Before this month, the only thing I’d heard about Australian food was that they have Vegemite sandwiches—thanks to the Men at Work—but Australia was loaded with many amazing dishes and desserts. I baked lots of pies for dinners and lots of desserts and even discovered the closest thing I’ve found to heaven on earth—the pavlova.
Before this food adventure, I’d never heard of lamingtons before. Just as with the pavlova, it appears that New Zealanders and Australians argue about the ownership of the dessert—a spongey butter cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut that is ubiquitous at bake sales. New varieties are popping up, but a popular special one is raspberry jam and whipped cream sandwiched between two lamingtons. Continue Reading…
What’s especially great about this recipe is that it slants away from the strictly traditional dishes and creates a fusion dish incorporating the many cultures represented in Australia today. Chicken pot pie is a traditional favorite along with meat pies, and it’s a favorite of mine, too—here in the States, chicken pot pies are fairly common. I also love Thai food, so this mix of pot pie and curry sounded promising.
I was a little surprised to read that Australians consider chicken parm an Australian food. From what I’ve read, it’s served at almost every pub and, unlike in the States, it’s served with a side salad and chips/fries (although there is debate as to whether the fries should be served under the parm or alongside it) rather than pasta.
There are two variations: one with ham under the cheese and one without. I’m not a big ham fan, so I went with the hamless version. After reading several recipes, I ended up with a combination of a few mainly inspired by this one:
This is the recipe I used for making the traditional Australian meat pie—and boy, was it good! What’s great about the meat pie is that it seems familiar and new all at once—it’s very much a comfort food that feels familiar somehow, but the flavor of the meat filling is subtly different from the American meat seasonings I’m accustomed to.
Here’s what I’ve learned from this project so far:
I’ve been reminded of how much of our planet is covered in water by having coordinates land in the ocean more than anywhere else.
I’ve been reminded how big certain places—Antarctica, Africa and Australia, for example—are.
It has changed my interactions with people. I’m learning more about where they’re from, and thus, more about them as people. Food is something everyone loves and feels connected to, and everyone’s an expert when it comes to favorite regional foods.
Rissoles were the first food stop in Australia. They sounded good and fairly easy to make.
I browsed through several recipes and found some themes in common variations: some included zucchini and carrots, which, it seemed, are also a common side dish, and some had Worcestershire sauce and/or barbecue sauce. I decided to prepare the rissoles with the carrots and zucchini as a stir-fried side dish.
As I was preparing the meat and bread crumb mixture, I thought back to stories I had heard about my great-grandmother making her homemade hamburgers with breadcrumbs, eggs, pepper, and chopped onions. I never thought I’d be making something so similar, and it felt good, like I was doing something worthwhile. The mixture also smelled really incredible.