Our meals nowadays are quite different to the ones we had back in London. I sent my mum a detailed table of what we eat in our family meals. I thought it was important because there may be things we eat regularly that she just can’t abide. Based on her response, I will be planning vegetarian alternatives to many of our main meals, and stocking up on a few of her staples that we don’t tend to buy normally.
Here is an analysis of how living in Sydney has changed our diet:
I love greens, especially the ones with quite dark green leathery leaves as opposed to being pale and crunchy like many Asian greens. It is near impossible to find what the Brits call ‘spring greens’ here in Sydney, but my closest substitute is Chinese broccoli. There is a higher proportion of stem to leaves, but I like broccoli stems in any case so I am happy with the substitute. I don’t think I had ever eaten Chinese broccoli before we moved to Australia.
These are like Bourbon biscuits but completely dipped in chocolate. They are made by Arnotts, along with other Aussie classics such as Anzac biscuits (closely related to Anzac slices, see below). The commercial processed varieties have some horribly unhealthy components listed on the ingredients list but nevertheless, our family has not been able to resist the temptation of these chocolate treats. They appear on our table about once a fortnight for Poetry Teatime.
If you talk about flapjacks to an Aussie, they will imagine some kind of pikelet or small pancake. But Anzac slices are pretty similar to what we call flapjacks, just with the addition of desiccated coconut. The story goes that they were invented in WW1 as a treat that could be sent with the ANZAC soldiers without spoiling during the long journey.
San choy bao
Chinese lettuce parcels containing vermicelli noodles, mince in a slightly fishy sauce and often something crunchy like bamboo shoots or beansprouts. My kids love the DIY aspect – it’s a bit like sizzling fajitas when we go out for Mexican food – and I am pleased that it’s a way to get salad leaves into them without complaints (at least from the three younger children). For mum, we have already trialled a veggie version using mushrooms and tofu.
Larb gai (Thai chicken salad) or larb moo (pork)
This is another Asian dish that appears frequently on my menu planner. Everyone likes it. What more can I say?
Gozleme (pronounced guz-lem-eh, with the emphasis on the first syllable)
These are fried Turkish flat breads with a thin layer of filling inside and served hot with lemon to squeeze over them. They are commonly filled with mince, or spinach and feta cheese. You often find them at food markets. My kids all eat them, even my eldest, and we have found a good recipe for making them at home.
This is a flat, doughy bread a little bit like ciabatta but softer and less chewy. I don’t buy it from the supermarket much as it goes off really quickly. If you go out for brunch you might find eggs or mushrooms on Turkish as an option.