Australia Day: Toil with Hearts and Hands

Australia Day: Toil with Hearts and Hands

The national baking scene is a melting pot of cultural identities but, come Australia Day, most are keen to produce something suitably patriotic. There’s no need to succumb to the home-bakers’ predilection towards the staples, however. Have a bit of fun with these twists on ridgy-didge culinary icons. Go on, grab some coldies and give them a burl.


Aussie’s are quick to claim people, food and traditions as their own. The lamington, however, is one dessert that is, without a doubt, locally born and bred.

Most accounts agree the lamington was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901 (although it could well have been named after his wife, Lady Lamington).

One account claims the dessert resembled the homburg hats he favoured, with another claiming he named them after the village of Lamington in Scotland.

The Australian Baking Business team prefers a slightly more serendipitous explanation; that Lord Lamington’s cook accidentally dropped a block of sponge cake into a dish of chocolate and later discovered desiccated coconut sprinkled over the top made it that bit more appealing.

Today, lamingtons are popular in New Zealand, South Africa and even parts of Asia and the US, with the breadth of flavours widening to include lemon and raspberry.














Yeast donuts:
250ml lukewarm milk
3½ tsp dried yeast
450g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
55g caster (superfine) sugar
A good pinch of fine sea salt
1 egg, at room temperature, lightly whisked
30g unsalted butter, melted, at room temperature
vegetable, canola or rice bran oil, for deep-frying

Lamington icing:
125ml boiling water
60g unsalted butter
250g icing (confectioners’) sugar
55g cocoa powder
270g desiccated coconut

1.Whisk the milk and yeast together in a small, heatproof jug.  Add 1 teaspoon of the flour and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and whisk until well combined.
2.Allow to stand at room temperature in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes, or until frothy.
3.Place the remaining flour, remaining sugar and the salt in the bowl of a standmixer. Attach the dough hook and mix together on a medium speed until well combined.
4.With the motor running, slowly add the egg, melted butter and the yeast mixture. Mix for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic (the dough should feel slightly sticky).
5.With the motor running, slowly add the egg, melted butter and the yeast mixture. Mix for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic (the dough should feel slightly sticky).
6.Using very lightly floured hands, scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a piece of baking paper then a tea towel. Set aside to rest at room temperature in a warm, draught-free spot for 1-1½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
7.Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Generously flour a work surface and gently tip the dough out onto it. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough out to a 1cm thickness. Using a floured 4.5cm round cookie cutter, cut out 28 rounds from the dough, making sure you cut them as close together as possible. Carefully transfer the donuts to the prepared trays, spreading them out in a single layer. Cover with tea towels and rest for 40 minutes at room temperature, or until doubled in size.
8.Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat until it reaches 180°C. Deep-fry the donuts in batches, turning occasionally, for 2-3 minutes each, or until puffed, golden and cooked through. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then allow to cool.
9.Whisk the water, better, sugar and cocoa for the lamington icing together until well combined and smooth. Place the coconut in a bowl.
10.Using two forks, dip the donuts, one at a time, into the lamington icing to coat on all sides. Allow the excess to drip off, then gently roll into the coconut to coat. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking tray and allow to set before serving.


Beef and pork varieties may still be the norm, but it’s not uncommon to come across a pork, veal and fennel recipe, or even a lamb and harissa version.

But enough of the fancy stuff. There’s nothing more true blue than a kangaroo sausage roll. For Macro Meats, a leading

producer of Kangaroo meat in Australia, Australia Day is one of its biggest times of the year. In fact, managing director Ray Borda says more than 178,000kg of kangaroo meat was sold two weeks prior to last year’s Australia Day, with this year’s sales expected to increase by around 25 per cent.

“There is no better day than Australia Day to try kangaroo meat if you haven’t before. It’s the most abundant natural meat resource in the country and Australia Day sales are a great indicator of how aware consumers are of these qualities,” he says.

The novelty of enjoying kangaroo meat comes with major health benefits. A 100g serve of kangaroo fillet contains just 1g fat, while a 100g trim lamb steak contains 5.8g fat. A lean beef fillet contains more fat than both, coming in at 6.3g fat.

Kangaroo meat is also an incredible source of protein, dietary zinc and B-vitamins. A 150g serving of cooked kangaroo fillet.


Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves 8

• 2 sheets puff pastry
• 500g kangaroo mince
• 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 egg (extra), for glaze
• 1 tbsp poppy seeds, to garnish

Salsa verde
• 2 tsp baby salted capers, rinsed
• 4 baby cornichons, chopped
• 1 anchovy fillets (optional)
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 long red chilli (optional), de-seeded
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp each of chopped dill, basil,
• Mint and parsley
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line baking trays with baking paper.
2. For salsa verde, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, then add kangaroo, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper, pulsing to combine.
3. Place pastry sheets on a lightly floured work surface and halve lengthways, to create four equal sized rectangles.
4. Evenly divide kangaroo mixture in four, shape like sausages placing down the centre of each pastry rectangle; making sure pastry is able to encase the mixture. Firmly encase the sausage meat with pastry sealing with egg glaze. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
5. Place sausage rolls on prepared baking tray (seam side down) and chill for at least 30 minutes. Cut each large sausage into eight small sausage rolls, snip the top three times with scissors and brush pastry with egg glaze. Evenly spread out sausage rolls onto prepared baking trays.
6. Place in preheated oven, cook for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is crisp and cooked through. Allow sausage rolls to cool slightly before serving.


With Australia’s abundant flora and fauna, foodies really can abound in nature’s gifts.

Many local natives produce fruits perfect for baking, such as quandong, kutjera, muntries, riberry, davidson’s plum and finger lime, along with spices lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle.

