The Great Australian Cookbook
The Great Australian Cookbook is a fantastic gift for the keen cook at Christmas time or anytime of the year.
When it's not put to good use in the kitchen, it makes a wonderful coffee table book with its colourful illustrations by Reg Mombassa, famous for designing Mambo clothing.
Edited by Melissa Leong and Helen Greenwood, this huge tome showcases recipes and stories from 100 of Australia's fnest cooks, chefs, bakers and local heroes, including Adriano Zumbo, Alla Wolf Tasker of Lake House Daylesford, Frank Camorra of Movida, Maggie Beer, Jimmy Shu of Hanuman and the legendary Margaret Fulton and her daughter Suzanne Gibbs.
Share their favourite recipes and you'll find most of their thoughts and ideas are not so different to yours and mine.
For example, Lyndey Milan's favourite comfort foods are meatloaf with Italian flavours and her ultimate macaroni cheese.
For me, it has to be chicken curry and rice, spaghetti marinara or if I'm especially tired, a warming bowl of congee topped with crispy sliced Chinese doughnuts.
Here are some recipes for you to try out from the Great Australian Cookbook. Published byt Echo Publishing. RRP$50. Royalties from the sale of the book go to Ozharvest, to help nourish those in need.
So, buy it and help a good cause.
I've known chef Jimmy Shu of Hanuman in Darwin for as long as I've been in Australia.
He says, "The markets are my second home. It goes back to my childhood, following my Dad to the markets in Sri Lanka where I grew up.
"Just go to the markets, everything you need to cook is there, fresh and alive!"
Try Jimmy's recipe for:
Sri Lankan fish mouli (barramundi poached in coconut cream and lemongrass)
600 g barramundi fillets, skin removed, cut into chunky cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
180g sliced red onion
2 sticks lemongrass, bruised
3 red bird’s-eye chillies, bruised
2 sprigs curry leaves
15 g sliced ginger
200g fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
600ml coconut cream
1 tsp turmeric
100ml water (approx)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
fresh curry leaves to garnish
Season fish with a little salt.
Heat oil and stir-fry onion, lemongrass, chillies, curry leaves and ginger over a medium heat, until onions are soft.
Add tomato and cook for about 5 minutes.
Next, add coconut cream and turmeric, bring to the boil and lower heat. Add up to ½ cup of water if too thick.
Add salt and sugar, and check the seasoning.
Gently add the fish pieces and poach in the coconut broth for just 6 minutes. Garnish with fresh curry leaves and serve immediately with steamed rice and a crisp white wine.
Siblings Victor and Evelyn Liong of Lee Ho Fook have contributed one of the classics of Chinese cuisine, sweet and sour pork.
Try their version of it.
Sweet and sour pork
Sweet and sour sauce ingredients
100g onions, sliced
20g long red chillies, sliced
40g cloves garlic, smashed
80ml vegetable oil for cooking
125g strawberries, sliced
500ml chicken stock
120ml white vinegar
25ml Japanese soy sauce
40ml Shaoxing rice wine
120ml Heinz Big Red Tomato Sauce
100g pineapple, diced
50ml Japanese soy sauce
50ml Shaoxing rice wine
15g chicken stock powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp (1 g) five-spice powder
1 clove garlic, microplaned
300g organic pork neck, cut into 1½ cm cubes
oil for deep-frying
100g rice flour
100g tapioca starch
20g long red chillies, sliced thinly
20g spring onions, cut into batons
10g pineapple, diced finely
10g carrot, sliced thinly
30g kuzu starch, available at Japanese or specialist Asian grocer
40ml cold water
For the sauce: stir-fry onion, chilli and garlic in the oil in a wok until caramelised, then add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 3 hours, or until the strawberries have lost their vibrant red colour and have begun to turn white.
Strain and cool.
For the pork: mix all marinade ingredients together until dissolved. Marinate the pork neck cubes in the marinade
for at least 6 hours.
Place oil in a deep pan and heat to 180°C. Drain pork of excess marinade, dredge in starch mix until well coated,
and deep-fry for 3–4 minutes, until pork is cooked.
To finish: stir-fry vegetables in a little oil until aromatic. Add sweet and sour sauce and bring to the boil, then thicken
with a slurry of kuzu starch mixed with water. Add pork. Stir-fry until pork is coated in sauce and serve immediately.
You don't have to be Jewish or a member of the Monday Morning Cooking Club to enjoy this recipe for:
Gina's hair-raising honey cake
25g (1/4 cup) dry breadcrumbs
375ml (1 1/2 cups) hot tap water
225g (1 1/2 cups) self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
345g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
185ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
500g liquid honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease a 26 by 10cm angel cake tin, without a removable base as the mixture is quite liquid and may leak out.
Sprinkle the sides of tin with breadcrumbs, tip out any excess.
Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients togther in another bowl until well combined.
Mix the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until well combined, alternating with hot water.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in tin before turning out cake.