Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Typical Foods that Australians Love to Eat

 I've been "flat out like a lizard drinking all day", but I wanted to write something about typical Aussie food today and a few slang expressions just might get thrown in as well. Aussies, except for vegetarians and vegans have always loved a good beef steak, and throwing a lamb chop on the barbecue, as well as the prawn. Sorry but I refuse to call it a shrimp, despite Paul Hogan's best intentions to "throw a shrimp on the barbie". However, now it seems that delicious seafood is very popular and is more affordable than red meat, depending on where we buy it. A high percentage of us are favouring seafood at Christmas time now, instead of chicken and pork, it's easy and it's fresh. To mark the day I'm not going to mention just yet, I bought enough fresh prawns today from the supermarket to make a prawn sandwich on very fresh bread and butter, I adore seafood, even more that Mr. HRK. I was raised by my Mother to love it, as she grew up by the beach in Central Queensland with access to lots of lovely seafood. Give me a plate of fresh oysters, Queensland Mud Crabs, and prawns, and I am in Heaven.

These Crystal Bay prawns, which I bought this morning, were farmed in the pristine waters of the Hinchinbrook Channel near Cardwell, in Far North Queensland, and made a delicious sandwich for lunch today, after being peeled and cleaned of course. Many are being sustainably farmed, and sold at quite reasonable prices in supermarkets. However if you like to eat them with a delicious seafood sauce, I have a few favourites to suggest. This is my Seafood Cocktail with Marie Rose sauce.  My mouth is watering at the thought of it. Long live the Prawn Cocktail, with fresh oysters on the side.

Vegemite is 100 years old, and is a black spread like Promite, that Aussies have been trained to love almost from the cradle. None of us can remember when we first tasted it, but it's always been in the refrigerator. Many a Mum has dipped her finger into a jar of vegemite while they are eating it spread on toast for breakfast and given their young child a taste even before they started on solids, just so they would grow up loving it, and most of us do. We've all grown up being "happy little vegemites". It celebrates everything fun and unique about being an Aussie. One of the amusing things we love to do with overseas visitors, is to give them a taste of vegemite on toast just to see their reaction. Even though we eat Australian made Weet-bix most mornings for breakfast during the week, it's often vegemite on toast that is my first food craving for the day, along with a cup of tea. Now that is an honest confession from a foodie. 

Vegemite, the brand, is celebrating 100 years this year, such an Aussie icon. Besides having it on toast, we love to add it to savoury mince dishes, beef stews, and Mr. HRK insists it's his secret ingredient when he's cooking. Pizza companies have now developed a frozen vegemite pizza, to be released soon. Mr. HRK will be trying that out, he loves making pizzas.

The Royal Australian Mint has released a Vegemite edition of the $1 coin which will feature a piece of toast with vegemite smeared on it. Some Vegemite stamps are going to be released as well. Vegemite is a trademark of the Bega Cheese Limited, we've been to BEGA.

So what else do we Aussies hold dear to their hearts as favourite foods? Weetbix has always been around as a breakfast cereal, we've been eating them since we were kids. After all, Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix kids, well they were, I'm not so sure now. It's a totally Australian product made by Sanitarium, and besides eating it for breakfast, it has been used as a basis for biscuits and slices and Rum Balls at Christmas, oh yes Rum Balls. I dare not mess with that recipe, or there will be a family revolt.

Recipe can be found at: HAPPY RETIREE'S KITCHEN : Christmas Rum Balls and Chocolate Rum Truffles ( As far as I'm concerned, these taste great at any time of the year, and made with lots of Queensland Bundaberg Rum of course.

The LAMINGTON is the national cake of Australia, that's fair dinkum. There I've said it, it's a big claim, but true.  It is a slab of sponge cake cut in large squares, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled liberally with desiccated coconut. It was first invented in Queensland with the first recipe appearing in the Country Life newspaper as early as 1900. The story goes that it was created by a cooking accident at work by a maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the very British eighth Governor of Queensland.

Many of us who have had children attend primary school in Queensland, participated in Lamington Drives at the school, which were a major annual fundraiser, and a very messy experience. All the slabs of cake that had to be cut up into squares, all the runny chocolate icing in large bowls which the cake had to be dipped into, and all those trays of coconut which the chocolate covered cake had to be rolled in. I'm sure we wore gloves, but you can imagine that it could get quite messy. I think it turned me off actually making Lamingtons. I prefer to buy them now from a very good local bakery, but recipes are available if you want to give them a try. They really are delicious, but the cake has to be like the real sponge cake that lamingtons are traditionally made from. That's the secret. I've ordered a dozen chocolate lamingtons for tomorrow, it's traditional, I had to. We'll share them with neighbours and friends. There are plenty of varieties to choose from now, pink ones, ones with cream and jam in the middle, ones coated in hundreds and thousands and various kinds of sprinkles, the list is endless.

The lamingtons in the photo above were bought from the supermarket today, and are actually a good size for children to eat. They are white cake coated in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut, however they don't taste as good as the bakery product which is larger and with a softer cake. However these are quite affordable for many families and capture the spirit of the lamington for Australia Day.

