On the very top my list of fantasy places to visit is

I have a rather romantisized view based on books and movies but I can live with that.

I would love to see

and hear a

but considering the 20+ hour flight and other considerations I just don’t see it happening. So for now I will have to be content with dreaming and visiting some of the cuisine of Australia!!

And therein lies the problem. Australia, like the US, is a nation of immigrants. The Aboriginal peoples arrived around 40,000 years ago or so. The next peoples did not arrive until 1606 when the Duitch landed and the British in 1770 when they established a penal colony. If you wanted to get ‘out of jail free’ you could opt to immigrate to Australia. And many many did.

Today Australia is home to peoples from all over the world so trying to find a ‘typical’ Aussie dish was not easy. Anzac Cookies would be the first thing most people would think of but I wanted, naturally, something different. So how about:

    Damper Bread
    Damper is traditionally a simple Australian unleavened bread baked in the hot coals of a campfire. The dough was wrapped around a stick and cooked or put into an iron pot and buried in the hot coals.The bread is called damper because the fire is damped to allow the bread to be cooked over the ash covered hot coals.

2 1/2 cups plain flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk, fresh,powdered ( or you can just use water)


Mix the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl.
Cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.
Add milk slowly and mix to form a soft dough.
Knead lightly on a floured board until smooth.
Shape into a round loaf, brush with milk and cut a cross in the top surface of the dough.

. . . For oven cooking

Grease and dust with flour a round cake tin. You can substitute a flat baking pan, but the round tin gives a better shape to the loaf. Place dough in the pan and bake at 190° C (375° F) for 30 – 40 minutes.

. . . For campfire cooking

Grease the camp oven (Dutch oven) and dust with flour. Add bread dough and cover. Place in your campfire, cover with hot ashes and coals and bake for about 30 minutes. {I really want to try it this way!}

I tried a slice with Vegemite. That’s different. Very Salty and… no I don’t think I like that. And with some butter and plainAlso good with soup, syrup, honey…. The damper reminded me of a giant biscuit! Which is basically what it is. Good!!

There are abut 4 of us who have been cooking with Donna Hay, a renowned Australian chef, and none of the meals are typically Australian. I could have made any number of dishes with seafood or beef (Albertsons was completely out of Kangaroo Meat and it’s not Croc season in LA) but….

I made a typical dessert instead:

    Lamingtons

According to stories… the creation of the Lamington is asssociated with accredited to Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of room temperature butter
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of icing sugar {aka powdered or confectioners sugar}
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
3 tbs of butter
1/2 cup of milk
Whipped cream for serving

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Lightly butter an 8 inch square cake tin. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, use an electric beater to cream the butter and sugar mixture together until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat well after adding each egg.
Add the vanilla to the mixture and mix well to combine.
Next, use a spatula to alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, starting and finishing with the flour.
Spread the batter into the cake tin, making sure it’s evenly spread.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to cool.
Once the cake has cooled cut it into squares of a desired size and place them in an airtight container. Pop the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
Now for the icing. Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Stir the mixture until it is smooth but still a bit thick. You don’t want the liquid to get too thin otherwise the sponge cake won’t absorb the coating.
Now it’s time to assemble the Lamingtons. Put out some newspaper under wire racks to catch any mess. Place the cake pieces on the racks and have your chocolate icing and desiccated coconut ready.
Quickly coat the sponge cake on all sides in the icing mixture and then gently roll the cake in the coconut. Repeat the process.

The trick to these is to soak the cake pieces long enough in the chocolate to get a nice layer of chocolate without having them fall apart IN the chocolate! The longer you dip the cake, the thicker the layer of chocolate!! These little nuggets are fun to make and even funner {yes, I know it’s not a word!!} to eat!

So, if you cannot visit the Australian continent you can at least try two of it’s common treats.

**Thanks to Australian Food and All Down Under for the recipes.

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