Bill Granger’s new cookbook ‘Australian Food’ celebrates the vibrancy, diversity and colour of modern Australian cuisine – it’s a joy.
I know I seem to have had a bit of a run on cookbooks on these pages of late, but each of the books I’ve shared has bought me joy – and I hope they do for you too. I’ll be honest and say that I sighed a little when I saw that Bill Granger had named his newest cookbook ‘Australian Food‘. I sighed because he’s a total Sydney icon and, lets face it, the eastern seaboard of Australia does get a little Sydney-centric, sometimes failing to notice that there is a significant demographic west of the Blue Mountains. However, on thumbing through his new cookbook I have been very happily surprised.
For well over 25 years Bill’s food has been hugely popular, and frequently portrayed as the international face of Australian food. He was crowned ‘the egg master of Sydney’ by the New York Times in 2002, acclaimed as the ‘creator of avocado toast’ by the Washington Post in 2016, credited with being ‘the restaurateur most responsible for the Australian café’s global reach’ in the New Yorker in 2018, and his ricotta hotcakes were hailed as ‘Sydney’s most iconic dish’ by Good Food in 2019. Hence the sigh.
However his new cookbook absolutely reflects and celebrates the realities of Australian food today. Our cuisine is one that has embraced, imbibed and integrated just about every culinary culture that has set foot on these shores. It is fresh, vibrant and alive with the flavours of Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond – all of which benefit from our fabulous fresh produce and a willingness on our part to give almost any flavour combination a try.
Between the covers of ‘Australian Food’ you’ll find salad recipes that incorporate Asian ingredients like ponzu, edamame beans and furikake, a prawn burger recipe that includes the Mexican staple of jalapeño peppers combined with Korean gochujang, the flavours of Indian masala in a fish marinade, and dishes that integrate Middle Eastern favourites such as date molasses, pomegranate and rosewater.
This is food that is alive with references to the various cultures that have found a home here, and honestly speaks of the diversity that is modern Australia. And it’s bloody delicious.
According to Granger, “Australia serves the sort of food that brings people together – over coffee, over communal tables, over all-day menus – and makes us all feel good”. And I’ll guarantee you that you’ll find plenty in these pages to make you feel good – and it won’t make you tear your hair out with multiple steps and long processes.
Like this recipe for a Warm Spelt Salad with Roasted Spiced Oranges. Spelt can be a little tricky to source in a small country supermarket, so I substituted freekah perfectly adequately, because it really is the spiced oranges that are the star of this dish. They take very little effort, will make your kitchen smell heavenly, and I will be adding them to lots of dishes. Give this recipe a go – you’ll be glad you did.
Warm Spelt Salad with Roasted Spiced Oranges
- 2 small oranges, unpeeled, finely sliced
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp runny honey
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 200 gms spelt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 handful dill, chopped
- 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
- Preheat oven to 220C. Line a tray with baking paper and arrange orange slices in one layer.
- Mix fennel, cumin, chilli and honey with half the oil and season with salt. Spoon over the orange slices, spreading with the back of a spoon to cover. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until caramelised and a wee bit charred.
- Cook the spelt according to directions, until done, then drain. Return to the pan, add garlic, remaining olive oil and lemon juice and toss together well. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
- When cooled slightly, stir in orange slices, carrot, dill and mint, season, and serve.
You can buy ‘Australian Food’ from good bookstores, or online at Booktopia. (If purchased via the link on this page, I will receive a small percentage of the cost.)
Lambs’ Ears received a review copy of this cookbook.