My Nanna's a world traveller. As a girl I had a collection of dolls she'd bought on her travels, displayed safely out of reach and admired from a distance. The doll from China had a carefully painted face and a blue silk dress. The doll from Scotland wore a kilt and a furry hat. Nanna's still travelling and when she visited Turkey a few years back she bought the Big Sister a Turkish dancer's outfit. It got it's first official outing this week for Kindy's circus day.
I think Australia misses out a bit in the costume department. If little Australian dolls' feet were nailed to display boxes, what would they wear? If we did decide an Australian national dress, souvenir retailers would not be the only winners. Our Miss Universe contestants could breathe a collective sigh of relief - they'd no longer be stuck wearing artists’ impressions of the Great Barrier Reef and could don a nice Jenny Kee jumper.
We’re not much better off in the tucker stakes either. What’s our national dish? The pav? I'm unconvinced. The questionable lineage of the pavlova is best left to New Zealand- a bit like Russell Crowe methinks. So where does that leave us? The lamington?
A few weeks ago Mum and I spent a morning on Sydney Harbour – the weather was fabulous, the views spectacular and the lady providing the commentary was wry, sarcastic and frankly the best tour guide I have ever heard. The lamingtons however, were not great. Their un-greatness may have been magnified by the Australian icons surrounding them, but regardless of the surroundings, it occurred to me - I don’t think I've ever eaten a good lamington. It’s a sad state of affairs really. I came home, bubbling with patriotism and decided to adapt an old CWA lamington recipe. It turns out lamingtons weren't always dried-up bits of old sponge they sell in school tuck shops. These are beaut!
not your average tuck shop lamingtons
140g butter + a further 85g for the 1icing
⅔ cup sugar
270g plain flour
1 ¾ cups icing sugar
1 tbs cocoa powder
3 cups desiccated coconut, toasted
2 tbs boiling water
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cream 140g butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the beaten eggs, milk and a few drops of vanilla extract and beat. Finally, stir in the flour.
Pour the mixture into a greased rectangular cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack. Once cooled, cut the cake into squares.
To make the icing, cream 85g of butter and the icing sugar together. Add about two tablespoons of boiling water to the cocoa powder and add to the butter mixture. Stir in a few drops of vanilla extract.
Ice the cake square, the roll them in the toasted coconut.
Over to you Aussies: