Some foods are all-Aussie. Here’s a selection sure to make any expat antipodean long for home.
Imagine a wrapper of stodgy breadcrumbed dough filled with a mess of beef, veg, thickeners and flavourings, then deep-fried. Inspired by the spring roll, they say, but you could only get away with it in Australia.
Sounding positively wholesome by comparison is this swagman’s staple – soda bread baked in a pot buried in the ashes of a fire. It’s not hard to make after a few attempts. The secret is in the heat of the coals – and a splash of beer.
A chocolate-coated sponge cube rolled in shredded coconut.
A dessert concoction of meringue with layers of cream and fruit; named after the eminent Russian ballerina. Made properly with fresh fruit and minimum quantities of cream and sugar, it’s not bad at all.
The apotheosis of the meat pie; a “pie floater” is an inverted meat pie swamped in mashed green peas and tomato sauce. Floaters can be surprisingly good, or horrible enough to put you off both pies and peas for life.
Regarded by the English as an inferior form of Marmite and by almost every other nationality with total disgust, Vegemite is an Australian institution – a strong, dark, yeast spread.
Witchetty grubs (witjuti)
The king of Aussie bushtucker, these delicacies about the size of your little finger are dug from the roots of mulga trees. Eating the plump, fawn-coloured caterpillars live (as is traditional) takes some nerve, so give them a brief roast in embers. Either way, they’re oddly reminiscent of peanut butter.