It’s 2016! Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe how fast the previous year whizzed by? 2015 seemed like a blur, what with how I had to juggle my business, ventures, family life and of course, this blog. Everyone else seems to have caught the 2016 bug as well—already the kids have amassed a stockpile of bells, clappers, horns, poppers and kazoos to ring in the New Year, courtesy of their crazy dad.
With the whole world counting down to 2016, I was reminded of how Australia is among the first to ring in the new year. I always remember getting calls from my BFF in Australia greeting me a happy new year – while I’m still neck-deep in Media Noche preparations! So I thought I’d make January’s dishes Outback-inspired, to celebrate the great food in Oz.
Now most of us are still coming down from their holiday highs – I sure have a couple of Christmas tunes still ringing around in my head. Which is probably why I thought to kick off the year with 2 wholesome dishes, lamb burger and vegemite toast, and 2 fruit-filled desserts, pavlova and lamingtons.
When it comes to Australian food though, nothing says Oz like Vegemite. I remember the stuff grossing me out when I first had a taste during my first visit to Australia. But having had multiple opportunities to try the stuff out over the years, I must say that Vegemite ranks high on my list of things that go perfect with toast. To fully recreate some of my offbeat Aussie breakfasts though, I went ahead and topped my vegemite toast with some avocado slices, and a teasingly runny poached egg. Mr. Flintstone skips the bread. More carbs for me then!
Another distinctively Australian dish is lamb burger with beets in mayonnaise. It's delicious, nutritious, and oh so easy to make. And if you think having beet chunks in your burger is strange, well I say don't knock it down unless you've tried it. Unconventional, but I actually kind of like it. Add a side of parmesan-garlic fries and you’ve got yourself a real outback-y meal.
I always love working with meringue, be it for my fruit torte cakes or just on their own as little treats for the kids (and kids at heart). What I like about the pavlova though is how it keeps a crusty-crumbly veneer while managing to retain its chewy-gooey marshmallowy center. Top that with some scrumptious fruits and cream and you’ve definitely got something festive for your holiday hangovers. With all those fruits (courtesy of mom's New Year's fruit-hoarding tradition), it sure looks "healthy" enough for me!
Rounding up my Awesomely Aussie lineup is the lamington – rectangular pieces of sponge cake with a jam or chocolate sauce coating, and another coat of desiccated coconut. Kind of like those ube bread with niyog you can get from most local panaderias. I did miss noshing on those raspberry lamingtons from my last trip to Australia, so I thought I’d recreate them with some store-bought sponge cake smeared with raspberry jam and a hearty smattering of desiccated coconut. You can also buy these coated in chocolate in Rustan's Supermarket.
So there you have it, a spread worthy of the outback experience. Can't wait to go back to Aussie and visit by bestie, but for the meantime, these will sate my cravings. Not to mention, these will help ease you in from the festivities of the holidays!
2 Rectangle sponge or pound cake
1. Put a thin layer of whip cream in the middle of two sponge cake and refrigerate for 20mins.
2. Heat the raspberry jelly for 1 min using the microwave oven for easy coating later.
3. Trim the edges of the cake and cut the middle part about 1-1.5” vertically and horizontally.
4. Coat all sides of the cube cake with raspberry jelly.
5. Dip the cubed cake in desiccated coconut. Refrigerate before serving.
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Easy 5-step recipes featuring the freshest and most exciting ingredients from Rustan's Supermarket.