Archive for ‘Australia’

January 24, 2011

Australia Day: The Sweet Crunch of an ANZAC Biscuit


The smell of Australia Day is in the air. I may be in London but that isn’t going to stop me baking an Aussie treat or two. It’s an excuse for ocker baking if ever there was one.

I make ANZAC Biscuits every year around Australia Day so was actually considering giving them a miss this year and trying something different.

I couldn’t have imagined the uproar!

Needless to say, the first Aussie treat I’m baking this year, is ANZAC Biscuits. The great thing about these biscuits is  you only need few pantry staples, including that essential Aussie baking element, dessicated coconut. What would an Australian biscuit be without it? And, with only about 20 minutes from getting the flour out of the cupboard to having a hot biscuit in your hand what could be better? I shouldn’t ever have thought I’d get away with not making them!

ANZAC Biscuits ... all ready for Australia Day

So, with Australia Day day only a couple of days away, we’ve got our jar of ANZAC Biscuits at the ready. M will be taking some into work come the 26th January. And come the weekend, we’ll have some to munch on for the Australia Day BBQ.

‘BBQ?’ you say? Yes it is the middle of winter  in London but but our winter Australia Day BBQ has become something of a tradition.  It happens every year, no matter rain, snow or freezing temperatures! At least we’ll have something yummy to munch on while we gather round the barbie with our scarves and gloves on!

Hope you enjoy making these for yourself!

Sx.

ANZAC Biscuits ... the sweet crunch

ANZAC BISCUITS RECIPE

So what do you need?

1 cup plain flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons water

How do you put it together?

– Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

– In a big bowl, place your flour, oats, cocunut and sugar. Give a good stir to combine.

– In a small saucepan melt butter with golden syrup and water over a gentle heat.

– When it’s all melted together remove from heat and immediately add bicarbonate of soda. Stir quickly to incorporate and you’ll get a nice foamy top to the butter mixture.

– Pour butter mixture over dry mix and stir until it’s all combined.

– Place level tablespoon scoops of the mix onto a lined baking tray. You want them to be about 4 or 5 cm apart as the ANZACs will spread during cooking.

– Press each of the little scoops down gently using a fork. You want them to be a little flattened and with a nice ridge from the fork prongs.

– Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave on tray to firm up for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool.

The trick to making ANZAC Biscuits just the way you like them is how long you cook them for. Cook them more on the 10 minutes side and they’ll be chewy. If you do it this way, they’ll seem slightly soft when you remove them from the oven. Don’t worry about this softness, as long as they are the right colour they’ll firm up when cool. If you like crunchy ANZAC Biscuits then you want to cook them longer; 15minutes as long as your oven doesn’t start to give them too much colour.

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January 20, 2011

The Secret Stays with Me: Salsa della Nonna


On my recent trip to Australia my mum finally taught my sister and I the secret of  Salsa della Nonna. This is the pasta sauce not only our childhood, but hers and her mother’s too.  Notebooks in hand, we hung on every word of direction so we could replicate it ourselves. Our family’s Salsa della Nonna is a two course feast … first the pasta with rich meat sauce and then the large joint of meat which as been slow cooked as part of the Salsa della Nonna is carved and served with vegetables alongside.

Salsa della Nonna

Now of course being the Salsa della Nonna, I am sworn to secrecy regards all elements of it’s preparation. However, what I want to write about is the warmth that accompanies this dish.

Most Italian families have a Salsa della Nonna. They are all very different but also very similar.  Each family has different things they put in the pot to make their sauce unique, but each and every one is infused with a very specifc love and the memory. The evocative nature, not only of the smell, but the taste, the textures, all feels like family. For me, each mouthful is re-assuring in the way it brings on floods of memories of family sat around the table and sharing from great central plates of food.

The joy of a good sauce is most famously shared by Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas. I only have to think of this scene and I start drooling.

(You’ll have to click the link to get there as there are embedding restrictions on it)

So now that my sis and I have been taught, both M and I are happy that I’ll be able to make my Great Grandmother’s sauce here in London. But, I’m sorry to say the secret of the sauce is going to have to stay with me … hopefully I’ll never need it in prison.

Sx.

I’d love to hear about any of your memories of your old family favourites … do share!

December 19, 2010

Good Bite In Australia: Gone Fishing


For many modern men the hunter gatherer instinct can only be displayed in their masterful control of a shopping trolley around the supermarket aisles; squeezing and tapping produce as they go. I can’t even claim this as Ocado do the hunting and gathering (and delivering)  for me. But that’s London.

On the remote island  in Western Australia where S and I have been staying there are no supermarkets. No Ocado. In fact there are no shops of any description. The nearest town is a boat ride away. We have a packed fridge so there is no fear of going hungry but the promise of fresh fish is there in the estuary. I’ve not fished since childhood and then it was with a cheap rod or a net. We didn’t catch much and what we did we’d throw back. So with this in mind I’m eager but not overly optimistic.

