We all love a barbecue. Australians are well known for it, shrimps and all. On this Australia Day I write our barbecue blog and reflect upon what makes the food of our nation interesting, even great. Multiculturalism can have its issues but it has been our experience that hungry families and sharing a meal puts many of these into perspective. The team of Inspired Cooking, who come from many continents, are especially excited to offer dishes that have tastes from places such as Australia, Greece, Spain, USA, the Middle East, Asia and Mexico (and more), all brought together by some Hobart Mums Network flair.
We start our tour on the shores of the Mediterranean. I was introduced to the delights of anchovies and all their uses by a Spanish friend and never knew they could be so good. My friend, Pepi, came to us from the coast right down near the Alboran Sea, where these tasty little morsels happen to be abundant. She was a soft nut brown and when she spoke about the food she was making, it sounded like a beautiful song. The meals when presented to us tasted just as good, even if she simply served amazing ‘traditional’ anchovies in their oil, which her family had sent from Spain, with crusty bread and wine.
My Alboran Beef marinade is perfect on a good cut of steak that soaks in the flavour of the salty fish blended together with garlic, balsamic vinegar and herbs. Cooked on a hot grill in summer, the aroma permeates the air. A lovely complement to this meal is some homemade hand cut chips, a simple reminder from Kelly Ann that the simplest foods are often the best. These are best cooked in hot oil, even double cooked for that crunchy outside texture and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. A cheeky, fresh Kidney Bean and Lime Salsa and some caramelised onion completes the meal and if you close your eyes and sip on a cool glass of Sangria you can just about imagine yourself on the coast of Spain basking in the sun.
Moving around the coast to Greece we now take from the barbecue a succulent lamb that smells so wonderfully rich with the scent of herbs, lemon and garlic. The great thing about this marinade is that while we always love good cuts of meat the lemon will help tenderise more economical cuts when you are planning to feed a larger group of people. This is excellent served with herb roasted potatoes, a simple HMN Classic Tomato Salad and the Beetroot and Quinoa Salad. Tomato Chutney is a lovely accompaniment for this lamb with its fruity sweet and spice, as is the minted yoghurt dressing from the Kibbeh Meatball recipe. I make this as a rack for my family and my charming kids have chosen their portions, like a plot of land pegged out for a subdivision, even before the meat leaves the grill. I am fortunate to get any, so when my fortune dims I am lucky there is always a glass of wine at hand while I cook my own lamb cutlet, for I am a wise mother
And with that thought we come to a good time to introduce Christine Richardson, general manager of Observatory Hill Winery with her husband, Glenn, which was established in 1991. Situated at the entrance to the Coal Valley wine region, many of these wines have won awards and are held in high esteem by wine lovers everywhere. Chris has kindly offered to match some amazing Tasmanian wines with our dishes. We hope you enjoy a glass or two with our lovely food.
Wine Match: Glaetzer Dixon Family Winemakers – Mon Pere Shiraz
To match with this traditional, Greek, barbecued lamb dish with its lemon
and herb flavours I would look for a wine with berry fruit flavours and some
soft velvet tannins. You could not do better than Nick Glaetzer’s, Mon Pere
Shiraz. This wine is an extraordinarily good example of how Tasmania can
produce red wines that are full of body, flavour and intensity.
We now take a cruise through the Greek Islands to Turkey and the Middle East, and offer you Lamb Koftas. These are a combination of lamb, feta and spinach with lemon, chili, oregano and cinnamon. These Western Asian delights submitted by Laura, are absolutely perfect as burgers or on skewers with some vegetables. Topped with Beetroot Hummus on pita bread and some mixed lettuce from Houston’s Farm, these make a light barbecue option.
Another dish from this region which makes an interesting addition to your international feast is Kibbeh. Kibbeh is a football shaped meatball of beef blended with bhurgul (cracked wheat), pine nuts and spices. Once cooked these can be offered as an appertiser with minted yoghurt or in pita bread with the yoghurt and salad. These are so delicious that one serve is rarely enough. Jacqui has given us this recipe which she says was a favourite of Lucas, her husband, as he was growing up. By sharing this recipe with Jacqui, her mother-in-law, who is a ‘wonderful cook’, has assured that the recipe will continue to be made as Jacqui cooks it with her daughter, Annie, 3. With a bit of time the kids can join you in making these balls for a meal creating enjoyable family memories.
Inspired Cooking – a compilation of family recipes from Hobart mums has other great barbecue options such as Southern Jerk Chicken, a recipe brought back from the USA, a Turkey and Mushroom Burger and vegetarian options such as Tofu and Vegetable Kebabs.
Now that we have these international choices it is off to the butcher for some meat and onto Facebook to create a multicultural gastronomic event that will make even the most Australian feel positively …well Australian.
Cookbook photography by Leesa Harrison Photography. ©Leesa Harrison ©Jane McLoughlin