I know a lot of Europeans find out hot Christmas odd but it is what we are used to. Christmas falls at the beginning of our summer with the the long school holidays so not every family is at home. So in Australia you can find yourself having a BBQ Christmas dinner in someones back yard or at the beach. You might even be invited to a camping trip and have Christmas in the Bush! We also do traditional with fantastic Christmas Banquets available at home or in hotels and restaurants. We sing carols and decorate our front doors with Christmas Bush, a indigenous Australian tree whose creamy coloured flowers tend to change to shiny red just in time for the holidays.
Food on the table at Christmas is as varied a menu as our cuisine is. You will find the traditional Turkey and trimmings brought over by our ancestors, you will also find lots of fish and lovely salads, my favourite being roasted potato salad. Desserts well of course a good trifle goes down well in our heat as does our wonderful pavlova’s. This site has an interesting overview of Christmas meals from around Australia.
Now for drinks the spiced ciders and mulled wines are not really for us, neither is the popular eggnog. Cool cocktails and beers are really more the style at this time of year, Christmas or not.. Drinklab have come up with a few Christmas versions, I fancy apple pie slot and a red rudolph cocktail.
Australia has such a fantastic variety of foods and drinks, but I’ve discovered that a vegetarian diet can be quite healthy and I like it that the foods are high in dietary fibre. People choose these vegan diets for so many reasons like religious reasons, health concerns and for animal rights. I’m doing it essentially for health. But a healthy vegetarian diet, to make it tasty and well balanced, needs foods which contain the right amount of vitamins and that animal foods are replaced with foods that provide you with all the nutrients you need such as foods fortified with vitamin B12.
Ive discovered that with a vegan diet, it is a good idea to Whether you are currently following a vegan diet, or are considering changing to a vegan diet, it is a good idea to consult an APD. That’s what I did. The Accredited Practicing Dietitian program is where you can find expert nutrition and dietary advice. There are fantastic recipes available for Aussie vegans as well, and what is great is that you can even order these online and many are from other countries but there are many sites which are from Australia.
This time I want to talk about the newest diet trend, which is taking the world by storm – The Raw Food Diet. I have not switched to 100% raw though, but whenever I indeed the raw portion in my diet, benefits are very much visible.
Advantages of a Raw Food Diet
Since a raw food diet primarily consists of food in its most natural form, it does have a whole load of health benefits:
Most people have problem losing weight, especially when women are approaching menopause, the hormonal imbalances also lead to weight gain in women. A raw food diet contains foods rich in enzymes which helps activate the metabolism of within the body and aids weight loss. Switching to a raw food diet in the pre-menopause phase ensures that your body does not overwork in order to compensate for the lack of enzymes.
Raw food is rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aid the proper digestion of food and assimilation of the nutrients within the body. This makes the body feels refreshed and more energetic. Following a raw food diet during menopause helps combat the fatigue caused by menopause.
A raw food diet is rich in enzymes which regulate the secretion of hormones in the body. This ensures a good circulation of oxygen in the blood and ends up giving the skin a clearer, fresher look.
There are uncountable benefits of including raw in your diet, and we will continue discussing about the same in our coming posts.
People feel like being a vegetarian would restrict them from having their own choice of great foods, and exploring cuisines. However, this is a huge misconception. There are very few cuisines in the world that are purely non-vegetarian, and even if they are, it is possible for you to explore these recipes and just substitute the meat with vegetables.
Of course, your exploration of these cuisines as a vegetarian depends on where and how you are getting access to these foods. If you are in the country where the cuisine is popular, you might experience a slightly restricted choice of foods (for instance, if you want to explore authentic middle Eastern cuisine in the middle east, you will have access to some vegetables and vegetarian options, but it might be slightly limited). However, if you like exploring cuisines by cooking, you have nothing to worry about!
You can use almost any kind of vegetable as a substitute for meat, depending on the cuisine you are interested in trying. Usually, potatoes, mushrooms, peppers and corn form the best substitutes.
Do not think that you cannot expand your choice of cuisines purely because of your no-meat policy! Nothing should stand between you and good food!
