When I came to Australia, I paid my first rent in a boarding house occupied by a typical Australian lady called Fay, who was a part time vegetarian and full time patriotic! Her heart was benefiting from the vitamins and minerals she was getting from the fruits and veggies she was consuming daily but would melt over a sausage sizzle and an Aussie meat pie! I truly understand her, I mean seriously who wouldn’t?
Fay and I used to have breakfast together. To test how Aussie I was ready to be, she offered me a yellow Jar of vegemite. Gladly, I tried a spoonful thinking it was chocolate! The taste of yeast was so traumatising and savoured like licking an envelope? A window frame? I’m not sure! I was already psychologically damaged and failed the patriotic test.
With the cultural diversity in Sydney, the Influence of globalisation is obvious, particularly the influence of Mediterranean and East Asian migrants; Interrupted by fundraisers flipping sausages in the city, commuters snacking on meat pies while waiting for the next train, and surfers nibbling on fish and chips by the beach.
Sausage sizzle; referred to as snags with onion, wrapped inside a slice of bread with drippings of sauce; is commonly sold in fundraising and community events, and is a common tradition at federal and state elections. Realising the importance of eating a sausage before or after voting has become for many Australians; a map on the site displays sausage sizzles and cake stalls at polling booths across the country, with 1470 stalls registered, including a website www.electionsausagesizzle.com.au
British traditions continue to a high degree in domestic cooking and the takeaway food like fish and chips; still hugely popular and extended to what is known as “The fisherman basket”; a catch of the day battered seafood basket wrapped in a newspaper; but meat undeniably remains the core food of Australian cuisines.
The Best Australian food are found in local bars, they remain cheap and traditional in every Aussie bar menu and usually comes with a little side of salad and hot chips. My favourite is ” The Orient Hotel” at the Rocks; serving since 1844; for as little as $15.50 for the meal, add few dollars for a tap cold beer.
But if you want something on the go, more fun and way cheaper; Sausage Sizzles are always available at Bunnings warehouse for as little as $2.50 for a snag. Other Fundraising events may opt for a little higher for a slice of sizzle, last time I paid $4.00 for a slice and $5.00 for a bun. All profit goes for a named organisation, so while filling up your stomach, you are also earning the title of being a Good Samaritan.
For a meat pie, Australians will vote for one Iconic Cart: Harry’s Cafe de Wheels; Founded by Harry Edwards in 1938; Harry served with the Australian Imperial Force in World War II, during which time the cafe was not operational. The cart re-opened upon his return from the war in 1945.
The name “Cafe de Wheels” came about because of the requirement from the city council that mobile food caravans had to move a minimum of 30 cm each day. The cart gained popularity as a tourist attraction and has been visited by celebrities for 70 years now.
Pies are of variety and start for $4.50 for a simple pie, goes up to$7.00 with extra toppings of mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy.
To make Aussie Pies
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Mix 1 tbsp. of corn flour and 1 tbsp. of beef stock to form a paste. Then add ¾ cup of each: beef stock, tomato sauces, Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1/2 cup of Guinness beer and pretend it was an accident…oOps! Don’t apologise, Simmer until thick.
While the sauce cools, Preheat oven to 220°C. Place a baking tray into oven. Grease 4 x 8cm base measurement pie pans.
From any supermarket, buy 2 sheets frozen, ready-rolled short crust pastry, thawed. Cut 4 x 15cm circles from short crust pastry. Use to line bases and sides of pans. Fill with mince. Cut 4 x 15cm circles from puff pastry. Place over meat and press to seal. Trim. Brush with egg.
Place pies onto hot tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve with Tomato sauce.
This coming Australia Day; The Orient hotel is throwing a live music event starting from 1:30pm until late, while Harry’s Cafe de Wheels will be up early, crafting your favourite meat pie.
Whatever you do;
Celebrate what’s great and have a Happy Australia Day!