Monday, January 28, 2013

happy australia day! part one

Note: Australia Day is really January 26th. Today is the observed Australia Day. So this is a few days late! 

Happy Australia Day, everyone! I really love Australia. It was the first country I ever traveled to. In fact, my trip to Australia was the first time I had ever been on a plane (well, not counting when I was like three months old or something, but I don't remember that) and it was the first time I had ever traveled anywhere without my family. It was the summer after fifth grade that I went on a People to People Student Ambassador trip to Australia. And it was one of the most amazing two weeks of my life. Australia has a very special place in my heart, and I'd love to go back. I just wish I could skip the 24 hour flight. That would be great.

In celebration of Australia Day, I've rounded up some Australian recipes. I wanted to try out making some of these over the weekend, but alas, did not have the time. They're all gluten-free, and there are no kangaroo or emu recipes. One thing I learned on my trip: emus are evil.

Pure evil.

One of the stops on our trip was at this emu/alligator farm. (I think this farm had emus and alligators. It's been a while, so the details are a little hazy!) Anyhow. This emu that you see right here tried pecking my face. I'm serious. Granted, I suppose I would be pretty cranky too if I were in a pen and people were taking pictures of me through the wire fence. So the emu and I didn't really get off to a good start.

That night for dinner, the options were either alligator chowder or emu sausage. Well, neither option sounded all that appealing to me. But, I decided to go with the emu sausage since the only experience I ever had with chowder was clam chowder, and as a 10-year-old, I hated clam chowder. I still dislike clam chowder. It's mainly the clams, I think. They're so chewy and gross. Anyway, the emu sausage seemed like the lesser of the two evils. Oh, how wrong I was. The emu exacted its revenge on me later that night.

Never eat emu.

Or kangaroo.

Or alligator.


At least I'll never eat emu again. I'm sorry, Mr. Emu.

So, you will not see any emu, alligator or kangaroo on my round-up. Or Vegemite. But, you will find other delicious Australian goodies! [gluten-free, of course!] So let's get to it!

1. Strawberry Kiwi Pavlovas. Okay, so kiwifruit is technically from New Zealand, but the pavlova is from Australia! It's said that the dish was created in 1935 at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia. Though, the roots of the pavlova do go back a bit further -- and potentially back to New Zealand. Home Cookery for New Zealand published in 1929 by an Australian author, Emily Futter, did have a recipe for Meringue with Fruit Filling -- similar to pavlova. Regardless, Australia has something to do with a pavlova. And this strawberry kiwi pavlova looks delicious! And how many times can I type pavlova?!

2. Fresh Kiwi Grape Juice. Get your vitamin C with this yummy drink! And, yes, I know its kiwifruit again. But New Zealand is so close. It's like right there. Australia by association, right? And kiwis are delicious. And nutritious.

3. Gluten Free Beer Damper. Those Australians. They love their beer. Damper is a traditional Australian soda bread, of sorts. Farmers, swagmen, and stockmen often baked their damper over a campfire. Stockmen, who traveled far and wide for months and months, created the bread since it only required the most basic ingredients. This particular recipe adds beer into bread. It isn't noted in the recipe, but be sure to use a gluten free beer, like Dogfish Head Tweason’Ale or Epic Glutenator.

4. Gluten Free, Paleo Lamingtons. Lamingtons are a traditional Australian dessert, dating back to 1902. Usually, a lamington cake is a sponge cake that is coated in chocolate icing and coconut. They can also have layers of cream or jam. This particular lamington is a vanilla sponge cake layered with chocolate icing and coconut. If you're not into the paleo thing, here's a regular ole gluten-free recipe for lamingtons with a chocolate ganache glaze. Yum, yum! Is there anything better than the combination of coconut and chocolate? Okay, well, a lot of things go with chocolate. But chocolate and coconut is pretty darn good!

5. Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits. Anzac biscuits are basically an oatmeal cookie. Wives would send anzac biscuits to their solider husbands since these biscuits kept for long periods of time. Original anzacs were a hard tack bread, a bit different from the anzac biscuits of today! These biscuits have been long associated with the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) -- hence, anzac biscuits! I'm pretty sure I wrote a paper on anzac biscuits in sixth grade. These would be delicious with some tea! I could go for that right now.

Hope you have a fantastic Monday, and a fabulous Australia Day!

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