Australia Day, 2014

Australia Day has come around quicker than usual it seems and here we are again at this day which traditionally seems to divide the end of summer holidays in Australia and the beginning of the next work year.

Some people do not accept the notion of 'Australia Day' on January 26th. They believe it is not appropriate to celebrate the beginning of white settlement in this country, a land which had already, for many thousands of years, been inhabited its own people. They have a point, but why not today, let us simply celebrate this huge country - a beautiful country - and all its peoples who have come from every continent on earth to make their homes here, seeking to create a better life for themselves and a better community for us all?

Here are just a few things that make Australia special:

                                                               

 A is for Aussie attitude - laidback, with a dry sense of humour, but friendly and welcoming.

is for Uluru - the massive rock that is the centre of the red centre of this country.

is for Sydney - and all the other great cities in this country.

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T is for Traditions - cold beer, thong-throwing, barbies, the Grand Final, picnics at the beach, rodeos, the Anzac Day march and two-up afterwards, fireworks on NYE, the Melbourne Cup. And hot Christmas pudding, even if it is 40C.

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R is for Restaurants and cafes - from home-style country ones deep in the bush to glamorous ones on the waterfront or in the city, the range of cuisines and ingredients is enormous.

Uluru_09is for Animals - in a land with such harsh conditions, Australia's shy and often nocturnal animals are worth discovering.

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is for Lifestyle - plenty of sun, sand, fresh air, sport, great food and wine. Who could complain?

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is for Immigrants - the culture of this country (especially its dining) has been enriched by people from the many nations who now call Australia home.

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A is for Agriculture - the wealth of produce this country has is mind-blowing, from the cold ocean fish to rare tropical fruits. 

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Australia Day - the day on which Australia remembers with gratitude - and looks forward!

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Enjoy this short video we put together for Australia Day


A true blue Aussie bread

Damper was the original flour and water bread cooked over a campfire by almost anybody in the early days of the colony in Australia. Beer has been the national drink, it seems, for almost as long.

Here then is the quintessential bread for Australia Day - two ingredients, superfast, and as Aussie as it gets:

 

Beer damper

All you need is a stubbie of beer, some plain flour and a little salt.

Pour the beer into a mixing bowl, add enough plain flour and a little salt (1/4 teaspoon) to make a soft dough that just comes away from the bowl. Tip into a well-greased and floured cake tin and bake in a preheated 190C oven for about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack - and enjoy with butter, and some Vegemite to make it even more Australian!


January in Australia

 

                                                                                          'Twas the month after Christmas

And all thru the land,

The nation was focused

On sea, sun and sand.

 

Office workers departed

For places afar,

And mums, dads, and kids

Crammed into the car.

 

No point hiring tradies

For getting things done,

This month we relax

In the hot summer sun.

 

So it's cricket and tennis,

A sports-lover's heaven -

Just don't expect action

Until Jan. twenty-seven.

 

                 - Sally Hammond

 

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Come and visit us!

Australia's Last Frontier by Private Jet. Luxury tour operator Abercrombie and Kent is inviting guests to join a privileged small group on an adventure by private jet into the remote reaches of Western Australia and Northern Territory.

Travelling with them will be two experts in their field - a Top End resident and proud ambassador of indigenous Australia,  and a Melbourne specialist on Aboriginal art whose connections allow special access to invitation only indigenous art centres. Read more....

 


 

....and then there's the Aussie food!

Most people think of meat pies when they think of Australian food but, admit it, you have to love a country that also has a national cake!

 

Let's face it, there has to be something about a country that has such a thing for stale sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and furry with desiccated coconut! There's even a National Lamington Day - July 21.

Over a hundred years ago, a French chef in Brisbane - now there's a cultural divide to begin with - first knocked up an impromptu batch for some guests having afternoon tea with Lord Lamington, the second Baron of Lamington and Governor of Queensland from 1896 -1901

No doubt wanting to keep his job, on the spot the chef obsequiously dubbed them 'lamingtons', and undoubtedly the good Lord did nothing to let the guests know that they weren't biting into the results of an ancient family recipe handed down throughout the centuries along with his title

The concept of lamingtons is simple: cut stale cake into large cubes, dip these carefully into thinnish chocolate icing, then toss in coconut. Please note: the pertinent word here is 'simple'.

However: Home cooks beware! Unless you have done this several dozen times, the whole crumbly cake, sticky icing, coconut routine is NOT simple. It's very easy to have coconut in the icing and more of both on your fingers.

Despite this, lamingtons remain a favourite of many. A staunchly Aussie food icon they are available in every cake shop and supermarket and sold in dozens for charity. 

Australia Day - go buy a few dozen!

More information...... 

 


 

Before lamingtons.....

Anyone who thinks of the aboriginal people - the original inhabitants of the vast continent now called Australia - as having a limited diet, should look at these fruits.

Indigenous people had a rich and varied diet. They hunted for wild game - lizards, snake goanna, crocodile, wallaby and other marsupials. They knew which bushes yielded food for eating or medicine, and they could find grubs, roots and other goodies underground. There are even native truffles in some parts of the country!

Those near the coast were even healthier as they could fish and gather crustaceans. Read more about the wealth of indigenous food available in Australia.......

 


 

Discover Australia's food producers

Sally & Gordon Hammond have been researching Australia's regional food and documenting it's producers and users for 16 years. This directory website includes restaurants which use local food, farmers' markets, tours, and of course the producers themselves.

Browse the site and be amazed at what this country produces. Next time you are planning a trip to rural Australia, check out what is available and what you might find along the way on your travels.

And, if you're travelling with children, this is the ideal way for them to learn where their food comes from and begin to appreciate the hard work that goes into producing it!

 


 

Finally some fun facts....

  • The Australian Coat of Arms features a red kangaroo and emu holding up the six state crests. These two indigenous animals were chosen because they cannot go backwards.
  • The koala is not a bear. It is a marsupial, so like the kangaroo and the wombat it has a pouch to rear its young. Koalas live for more than 20 years and sleep up to 19 hours a day. Very early settlers enjoyed eating 'bear' which was koala meat. Koalas also communicate with each other by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a 'bellow'. 

Like some more?....

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Please comment ....

 How do you like to spend Australia Day?

 

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