Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 10 - Australia!

Australia - Such an interesting country, with an equally a rich history. I set out to make what I hoped would be traditional Australian food. Most of my research led me to a country whose cuisine is rather similar to ours, and as up-scale as any food served in New York's best restaurants. Within the more rural areas, stews are very popular, but I wanted to try something different. My friend Barbara who lived in Sydney and Melbourne recalls the food being excellent (except for the burgers that were too lean for her liking),  and the country beautiful.



Australia was an English penal colony, so much of their food is heavily influenced by the British. Many of their dishes are made with lamb and mouton, which I wasn't really in the mood for. But it's also located in the Great Barrier Reef, so seafood is plentiful. I decided to make a traditional fish and chips meal, since my family loves fried food, but I rarely make it due to it's obvious health hazards.

My mother used to make homemade fries when we lived in France. She had this really cool fry pot and basket  (I think my sister Anna has it now) -  I remember it as being yellow and capable of producing kick ass French fries  - NOT Freedom Fries. I used the soak, fry for 3 minutes, cool and re-fry method. This yields beautiful, golden, crispy fries that only need salt - although catsup was liberally applied by the dudes in my house.


 Soak the Potatoes

&

Fry them twice

I settled on Haddock for the fish. A big shout out to the Bellingham Whole Food Fish Dept. guy who advised me on the best fish to use and skinned the fish while I waited.  I made a beer batter with Sam Adams Logger (kind of close to Foster's), that was fantastic - It coated the fish perfectly and didn't flake off in the hot oil.



But what would an Aussie meal be without Vegemite? Again, a big thank you and shout out the Bellingham Whole Foods staff who directed me to Marmite, a close cousin, and very popular in Australia. We broke into a moderately good rendition of the Men at Work song, that goes sumfin' like..." She just smiled and made me a Vegemite sandwich..." right there in the isle. I like pretty much everything, and I did not like like Marmite AT ALL. I guess it's an acquired taste, and like anything, if you grow up with it, it grows on you!



For desert, kiwi and mangoes - nothing else needed.


Even though I didn't like the Marmite, I loved cooking Australian food and learning more about this beautiful country.

Recipe for Batter:

  • 2 cups self rising flour (or 2 cups flour and 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • Corn meal for dusting

Dust fish with corn meal

Sift flour and baking powder, whisk in beer till good batter consistency.
Coat fish and fry

Fries

  • 4 Russet potatoes, scrubbed  and sliced into French fry length and with
  • Soak for 15 min. in cold water
  • Fry for 3 minutes at 330 degrees
  • Remove and drain on paper towels for 5 mintues
  • Return to fry at 360 degrees till golden brown
  • Salt and serve immediately

3 comments:

Young Werther said...

An excellent attempt at Aussie fare... but Marmite is a poor cousin to Vegemite!

The way to enjoy Vegemite is on hot toast, lashings of butter and a dollop of Vegemite...

Promoting the Aussie pantry

witchywoman said...

Well, we both did a fish dish for Australia. I did Pikelets, a sweet potato and chili sooup and a chocolate mousse that was to die for! Great job, I don't think I would have dug either the vegemite or the marmite, not to mention that either would have blown my budget. You're pretty brave, my friend!

sadie said...

I should have made yours. I'll try anything once, even twice, but I just couldn't get into the marmite thing!