw - avocado coleslaw! Where have you been my whole life avocado slaw? The creaminess of the avocado was perfect for the burger and even if you don't eat bread, it's great as a hamburg (aka bunless) burger. The last addition was the sweet potato fries (you can find the recipe here).
And if you're tinkering with some meatless dinners, I urge you to try this burger. Even if you're carnivorously inclined, I'd suggest giving this a go even once. You may end up like me and eat it for the next few days straight!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever gone over your airline luggage weight limit? And do you collect little props or mementos?
Mushroom Burger With Avocado Coleslaw
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Makes 4 burgers
4 portobello or large flat mushrooms
4 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, smashed
A few grinds of black pepper
1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 tablespoons oil
4 burger buns (try and get them around the same size as your mushrooms)
4 slices cheese for grilling
For avocado coleslaw
3 cups finely sliced cabbage
1/4 cup finely sliced red onion
3 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
1/2 large avocado, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Step 1 - Brush any excess dirt from the mushrooms and remove the stalk (you can marinate and grill the stalk and eat it separately). Mix the oil, soy sauce, balsamic, onions, garlic and pepper and spoon over the mushrooms. Marinate the mushrooms with the gills up for between 30-60 minutes.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, make the fried onions. Heat a frypan on medium to high heat and add oil and onions. Turn down the heat to medium and caramelise the onions-you don't have to make them as low and slow as onion jam and the onions here are usually done within about 5 minutes. Reserve for burger.
Step 2 - Preheat the grill and line a baking sheet with foil. Transfer the mushrooms to the baking sheet and grill them for 8-10 minutes gill side up. Halve the buns. Turn over once done and then drain the excess juice away. Top the smooth side with the cheese and grill along with the buns cut side up until the cheese is melted and the buns are toasted. Place the mushroom patty on the toasted bun and top with onions and the top of the bun.
Step 3 - To make the avocado coleslaw (which I make while the mushrooms are grilling for 10 minutes), mix the cabbage and onion in a bowl and toss with hands or tongs until combined. Then add the mayonnaise and toss to evenly distribute. Lastly add the avocado and drizzle the lemon juice to prevent it browning on top of it and then very lightly toss this. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve alongside the burger (or in the burger).