Friday 22 January 2016

Australia Day recipes

Australia Day on 26 January is almost upon us.  Whether you are celebrating settlement or commiserating on invasion (it is a day full of political opinion as much as parades and bbqs), I hope you will be eating good food.

Today for Australia Day I share some iconic Australian recipes, and recipes using iconic Australian food.  It has been hard to narrow down so many favourite recipes so I have tried to only include quintessentially Aussie food, rather than recipes of my family. Here they are (clockwise from top left):

Classic Australian baking:

Kids parties and lunchboxes
  • Hedgehog - similar to fridge cake, biscuit cake or tiffin - a chocolate slice with chunks of biscuits
  • Honey joys - cornflakes baked with a honey butter coating
  • Lemon slice - chunks of biscuit in a slice of lemon, coconut and condensed milk
  • Apricot delight - dense uncooked mixture of dried apricots and coconut cut into small squares
  • Coconut ice - very rich condensed milk and coconut mixture usually with a pink layer and a white layer
  • Chocolate crackles - chocolate coated rice bubbles, traditionally made with copha (hydrogenated coconut oil - which is less popular these days). 

Australian brand names in recipes:
  • Tim Tam brownies - brownies stuffed with tim tams (chocolate sandwich biscuits)
  • Chokito fudge - fudge stuffed with chokito (chocolate bar with fudge and rice bubbles)
  • Grubs with Tim Tams - chocolate balls made of condensed milk, cocoa, coconut and biscuit - this recipe uses Tim Tams instead of traditional Marie biscuits
  • Violet Crumble ice cream - ice cream stuffed with Violet Crumble - a chocolate covered bar of honeycomb
  • Tick Tock teacups - biscuits with clock faces form the saucer with a marshmallow cup, a lifesaver handle and a freckle for the froth - these are really cute party favourites
  • Cherry Ripe cake pops - cherries, condensed milk and coconut are mixed and dipped in chocolate to imitate a favourite chocolate bar

Classic savoury Australian recipes (vegetarian):
  • Sausage rolls - one of my favourite party recipes - "sausage meat" wrapped in pastry
  • Damper - simple campfire bread leavened with baking powder
  • Party pies - while the larger meat pie is an Aussie classic, these smaller versions were always at parties of my youth
  • Chiko rolls  - minced meat and cabbage in a really chew fried pastry
  • Zucchini slice - lots of egg and grated zucchini plus some fried bacon all mixed and baked a bit like a fritatta
  • Pumpkin soup - it was a great shock when I first travelled to find that pumpkin soup was not as ubiquitous as I had thought from living in Australia

Recipes using Australian ingredients
  • Vegemite in Cheeseymite scones - I hardly need to tell you about how dark and salty vegemite is and that it is best eaten in small amounts - it goes well very with cheese.  (Also try the vegemite burger or vegemite fudge.)
  • Pumpkin in Pumpkin, pecan and poppyseed scones - I know well that many other countries have pumpkin but few seem to have it like we do in Australia where our Queensland Blue and Kent pumpkins are regular household vegies - and we love it in scones
  • Quandong syrup in the frosting on Kale cake - I only tasted quandong syrup recently and loved its gentle fragrant fruitiness in a cream cheese frosting - an indigenous fruit that I must learn about
  • Dried wattleseed in Mud cake -  I love using native seed, dried wattleseed, instead of coffee granules in baking - it has a slight bitterness that echoes coffee
  • Weetbix in Marshmallow weetbix slice - weetbix was first made in Australia (though it became weetabix in some countries) and was one of the main cereals when we were young - it is low in sugar and high in fibre so retains its popularity - the marshmallow slice with it is a faovurite from my childhood
  • Pepperberry in Tofu and pesto crackers - in Australia we have an indigenous mountain pepper with edible leaf and berries - I've used it in baking occasionally

Quirky Australian themed recipes
  • Southern Cross cake - an easy Australian-themed cake
  • Buttermilk and lemon myrtle damper in Aboriginal flag dinner - many years ago as a new blogger I created a dinner homage to the Aboriginal flag - one day I will do it with a better photo!
  • White Christmas - we have very few iconic Christmas recipes in Australia but this no bake slice filled with rice bubbles, dried fruit and copha (or white chocolate) is an old favourite
  • The Getting of Wisdom book cake - the cake didn't look very much like a book but it did feature the name of a classic coming-of-age Australian book that we studied at school
  • Shamburger pizza with the lot - the classic Aussie burger in a fish and chip shop has lettuce, fried onions, beetroot, fried egg, tomato and bacon as well as the burger in a bun - I had a go at putting a veg version on a pizza
  • Gluten free Tim Tams - I also had a go at making gluten free Tim Tams for the celiacs in my family - they were good but the melted chocolate was not on my side that day

