Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

April 1st, 2010

Edible Immigration Tales, Sydney

Rachel Khoo - Homemade special brew

Homemade special brew – Ask first © 2010 Rachel Khoo. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time there were two Brit girls who met in Paris over muffin making at an adorable cookbook store. They soon found out they had many things in common: a pâtisserie diplome from Le Cordon Bleu, love for food and lots of fun.

They had many adventures in Paris and beyond. But the day came when Frankie departed to a far away land called Australia. Rachel was very sad that her fun loving foodie partner in crime was leaving but was determined that no matter how many thousands of miles away Frankie was, she would make sure they would continue to have more edible adventures.

So Frankie left for the land of Oz in September. On a cold wet Autumn night in Paris, Rachel discovered her golden ticket (in form of a special Malaysian Airline deal) away from the greyness of Paris. Very excited about going to the land of kangaroos and barbecues she sent Frankie an electronic mail and that’s how they both decided to tell an edible  immigration tale in Sydney.

Many Australian history and culinary books, skype calls, emails and photos later Rachel arrived in Sydney. And this is the tale they told:

Edible immigration menu

1. Shaken and shipped to shore
Hibiscus and ginger Bundaberg rum cocktail.

2. First encounter with native grub

Goat’s curd and macadamia nut grubs on dehydrated date leaves.

3. A fling with fish before flame
Kingfish tartare served with finger limes.

4. Desperately seeking sea cucumber, serving sotong satay instead
Coconut and lemongrass rice and spicy Asian peanut caramel cake with baby octopus satay and cucumber.

5. Cuppa tea with dundee
Homemade special brew served with marinated crocodile sticks.

6. Bushbride’s ration pudding with Granny Smith’s pickle
Duck pudding with granny smith puree and pickles accompanied with damper bread.

7. Easy as peasy pie

Downunder puff pastry base with slow cooked vegemite lamb, pea purée, mushroom caramel and warrigal greens.

8. Fosters-free lager and lemon sorbet

9. The great dessert debate
Pavlova with fresh cream, strawberry jelly , lemon curd and passionfruit.

10. Freshly spun edible wool
Coffee candy floss.

Each of the dishes were based on facts they had discovered while doing research. Here are some:

1. Rum was the number one drink with the 1st settlers and convicts.  It was even used as a currency.
2. Similar in taste to almonds, the witchetty grub was originally eaten either raw or cooked in hot ashes by aborigines.
3. Despite being one of the richest fishing grounds in the world, meat was still favoured by the first European settlers due to its association with the high life back home.
4. As early as the 16th century indigenous North Western Australians traded sea cucumber with Chinese traders making it Australia’s first export item.
5. The first settlers clung to their British roots, becoming the world’s heaviest tea drinkers.
6.1. One of the world’s most successful apple varieties was thanks to Granny Smith who arrived in New South Wales in 1838. She tipped some rotten crab apples into her orchard and from there the variety we know today blossomed.
6.2. Not until the Second World War or perhaps a little earlier was the pie mentioned as a national dish. Vegemite, another national favourite, was first advertised as nourishing for the whole family. Except for one irony, the spread that epitomised `family goodness’ was made from brewery waste.
7. In 1864 the cookery book “Australian Aristologist” quotes a medical opinion on the “Danger of the meat pie”. Not leaving a hole in the crust traps the poisonous gases.
8. It was Baron Liebig in 1842 who discovered Bavarian brewed beers did not turn sour on contact with air like other Australian beers. The German name was “Lager-bier” (the German word lager means to store) hence the name of Australia’s most popular alcoholic drink.
9. The pavlova is said to have been invented in Perth’s Esplanade Hotel in 1935 after the famous Russian ballet dancer. However the New Zealanders claim a chef in a hotel in Wellington, created the dish when Pavlova visited there in 1926 on her world tour.
10. With 1 million sheep recorded in 1830 (jumped from 100,000 in 1820) the wool industry was Australia’s biggest export, worth roughly 2 million dollars.

Special thank you to Howard Trang from eatshowandtell for the photos.

Check out a great write up here.

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Rachel Khoo's Simple Pleasures e-cookbook.

Over 24 recipes that find those good food moments in everyday ingredients. Ranging from roast chicken parcels with a crunchy slaw, a summer salad that celebrates the best of the seasons, utterly moreish cake pesto bites to a deliciously decadent dark chocolate pudding with caramel shards.

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