October 2003 Archives



also known as Bee Sting Bars

1 cup butter, firm
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small pan, combine 1/2 cup of the butter, 1/4 cup of the sugar, honey, milk, almonds, and almond extract. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring; set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut remaining 1/2 cup butter into pieces and, with a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut into flour mixture until mixture is very crumbly and no large particles remain. Add egg and mix with a fork until dough holds together. Press dough evenly over bottom of an ungreased 10 by 15-inch rimmed baking pan. Pour almond mixture over dough, spreading evenly. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is deep golden. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into 2-inch squares; for smaller cookies, cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Store in an airtight container, if you can bear to leave some to eat later.

Food Fusion in South Australia


The fusion of different food cultures in South Australia reflects the diversity of its land. In the South, dense pine forests and green pastures cover the land that is used to grow beef cattle and prime lamb, whilst its cold, clean southern waters provide delicious lobster and scallops. Grazing gives way then to the lush vineyards growing on the Terra Rosa soil of the Coonawarra, and cropping lands of the upper south east with their majestic red gums. The mighty River Murray turns red desert sand into a lush market garden and orchard as it wends its way from our northern border, to the sea on the south coast at Goolwa. Along its length are orchards and market gardens growing citrus, grapes, stone fruits, melons, tomatoes and a cornucopia of vegetables crops for local, interstate and international markets. World class wines grow in the slightly cooler climate of the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley, whilst the west coast has a wealth of seafood such as whiting, oysters and tuna. vale.jpg

The food culture brought to South Australia by English immigrants.

English immigrants first settled in South Australia in 1836, in ships such as “HMS Buffalo”, a replica of which is to be seen at Holdfast Bay. These folk established themselves on the Adelaide Plains, some gradually taking up agricultural land in the Adelaide Hills. In 1839 persecuted Lutheran immigrants from Prussia arrived, looking to establish their community in a free land. My own forebears arrived on the “Isabella Watson” in 1846. These people brought with them traditional English recipes many of which appear in my own grandmother’s handwritten recipe book, such as Stewed Chops, Potato Dumplings and Brown Pudding. They were all simple recipes, not requiring complicated ingredients, and not costing much money, a style of cookery that reflected the modest means of the time. Among the English immigrants were sheep graziers providing prime lamb, others farmed beef cattle and still others became the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers of newly established towns.

In the 21st century, our cuisine is a fusion of English, German, Italian, Greek and Asian, with some French thrown in for good measure. These varied food cultures make good use of the natural resources of South Australia, and ensure that a veritable feast awaits visitors to our region.

Had I been asked in 1950 to give a typical Australian menu I should probably have said: Vegetable soup, an entrée of Seafood Cocktail, Roast lamb, roast potatoes, carrots and peas as main course, followed by Bread and butter pudding?

Today the most wonderfully fresh food is enjoyed widely, without a sting in the hip pocket, and can be washed down with an amazing variety of world class locally produced wines. A typical menu at “The Limeburners Restaurant” at McLaren Vale might read like this : Turkey liver and Mountain Pepper pate, braised Chicken breast with red wine and Muntrie glaze, sweet potato chips and fresh garden salad followed by Lemon Myrtle curd tart and Kangaroo Island clotted cream, with a glass of excellent mellow shiraz or a crisp fruity chardonnay. The wine will most probably have been produced from the vineyards surrounding the town, the reds having mellowed in the autumn sun, and the whites exhibiting the crisp fruity style of the vale, such as D’arenberg’s The Olive Grove Chardonnay.
Italian food culture

Italian cooks, using to great advantage locally grown and wonderfully juicy tomatoes, local pasta and fresh herbs, lamb and olive oil, have introduced many of their traditional dishes to the region, to which, by reason of the climate they are eminently suitable. Italian immigrants have seduced us in to their way of preparing food, as well as their way of producing it. Many of the state’s successful winemakers and olive oil producers are second generation Italian/Australians. South Australia has a Mediterranean climate, and therefore many of the same crops that grow in Greece, Spain, France and Italy grow superbly here, including that damned olive. Someone planted a few olive trees - probably an Italian or Greek immigrant longing to have the taste of home, and soon we had innocent little Australian bush birds eating the fruit, and pushing the seeds out the other end to plant them in other regions. Through the Adelaide Hills we have many self sown, or should I say bird sown, Olive trees from which some pressing plants produce what they label Ferral Olive Oil. It is a sought after oil, being a full flavoured and peppery golden drop.
Greek food culture

The Greek influence has made good use of beautifully fresh seafood, farmed and caught in the clean waters surrounding the South Australian coastline. At Port MacDonnell, Robe and Kingston there are thriving lobster fisheries. Port Lincoln is the home of Bluefin Tuna fishing, Port Adelaide is home port to a fleet of prawn, whiting and deep sea fishing boats, and the West Coast is home to a flourishing Oyster and Abalone fishery. Michael Angelakis of Angelakis Brothers in Adelaide says this about the early days in South Australia. "It was very tough," says Michael. "A lot of families went to Thevenard on the West Coast because migrants had already established a fishing village there and you could speak your native language. "But this meant that their cultures were kept alive, too. And the best way to learn another culture is through food."

