If people living outside Australia think about answering this question, they would probably answer: roast kangaroo, steak & eggs, fried mutton chops, pavlova, and billy tea. That is, if they thought about it at all. Australia does not have a reputation for a local cuisine in the same way that China, France or Mexico have. But we have much to offer, even though the question is no easier to answer for someone living in Australia.
Our modern cooking is the product of a combination of ideas from the waves of immigrants from Europe and Asia, of scenes from TV and movies from Europe and North America, and from overseas chefs brought to Australia to show us how cooking should be done. The absence of a specific national cuisine has meant that we have been free to adopt and adapt whatever suited us from other cuisines.A perfect example is the roast leg of lamb. In earlier times, we cooked it in the same way as the British immigrants and served it with Baked vegetables, peas and mint sauce. Now, it is just as likely to to be cooked with rosemary, garlic and then roasted slowly, or rubbed with spices and yoghurt and cooked in our version of the tandoori style.
All of this adds up today to a cosmopolitan or multicultural style of cooking and food. A buffet lunch I ate recently had Italian lasagne, Greek salad, Dutch and Swedish-style cheeses, Thai chilli chicken, and Welsh potato and leek soup, among other cold and hot dishes. This sort of combination is quite normal for Australian meals.
The major characteristics of cooking in Australia now are the freshness of the ingredients, the variety of influences from around the world, the simple methods of preparation, and the willingness to try new things.
One potential source of food and cooking has been almost ignored - our indigenous foods. Australians have not made very much use of the food plants or animals that are native to Australia, except as novelties for tourists, both domestic and international. In fact, more overseas tourists have probably eaten kangaroo than have Australian-born people.
So what is Australian cooking and food? I'll try to answer that in future articles on this website.
The recipes on the website are divided into the following categories:
If you would like to contribute an idea or suggestion or two,