Optimistic ... maybe not

The Almanac tells us that the fish will be biting at 11.43 and biting they were. I get a few nibbles on the line before a big pull. Initially I haven’t a clue what to do but I soon have 3 people shouting instructions. The Aussies seem doubtful of my ability as essentially a first time fisherman and only Englishman in the group. But I almost surprise myself as I reel the fighting fish in and it drops onto the jetty. Flipping wildly until the hook is removed, it’s identified as a Black Bream and large enough to keep. It’s our first of the day and mine.  An Australian Herring follows into the bucket and I’m looking for my hat trick. It doesn’t come, though anything the others catch is thrown back for being under-size. Boasting the only catch of the day I feel I’ve done my bit for the reputation of Englishmen.

My Catch of the Day!

We return to the island with 2 fish between 6, which while hardly a main meal will make a good starter.

Straight from the river to dinner

S’s sister’s boyfriend gives us an impromptu masterclass on fish preparation on the jetty; where he descales, guts and removes the head. Both fish will be foil wrapped so it’s just seasoning that is required for the prep.

Ready to Cook

To the Black Bream we add lemongrass, chopped red chilli and lime. To the Herring a more subtle seasoning of lemon and fennel seeds. Straight onto the BBQ they go.

Onto the Barbie

We serve on the kitchen counter top and eat straight from the foil. Somehow fish from Ocado will not be the same again.

River to Barbie to Mouth

M.

December 14, 2010

On the Barbeque: Lemon Ginger Pork, Sweet Apples and Crushed Potato


It’s been a blazing hot day. M and I are down at my parent’s holiday home and after a day leisurely meandering along the coast and eating ice-cream it’s time to unwind for the evening. But after a few nights being treated to some of the old family favourites by my wonderful Mum, it’s my turn to cook. It needs to be simple as the suns setting and there’s beer to be drinking.  We’re definitely barbecuing tonight!

Being that there’s no shops to pop to, dinners coming from what’s in the fridge. When I pop my head inside it’s pork chops, potatoes and apples that I come out with.  A quick marinade of lots of lemon juice, lots of fresh ginger, lots of honey and a little dash of soy and I leave the chops to marinate while the sun goes down with M, the family and beers in hand.

Of course as soon as it’s set, everyone is suddenly hungry so the barbie’s fired up …

not long later …

Lemon Ginger Pork, Crushed Tats and Grilled Green Apple

It is easier than it looks.  The potatoes are done on the barbie in a foil packet to be quickly turned into a crushed potato with a fork and a little parsley and butter. The pork, basted in the warming depth of lemon, honey and ginger, cooks quickly and simply. And the sweet, lemony apples which top off the warmth and richness of the rest of the dish, are simply grilled on the side of the BBQ.

A Delicious BBQ Stack

Sat under the stars, our bellies full, a wee tot of the Whiskey we’ve brought from home is all we need for the night to come to a perfect end.

S.


So what do you need BBQ it like this?

Pork Chops

Potatoes

Green Apples

Honey

Lemon Juice

Fresh Ginger

Soy Sauce

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Parsley

Butter – just a knob

Tin foil

First do all your prep ….

Pork Chops marinated in mixture of a good few squeezes of lemon juice, lots of fresh ginger, a big spoon of honey and little dash of soy sauce. Make the marinade to taste – I think it’s good to make lots of it so that you can use it to baste the chops while they cook. It’s up to you how strong you make the individual flavours but don’t be afraid to try to make them big.

Potatoes peeled, roughly sliced then placed on large sheet of tin foil. Toss in a little oil and salt and pepper then seal foil around potatoes so it forms a package with no openings.

Thinly Sliced Green Apples tossed in a mixture of Honey and Lemon. Don’t peel or core the apples, just slice them as they are and push out the seeds with a skewer or a finger, that way you keep the nice star shape.

Once the BBQ is fired up …

Put the packet of potatoes on first, not too hot as you want the steam that’s created inside the packet to cook the potatoes. Turn packet halfway through cooking. They are done when they are light and fluffy – you can just press down on the packet with the tongs and see if they feel soft, if you’re not sure open it up. If they are finished too long before the chops and apples it doesn’t matter, just leave them in the foil as they’ll stay hot.  When the chops and apples are almost done you can do the ‘crushing’. Empty the package into a bowl and with a fork, stir through a knob of butter, and parsley. As you do this break up the potato roughly so it has a crushed texture. Season to taste.

The chops can go straight from the marinade onto the BBQ. Don’t overturn them and you’ll get nice sear marks on them. Make sure you baste them with the left over marinade while they’re cooking.

The apples will take the least time and just need to be placed on the grill or griddle and let to colour and soften a little … don’t let them cook too much or they’ll fall through the grills. You want to turn them half way through so you get the nice grill marks on both sides.

Elements complete … all you need to do is make your stacks!

December 14, 2010

Good Bite In Australia: Summer Sorbet


This is something I don’t know how to make and don’t ever want to make because it’s just so good to buy it ready made from the Ice-creamery on a hot summers day …

Green Apple and Rockmelon Sorbet (Simmo's Ice-creamery)

…. especially when you know how cold it is back home in London, England.

S.

December 13, 2010

Good Bite In Australia: The trip down under


M and I have been pretty quiet on Good Bite In this month but with good reason. We’ve been catching up with friends and family and soaking up the rays in Australia …

Sunny Days

For M it’s extra special as he’s seeing my home country for the first time!

Guests for morning coffee on the verandah

We’ve got some lovely summery entries to post from our holiday and are looking forward to sharing them with you soon.

S.

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