Australia has a special place in my and Z’s hearts because Z received both of his Masters degrees from an Australian university. We met when he was back in the States between his courses. After dating for 5 months I had to say a teary goodbye (on New Year’s Day, none the less!) for 8 months while he went back to complete his next degree. It was difficult to be away from each other, and I owe Skype a debt of gratitude for the strength of our relationship and the zero cost on my cell phone bill. But, lucky me!, that meant I got to adventure to Australia last April! We went to Canberra, Surfer’s Paradise, and Sydney. Surfer’s may be the most beautiful and relaxing place I have ever been in my life. It was a total yumventure as well, I ate kangaroo (sooo good!), mussels the size of my fist, and the best avocados on the face of the earth.
I didn’t realize it was Australia Day until the last minute, so I am using a ton of creative license in calling this meal in any way Australian. But I figure its the thought that counts, so here we go :)
Australia has a strange obsession with meat pies, which are exactly what they sound like, so since I was planning on making quiche anyway I thought “Hmmm…quiche is sort of pie-ish!” I modified this recipe from the Crustless Quiche on Beantown Baker, another great Boston-based cooking blog. I needed a new recipe, due to my last quiche disaster (I used caramelized onions and it turned out watery, then my crust fell apart due to its gluten-less-ness).
To the original recipe, I subbed the sausage for the leftover chicken breast from last night (the “meat” of my meat pie), sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese instead of goat. Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece, so my pre-planned Greek flavors still came in handy. (Wow, I am really stretching it on this one!)
Here is everything coming together:
I decided to make individual mini-quiches. Good luck guys!
The final product — YUM! My first successful quiche! Seriously. I called my Mom to tell her I made them, and her response, “That’s great! You always eff-ed it up before!” Thanks Mom! I think the addition of Greek yogurt helped everything stay together, my previous attempts were consistantly sloppy. (Is Sophie learning to cook?!)
They were totally delicious and flavorful, served with some veggies and a crispy slice of gluten free toast!
Since we are celebrating, I figured a little dessert wouldn’t hurt :) This one is one of my childhood favorites: pavlova cake. Pavlova is a meringue covered with cream and fresh fruit. It is the most wonderful summertime dessert (and a gigantic sugar rush!) popular in Australia and New Zealand. However tonight…no whipped cream, and no fresh fruit! I decided to combine Australia’s pavlova cake with their (and my) mother country, England’s, Banofee pie (banana toffee pie. I love how strange food from my home is :) ).
The great thing about a meringue is that you can very easily change it’s size by adjusting the amount of eggs and sugar. It is a 1:2 ratio of number of eggs:ounce of sugar (yes, ounces. This is an Australian recipe after all!). It is another one of my never-fail recipes. Even if the meringue falls apart, break it up and mush it with the cream and fruit and you get another famous dessert: Eton mess!
Banofee Pavlova Cake for 2
1 egg white
2 ounces caster sugar (or superfine sugar)
Agave nectar or melted caramel
Preheat oven to 300*
I used the new scale my brother bought me for Christmas (thanks Henry!). Since I come from a British family a lot of our recipes are in ounces, so one of these is a necessity.
Whip the egg whites and slowly add the sugar. The egg whites should get glossy as they begin to form stiff peaks. The raw meringue is amazing and tastes like marshmellow, you definitely want to lick the bowl!
Put some parchment paper on a cookie sheet (or random pie plate?) and, with a spatula, shape the egg white mixture into the size and shape of the cake that you want. This is my 2 person tasty treat!
Put in the warm oven for an hour, or until the outside of the meringue is hard and starting to turn golden. Bring out of oven to cool.
“Ice” the top of the meringue with the banana soft serve, and drizzle over the agave or caramel.
See the meringue-y goodness and the crispy shell? Total yumville!! Not quite as good as the traditional cream, kiwi, and strawberry topping, but still delish!
Holy sugar rush Batman! Enjoy the rest of your Australia Day! Throw some prawns on the barbie :)