Things have been a bit quiet here, because we have recently moved, and we are going to Australia in a few days! We are excited to experience several different cities in Australia, from the cosmopolitan restaurant scene in Sydney to the night markets of Darwin. Leading up to our trip, we have been trying to learn more about Australian food (we do know that they love savory pies)! While in Sydney, we are excited to try Din Tai Fung, and all the laksa (Malaysian noodle curry, pictured below) we can eat. We are also reading up on the latest directions in Australian food, and what makes Australian food Australian. See you in August!
Chicken Laksa at MaMa Laksa House in The Grace Hotel, Sydney by Stilgherrian
Filed under News, Recipes
Tomorrow is Christmas – and here it is blustery and cold – but imagine if you could go to beach! In this vintage Australia Christmas video, you can!
In the realm of foods named after famous people, none may be more famous than the Pavlova, a round meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fruit named after the famed Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. The dessert is said to have been specifically created for the wildly-popular ballerina during her tour of Oceania in the 1920s. Though the exact origins of the cake in either Australia or New Zealand are still unknown (I definitely feel unqualified to rule on one vs. the other), the pavlova is deeply ensconced in the cuisine of both countries. Others hold that the cake is actually based on a older German recipe, later making its way to other countries. The structure of the Pavolva can vary somewhat, as can the toppings and flavors, though Pavolva in New Zealand is more likely to be topped with kiwis! Allrecipes has a classic version of the Pavlova, and here is a slightly more unique version topped with lemon curd and blueberries or one with three layers.
Apparently Southern Australia is undergoing something of a food renaissance, thanks in part to the tireless work of an expat Scotsman. We are very interested to hear about this development in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, since Australian cuisine usually flies under the radar, especially outside of some mentions of Sydney and Melbourne.
Learning food words is usually our first priority when learning a new language. But as it turns out, even the English terms for food are vastly more regional than we thought. So we knew that eggplant is “Aubergine” in the UK and cookie is “biscuit”… but that’s only just the start. This post on Stack Exchange has a long thread about translating cooking terms between the UK, the US and Australia. One of the most interesting facts we learned was that snow peas are called “mange tout” in the UK, and when you get to jelly/jam/jello everything gets really confusing.
In the USA, Easter is associated in pop culture with rabbits and bunnies. However, in Australia, you are also likely to see a bilby alongside the bunnies. Bilbies are native, endagered Australian marsupials that have floppy ears and a long snout. Rabbits are considered an invasive species in Australia, so it makes sense that they might prefer Bilbies at Easter time. The campaign for the Easter Bilbies was popularized by the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia, and the concept has taken off since, with children’s books and chocolate Bilbies galore.
Happy Australia Day! We love celebrating national holidays with the appropriate food, and look at how festive this nice Australian Milo cheesecake with chocolate crackle crust looks. Milo is a malt and chocolate powdered drink (similar to Ovaltine, but definitely different). We first tried Milo in Singapore, and it enjoys popularity all over the world, but we were surprised to hear it originated in Australia in the 1930s.
Australian Milo Cheesecake from Raspberri Cupcakes
We have to admit that there is a bit of a blind spot in our repertoire for Australia and New Zealand, perhaps due to their geographic distance and the fact that we don’t have any Aussie / Kiwi restaurants around here. So unfortunately, we don’t often give this area of the world its fair due. We would like to thank our commentor Whitney for writing to us about Australian treats, and we figured we would do a link roundup of some Australian and New Zealander desserts, especially since ANZAC day is coming up on April 25th.
115 St. Marks Place
We thought we would never get a restaurant from Australia, until we went there, that is. Suffice to say that when M and I learned about Tuck Shop, an Australian restaurant in Manhattan, we had to go. Lest we question the authenticity of the joint, it was full of Australian tourists to New York and an Australian server manning the counter. The restaurant itself was tiny, with only room for about 8 to sit, and some counter space, with just enough room for an Australian flag.
The menu was rather limited and the majority of the entrees were savory pies (with a small assortment of soups and salads). Being assured that it was the traditional Aussie way to go, we decided to try a range of pies: from Macaroni and cheese ($6) to Green Thai curry ($5.50) and Vegetarian chili ($5.50). Perhaps the carb-bomb that is a Mac N cheese pie would be lost on most people, but L loved it. The Thai curry pie was more well balanced, and the vegetarian chili had us asking if he was sure it was vegetarian. It was that convincing.
For dessert, we tried to order the famous Aussie cookies, Tim Tams, but they had run out. Even without the added sugar rush of the Tim Tams, dinner at the Tuck Shop was a hearty carb-bomb that filled us right up, though it probably speaks to the mixed culinary legacy left by the Brits.
[Via Inside Out Blog] There’s an awesome exhibit in Melbourne that bears mentioning – Edible Architecture – building models made out of food. It’s taking place as part of the State of Design festival in Australia. More photos are available at Mel Hot or Not.