Best recipes in Australia

Australia is a melting pot of innovative food and culture due to its diverse and multicultural roots. Australia’s history of immigration is long, which started during the British colonization. The followed by different waves of immigrants from Europe, China, Asia and Latin America. 

Because of large scale immigration, Australia has adapted many diverse cultures including European, British, Asian and Middle Eastern. 

Indigenous Australians were known to be hunter-gatherers which reflected on the diet, also known as Bush tucker or bush food. Bush tucker is usually derived native flora and fauna used for food. Animal meat includes emu, crocodile, kangaroo and other local animals. Simultaneously, fruits and vegetables such as kutjera, lemon myrtle, quandong, warrigal greens and other local vegetables are common in indigenous Australian Dishes.

But the subsequent colonization and immigration of Australia added to the rich diversity of dishes. British immigrants introduced cattle beef, wheat and sheep in Australia, making it a big part of the Australian diet. 

The subsequent immigration from China, East Asia, South Asia, and the Mediterranean also added to Australian dishes’ richness and diversity. Modern Australian food is best described as a unique fusion of different multicultural influences, traditional ingredients, local produce and global flavours. Here are some of the iconic favourite Australian recipes that reflect these diverse influences. 

Aussie Meat Pies

The Aussie Meat Pie is an Australian food icon; it is a classic pie with minced beef gravy and a shortcrust base. It’s so popular that Australians love to eat them on the go and is always available on every corner bakery, bakeshop and supermarket. It is prepared by sauteing the minced onion and other ingredients over oil in a medium-heat saucepan. I have the best pie ever when I was visiting my friend at tilers Wollongong a few years ago. It was in a tinny corner shop in Wollongong.

A mixture of cornflour, stock, sauces, and vegemite is mixed and simmered to medium-low heat until it becomes thick. A shortcrust pastry is then cut into a circle to form the based and then filled with minced meat, other ingredients and sauce. The assembled meat pie will then be placed onto the oven and baked for 20-25 minutes. 

The flaky meat pie is the epitome of Australian food and is always part of the menu in every sporting event, house party, important family events and celebrations. 

Vegemite on Toast

Vegemite looks very similar to Britain’s Marmite, but locals will usually say that it’s different since its more savoury than sweet. Vegemite is a dark brown paste created from yeast extract, which is different from a Marmite from a vegetable extract. 

Vegemite is slightly bitter, malty, salty and rich in glutamates which gives it an umami flavour. Vegemite is usually placed on bread or toast, and not everyone may like the taste. However many locals love it and sometimes would be accompanied by melted cheese, avocado or tomato. 

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac biscuits are an Australian classic with its roots in World War 1 when military wives baked for their husbands who went to war. Australian and New Zealand soldiers know as ANZAC fought together during World War 1. These biscuits are made of coconuts, oats and golden syrup.

Anzac biscuits are prepared by mixing oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. A mixture of golden syrup and butter is then mixed with water and bicarb soda and stirred over low heat. 

The dry ingredients are then mixed with then combined with the golden syrup mixture. The mixture is made into balls and pressed to form the biscuit. Baking takes around 12 minutes until the biscuit is golden brown. This delicious biscuit is traditionally made to commemorate ANZAC day celebrated every 25th of April.

Is Pavlova from New Zealand or Australia

The Pavlova is an airy dessert created from crisp, meringue usually topped with whipped cream and different fruits. It is a well-loved dessert in Australia and interestingly New Zealand. The origins of the Pavlova is a hotly contested debate among Aussie’s and New Zealanders.

There has been a sibling rivalry between the two closed neighbours about the origin of the much loved “pav” as they affectionately call it.

The Pavlova has a fascinating history and named after Anna Pavlova, a famous Russian ballerina who toured New Zealand and Australia in 1926. Anna Pavlova is a well-loved Russian Ballerina who was widely admired around the world. Many chefs have named their food after her, including the “Pavlova ice cream” in the US and the legs à la Pavlova‘ in France. They were even desserts named “strawberries Pavlova” that were found in Auckland in 1911.

The Australian and New Zealand Pavlova’s have two versions of its origin; the Australians believe that Pavlova was first invented at a hotel in Perth. It featured a crunchy meringue with a topping of cream and passionfruit. They named it after the ballerina when the diners said that the desert is as light as Pavlova.