An authority on preparing innovative Australian native cuisine, Andrew Fielke, founded Adelaide’s successful Red Ochre Restaurant’s in the ‘90s and now works as a consulting chef and educator across the world. He says native ingredients add interesting flavours to jams and preserves that will impress time and time again. “Quandong jam scented with ginger is a wonderful tangy wild peach jam – flecked with roast Australian Almond pieces for fabulous crunch,” he says.

You could also try davidson plum and cinnamon jelly, which has incredible flavour and colour, as well as riberry and apple jam. “The unique complex clove and spice flavours in this rainforest lilli pilli are great with tangy apple… brilliant on croissants with crème fraiche,” Andrew says. To get your mileage out of your quandongs on Australia Day, try chef Seth James’ makeover of the classic Aussie pavlova with rose sorbet and quandong cream. The quandongs are simmered in crème de cassis, which adds tartness to the dish, cutting through the sweetness of the cream and meringue.


100g dried quandongs
200ml orange juice
300ml water1 cinnamon stick
4-5 anise myrtle leaves
120g castor sugar

1. Strain orange juice and bring to the boil with water cinnamon, sugar and aniseed myrtle.
2. Add quandongs and re-boil briefly (1-2 minutes).
3. Remove immediately and allow cooling completely and plumping up.Note: for frozen or fresh quandongs, reduce the liquids used by half and you may adjust sweetness, as the fruit sugar can vary.


This year, Arnott’s Tim Tams celebrated its 50th birthday. Its icon status is hard to explain, but for most Aussie’s it’s the king of chocolate biscuits. In fact, Australians eat 45 million packets every year.

Come Australia Day, it’s fairly easy to integrate Tim Tams into an original baking recipe – Tim Tam hedgehogs, bite-sized Tim Tam balls, chunky Tim Tam cheesecakes, decadent Tim Tam and Turkish delight slices or Tim Tam cream pies are all well documented.

For Queensland baker and author of My Button Cake, Amber, simple tarts are an easy and popular option for Australia Day picnics and low-key get-togethers.

“As I was making these for my family for our small Australia Day gathering, I made the ganache filling out of 70 per cent Valrhona, (a decision I certainly don’t regret, but these tarts were intense!). You will definitely need a generous amount of raspberries to cut through the richness. I do think these would be amazing with milk chocolate as well,” Amber says.

“All you need is 200g packet Tim Tams, 30g unsalted butter melted and cooled, 200ml pouring cream, 200g dark chocolate chopped, 1tsp vanilla extract and two egg yolks – and raspberries, cocoa and ice cream to serve. This serves four, but it’s easy to multiply.”

For the full method, visit My Button Cake.


Australia is up there with the top beer consumers per capita at around 110 litres per year – a good deal of which is consumed on long, hot Australia days in the park or by the pool. But there’s a better way to utilise that case of coldies; use the malt and yeast from your favourite brew to take your baking to the next level.

Beer’s carbonation helps quick breads, muffins and biscuits rise high. As with all beer recipes, you’ve got to begin with the beer and build up.

“There are two choices with bread; a nice malty bitter or something super hoppy – it’s not for everyone but you can really taste the hops,” food writer Jonny Garrett says. “What you end up with is this gorgeous tear-and-share doughy bread loaded with sweet malty flavours and (if you use the right beer) a hoppy kick at the end. It’s best served warm and crusty.”

Popovers and choux puffs can also be made with beer.

With so many delicious craft beers to choose from, it is easier than ever to find one that will enhance your recipe. Try a chocolate cake made with chocolate stout, pumpkin bread with pumpkin ale, cherry clafoutis with cherry ale, apricot muffins with apricot ale – you get the idea. Buttercream also gets an intense flavour boost from the yeast, malty addition of your favourite brew.

Try poaching pears in a sweet ale, along with some sugar, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves. Or, poach apples in porter or stout sweetened with maple syrup, then reduce the poaching liquid to drizzle over the fruit. You’ll find the citrus really compliments the hops.

Truffles, caramels and caramel sauce can all be made with beer. Use a beer with high alcohol content and a strong flavour the same way you’d use a liqueur to flavour chocolate truffles. Porters and stouts with strong coffee notes are perfect for this purpose.


Technically, Anzac biscuits are reserved for April, but any national icon steeped in meaning and tradition is worth celebrating on Australia Day.

There are a lot of things you can do to spice up this simple recipe – even Matt Preston gave his own rendition on Masterchef with his chocolate-caramel bites. Other pastry chefs dip them in chocolate, while some add flaked almonds and dried cranberries, Florentine biscuit-style.

However, Australian Baking Business’preferred recipe introduces honeycomb ice cream. After all, who doesn’t need a little help to cool down come the middle of summer?


Serves 4

For the Anzac biscuits:
80g plain flour, sifted
100g light brown sugar
50g rolled oats
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
60g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 teaspoons water
¼ teaspoon baking soda

For the honeycomb ice cream:
400ml thick cream
300ml milk
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (keep the pod)
100g chocolate-covered honeycomb
2 Anzac biscuits

Make the Anzac biscuits:
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
2. Put the flour, sugar, oats and coconut into a large bowl and stir to combine.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the golden syrup and water. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda.4. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and roll the portions into balls. Place the balls in the prepared baking sheet, leaving enough room for them to spread. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Leave them to cool on the trays.

Make the ice cream:
1. Put the milk and cream and the vanilla seeds and pod into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and when the mixture is just below boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick. Gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the mixture coats the back of the spoon (about 5 minutes), remove the vanilla pod, pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl and refrigerate until it is completely cold.
3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a bowl, add the chopped honeycomb and Anzac biscuits and fold them through. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm.

Make the sandwiches:
Place scoops of ice cream onto half the biscuits and top with remaining biscuits.

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