#AussieEats: A food report from Down Under

Despite being a landmass approximately 31.5 times bigger than the UK, Australia lacks its own unique cuisine. The Great Southern Land however makes up for this with several internationally-renowned eats that are far too delicious to miss…

Vegemite

Photo courtesy of Gordon Wringley

This is perhaps the most Australian food one can get. Although it’s essentially tantamount to England’s Marmite, Australians (of course) claim that this food additive is in fact tastier. It’s less salty, with less of a kick to it, and is made from yeast extract, as opposed to vegetable extract. Although, like Marmite, one can simply enjoy it by lightly spreading it on a slice of toast, the traditional “Aussie” way of eating it is to spread it on crackers with a thin layer of butter and a slice of cheese. And for those who are looking for a healthier twist, Vegemite and avocado are known to be a palatable combination.

Tim Tams

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Once again, another similar snack to one we know and love in the UK – McVitie’s Penguins, Arnott’s Tim Tam takes centre stage for Australia’s chocolate treats. Made up of scrumptious chocolate filling sandwiches between two layers of malted chocolate biscuit and coated in melted chocolate, Tim Tams are the ultimate haven for any chocolate lover. Unlike Penguins, which come in a limited array of Original, Toffee, Mint and Orange, Tim Tams are offered in a wide assortment of mouth-watering flavours ranging from Peanut Butter and Coconut Cream to Red Velvet and Salted Caramel. What’s the best way to enjoy a Tim Tam? Aussies have three words for you “Tim Tam Slam” (also affectionately referred to as “Tim Tam Dunk”). If you’re ever feeling extra indulgent, be sure to try this simple yet devilish good food hack with your Penguin biscuit (or if you’re lucky, a Tim Tam!) by following the steps below:

Step 1: Prepare a hot (but not piping hot) cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or milk

Step 2: Take a tiny bite off one corner of your chocolate biscuit

Step 3: Bite off the corner diagonal to the first bite

Step 4: Dip one of the corners into the hot drink

Step 5: Using your biscuit as a straw, gently sip your drink through the diagonal corner

Step 6: Once the insides of the biscuit have collapsed, place the whole biscuit into your mouth and indulge in its chocolatey goodness!

Lamingtons

Photo courtesy of Monica Shaw

Named after the governor of Queensland–Lord Lamington, Australia’s famed dessert consist of sponge cake squares dipped in chocolate icing and sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut flakes, making them the ultimate go-to treat to satisfy any sweet tooth’s cravings. Much like UK’s obsession with scones, these delectable bite-sized cakes are often enjoyed with cream or jam and can be found in just about any bakery and café you set foot in.

Feel like baking? Give Australian Lamingtons Blog’s recipe a try below:

Ingredients for sponge cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup of butter
  • ½ cup of castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of self raising flour
  • 1 cup of milk

Method:

  • Beat the eggs well, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved
  • Add the milk and vanilla essence and then stir in the self-raising flour and whip the butter into the mixture
  • Pour the mixture into a cake tin or lamington baking dish and bake in a moderate oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes
  • Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes and then stand for 24 hours (preferably in the refrigerator), before applying the icing

Ingredients for icing:

  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • ⅓ cup of cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 3 cups of desiccated coconut

Method:

  • Stir the cocoa and icing sugar vigorously in a large bowl, adding the milk, butter and boiling water, warming the chocolate mixture over a very low heat until it has a smooth creamy texture
  • Cut the sponge cake into equal squares about 5cm x 5cm
  • Using a fork or thin skewer, dip each piece into the chocolate mixture ensuring that the mixture is liberally and evenly applied
  • Dip each piece into the desiccated coconut
  • Allow the lamingtons to cool on a wire tray for several hours

Kangaroo

Photo courtesy of Chen Wu

Yes you read correctly. For all those meat lovers out there, Kangaroo should be on your food radar when in Australia. Possessing a stronger taste than lamb or beef, however milder than venison, its chewy texture is simply unforgettable. If ever given the chance, a delicious recipe to try is Gourmet Game’s spiced kangaroo fillet with couscous, feta, pumpkin, mint and almond salad. Read the recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 500g of kangaroo fillet
  • ¼ cup of dukkah
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g of pumpkin, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced
  • 1 red onion, halved, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, skin on
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped mint
  • 1 cup (200g) of pearl couscous
  • 2 cups of hot vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup of chopped coriander juice of a lemon
  • ¼ cup of crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup of almonds, roughly chopped

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced) and line baking tray with baking paper
  • Place pumpkin, zucchini, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar together in a large roasting pan, tossing until well coated in oil
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • Place pan in preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through
  • For the couscous, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat
  • Add pear couscous and cook for 3–4 minutes or until golden
  • Pour over vegetable stock, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 16 minutes or until stock has been absorbed
  • Stir occasionally

For the kangaroo

  • Heat remaining oil in large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat
  • Rub kangaroo with dukkah, place in frying pan and brown the meat on all sides
  • Transfer kangaroo to prepared baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 5 -10 minutes (depending on its thickness)
  • Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly
  • To serve, combine roasted vegetables, couscous, sliced kangaroo, mint, coriander and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl, tossing until well combined
  • To finish, sprinkle over feta and almonds

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