On the other hand, the Zealanders noted that it was a chef in a Wellington hotel that invented the Pavlova. Her visit inspired the chef in the hotel, so they created a dessert to honour her. It featured a meringue with cream and slices of kiwifruit.

The Pavlova is prepared by preheating the oven tray with foil to 120 degrees celsius. Using an electric mixer whisk white eggs in a bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually was adding sugar at one tablespoon at a time until the meringue is thick and glossy. You will be adding vanilla, a little vinegar and cornflour and whisk until its combined. It will be formed using a spatula and baked in the oven for about half an hour.

An electric mixer will be used to whisk the cream and icing sugar and placed onto the Pavlova. A selection of different fruits such as kiwifruit, banana, starfruit, passion fruit and other fruits are added to decorate the Pavlova. There are slightly different versions of Pavlova’s, but it’s a very delicious and fruity dessert.

The first known Pavlova recipe was found a New Zealand cookbook named “Davis Dainty Dishes” in 1929. But of course, Australians dispute that and claim that it was based on a chef in Perth, Western Australia named Bert Sachse. But does it matter who invented it? What is important is people from both countries enjoy the delicious dessert.

However, some researchers dispute both versions and suggest that the Pavlova has its roots in Austria, Germany and America. Austrians already ate the first recipe similar to Pavlova, a cream, meringue, and fruit torte in the 18th century. Similarly, many meringue-based recipes were found even before the Pavlova appeared in recipes in 1926 in Australia and New Zealand. But, whatever its origins both Aussie’s and New Zealanders still love and enjoy the delicious Pavlova dessert.

The Best Sourdough Bread in Australia

Sourdough bread is made from natural yeast and bacteria in flour. Early settlers in the west used sourdough to leaven bread when commercial baking powder and yeast were not available. It is a deeply caramelized bread, with an artistically slit tops and has a modest rise that was fermented using natural and wild yeast. 

Sourdough bread has a fascinating history. Researchers believed that sourdough is one of the oldest forms of leavened bread and was even used by ancient Egyptians. 

They theorized that it was discovered by accident when the dough was left by accident and microorganisms such as wild yeast drifted into the mix. The resulting product was a bread that was lighter in texture and tasted better. 

The sourdough bread has a signature tartness from the natural bacteria and yeast similar to what gives yogurt sour taste. 

Traditional sourdough recipes only have three necessary ingredients, sourdough starter, a mixture of flour and water, salt and flour. The traditional recipe does not have milk, oils, yeast and sweeteners just the natural and necessary ingredients. 

The sourdough starter is often prepared 3-4 days prior using flour and potato water. It is fermented using a porous cheesecloth and left near an open window away from direct sunlight. It should start to ferment and have a sour and sweet aroma. 

The best sourdough bread in Australia

The Lost Loaf, at Plant 4 Market at Bowden in Adelaide has been making great sourdough. Emma Shearer, a former pastry chef at Magill Estate, spends three days making the sourdough and is usually a sellout. 

The Honey Thief Bakery in Melbourne uses a special artisanal Laucke flour for their award-winning sourdough bread. Simultaneously, the Wildlife bakery in Brunswick East experiments with heirloom Australian wheat makes their naturally fermented sourdough loaves. 

While in Sydney, Iggy’s in Bronte produces naturally leavened sourdough bread that has supplied many of the city’s top restaurants such as Monopole and Bistro Guillaume. In a hole in the wall bakeshop in Dulwich Hill named Baked by Keiren. Keiren Mackay places much emphasis on their handcrafted pastries, especially the 72-hour-long sourdough. 

At Canberra’s most sought after baked goods, the Silo Bakery owner Leanne Gray has a magnificent way with bread. Their most popular artisan bread is the walnut sourdough baguette. On the other hand, Iggy’s Bread Bakery in Sydney has a signature hearth-baked sourdough made from organic, local and in-season ingredients. The bakery has the zen, serene and sacred vibe that makes for a sensational loaf of bread. 

In Brisbane, Danny’s bread is known for their wholewheat multigrain and white sourdough made from organic flour from Gunnedah and Murray River salt. On the other hand, Melbourne’s Wood Frog bakery is known for their bubbly crust Sourdough loaves with heavenly lightness and chewy texture. The great sourdough loaves are the result of a lengthy fermentation and using naturally occurring yeast. 

Mary Street Bakery in Perth is popular with their buttermilk pancakes, chia pudding and pork schnitzel. The bakery also bakes an assortment of delicious bread such as rye, semi polenta and sourdough bread.