Monday, January 26

Down under

It's Australia day and at a same time first big tennis tournament of the year. Kind of occasion to get familiar little bit more with what's popular to eat down there.

I explored food on every continent except Australian, so I think that  it's the best time..Food is not complicated there, so with loads of unusual meat, some of the desserts look pretty cool! It's, of course influenced by British, so you'll find similarities.
I managed to get full menu, from the most popular soup , to couple of desserts.
How they will celebrate it tonight, well I guess with some of these traditional recipes:


Beef and Beer pie

½ kg (about 1 ½ lb) beef fillet steak meat, cut into 2cm pieces
 2 tbsps plain flour
 2 tbsps olive oil
 1 onion, coarsely chopped
 2 garlic cloves, crushed
 2 tsps chopped fresh thyme
 1 can chopped tomatoes
 1 cup of beer

prepared flaky pastry,
 1 egg, lightly whisked

Tomato sauce, to serve

Place the beef in a large bowl and sprinkle with flour. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in the tomato and beer. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until beef is tender (about 1h). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place a baking tray on the middle shelf. Cut the pastry sheet into quarters. Line 4 round 3cm-deep, pie tins with pastry. Brush the edges with egg. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the pastry cases.
Cut each puff pastry sheet in half diagonally. Top the pies with puff pastry and trim excess. Press the edges to seal.
Brush the pies with egg. Cut a small cross in the centre of each pie. Place the pies on the baking tray and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until golden and puffed. Serve with tomato sauce.

Australian pumpkin soup

Ginger, garlic and turmeric (already in the curry powder) get mellow together in a quick and healthful luncheon soup. In this version, tofu replaces the heavy cream that is traditionally used.

8 cups organic vegetable stock
6 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp fresh thyme
¼ cup heavy cream or yogurt
3 to 4 tbsps light or yellow miso

In a large pot combine the vegetable stock, squash, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder and thyme, mixing well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for ½ hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Puree the soup mixture in a blender or food processor. Add some cream and miso to each batch and puree until it is well combined. Serve hot.

Anzac biscuits

These iconic biscuits were originally made for the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) serving in Gallipoli

85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup or honey
1 tsp baking soda


Heat oven to 180C. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the syrup/honey. Add the baking soda to 2 tbsp boiling water. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Put tbsp of the mixture on to buttered baking sheet, about 1in apart. Bake for 10 mins until golden.

Neenish tart

A neenish tart (or neenish cake) is a tart made with a pastry base and a filling consisting of sweet gelatine-set cream, mock cream, or icing sugar paste, with dried icing on the top of the tart in two colours. The addition of a layer of raspberry jam is a common recipe variation. The tart was originally created in Australia, and is mainly found there and in New Zealand. The origin of the name "neenish" is unknown. The tart has a superficial similarity to the American black and white cookie.


 1 3/4 cups plain flour
 1/3 cup almond meal
 1/3 cup icing sugar mixture
 150g butter, chilled, chopped
 2 egg yolks
 1 tbsp iced water
 3/4 cup raspberry jam

Mock cream
 1/3 cup caster sugar
 1/4 cup milk
 3/4 tsp gelatine powder
 1 1/2 tbsps boiling water
 180g butter, softened
 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

 3 cups icing sugar mixture
 1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
 1/4 cup boiling water
 Rose pink food colouring

In food processor, process flour, almond meal, icing sugar and butter until fine crumbs. Add egg yolks and water. Process dough just to come together, shape into a disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 200C/180C. Grease a 4cm-deep, large round flan tin. Roll pastry 3mm thick. Line prepared tin with pastry. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Place prepared tin on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking paper. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool in tin.
Meanwhile, make Mock cream: Place sugar and milk in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle gelatine over boiling water in a heatproof jug. Whisk with a fork until gelatine has dissolved. Add gelatine to milk mixture. Cool to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in gelatine mixture until well combined.
Spread jam over base of pastry case. Top with mock cream, spreading to level. Refrigerate while preparing icing.
Make Icing: Place half the icing sugar in a bowl. Add cocoa powder and half the boiling water. Stir well to combine. Repeat with remaining icing sugar and boiling water in a separate bowl, adding food colouring (if desired). Spread chocolate icing over half the tart, levelling top with a spatula. Spread pink icing over other half of tart. Serve.

Iced Vovos

Iced VoVo biscuits are favorite with Australians. The combination of the buttery biscuit base and pink sugar icing, raspberry jam and coconut is just too good to resist.

125g butter, softened
125g sugar
1 egg
90g self raising flour
160g plain flour
For the topping

2 cups icing sugar
2 tsps softened butter
1 1/2 tbsps of boiling water (I needed about 3 tbsps)
a few drops of cochineal or pink colouring (if desired)
3/4 cup raspberry jam
3/4 cup desiccated coconut

Cream the butter and sugar, then whisk in the egg until well combined. Mix in the flours until a soft. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 150C. Grease two baking trays or line with baking paper. Cut the pastry in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured surface to about 2inch thick. Cut out squares with cookie cutter or cut 5cm squares from the dough using a sharp knife.
Place on the prepared trays allowing a little room for spreading and bake for 15 minutes, or until light golden. Cool completely.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the butter and few tbsp. of boiling water to mix to a smooth spreading consistency. Add the cochineal to turn the icing a medium pink colour.

Spread a 1cm strip of icing down each side of each biscuit. Spoon the jam down the middle, then sprinkle with the coconut. Leave on a wire rack to set completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Tim Tam cookies


225 g plain flour
25 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp malted milk drink (I used Horlicks)
1 level tsp baking powder
115g butter (softened)
115g  caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup


100g softened butter
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp malted milk powder


200g milk chocolate

Set oven to 160°C/ 325°F

Sift together the cocoa, flour, malted milk powder and baking powder. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the syrup. Add the mixture to the flour, cocoa and baking powder mixture.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch.

Cut the dough into fingers, finished biscuits should be about 6cm long and 4 cm wide. Place onto parchment on a baking tray. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven . Leave in tray until almost cool, then transfer onto wire rack.
Beat together the ingredients for the filling, then use to sandwich biscuits together.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water. Remove the bowl from the pan. Dip the biscuit sandwiches into the chocolate until completely covered. Shake off excess chocolate. Place on a rack to dry.

Lamington cake

This cake is created to use leftover cakes. It became so popular that is now found everywhere and is really creative way to use your stale sponge cake.

You don''t need much beside stale sponge cake:
melted chocolate
grated coconut

Cut your sponge cake into little cubes and dip into melted chocolate. Coat with coconut and leave to dry.
You can take it to the next level by adding some cream or layer of frosting in between two slices and then dipping into chocolate.

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