Classic Australian recipes I hope to blog one day
  • Sponge cake - my mum makes beautiful light sponge layer cakes regularly on birthdays so I feel it is my destiny to bake sponge cakes
  • Fairy bread - what Aussie party is complete without bread with butter and coloured sprinkles though such a simple idea that it seems crazy to blog it
  • Jelly slice - have loved jelly slice since childhood but need to get around gelatine to make it (the Moody Noodles have had a go)
  • Cheesymite scrolls - a recently Aussie classic take on the bread roll though the idea of pairing vegemite and cheese is an old one
  • Vanilla slice - custard between layers of puff pastry with lots of icing on top - I only occasionally want one so the idea of a whole batch of them seems a bit much
  • Pavlova - this is one of my mum's regular desserts that I grew up on - I want to try one but dream of making a vegan one with aquafaba - though it needs to have the marshmallow inside and crisp outside to be proper pav
So now I am pretty amazed at how many Aussie recipes I have produced here.  Cultural cringe makes us Aussies believe we have little to offer the rest of the world but it aint true.  And I haven't even started on other favourites like coffee scrolls, jelly cakes, peach melba.  Check out my Australia Day Pinterest board for more ideas.  Whether commiserating or celebrating, I hope you are finding some Australian food for our national day.

NOTES: For American readers, when we say "biscuit" it is like your cookie.  Our slices are similar to American bars.  Rice bubbles are known as rice krispies elsewhere.  It is confusing but Google will mostly help out.


  1. This is really a fascinating post! Pumpkin, I believe, is native to the Americas, so there's a lot of it in both North and South American cuisine. Thus pumpkin soup surprised me when I saw it on menu boards along the street in Sydney on one of my 2 visits to Australia. (I guess the time I changed planes in the Sydney airport on a very unfortunate itinerary from Wellington to Detroit doesn't count, though I did see Uggs in the shops!)

    Some of those recipes are shared with other English-language areas, but definitely some are unique to Australia! I guess you don't eat seafood, but the shellfish and bony fish native to Australia are also fabulous.

    best... mae at

    1. Thanks Mae - it was hard to choose foods that I felt were particularly Australian. I chose pumpkin and pumpkin soup as our approach seems quite different from others I see online. Though sometimes it is hard to work out if it is just nomenclature or how we eat.

  2. My goodness how everything looks so delicious!


  3. I feel quite nostalgic Johanna! What a brilliant round up and a nice summary of classic Australian dishes.

  4. Lots of great stuff! I had planned on making some foods as we're going out but I've recommitted to my healthy meal plan 100% with my coach-- so much temptation though, especially as I have the non-dairy condensed milks in the pantry!

    1. Thanks Faye - hard to eat these traditional treats if you are doing your healthy food plan but at least there are some interesting indigenous ingredients you can add - though they are harder to find. Hope you find something fun to do with the condensed milk.

  5. I'm really getting into sponge cakes. In theory they are so easy but they can be a challenge too! I'm excited about Australia Day coming up :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I learnt from my mum that sponge making is an artform that you learn - something I might get into one day.

  6. I do wish politics would just stay out of it so we can just go ahead and celebrate the day for what it is - that we're blessed to be Australian and it's a great place to live. I'm not yet sure what I'm going to be cooking but you've certainly inspired me - so many recipes! xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - politics does complicate life but I think it is important to be aware and acknowledge how others feel as well as celebrating.

  7. You know, here I was thinking Australia Day is just going to be another day this year, I don't really care about it...but your post has inspired me to celebrate and make some Aussie food! I'm amazed at all the Aussie recipes you have made over the years, Johanna - well done!

  8. Wow, Johanna what a fantastic blog post with lots of inspiring recipes - more thank Lamington cakes and Anzac biscuits indeed.

  9. What a fantastic round-up, Johanna. There isn't one thing on your definitive list that I wouldn't LOVE to try!

    Thank you so much for sharing and, just in case I don't make it back, Happy Australia Day!!!

  10. Wow - look at all of these amazing recipes! It's so great that you've been creating all of these recipes to share some of your culture with us =)

  11. What a delicious collection of Australia Day recipes!
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  12. A great roundup of Australia Day recipes! Hope you had a good one.

  13. Lovely post Johanna! What an amazing selection of recipes and loads of great inspiration. Have bookmarked the post to come back and explore them in more detail when I need a creative boost!


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