Sunday, January 26, 2014

Australia Day 2014

Today is Australia Day.
We commemorate the day in 1788 when the First Fleet of eleven convict ships arrived at Sydney Cove in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) from Great Britain to establish the first white settlement in what was known then as New South Wales.
They had originally arrived a little to the south at Botany Bay a week before but found the site (recommended by Captain Cook) to have unsatisfactory anchorage, poor soil and little water.

In 1770 Captain James Cook had explored the east coast of the continent then known as Terra Australis and New Holland and taken possession of it for Great Britain on 22nd August.
Previous to that, the continent had been occupied, probably for around 40,000 years, by the Aboriginal people and had been known to Europeans, mainly the Dutch, from the beginning of 17th century.
While the Aboriginal people living here today see little reason to celebrate, what do the rest of us do on Australia Day?
The general consensus is not much. It's pretty much a lay back day, what with it falling at the end of summer school holidays and with a lot of the workforce still on vacation.
There are organized events across the nation with the emphasis on Sydney.
The co driver and I treat it much the same as any other day with no special activities planned.
But why not try a 'roo burger with beetroot relish to mark the day?

500g kangaroo mince
Half onion, grated
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
sea salt and pepper
4 thick slices tomato
4 slices of cheddar cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
4 soft burger buns
2 tbsp mayonnaise or aioli
4 leaves soft lettuce
100g pickled beetroot
1 tbsp olive oil
1. To make the beetroot relish, whiz the pickled beetroot with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and set aside.
2. Squeeze any excess juices from the onion and mix the onion with the meat, cumin, oregano, sea salt and pepper, using your hands. Form into four round burgers, using egg rings to help with the shape.
3. Brush with olive oil and pan-fry or grill for four minutes on one side. Turn and finish the cooking until done to your liking, but it's best served medium rare.
4. Toast the buns lightly, and spread each half with aioli or mayonnaise (add a spicy fruit chutney as well if you like).
5. Top the base bun with lettuce leaf, tomato, meat, cheese and beetroot relish. Top with remaining half of the bun, secure with a wooden cocktail spear and serve hot.
Makes 4

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