On Saturday we made our way to Australia! After watching the parade of nations during the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday evening, it felt kind of boring for our next country to be so similar to American cuisine. They seem to be another “melting pot” when it comes to food and culture, so most of the foods were familiar to me. I also saw a lot of desserts… Pavlova, Tim Tam cookies, Anzac cookies, and Lamingtons. Two of the iconic foods I saw were hamburgers loaded with toppings (most notably including beets) and meat pies–often served as “floaters,” which means they are dunked in pea soup and topped with tomato sauce (ketchup). The alternative would be to go with the aboriginal food, such as grubs and kangaroo meat… one of which is not appealing, and the other of which is not cost effective.
We went with meat pies, mushy peas, and Lamingtons. I considered the Pavlova, but it seems that the widely accepted origin of Pavlova is New Zealand, so I think we will save it for the Ns next year.
Aussie Meat Pie (recipe)
This recipe was pretty straightforward… yet another dish that started with cooking ground beef and onion together (this seems to be a reoccurring theme around the globe). This was mixed with water, beef bouillon, tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, nutmeg, and flour.
This was our second country in a row that involved a ground beef filling with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. I have to admit, this one looked more appealing than the last. 🙂 This went in a pan with regular pie crust (not homemade) on the bottom and puff pastry (also not homemade) on top, glazed with egg.
It came out of the oven looking perfect!
Mushy Peas (recipe)
Our side of mushy peas was even simpler. I cooked the green onions in melted butter, then added the frozen peas and let it steam with the lid on. It definitely took longer than the suggested 3-4 minutes… it was probably closer to 10. We also omitted the mint leaves, having just thrown away a bunch of extra mint from the mint tea of Algeria and stuffed grape leaves of Armenia. Once the peas were hot and soft, I mashed them with a potato masher. I added olive oil a few times to make it creamier, and I ended up putting about 2/3 of it in a small food processor to make it smoother.
Let’s just say that mushy peas won’t win any beauty contests. It actually looked a bit like guacamole.
Last, but not least, are the Lamingtons, whose name is almost as fun as mushy peas. I read that this is commonly made with day old cake, so I made the cake earlier in the day and didn’t worry when it got a little dry from being overcooked. The recipe instructed me to pour the batter into an 8×12 baking pan. I’m not sure the word “pour” was appropriate in this case…
It was a little overdone coming out of the oven, but I think that was okay for this recipe. I let it sit out to cool and later sliced it into fifteen pieces.
The icing consisted of sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixed with melted butter and warm milk.
The Lamingtons were dunked in the chocolate icing and then coated with coconut. Sadly I ran out of coconut for the last four or five slices. 😦 In the past I would have seen this as a hidden blessing, but after enjoying coconut on the Alfajores of Argentina, I’m coming to accept that coconut may not be so bad after all…
(We kind of thought these looked like a fleet of Borg cubes. I will call it a win toward our Star Wars vs. Star Trek debate that Tyler made the Star Trek reference before I thought of it. 🙂 )
Delicious. This meal was definitely another winner. I can say confidently after eating leftovers tonight that we will be making this meat pie again. The meat pie had a great savory flavor, and I liked the texture of the puff pastry on top. It doesn’t seem to be quite as authentic to make it in a pie pan instead of individual servings, but we had to work with the dishes we had. It also wasn’t quite the iconic floater, but we tried to capture that spirit with the mushy peas and ketchup on the side.
By themselves, the mushy peas were nothing spectacular, but the sweetness was a nice contrast with the meat pie. And darn it, the ketchup was actually good with the pie and peas!
The Lamingtons were also tasty. They were a little dry, but somehow that seemed appropriate with the icing and coconut flakes. However, they didn’t compare with the Apfelstrudel we made for Austria the next night…