Australia was, from 1788 to 1900, a collection of British colonies in which culinary tastes were strongly influenced by British and Irish traditions. These traditions continue today in ‘home’ cooking and the ubiquitous takeaway! Both the traditional Roast Dinner and fish and chips remain hugely popular.
Meat is central to Australian cuisine and meat production is a major part of the country’s agricultural economy. The Barbie is a jealously held tradition in Australia.
Agricultural products such as beef cattle, sheep and wheat became staples in the national diet.
Post-war Australia’s multicultural immigration program lead to a diversification of the cuisine of Australia, particularly under the influence of Mediterranean and East Asian migrants.
Kangaroo meat is widely available in Australia, although it is not among the most commonly eaten meats. In old fashioned colonial recipes, it was treated much like ox tail, and braised until tender forming a rich gravy. It is available today in various cuts and sausages.
Both emu and crocodile meat were also an occasional item on the menu but as these meats need specialist preparation they are not often found in mainstream restaurants or at home, although more and more products are becoming more known in the supermarket.
Australia is one of the worlds major quality wine and beer producing nations. Since the nineties it has been producing many boutique and artisan quality beers that the general standard of public tastes have been improved as has local knowledge of boutique beer. Beers in Australia, unlike in other parts of the world, are served chilled.
Australian cuisine of the first decade of the 21st century shows the influence of globalisation and the on-set of healthy and stimulating eating.
Organic and biodynamic foods have become widely available and there has been a revival of interest in bush-foods possibly due to such inane British TV productions such as ‘I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!’, an entertainment of the most puerile, if not down-right juvenile, kind.
Australia’s fishing zone is the third largest in the world and allows for bountiful access to seafood. Seafood as diverse as oysters, salmon, mussels, prawns, barramundi, bluefin tuna, whiting, Balmaine bugs, crab, Dhufish and Yabby are freely available.
Once again these recipes date back to mid-fifties Britain and Woman’s Own magazine