Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympics Day 8: Australian Shrimp on the Barbie

A dear family friend spent a year traveling abroad including a long leg in Australia. She brought us back a large dish towel with Australian recipes, including a recipe for drover's damper. We wanted to make this bread in honor of Australia and our friend. Bread, though, is not enough for dinner so we added shrimp on the barbie. Very simple, and here's the recipe: Skewer the shrimp and cook them on the barbie.

In addition, Gail made us a delicious ratatouille of eggplant, tomato and leeks. The meal was wonderfully satisfying. It felt like an American meal. Shrimp on the grill is something we make all the time. And while ratatouille is decidedly French, it is a staple in our house in the garden season. Finally, the drover's damper was an unusual bread, but still felt American. It is a baking soda bread with a flavor half way between a biscuit and a white yeast bread.

The recipe said to serve the bread with either jam or golden syrup. We got Lyle's Golden Syrup imported from Australia. The flavor was like Karo Syrup mixed with maple syrup, and it had a honey-like texture. We thought it could use a bit more salt, but also found that it didn't need salt when served with a little butter. It is a versatile bread.

Drover's Damper

2 c flour
2 ½ t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1 T butter
1 c milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Sift flour with powder and salt; stir in sugar.
  2. Rub in butter; mix in milk to form soft dough.
  3. Knead lightly on board till smooth; pat into round.
  4. Place in baking tin; glaze with milk. Bake until cooked through, 20-40 min, reducing heat if getting too brown.
For Beer Damper substitute beer for milk.

Speaking of beer, tonight I had the quintessential Australian Foster's, but to toss it up a bit, I had the ale. It had an amber color, with a lacy head. The beer was extra bitter on the back of my tongue, with a slight sweet aftertaste, which didn't over-linger. This beer drinks light, but is not a gulping beer. And, who can resist the Foster's oil can. I particularly liked the fire red pull tab against the gold top.

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