France and cuisine have been synonymous to each other for long time now, and it all began at the time when a court chef from medieval France wrote one of the earliest recipe collections. But, during those times, French cuisine was very much influenced by the Italian cuisine. It was only in the 17th century, the chefs in the France took it on themselves to liberate the French cuisine from Italian flavour, and develop their own.
Back in the medieval period banquets were a way of life for the aristocracy of France. Hands were deemed better to grab on the meat and slice it, which was eaten with sauces and flavoured mustards. Then in the middle ages dessert and cheese and wine started making their impression.
This high cuisine’s began evolving during the 17the century, and chef who gets the credit for it was called La Varenne. He also walks away with the credit of penning down the first true French cookbook. His recipe marked a distinct variation from the recipe of the medieval period and introduced new techniques in the art of food preparation.
There are many dishes which can populate the French national cuisine chart. But, to begin with, the meals are classified into three sections
Hors d’oeuvre or entrée, both of which mean introductory course, is the one which finds its way first on the meal table. Popular among them are Basil salmon terrine, Bisque with creamy French potage, Foie gras with mustard seeds and green onions, and French onion soup, to name the chart toppers.
Later follows the main course or plat principal, dishes which adorn your dining table, and they can consists of Pot au feu, Baguettte or French cheeses.
And in the end it is wrapped up with fromage, or cheese course, and dessert and times at salad preceded it. The dishes which are served during this course are Patisserie, Mousse au chocolat, Crème bruiee, or Mille-feuille.
The great thing about modern Australian cuisine is the sheer variety of food choices that exist today. Gone are the doors off meat and three veges, over cooked and as predictable as changing your undies.
I started my week with a Turkish delicacy, gozleme, a cheese and spinach pastry, at the local farmers market. Freshly made and hot off the grill plate. The salty white cheese matched perfectly with the earthy Silverbeet. I washed it down with Ayran, a slightly yogurt drink, a relative of Indian lassi.
Check out the great SBS recipes for some interesting variations.
This kept me going till lunch time when it was time for something a little bit spicy. Hmm Vietnamese or Thai always a toss up? A nice coconut based Tom Kha Gai, or given I have a dinner date, maybe a delicate Vietnamese Pho? Pho wins and I am in heaven, tender beef slices, chili, aromatic herbs (coriander, cardamon, cinnamon, mint and basil) and just a few noodles to warm me up and tease my taste bites. A fragrant jasmine tea counterpoints my perfect meal.
My dinner date arrives and it’s his turn to choose the restaurant. Mexican? Italian? Korean? Chinese? Yum cha? Lebanese? Degustation? The choice is endless. In the end we wandered down to the local pub and I ended up with the perennial favorite – Veal Parmigiana. Tender crumbed veal smothered in a rich tomato sauce with melted cheese. Yum. We matched it with a fresh young Rose wine but if you like something with a bit more body a Cabernet Sauvignon would do the trick as well.
Australia you have got to love it. It’s only Monday and I have been to Turkey, Vietnam and Italy. I love traveling but I don’t always have the time or money. Eating takes me back to where I have been or where I want go. Next week I think I head to Bali. There is a new little warung just down the road. Where have you been this week?
I got a present over Christmas that I had not got around to reading but a bout of the flu had me housebound and bored silly, so got it out to read. very pleasantly surprised at how interesting it was. Actually looked at the reviews on Amazon when I was about half way through and found quite a few people had the same experience – a book about toothpicks how on earth could that be interesting? It was, the author, Henry Petroski, has a really nice style of writing and provides a humorous as well a factual account of the history of the simple toothpick from Mesopotamian times to present day. I enjoyed it so much I have ordered his other book, “The Pencil”. Do you use a toothpick? I have a silver one that was my grandfathers, the tale goes it was made from a nugget his great grandfather found – family nonsense but fun. I know we have alternatives to dental hygiene these days but I would not be without a toothpick in my kitchen, they are so useful. Meandering around the internet looking for further information on toothpicks I came across this post from a few years ago and intended for halloween but I thought they might make an interesting addition to my table. The brand new table we have just bought courtesy of https://www.ferratum.com.au/ but that is another story! Something else I found on my internet wander was that Tea Tree Toothpicks Thursday Plantation 100 Toothpick looked a very nice alternative to carrying toothpicks or floss but despite being Australian can not find them for sale here only on Amazon.com…what’s going on?