German food culture

German immigrants settled both at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, and in the Barossa Valley, settling in a lovely little corner called Bethany, and Gnadenfrei (meaning 'freed by the grace of god'). Bringing with them their traditional industries and agricultural pursuits, as well as vine canes, they planted the first grape vines in the region, never knowing just how widespread the wine industry would become in their new land. German communities also had their own food producers such as traditional German bakers, German butchers with wonderful spicy metwurst, and pickle makers, finding the perfect ingredients here to continue the practice of their traditional crafts. What a treat it is to walk into one of these bakeries and inhale the yeasty aroma, to see the golden crusty loaves and delicious German cakes such as Bienenstich, a yeast cake, cream filled and topped with a sweet honey-nut layer.

Asian food culture

Asian cooks have brought to South Australians an amazing array of locally grown Asian vegetables and cooked dishes. What a proliferation of Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants since the 1950s. An amazing creator of Asian dishes of international renown is Cheong Liew, of the Grange Restaurant at the Adelaide Hilton. Cheong is renowned for his astounding ability to perform the marriage of Asian food and local ingredients, especially featuring Australian native ingredients which provide their own unique flavours.

The oldest food culture – indigenous

For centuries the indigenous people of this country have used the fruits and plants growing widely on the land. It may have taken a long time but it is satisfying to realise that Indigenous foods are becoming more widely known and available, being grown very successfully by a group of visionary farmers in South Australia, and enabling the creation of dishes such as; Calamari seasoned with lemon myrtle, Lemon myrtle linguine tossed with local scallops and prawns, Native spinach fettuccine with Springs Smoked Salmon with creamy sun-dried tomato and macadamia sauce, Kangaroo fillet crusted with Mountain Pepper and served with a pepper berry dressing and fresh leaf salad.
In Oz we have a little freshwater crustacean that lurks on the bottom of streams, lakes and in farm dams, they are called Yabbies. Another term : freshwater prawns. They are absolutely delicious, and can be used in Yabbie Chowder, Yabbie Pate, or Yabbie Stir Fry with Asian vegetables. An enterprising lady at Inman Valley, looking to diversify on a dairy farm tried farming yabbies in her farm dams, and found that a successful enterprise could was established by buying yabbies from all over Australia and marketing them under the brand Galloway Yabbie Farm. Yabbies have been enjoyed by indigenous Australians for centuries. Now the rest of the world is waking up to their secret delights. Their delicate, sweet flavour and firm texture has won lavish praise from connoisseurs the world over.

Gone are the days when a lamb chop and three vegetables were standard fare in this community. Imaginative marketing presents the cook with many options such as marinated meats, fresh pasta and ready prepared vegetables. There is certainly no excuse for boring or unattractive food with the range raw products on offer in South Australia.

Years around my Father


My father was in his seventy ninth year at the time of his death. He had lived through times of conflict, had made the transition from being a student to working in a coal mine, from being young and fit to living with a mine related injury, from living in Industrial Wales to living in Australia as a migrant, from being an employee to building and operating a small business in a rural town.

He was approximately five feet eleven inches tall, and of course was less than that at the time of his death, which had been the result of a ten-year decline in health following some mini-strokes and a heart attack. However he still possessed the thick hair that had lost its natural brown colour, and which I had known for all of my life. He had been that colour from his thirties. Although not a man of robust health he worked with all of his resources to maintain and renovate our home. He put the same effort into the building, establishment and operation of a business after the end of WWII.

Brought up in a Welsh mining village with Methodist chapels meant possessing a set of values that could not be waived under any circumstances. He brought these values to his personal life, family life and business dealings.

Dad was a strict father for whom we four children felt respect in all things. One didn’t dare open one’s mouth at the meal table for fear of Dad’s cane on the knuckles whilst he was listening to the ABC news broadcast.

In my late teen years my father had been stricken with an illness that kept him confined to bed for months at a time. My mother found that operating the business on her own with the support of we children was difficult, and the decision was taken to sell the business so that Dad could retire and recover his health. After helping the new owners of the business to settle in they left for a well-deserved holiday travelling with their car and caravan to Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

As a family we were relieved to see Mum and Dad enjoying their retirement, however this was short-lived when Dad became ill again after a few years, to the extent that it threatened his life. At this time mum and dad were operating a business on Henley Beach Road at Thebarton. I can remember being there to help Mum because Dad was bed-ridden for most of the time. The shop was not air-conditioned and Dad was spending his days in discomfort. Relief came at last when they bought a home at Oaklands where Dad could stay whilst Mum went to work. Mum would spend hours making special fruit juices for dad to consume, as this seemed to be the only food that he could tolerate. At one stage the Doctor advised Mum that Dad was probably within weeks of dying. However, my mother was made of sterner stuff and she persisted with her fruit juice regime. It took many months but Dad did eventually make a recovery, although he bore the effects of that illness for the remainder of his life.

Eventually Mum and Dad were able to retire and moved to Glengowrie where Dad spent his days reading his books although there was a problem with his sight, and listening to his collection of records containing orchestral performances.

During their early retirement Mum and Dad made several visits back to the land of his childhood, and although they enjoyed visiting, Dad vowed that he would never go back to Wales to live as it had changed too much from the time of his youth.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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