Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

$5 Dinner Challenge: Australian Zucchini Slice

September 7, 2009

This is my second installment of 3 Mondays of $5 Dinner Challenges.  This means, each Monday I’ve been cooking a meal for 2 adults and 2 children for around $5, although this week’s dish will serve 4 to 6.  Here’s the real challenge, though:  I do it while maintaining my commitment to eat mostly local and organic vegetables and humanely raised meats.  For this second meal, I made Australian Zucchini Slice for $6.25.

My husband learned to cook this dish in home ec. class in Australia and when he moved to the states he wrote home for it.  I’m so glad he did because it is a great go-to recipe for brunches or anytime you need a hearty one-dish meal.  Fresh local eggs give this all-around family favorite a lovely rise.  This is one of the few egg dishes that I add the onions to still raw.  This recipe bakes long enough to soften and sweeten them, but still leaving a garden flavor.  A scoop of organic flour makes for a perfectly soft texture throughout.  Of course no recipe of my husband’s would be complete without smokey bacon, but I’ve made it vegetarian before and that’s great too!

I’ve included both the original Australian recipe and the converted American recipe, so hopefully no matter which side of the globe you’re on you’ll find it accessible.  The American version calls for whole wheat pastry flour, since that’s what we use in our household, but the original is white flour.  I’ve also noticed that I usually have to increase cooking times when making Aussie dishes, so the American one’s cooking time is longer.  (My guess is the difference in humidity causes this.)

Here’s how I made this fantastic meal for just over six bucks:

Prices and Products

  • 13 oz. local, certified organic zucchini from farmer’s market:  $0.75
  • 1 large local, certified organic onion from farmer’s market: $0.65
  • 3 rashers bacon (no animal byproducts or antibiotics in the animal’s feed or added hormones): $1.40
  • 4 oz. local, co-op owned, non-BGH cheddar (Tillamook): $1.00
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour: $0.34
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder: $0.05
  • 1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil: $0.81
  • 5 eggs from my friend’s happy backyard chickens: $1.25
  • Couple dashes of salt and pepper:  negligible

How I got these great deals:

  • I chose this dish because I knew zucchini and onions were in abundance locally right now, so was able to get excellent prices at the farmer’s market.  The onions were originally 75 cents each, but I only had 65 cents on me and the farmer had onions coming out her ears and was happy to take it.
  • I looked on the websites for my local grocery stores for specials on Tillamook cheese.  This brand is so popular here that usually someone has a sale.  Sure enough, in my local QFC’s online sale flyer, it was $3.99 for 1 lb.  You can get even better deals if you buy a larger brick, but we’d never go through it all.  It’s not a great deal if you throw half away!
  • My friend Angie is super into gardening and raising chickens naturally.  She sells the eggs of these “happy backyard chickens” for $3.00 a dozen.  This is a great way to get truly free-range eggs at a discount price.  Don’t think you have to live out in the sticks to do this either.  We’re in a suburb right outside of Seattle and it’s quite common for people to raise chickens.  Just ask around.  I bet you’ll find someone.

Recipes

Zucchini Slice (American recipe) Serves 4 to 6.

You will need:

  • 13 oz (0.83 lb) zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 rashers (slices) bacon
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 5 eggs
  • salt, pepper

Put it together:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, fine chop onion and bacon.
  • Fry bacon over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
  • Sift together flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and baking powder.
  • Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into well-greased 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until browned.

Before Oven:

After Oven:

Zucchini Slice (original recipe)

  • 375 g zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 rashers bacon
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 5 eggs
  • salt, pepper

Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, fine chop onion and bacon.  Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper.  Pour into well-greased lamington tin (base measure 16 cm x 26 cm), bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes or until browned.  Serves 4 to 6.

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Jordan's Potato Salad

July 27, 2009

potato salad

One of the reasons I love visiting Australia is the skillfully prepared classic and fusion foods.  I don’t think they’re ever overly complex, just fresh ingredients cooked well.  This potato salad is a perfect example. 

One evening we were BBQ-ing with our friends and Jordan made this potato salad with crispy and sweetly spicy red onions and bite-sized red potatoes.  I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise, so I was very surprised I liked it so much.  When I asked him what was in it, he said potatoes, red onions and mayo, but that the trick was to buy “whole egg” mayo.  I’d never heard of that.  Apparently, it’s made by S&W, but not easy to find in the states.  I brought a jar back with me, but now that it’s gone, I make my own.  I’ll share the mayo recipes with you all once I have them fool-proofed.  In the meantime, buy or make your favorite mayo (blender mayonnaise recipes usually use whole eggs) and try out this delicious recipe from down under.

Jordan’s Potato Salad

You will need:

  •  2 lbs red potatoes
  • 3/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1/2 a red onion, quartered and sliced thinly
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • paprika (optional)

Put it together:

  • Salt water and place potatoes in cold water
  • Turn the heat on to high and bring water and potatoes to a boil
  • Turn heat down and simmer until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes
  • Drain potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces and add rest of the ingredients while still warm
  • Toss and season with salt, fresh ground pepper and, if desired, paprika