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Sep 13, 2007 05:49 PM

"Cookery the Australian Way"

I happened to notice this cookbook in purple goddess's profile, and realized that it never occurred to me (my ignorance, I know) that there was such a thing as Australian cooking. Would love to know more about it - maybe some recipes?

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  1. Well...not exactly Australian, but I sent away for the New Zealand cookbook "Soul" from the Soul Cafe. What struck me most is the types of fish the book references - I simply never see some of the types in the US.
    Other cookbooks from the region seem to use a lot of lamb, but given the population and climate, not really surprising. Try anything by Bill Granger -good, approachable food.
    As a side note, it might be just me, but it seems like much of the food I make from Bill's Open Kitchen or Soul Cafe is really easy to pair with wine. It seems to pair really well witha broad variety. Just a thought.

    1. There are a few Australian places here in NYC and I have fallen absolutely in love with pavlova (meringue shell with cream and tart fruit) and meat pies. Aussie burgers, topped with onion, beetroot and a fried egg are also pretty fantastic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        Would you mind posting some suggestions on the Manhattan or OB board for me? I love pavlova as well, though I'd not thought of it as an Australian dish. That burger sounds wonderful

        1. re: MMRuth

          The Pavlova cake is said to be 'invented' at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia. Named after the Russian ballerina of the same name. However, New Zealanders debate that the origin of the cake is in NZ in 1919, long before Anna Pavlova visited Australia. The debate goes on, apparently.

          1. re: Gio

            Fascinating - I had absolutely no idea, other than it was named after Pavlova!

            1. re: Gio

              Actually, not the Esplanade Hotel (which is in Fremantle and not Perth city) but the Parmelia Hilton Hotel, which is in the Perth CBD. The chef from the Parmelia Hilton created the Pavlova (or Pav) in honour of visiting Russian ballerina, Ana Pavlova.

        2. This site for Australian Women's Weekly might be a gateway to Australian cooking. They have recipes and also a range of cookbooks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: yayadave

            This is a great magazine, with many good recipes. The Aussies do eat alot of lamb (there are more sheep than people downunder). Also lots of ethnic food, as they have many recent immigrants. The abundance of fish (such as baramundi) and shell fish (such as Morton Bay Bugs) is astonishing. The fruits from the tropical north are delicious -- I've never tasted a better banana. When we lived there 20 years ago, Aussie cookery was just beginning to emerge from the horrible pall of old-fashioned (and bad) British cooking. They've come a long way since then.

              1. re: yayadave

                their birthday cake books are the best I have ever come across. I made all my children's cakes from that book and some for adults too. Very easy to follow and they all turned out perfectly.

              2. When I lived in Australia my favorite food magazine was a supermarket cheapie called "Super Food Ideas". Thanks to another CHer I was pointed to which is a search engine for this and other Australian food mags.

                1. Australian cookery is quite similar to contemporary British cooking, with some regional variances. As in the UK, you will find an emphasis on meat dishes with vegetables secondary, but you will also find a stronger ethnic influence, especially Asian, while Indian influences is very common in both countries.

                  The Australians eat lamb by the ton, and seafood, and grilling is very popular.

                  But to be frank, it's going to be hard to classify Australian cooking as a distinctive school of cooking. Anyone from the US/UK will be familiar with most dishes in Australia, and vice versa, with the main exception being certain types of seafood that isn't available in this country (and vice versa), and that the lamb has a stronger flavor that may not appeal to everyone. A few standouts such as vegemite instead of the British marmite, different preferences in condiments, and the Australian proclivity for very bizzare pizza toppings (think BBQ sauce on pineapple).

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: Roland Parker

                      If you have a chance check out the cookbook "Australia the Beautiful" (Elise Pascoe). The massive influx of immigrants has created a light fusion cuisine heavily reliant on superb products that is unique. I am in Los Angeles and have access to incredible food from a myriad of countries, but the way the immigrant population's cuisines have become a part of everyday life in Australia is very different to me at least. To this day a booklet I got at a grocery store check-out counter in Sydney 15 years ago put out by Family Circle on Indonesian Cooking is a favorite - not "dumbed down" to the point of non-recongnition.

                      1. re: torty

                        I think a lot of the attitude is Australia's unique situation. British heritage, Mediterranean climate (for the big cities at least) and proximity to SE Asia. Once Australians embraced the fact that they were closer to Asia than Europe, everything changed. When I lived in Sydney in the early 90s you would swear that the country's national dish was Thai green chicken curry as there were Thai restaurants and take-away everywhere!

                        1. re: drgreg

                          I really like the Maggie Beer cookbooks I bought in Melbourne about 7 years ago: Maggie's Farm and Maggie's Orchard. She and her husband started out as pheasant farmers in the Barossa Valley, one of the famous wine regions of Australia. The recipes in both books are arranged by seasons. There are recipes for lots of unusual things such as quinces, salsify, a gravtuna (not lax), Cumquat and Almond Tart, Loquat Jelly, Goose Egg Custard with Mullberries,Chive Flower Fritters and Sorrel Tart,Chestnut Gnocchi, Oxtail With Oranges, Olives and Walnuts, Pork with Rhubarb (gotta try this one!), a whole chapter on chokos (chayotes) and Chocolate Cake with a Fig Center! If anybody is interested in any of these recipes, I'll be glad to paraphrase.

                          I've used this cookbook many times. It's a treat to read as well, as it's easy to fantasize living in this lovely valley. Don't know if it's available here, but Amazon seems to have every book ever printed in the history of mankind.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            I'm so glad you mentioned Maggie Beer! If you want to see what's she's like, she's got a show on ABC currently. My Mum (back in the old country) put me on to it, and fortunately they podcast each episode so I can watch it in the States - she's a delight (both Mum and Maggie).