Sunday, January 27, 2013

Australia Day Treats

The Little Birdie family have been celebrating Australia Day this weekend. As well as reflecting on the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788 (and how fortunate we are to live in such a fabulous country), it gives us a wonderful excuse to indulge in some typically delicious Australian treats on January 26th.

Quintessentially Australian gumnuts

We have focused on lamingtons this year.

Lamingtons by Cakes by Judy C and Jocelyn's Provisions

We found a particularly enjoyable extract about the origin of The Lamington by Better Homes and Gardens', "Fast Ed":
It shouldn't really be surprising that the lamington was invented by a Frenchman. Predictable, but deeply unsettling. After all, facing the primacy of French cuisine, how could we find a food culture of our own? Australians could draw proudly on few dishes as a national icon.
Pies were invented by the Poms, as was 'fish and chips'. Sausage rolls are German, and Bolognese is molto Italiano. Even the pavlova isn't ours - like Crowded House and Russell Crowe, it's from New Zealand.
So I had high hopes pinned on the lamington, that quintessentially Australian treat. For it's not just Australian: it's from Queensland!
It was a particularly hot summer in 1900, and Brisbane sweltered under a blanket of dank humidity. The Governor, Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron of Lamington, departed for his country house in Toowoomba, cradling a dim hope that the mountains would provide some relief. He and Lady Lamington brought their staff along, including their renowned chef, Armand Gallad.
As was the fashion, a myriad of guests arrived to visit, and the Governor's household put on great entertainment. Chef Gallad was kept busy baking and grilling in the kitchen, striving to feed the gourmet hordes.
One afternoon, in an effort to create a novel high tea, he dipped some leftover sponge cake in a light chocolate sauce, then rolled the resulting cakes in coconut. The effect was simple, but very elegant, and decidedly delicious.
Lord Lamington was impressed, almost as much as his guests. Several of the society ladies in attendance requested the recipe for this delectable new treat, and the chef, suitably chuffed, obliged. Next month, the recipe was published in the Queensland Ladies Home Journal, attributed as 'Lady Lamington's Chocolate-Coconut Cake', soon after known by its diminutive, the lamington.
(Source: Fast Ed online)

This year we decided to try lamingtons made by two of our favourite suppliers, Cakes by Judy C and Jocelyn's Provisions, who created their interpretations of the famous lamington especially for Australia Day 2013. Trish from Marche du Macaron also made sure our taste buds were very well taken care of with some classic chocolate and golden salted caramel macarons, which perfectly complemented the chocolatey-coconuty-goodness of the lamingtons, and contributed so well to the earthy-toned Australia Day vibe.

Cakes by Judy C's lamingtons (left) and Jocelyn's Provisions' lamingtons (right and top) were both variations on the traditional lamington, and both delish!
Lamington cupcakes by Cakes by Judy C
Salted caramel and chocolate macarons by Marche du Macaron

Judy C made some seriously chocolatey lamingtons - a must for all chocoholics!

Lamington cupcake and double chocolate lamington by Cakes by Judy C 

You might have also spied the cute-as-pie lamington cupcakes also made by Judy C. Vanilla cupcakes with a beautiful chocolate icing and juicy shredded coconut.

Lamington cupcake by Cakes by Judy C
Lamington cupcake and double chocolate lamington by Cakes by Judy C

Jocelyn's Provisions created some seriously indulgent lamingtons soaked in jam and smothered in chocolate and desiccated coconut. Yum!
Lamington by Jocelyn's Provisions
Lamington by Jocelyn's Provisions (with lamington cupcakes by Cakes by Judy C in the background)

We can never pass up an opportunity to enjoy macarons by Marche du Macaron (especially salted caramel - mmm!)

Salted caramel and chocolate macarons by Marche du Macaron

The Little Birdie girls were very lucky to have Gerri's son, Archie, to help them take photos of the delectable Australia Day treats.
Archie taking a photo on his Elmo phone

 Archie was also a willing taste-tester...

Lulu is hoping to assist with taste-testing duties next Australia Day...

It has been exceptionally wet and rainy in Queensland over this years' Australia Day long weekend. Perfect weather for playing inside and indulging in some indoor camping activities...

We hope all our Queensland followers are dry, snug, and safe inside, and that everyone has enjoyed a special Australia Day weekend with their friends and family.

Styling by Little Birdie Events
Photography by Little Birdie Events
Sweets by Marche du MacaronCakes by Judy C, and Jocelyn's Provisions

Carole & Gerri

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