Given "modern" Australia's convict heritage, it's no wonder that the unofficial "national dishes" developed over the last 200 years have been made up of such delicacies as "Meat Pies", "Rissoles", "Damper", "Pavlova" and "Anzac Biscuits". It has only been in more recent times - with the increasing influx of migrants from other nations - that Australia's palate has become decidedly more sophisticated.
There has been a noticeable shift in recent years towards Australia becoming more of a sophisticated "cafe society", particularly in city and suburban areas where restaurants and cafes themselves have become important focal points as places to meet - and eat. Sitting down over a meal has become almost as important as the meal itself. Most cities and regions of Australia now offer a wide range of dining options to suit all palates, and Aussies have become far more interested in experimenting with their cuisine options than ever before. Recent TV cooking shows such as "Masterchef" "Iron Chef" and "Junior Masterchef" have taken Australian's love affair with food to a whole new level.
Having said all that, we still love our Meat Pies, Rissoles, Damper, Pavlova and Anzac Biscuits. Some things are just too important to go to waste.
Oh, yeah - and Aussies are about the only nation on earth that eat their national emblem (Kangaroo). Says a lot about who we are. In fact, our national coat of arms covers 2 of the 5 major food groups (red meat and poultry)
750g(1 1/2lbs) minced steak,
2 beef stock cubes,
1tsp soy sauce,
1 1/2 cups water,
2tbsp plain flour,
salt and pepper,
1/4 cup water (extra)
Pie base: 2 cups plain flour,
2/3 cup water,
1tbsp beef dripping
Pie top: 1 packet puff pastry,
1 egg yolk,
Place meat in a saucepan, stir over low heat until meat is well browned, drain surplus fat,add crumbled stock cubes, water, salt and pepper, nutmeg.
Stir until boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, remove from heat.
Combine extra water and flour, stir till smooth, add the flour mixture to the meat, stir till combined, return to heat, stir till meat boils and thickens, add soy sauce, mix thoroughly. simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
To make the base
Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl.
Place water and dripping in a saucepan, stir till dripping melts, remove from heat.
Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients, add the liquid, stir till combined.
Turn out on a lightly floured board, knead lightly. Roll out pastry to line 8 greased pie tins (around the same size tin as a pot pie comes in) cut off excess pastry from the sides of the tins, fill the base with cold meat filling.
Pie crust (top)
Make up puff pastry (according to directions on packet), roll out on a lightly floured board, cut into rounds for top of pies (use a saucer as a guide for size) wet edges of base pastry and gently press tops into place, trim edges with a sharp knife. Brush tops with combined egg yolk and water.
Bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes until golden brown, reduce heat to moderate and bake a further 10 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce on top. Preferrably in the shape of Australia.
500g(1 lb) beef mince (ground beef),
1 egg, 1 cup bread crumbs (fresh or pack),
1/3 cup tomato sauce(ketchup),
1 tbs each of garlic,
fresh ground black pepper and mixed herbs,
1tsp mustard powder,
Mix all the ingredients together (except oil), this is best done with your hands.
Shape into round balls, heat oil on high in a heavy based frying pan
Turn the rissoles over when one side is browned and slightly crispy (make sure they don't burn).
Cook the other side the same way, turn the heat down to medium and cook through.
Damper is an Aussie traditional bread, usually baked in the ground, and probably is more like a large bush scone than anything else.
2 cups self raising flour,
1 1/2 cups milk,
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and then add the butter, add enough milk to make a manageable dough. Shape into a flat ball and place on a greased and floured oven tray, bake at 220c(400f) for 25-30 mins, baste with milk during cooking.
Serve hot...with lashings of butter (golden syrup and jam, goes very well with this bread)
Cheese and sage damper
2 cups wholemeal (self raising)flour,
3/4 cup grated cheese,
1/2tsp black pepper,
1tsp dried sage leaves,
40g butter or margarine,
1 cup milk(evaporated),
2tsp parmesan cheese(grated),
2tsp poppy seeds.
In a food processor, add the flour, paprika, pepper, sage, add the butter and process, till crumbly.
