This coming Monday is Australia’s (official) National Day. For my non-Australian readers, the date (January 26th) is the anniversary of the arrival of white European settlement on Australian soils back in 1788, though Australia was inhabited long before this time by Indigenous Australians, and Australia as a nation was not established until over 100 years later.
Australia day falls in the middle of the summer, and therefore usually means a trip to the beach, and/or a BBQ in someone’s backyard listening to the Triple J Hottest 100. It also means a public holiday, which means a long weekend, which is always good news in my book.
In an incredibly unpatriotic move, a look through my recipe archive reveals absolutely no “Australian” recipes. There’s no meat pie recipes (seriously? On a vego health blog? ;) The desserts section sports no pavlova (is that really all that Australian anyway?) and there are definitely no Vegemite sandwiches to be seen! (Do we even need to go there?) To be quite honest though, most of these foods aren’t ones that feature at all in my diet. Most of my recipes and cooking is influenced by other food blogs, or by my Italian background, travelling, or food I have eaten at various restaurants and cafes over the years. Living in a multicultural society here in Australia we are very fortunate to have a massive range of authentic cuisine on display in most cities, and I think that this food heavily influences the diet of most Australians.
However, being Australia day I thought I might showcase for my overseas readers some of the uniquely Australian foods and recipes, and in the true spirit of mateship, I’m pointing you in the direction of some of my fellow Australian food bloggers to introduce you to traditional Australia tucker.
Ah, the pavlova. A contentious dessert that – like the nationality of Russell Crowe, Crowded House and Phar Lap – Australians and New Zealanders have fought furiously over the true origins of since the early days of colonisation. This dessert, usually served at Christmas time (and on Australia Day), is a meringue case filled with whipped cream, berries and other fresh fruit.
The (meatless) “sausage” roll
Whilst perhaps not technically a homegrown Australian recipe, you would be hard-fetched to go to any Australia Day BBQ (or kids birthday party/morning tea/afternoon tea/other social event) without at least seeing some variation on a sausage roll. I was never a huge fan of the sausage roll growing up – and obviously less so now! – so instead I’ve picked out some healthier vego options which are waayyy more my style!
The humble lamington
Most countries have some kind of traditional cake recipe. In Australia, we have just the one – the lamington. Baked in a flat, rectangular pan, coated in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. If you’re lucky, you may get a smathering of jam in the middle, and if you’re really lucky, perhaps a dollop of cream as well.
True Blue ANZAC biscuits
ANZAC biscuits are the quintessential traditional Australian homemade biscuit, made up of oats, golden syrup, butter and coconut. As the story goes, ANZAC biscuits got their name as wives would send them to their soldier husbands during the First World War as their ingredients wouldn’t spoil easily.
Oh my Tim Tam
Tim Tams, for the uninitiated, are Australia’s shining star when it comes to chocolate biscuits. Chocolate cream sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits coated in chocolate. It’s a chocolate overload which has families fighting over the last one, partly because they are addictive and incredibly moreish, and also because the packet contains an uneven 11 biscuits which either leaves a winner or loser, depending on if you’re the lucky recipient of the last Tim Tam or not. And if you manage to get your hands on one of these little chocolately sensations, there is a correct and incorrect way to eat them. If you take a bite like you would a normal biscuit, then you’re doing it wrong! If instead you bite off each end and dunk it in your cup of tea and suck the tea through from the other end, your doing it the correct way (and are also now covered in chocolate!)Tim Tams – Wholefood Simply (pictured)