As Australian enters 2015 we wonder what the coming year will introduce in the way of food trends. Suggestions range from moving away from meat products to more vegetarian and pulse based recipes to eating more ‘wild meat’ such as kangaroo. There is very much a modern trend to go back to old fashioned preparation and a slowing down of productions. Smaller, ecologically friendly produce producing farms are increasingly popular, with more and more folk wanted to know how the crops they are buying have been produced. Like the rest of the world, healthy eating is a priority from nouveau cuisine chefs to the housewife preparing her family’s meals. Going back to basics cooking the old fashioned way demands a quality of product, poor meat cannot hide when it s BBQ’d or cooked in a wood fire. Australians have always loved their barbie and never more than now but a lot more thought is going into what is cooked on that barbie, homemade sausages and burgers taking preference over manufactured ones. Manufacturers are going to have to consider the changing trends in food to ensure they present the public with the food they want like superfoods. Australia is producing more superfoods and identifying new home sourced superfoods all the time. One such is almond milk, which is increasingly used instead of normal cow or goat milk In the past ten years the almonds produced has risen from 10,000 to 78,000 tonnes in and looks to rise further. Other grain milks including quinoa and coconut is on the increase with them often advised as a healthier alternative in cooking and baking. This interesting article lays out some of the suggestions of the food trends for 2015. What do you think? Have you changed the way you buy, cook or eat your food, and if so why. I certainly have as I have reduced our sugar intake by 60%, using apple puree as alternatives sweetener or honey. With diabetes a familial trait it is only common sense to take control of the amount of sugar that is consumed by my family.
The Pavlova, a fabulous dessert concoction of crispy meringue with fluffy insides filled with cream and fruit. Absolutely delish. Named after the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia in the 1930,s. Now New Zealand likes to think they invented the the ‘Pav’ but take it from me it was us! Here is a lovely recipe for you to try and make your own.
Vegemite, while being an ‘acquired taste’ this spread is truly Australian. Invented in 1922 by Dr. Cyril P Callister, Australia’s leading food technologist of the 1920s for the Fred Walker company, later known as Kraft foods. The spread is made from Brewers yeast and was originally labelled Pure Vegetable Extract. A competition was held to find a name and Fred Walkers daughter who choose the winning name. It took some 20 years and clever marketing but eventually Vegemite overtook the other well known UK brand MArmite and became a staple food in every Australian home. Who can forget the ‘Happy Little Vegemites”
A pie floater, a South Australian Heritage icon. This is normally a meat pie, sitting on top of or submerged under ( sometimes upside down) in thick green pea soup. Topped with?? Yes you got it. Ketchup. The unofficial, official sauce of Australia. This iconic food has a history going back nearly 130 yrs to Port Pirie, South Australia, thought of by Ern “Shorty” Bradley in 1890’s . Why? No one truly knows although there are some suggestions, one being the bottom of the pie was softer to cut into and it was sat in the thick soup to stop it slipping around. Whatever the reason I for one are glad it was conceived.
The Boston bun is uniquely Australian but looking at its history it can be traced back to Bath in the UK. The origin of the name is unknown. Now New Zealand also has a similar recipe but theirs is called a Sally Lunn. The recipe for these spiced like a lot of things has changed over the years but the dough is still made with mashed potatoes but you can find raisins now added. The topping of coconut icing just finishes it off a treat. Fancy having a go, you can find a recipe here.
Dagwood Dogs or Pluto Pups ; like the Americans, Australians have Summer Festival food fads and this is one of them.They are deep fried frankfurters covered in crispy corn or wheat based batter and dipped in tomato ketchup with a stick so they are convenient to hold as you walk around. Apparently they were named after ‘Dagwood & Blonde’ who made fat sandwiches! An American comic strip series. Dagwood dogs are not to be confused with a Dippy Dog (South Australia) or a battered Sav(NSW). Battered Saveloys are sausages dipped in wheat flour batter and deep fried, served with fish and chips but not on a stick.