Aussie Food is a popular international quisine loved the world over. It is as diverse as the cultures it originates from. Australian cuisine is greatly influenced by such factors as its harsh landscape, its tropical climate, its proximity to Asia, its immigrant and native cultures, and many other factors that go into defining the Australian cuisine. I have heard Australian cuisine being referred to as a continental feast on an island continent and I happen to agree wholeheartedly. Much of the Australian cuisine can also be linked to it's English past. You will find that Australian cuisine contains many interesting terms which can be related back to its pioneering days and swagmen.
Service is European-style. There is plenty of good meals available at reasonable prices from the numerous family restaurants, cafes, pub counter meals, and bistros. Specific restaurants allow guests to bring their own alcohol (and some of these may not serve their own alcohol at all) and this is called BYO. There are major vineyards and wineries outside Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, and Hobart which all produce high-quality red and white wines. The largest wine growing region is the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Australian wines are also inexpensive. Beer is served chilled in Australia and drinking age is 18 years.
Australia is an island where most of its inhabitants have settled around the coastline. The seas off this coastline are home to a varied and wonderful supply of fresh seafood which Australians have taken full full advantage of. An ubundance of fresh fish, shellfish, and other seafood is caught daily in Australian waters and is enjoyed by Australians and tourists alike. One of the Australian delicacies is the Moreton Bay Bug or the Balmain Bug which are sort of a cross between and crab and a lobster and loved by most who try it. Other specialty dishes include Sydney rock oysters, barramundi, tiger prawns, and yabbies.
Being a tropical climate, Australians enjoy many succulent fruits. Depending on the season, shops stock a variety of mangoes, paw paws (papaya), pineapples, coconuts, bananas, custard apples, guavas, lychees, jakfruit, avocado, star apple, and much more. The climate and lack of pests that are found in other countries provide the perfect ingredients for growing a varied supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. Macadamia nuts are a very popular Australian specialty.
Native Bush Foods
Aborigines were the first Australians and they survived off the land. They didn't farm or cultivate crops but used what was already there and there is an abundance of bush tucker to be found. There were berries, native fruits, native animals, and the previously mentioned seafood. Examples of bush foods can be found in the bush tucker recipes.
Billy Tea was tea made in a bill over an open fire. The billy can was a metal can with a wire handle and tight fitting lid. The water was boiled and then the tea leaves added the tea was then drunk from metal cups. A swagman's bread was known as Damper. This was a very basic bread made from flour and water and shaped into a round loaf. It was cooked in the hot coals of a fire made in the ground. In these modern days, self-raising flour is used as a raising agent. Cockey's Joy is a tin of golden syrup or treacle which was a swagman's basic staple. It was used to sweeten the billy tea or spread on the damper.
These are one of Australia's most loved foods. It is impossible to enjoy a day out at a local sporting or community event without indulging in the art of eating a meat pie the Austrlian way. This is done by holding it in your hands as you eat it and making sure it is smothered in tomato sauce first.
ANZAC biscuits were named after the Australian and New Zealand soldiers of World War I who were provided with these biscuits by their wives, girlfriends and mothers. The trouble was the packages had a long sea voyage before they reached their destination. A group of women decided to solve the problem of food perishing by coming up with the recipe for a biscuit based on an old Scottish recipe using rolled oats and so it was that the ANZAC biscuit was born.
Pavlova and Lamingtons
Controversy still surrounds the famous Australian pavlova which is basically made from egg whites and sugar. Australians claim that the pavlova was invented in Western Australia when the dancer, Pavlova, was touring and thus the name pavlova. However, New Zealanders claim that it was invented in New Zealand ten years earlier. Lamingtons are believed to be one of the tastiest cakes in the world and yet they are very simple. Traditionally, a lamington is a piece of white sponge cake (occasionally with a strawberry or raspberry jam centre), dipped in chocolate and coated with coconut. Lamingtons got their name from a former Queensland Governor in the late 1800's to early 1900's.
Now you can't get any more Australian than vegemite! Vegemite is a true blue Australian icon. It is a thick black sandwich or toast spread but can also be used in casseroles, soups, and meatloaf. Vegemite is a concentrated yeast extract and one of the richest sources of Vitamin B in the world. It has also been claimed as a cure for mouth ulcers if you can stand the initial pain. Vegemite was invented by Fred Walker and Dr Cyril Callister in 1922. In 1923, the black spread was named after a trade name competition. In the second World War, Vegemite was a staple ration for soldiers, sailors and civilians alike and it became so popular that it soon was in short supply. Fred Walker and Company Pty Ltd changed its name to Kraft Foods Limited in 1950 and now Vegemite is known as Kraft Vegemite. A popular Australian practical joke is to send a jar of Vegemite to people from overseas and tell them to eat it by the spoonful or spread it thickly on bread. Needless to say, this definitely hasn't endeared it to those who have survived this first taste of the thick, black, salty, and very strong tasting spread that can take a bit of getting used to.
As the company slogan states itself, "Arnott's is more than a biscuit company, it's part of Australian culture." Like Vegemite, Arnott's biscuits are a real Australian icon. Every household in Australia is likely to have a packet of Arnott's biscuits in the house at this very moment, especially with such family favourites as Tim Tam, Mint Slice, Kingston, Monte Carlo, Tiny Teddies, Iced VoVo, Shapes, Sao, Jatz, Spicy Fruit Roll, Venetian, Scotch Finger, Ginger Nut, Honey Jumbles, and way, way too many more to mention here. Many Australians are brought up on Arnott's biscuits which started from a small retail bakery located Newcastle, north of Sydney, in 1865. Now the name of that company is synonymous throughout the South Pacific.
Here are some links to my favourite Australian Food and Recipe Sites which I think you will enjoy.