Call us strange, but something else we love to do here Down Under is eat the humble pumpkin when cooked, in many ways, and at any time of the year. It is such an earthy and economical vegetable to eat whether baked, boiled, mashed, or made into sweets. Not many other countries in the world grow it and eat it like we do. 

Some of you will remember my Pumpkin Scone recipe from International Scone Week last year, but I just checked my blog recipes and I have cooked quite a few pumpkin cakes over the years too.

Here's a batch of Aussie Damper scones just out of the oven.

Did I say damper? Real rustic damper is what we love to cook in a cast iron Camp Oven over a fire when we go camping in the bush. Eating it hot with butter and smothered in Golden Syrup is a must.

The Camp Oven cooking the damper in the smouldering coals of the fire. Hot Coals must also be placed in the lid of the pot.

Damper Ingredients:

2 cups SR Flour
Pinch of salt

Let's make Damper:

  • In a bowl, add 2 cups of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt
  • Slowly add water from the jug and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the ingredients start to combine and form a dough
  • The dough now needs to be mixed together, not kneaded. Using your hands, yes your clean hands, cup the ingredients in your hands, and slowly work the dough until you get a nice round damper shape.

Back to the pumpkin recipes.

Rosemary Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

Golden Pumpkin, Olive and Zucchini Loaf

And this is one of my all time favourites, Pumpkin and Apricot Fruit Cake. We love a good fruit cake.

There are more but you can find them I'm sure if you feel inspired.

Many of the classic Aussie dishes have a British, Irish or Scottish origin, Meat Pies, Apple Pies, Hearty stews. Fair shake of the sauce bottle, who doesn't love a good pie?

I can hear you saying, what about the famous Aussie Pavlova? The Pav smothered in fresh cream is a favourite dessert here in Oz, and we definitely claim it as our own, however our friends across the ditch in New Zealand, also hold it dear. Anyway it's a debate that still hasn't been resolved, and might never be. Here's the link to my pavlova recipe. In an ideal world, fresh passionfruit would have been added to this pav as well.

Pikelets are a popular morning tea treat here, something like mini pancakes, but served with jam and cream, or Golden Syrup, another Aussie favourite,  they are always a winner. The Aussie sheep shearers love 'em, and they are entrenched firmly in shearing history. I love whipping up a quick batch of pikelets and so do kids.

What I've written is just the tip of the iceberg, as we Aussies love our food, however we must remember that many can barely afford to put a meal on the table, and need help from charities working in those areas. We are so fortunate here to have such a diversity of foods, spices, herbs and cuisines to choose from.  I've listed some of the typical Aussie foods here, but we have such a rich history of immigration in this country, resulting in a diversity of cuisines to choose from.

What are you eating tomorrow my friends? A BBQ is always popular, or will you be laying back and enjoying some seafood? What are your Aussie favourites? I couldn't possibly mention all of them.

For my overseas readers, Australia Day has become very controversial and political, with a change of name and date being proposed because of the history associated with it. There I've mentioned it.

Anyway, have a good one.

Warmest wishes


  1. Australia has not only great seafood, also awesome beef and lamb!! An Australian ribeye for tomorrow's lunch :-))

    1. Angie, it's hard to beat a good steak sometimes, we are fortunate to have so many wonderful choices. Thanks for your comment

  2. We visited Australia in 2017. What a lovely and huge country! I discovered lots of foods, but finger limes were the most fun. I’ve been trying to grow one but the little guy is very stubborn. I also remember quandong jam. Mmmmm Great post!

    1. Thanks Mimi, we've also tried to grow a finger lime tree here in the tropics but it didn't do well and was very thorny. Still if you can get them in season, they are delicious. I didn't touch on Bush Tucker foods, there are so many of them. They do make good jams.

  3. We have Marmite instead of vegemite, which I love, but not as much as bovril. I've made lamingtons once, but they are very fiddly. Enjoy your prawns!
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

    1. Thanks Tandy, I think of Bovril as being very British, I'm a vegemite kid through and through:)

  4. That idea of a prawn sandwich sounds very unique...and very delicious! The closest thing I can thing of here in the States would be a shrimp po'boy, but those still have a sauce and various fixins on top. Thanks for a very fun read, Pauline - I bet this post was a lot of fun to write!

    1. David your comment about the prawn sandwich is really interesting. Over here we love just a fresh prawn or mud crab sandwich on delicious white bread and butter, it is a real treat and so simple. Good seafood doesn't need much at all with it. So glad you enjoyed it, it was fun to write.

  5. yes there's nothing better than a prawn sandwich on white bread with mayo and lettuce. I didn't realise Vegemite is 100 years old. yes we all grew up with it didn't we? there's always a jar in my pantry. I made lamington pikelets the other day. Delish but a bit of a nuisance to roll 'em in the chocolate and coconut!

    1. Thanks Sherry, we Aussies really do have a few favourites that are great standbys. I even send vegemite to my son in France.

  6. Up here in the States, prawns and shrimp are different (at least to me). Prawns are large beasts and shrimp are, well shrimps (small). Either way, I love them, too. And I am also a fan of Vegemite!

  7. David, it's great to know you like vegemite. You are welcome here anytime, hee, hee. I wasn't aware you called the large ones prawns, I thought they were all shrimp, large and small. Take care.


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