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Fair dinkum Australia Day feast

However you choose to celebrate Australia Day, there is one thing that tends to take centre stage – food. From barbecues to meat pies, slow-roasted lamb, grilled prawns, oysters and even the humble pavlova, there are many delicacies that the land Down Under is known for. Here on the Sunshine Coast we have an abundant supply of fresh, local produce. Dig in!

My Life

Fair dinkum Australia Day feast

However you choose to celebrate Australia Day, there is one thing that tends to take centre stage – food. From barbecues to meat pies, slow-roasted lamb, grilled prawns, oysters and even the humble pavlova, there are many delicacies that the land Down Under is known for. Here on the Sunshine Coast we have an abundant supply of fresh, local produce. Dig in!

Contributing editor

Damien Grimes – Sunshine Coast Hotels, group executive chef

Mr Grimes has been cooking for nearly 25 years, having started his apprenticeship in Ireland before moving to London to work for the Conran Group. Travelling to Australia 17 years ago, he began working in Sydney before relocating to the Sunshine Coast and taking on the group executive chef role five years ago. The self-confessed and locally-recognised foodie shares his tips for creating an Australia Day culinary feast.

Mr Grimes says:

Growing up, food at home was simple and fresh and with both parents working full-time, we were encouraged to help out and cooking just seemed to come natural to me.

Coming from a small country town, the product was all local and of great quality, which is something that I didn’t realise then, but has greatly influenced how I approach food now.

When I cook for friends, food generally comes off the barbecue served family style, platters down the centre of the table, whole fish, joints of meat, salads, grilled vegetables.

Food that can be eaten with your hands, picked up with pieces of bread, passed and shared between people.

This Australia Day, I will be on the seafood bar shucking oysters at Brightwater Hotel. We are lucky here on the Coast to have an abundance of high-quality seafood sourced locally.

Top 10

What’s the key to producing a good Australian barbecue? Here are Damien Grime’s tips.

  1. Always start with a good clean barbecue.
  2. If using wood or charcoal, start your barbecue early and let the flame die away, leaving you with a nice white coal. This will give an even heat to cook on.
  3. Make sure your meat or fish is out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking. Bringing the product to room temperature helps it to cook evenly.
  4. Only turn on one side of your barbecue. Brown or seal your meat or fish on the hot side of your barbecue and leave it to cook slowly on the other. Your meat will cook through slowly with the ambient heat, giving you more time to get organised and socialise with your friends.
  5. Select the right cut of meat for the job. If you want something quick and easy, choose smaller leaner cuts of meat, lamb chops, rib steaks or snags. If you have plenty of time, marinate a joint like lamb or pork shoulder for a low slow cook.
  6. Don’t forget the veggies. Barbecue is not all about the meat. Fresh vegetables simply chargrilled over wood or coals and served with lemon juice and olive oil are a fantastic addition to any barbecue.
  7. Remove the guesswork and purchase a thermometer. It’s the simplest and safest way to tell when your meat or fish is cooked properly.
  8. Season your meat properly, be generous with the salt when cooking on the barbecue to help bring out the flavour of the meat.
  9. When buying meat, remove any packaging and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry a little. The meat will form a much better crust when grilling.
  10. Always rest your meat or fish before cutting and serving. This allows all the juices to absorb into the meat and will give you a succulent product.

 

Barbecue lamb rump with chargrilled vegetables, tahini and yoghurt

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 lamb rumps
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Olive oil

 

METHOD

Mix spices with olive oil and rub into the lamb rump.

Cook lamb rump fat side down on the barbecue until fat is crispy and golden.

Brown the lamb on the rest of the sides and move to the cooler side of the grill

Cook slowly until pink and tender (48 degrees for medium rare).

Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before you slice.

Vegetables

Squash, broccolini, spring onion, capsicum, zucchini.

Cut the vegetables into large chunks.

Season well and drizzle with olive oil.

Chargrill on barbecue until tender.

 

Yoghurt dressing

  • 150ml Greek yoghurt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g of tahini paste
  • ½ bunch mint chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander chopped

 

Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.

Add some fresh chopped chilli if you like a little heat.

Lay grilled vegetables on the bottom of your plate and cover with the sliced lamb.

Drizzle with the yoghurt dressing and extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe courtesy of Sunshine Coast Hotels.

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAMB

The lamb should have a nice even layer of white, flaky fat. It should be firm to the touch, have no smell and the meat should be a dull red colour.

DID YOU KNOW?

Among the fresh seafood, snags in bread, lamb burgers and pavlova, we’ll be making way for one of the nation’s favourites – the good old lamington. The Aussie fave was invented more than a century ago. It was named after Lord Lamington who was Queensland’s governor at the time.

 

 

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