We may be celebrating Australia Day differently this year. But one thing’s for sure: we can still set up a delectable spread at home! To make things more exciting, why not give our well-loved Australia Day food and desserts a twist? Get your aprons ready and let’s season traditional favourites with a new flavour, look or both.
1. Cheeseburger Pies
Aussie meat pies are ever-present on the Australia Day table. Well, it’s hard to say no to ground beef-filled pastry, especially with chips and tomato sauce on the side. Everyone loves them! But here’s something new you can add to your recipe. Sprinkle grated cheese on the meat filling before covering each mini pie with pastry. Bake then serve with pickles and caramelised onions. These cheeseburger bites will be a winner with the kids!
2. Pull-Apart Damper
A damper is a popular Australia Day food as it is easy to make. But forget about butter and golden syrup for now. Put more flavour to your soda bread recipe by adding herbs, cheese and bacon to the dough.
Then shape it into a pull-apart loaf, so everyone can get their share even without slicing. Alternatively, you can swap the bacon with sun-dried tomatoes. And if you have a mini camping stove at home, set it up and grill some on skewers.
3. Fresh Prawn Sliders
When we think about Australia Day food, prawn on the barbie easily comes to mind. We love our shrimps fresh off the grill, but we can always turn them into a more filling party snack. Think easy-to-serve sliders.
Slice small bread buns or rolls in half then stuff each with greens, avocado, cucumber, spicy aioli and barbecued prawns. Mini snag or air-fryer calamari sliders sound yummy, too. If you want, you can toast the bread halves and serve them as open-faced sandwiches instead.
4. Lamb Pizza
Lamb roast is yet another traditional Australian food. We serve it for Easter lunch or our Christmas feast (no, there is nothing for the Halloween). I also love it on my souvlaki, and I thought it is a great idea for Australia Day. But instead of the usual pita wrap, lamb pizza seems interesting.
All you need is homemade or store-bought pizza crust and sauce, roast lamb slices, feta cheese, olives and red onions. Bake it until crisp and golden. Oh, and don’t forget the tzatziki sauce for drizzling or dipping!
5. Healthy Chicken Parmi
Every pub and most restaurants have chicken parmigiana on the menu. It is practically a national dish. And the best part is it is easy to put a spin on the Aussie classic recipe. Whether it is a sub, with pasta or wrapped in tortillas, every crisp, cheesy and tomatoey bite stays delicious.
But what if you add a healthy twist to it? Here’s what you can do. Instead of coating chicken fillets with breadcrumbs, try using cooked quinoa seasoned with Italian spices. Bake in the oven until golden then top with cheese and marinara sauce. Enjoy it as is or serve with your favourite salad!
6. Tropical Pavlova
No Australia Day celebration is complete without dessert, or should I say, without pavlova. Chewy-crisp meringue with fresh fruit has the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Berries, figs and stone fruits are the usual toppings. But for a slight flavour twist, use yoghurt instead of whipped cream then add sliced tropical fruits of your choice. You can make a pavlova roll, too.
7. Lamington Pops
Every kid, and kid at heart, loves the sponge cake, chocolate icing and desiccated coconut combo. One fun twist for this dessert is to cover each square with hundreds and thousands. Traditional fairy bread fans will surely love this idea! You can also opt for a showstopping lamington cake. Use raspberry jam and cream for the filling then cover the cake layers in chocolate icing and toasted coconut shavings. A lamington trifle or cupcake is a great idea, too.
For an easy-to-serve alternative, make lamington ice pops! Spoon some softened ice cream into a large silicone ice mould. Then top it with jam before adding a final layer of soft ice cream. Insert popsicle sticks into each mould then freeze until set. Unmould the ice cream and dip the squares in melted chocolate and quickly cover with coconut.
8. Anzac Sandwich
Anzac biscuits or cookies are great because they stay fresh for about two weeks. But if you use them to make ice cream sandwiches, shelf life is the least of your worries! It is an excellent dessert choice to go with your barbecue menu for Australia Day.
What’s more, you can make them in advance then store them in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy them. For something extra special, put your ice cream maker to work and make your frozen filling homemade.