Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Australia Day Party

First of all.....that was fun!!  I love my friends and I was so happy that they could come out and celebrate with us.  Finding Aussie food locally can be a bit of a challenge.  I made a lot from scratch (the desserts) and we ordered some meat pies and sausage rolls from a bakery in Georgia that makes aussie pies.  It was a bit pricey having those shipped to us but so worth it.  If there is food I miss, a good meat pie is definitely in the top 5! 

The menu was Aussie sliders, Thai chili chicken skewers, meat pies, sausage rolls, potato salad, tim tams, mixed lollies, pavlova, vanilla and passionfruit slice, lamingtons and chocolate crackles. 

The sliders/burgers had some aussie fixings such as pickled beets (beetroot) and pineapple.  A fried egg is a must have on burgers but we weren't sure the best way to make that happen except frying eggs to order and then they would be too big for sliders so we left them off :)  It worked out and everyone seemed happy and brave enough to try beets and pineapple on their burgers.  Did I mention how I love my friends? 

I purchased some hors d'oeuvres sized plates and bowls at Party City for a couple of the desserts.  The pavlova fit perfectly in the bowl with some custard/cream, fresh berries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit pulp and was the perfect size serving for the most delicious dessert on the face of the planet.  Yep I said it.  It really is, you should try it!  Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of the pavlova dishes :(  guests had arrived when I was making it and then they didn't last long :)  You'll have to trust me that they looked good and tasted even better.

The other dessert that I plated on those adorable little dishes was a vanilla custard slice, this is a dessert that has layers of buttery puff pastry, vanilla custard cream and the top was glazed with passionfruit glaze.  The recipe called for three layers of puff pastry, but because I was making bite size desserts I went with two, it wouldn't have been easy for my guests to eat a taller vanilla slice in one or two bites.

Chocolate crackles are the aussie version of a rice krispie treat.  Kind of.  Not really.  It is the recipe you will find on the side of a Kellogg's Rice Bubbles (Krispies) box.  They are a favourite birthday party treat and something that instantly brings me back to my childhood.  They are crunchy, coconutty and chocolatey.  A winning combination in my book.  A key ingredient to chocolate crackles is Copha.  Copha is not readily available here in the states and I was actually able to get my hand on my first block of it since moving here in 1996.  I was SO excited!  It made all the difference in creating authentic chocolate crackles.

Again keeping the food bite size,  instead of making full size crackles I made mini ones, using a mini cupcake pan and liners.  This worked out really well and they can be rich, I might continue to make this size in the future.

I also made lamingtons from scratch.  These are made with sponge cake, which isn't readily available here but isn't too complicated to make from scratch and I love sponge cake.  I baked it in a 8" square pan and cut it into (2ish) bite size pieces before dipping them in chocolate icing and rolling them in dessicated coconut.  They didn't last either so I think they tasted ok :)

We also provided Aussie drinks.  We were able to get Bundaberg brand soft drinks including Lemon, lime and bitters and aussie root beer from World Market and lots of Aussie wine.  My wonderful friends also brought me bottles of Australian wine as hostess gifts (we might have cracked into at least one of those as well), they know me so well.

A great time was had by all!

Happy Australia Day!

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