So many people have asked me over the years what a quintessential Aussie meal consists of, and while I can answer it quite simply, I think it’s important to acknowledge our attitude towards dining and food more generally, which is often remarked internationally as being ‘relaxed and comfortable’. But forgetting all of that for a minute, we’re also known for a distinctly unique thing called ‘tucker’, and its featured in our Aussie slang since Ned was a kid.
Christmas, like other holidays is one of the many special times where we like to use the word ‘tucker’, which is essentially the Aussie word for ‘food’, and my Christmas this year was made up of Aussie family favourites, and a special dish which I’ve learnt to cook over the years with varying degrees of success.
Our attitude to food can often be likened to the Aussie psyche – often remarked internationally as ‘comfortable and relaxed’, and this, I think, is how we like to live our lives, and moreover how we’re perceived around the world.
The ‘comfortable and relaxed’ attitude manifests itself in many different ways – but the best way is when comes to our attitude to dining, and moreover our cuisine culture – by accepting, and adopting a multiplicity of cultural flavours in a ‘comfortable and relaxed’ atmosphere. So it’s no surprise that our appreciation of food has been brought about with this attitude in mind, acknowledging from our past, and adopting the many things that make our country the great nation that it is.
So what does an Aussie bloke have for his relaxed and not quite Christmas lunch, not quite dinner when he’s home alone? He gets on the ‘dog-and-bone’ and calls his mates round for a bit of a barbie.
The food I enjoyed on Christmas Day is actually one of Australia’s favourite past times – BBQ. The food was all produced, and sourced locally from the Ulladulla abattoirs, and other ingredients were sourced from some of Australia’s best food producers. We enjoyed outstanding Australian Scotch fillet beef – marinated in a mix of Australian herbs and spices, onion powder, garlic (chopped finely), and a delicious Australian style BBQ sauce, with soy sauce, and sugar. Once all combined I threw them into a plastic container, and put them in the freezer for about an hour. Once done in the Kelvinator I threw them on to a hot BBQ plate (not grill) for about 10 (5 on each side), and then put them on the flame grill afterwards (on a high heat) for extra flavour.
The Aussie Christmas
The Australian rissole has been something I’ve been enjoying since I was a kid. So when I cooked it on the barbie on Christmas Day it reminded me of when Mum would cook the family favourite – I recall my days of being with her in the kitchen preparing beef mince, herbs and spices, onion, and breadcrumbs and combining it all up into meaty goodness. The rissole has come to be known as comfort food in Australia, and its served generations with a hearty, yet tasty meal. Back in my scallywaging 20-something days, it was also something I prepared and cooked (up to 500 at a time!) with my Uncle at a Soup Kitchen – just down the road from Kings Cross (Sydney’s red light district) for Sunday lunches.
An Aussie BBQ can’t be what it is without the sausage sanger in bread, served with cooked onions (preferably brown, but red is fine) and tomato sauce. This Aussie favourite when combined with the other meat dishes makes for a simple, and easy to prepare meal that is what we as Australians have come to know and love as the ‘Banger Sanger’, and even the ‘Democracy Sausage’ – somehow even finding itself in amongst our political process. Believe me, we take the sausage very seriously downunder.
So when you take a few mates, put them on a coastal balcony with a few drinks, a BBQ, and a beautiful summer day good things can, and do happen. In the case of my Christmas lunch I think the words ‘comfortable and relaxed’ absolutely ring true.