Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Australia Day Menu, 1922.

Today is Australia Day, so naturally I feel obliged to have an Australian theme. My problem is that all of my historical Australian cookery books remain in boxes. The excuse(s) I am touting is a rapid sequence of events in my life - “house move + Christmas fun/chaos + beach holiday + Brisbane floods and no power for 10 days”. Oh! And no bookshelves (yet) to store the books, so no point in unpacking them anyway. I am not sure how much longer this excuse will be viable.

The Internet has come to my rescue (Thank You, Cyber-Gods) and I give you the “All Australian Menu” from the Australia Day dinner to Sir Joseph Cook, in London on January 23, 1922. The menu comes to you from the Sydney Morning Herald, which noted that “It was the first occasion in London that Australian products had been served at a public function.”

Tasmanian Tomato Soup.
New South Wales Grilled Rabbits and Victorian Green Peas.
South Australian Lamb and Victorian Celery Sauce.
Fruit Salad (New South Wales Peaches, Victorian Pears, and Queensland Pineapple)
West Australian Passionfruit
Mildura (Victorian) Grape Sweets
Wines: Australian “Imperial Reserve” (Red and White)

For the recipe for the day, I give you some pineapple recipes from The Brisbane Courier of November 8, 1923.

Pineapple Preserves.
Cut fruit in slices, chips, or quarters. To each pound of fruit add a cup of water. Put in a preserving pan, cover, and boil slowly until tender and clear. Then take from water in a dish. Add to the water, sugar, pound for pound. Stir till all is dissolved, put in pineapple, cover the pan, and let boil slowly until transparent, then take out the fruit and put in glass jars. Let the syrup cook till thick and rich,then pour over fruit.

Pineapple Marmalade.
To one pound of grated pineapple allow one-half pound of sugar. Scatter sugar over fruit and let stand three hours, then put on stove, and let simmer slowly one hour. Store in air-tight jars.

Pineapple Fritters.
Sift together a cupful of flour, a few grains of salt, a tablespoonful of sugar, and half a level tablespoonful of baking powder. Beat an egg, add a third of a cupful of milk, and gradually stir into the dry ingredients, then add a cupful of pineapple, chopped or cut up into small pieces. Drop by spoonfuls into the fat, and fry a golden brown. Drain on soft paper and serve hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Pineapple Pudding or Pie Filling.
Peel pare and chop a pineapple; sprinkle with sugar and let stand an hour. Arrange in a buttered pudding dish slices of bread over which pour the juice from the pineapple and sugar.
Beat the yolks of three eggs, with half cup of sugar, adding last the whites, which should have been, beaten separately. A tablespoonful of white wine, and half a cup of chopped almonds will improve this. Pour over the juice-soaked slices and bake. '

Previous Australia Day stories can be read (or re-read) at the following links: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

Quotation for the Day.
In Australia, what they do to eggs is incomprehensible-they serve them with spaghetti at breakfast. They cook the eggs for nine hours until all moisture is removed, then they cosy them up to thick chewy noodles, warmed in the can not moments before.
Jon Carroll.


Judy said...

Tasmanian Tomato Soup? Take one Tasmanian Devil and drag him through tomato soup; repeat if more pronounced flavor is desired?

Happy Australia Day to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

The menu makes me wonder: are there a lot of rabbit recipes in Australia? It seems you ought to do your share to keep the pesky critters' numbers down!

Unknown said...

There are a lot of rabbit recipes in Australia of course. The Australian cooking culture is very diverse, and implies a lot of surprising animals for cooking.
It is most essential not to cook anything with teflon pans, as teflon releases a toxic substance if overheated.