Add the evaporated milk and milk, grated cheese and mix to a soft dough, on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough and shape into a flat ball (20cm)(8")
Using a sharp knife, cut almost through the dough (making 8 wedges), brush the top with milk and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and poppy seeds.
Bake at 180c(350f) for 25-30 mins, serve warm with lashings of butter.
A traditional Aussie favourite - a meringue and cream mountain in a sweet mixture to keep the kids hyped for hours!
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
pinch cream of tartar (gives the pavlova a crispy crust and gives it volume)
300ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The fruit you put on top is up to your taste. You can use:-
250g strawberries, sliced
2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced
1 or 2 passionfruit
Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a circle (about 20-25cm or 10 inches) onto the paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm and the mixture begins to form peaks.
Add the caster sugar and beat for another 10 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Add the cream of tartar and keep beating for another minute or so. The mixture by now should be firm and creamy in texture.
Spoon mixture onto the circle on the baking paper in the tray that you marked out. Using a spatula (or flat knife), shape your pavlova into a circle with high sides (think in terms of Uluru!). Ideally you want it at least 6-8 cm high (about 2-3 inches). You can make patterns or furrows up the sides.
Bake at 120°c (100°c fan-forced) for 1 hour or until firm and very lightly brown. Allow to cool in oven with door slightly open.
Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla with a mixer or food processor. Place the pavlova on a plate and top with the whipped cream and garnished with the fruit. You may find the pavlova does sink in the middle, but it doesn't matter, as you can fill any holes or sunken bits with more cream. Unhealthy, but oh so yummy! Not recommended as a daily dessert.
1 Cup Coconut
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Tbsp. Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp. Bicarb Soda
2 Tbsp. Boiling Water
Mix together flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Melt butter and golden syrup, dissolve Bicarb Soda in the boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup.
Make a well in the centre of the flour, stir in liquid.
Place in spoonfuls on greased trays and bake 15 to 20 mins at 180oC (350oF)
1 crocodile steak per person
freshly ground peppercorns
lemon aspen or lime juice
gum or tea tree branches
Over a bed of hot coals, place grill or pan over gum or tea tree branches.
Rub crocodile steaks with aspen or juice and sprinkle with pepper.
Put on grill or in pan and turn a couple of times until the steaks are medium rare.
Serve with salad so you can savor the wonderful flavor of the crocodile.
Origin - Unknown
16 prawn tails
16 pieces of thinly sliced crocodile meat
400ml castor sugar
10g sambal oelek
20ml sesame oil
Pat dry seafood, toss in cornflour, deep fry until golden.
Quickly stir fry, sambal and garlic in sesame oil, toss in seafood, sprinkle on salt and pepperleaf.
Serve on fried hokkien noodle and Vietnamese pickles with red ochre sweet lemon myrtle chilli dipping sauce.
4 x 200g Kangaroo Saddle Fillets (desinued)
100gm Puff Pastry
2 Spring Onions
100gm Red Ochre® Bush Tomato Chilli Sauce
500ml Beef or Kangaroo stock
1 level dsp RO Ground Bush Tomato
1 tsp Sesame seeds
Slice the tops of the spring onions diagonally very finely.
Keep in ice water for garnishing the dish.
Slice the white part of the spring onion and then chop finely.
Roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle 8-10 cm wide and approximately 15 cm long.
Spread thinly 1 tspn (30gm) of Red Ochre® Bush Tomato Chilli Sauce and then sprinkle with chopped spring onion.
Roll up length ways in a spiral to result in a "sausage" shape approximately 5 cm in diameter.
Freeze for 30 minutes to firm up and then slice into 8 pinwheels.
Place on silicone paper (Glad Bake) and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for approximately 15 minutes - keep warm.
Grill or pan-sear the kangaroo and keep rare.
Rest in a warm spot for 10 minutes.
For the glaze reduce the stock, Bush Tomato and 70gm of the Red Ochre® Bush Tomato Chilli Sauce in a wide pan down to 200ml.
Place glaze and 1 pastry on each plate, carve kangaroo and place on plate.
Top with remaining pastry and spring onion curls.
© Australian Native Produce Industries Pty. Ltd. 1999 For more recipes and online ordering access Australian Native Produce here.