Celebrate Australia Day with a feast inspired by food around the world. From smoked labne, delicious as a starter with pita bread; a scrumptious beef brisket, perfect with a salad or in a sandwich; and a creamy fromage blanc dessert, these recipes are perfect for a long lunch with friends and family.
Recipes are from cookbooks Food Safari Fire and The Great Australian Cookbook.
Pictured above, from left to right: Cold smoked labne with chilli oil, honey and baby eggplant, Twelve-hour brisket, White peach, elderflower & fromage blanc
Cold smoked labne with chilli oil, honey and baby eggplant
Recipe by Attila Yilmaz featured in Food Safari Fire.
1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) full-fat Greek-style yoghurt (make sure the yoghurt has no emulsifiers in it, such as xanthan gum)
1 teaspoon salt
1 baby eggplant (aubergine), chargrilled until soft
2 teaspoons chilli oil from Aleppo peppers
2 teaspoons blossom honey
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds micro herbs, leaves picked, to garnish
handful sage leaves, deep-fried until crispy, to garnish
Attila’s invention is ingenious: combining an esky, aquarium pump and external smoker filled with maple-wood pellets, which add their unique flavour to the labne.
To make the labne, line a sieve with a large square of muslin (cheesecloth) and place in a big bowl. In another mixing bowl, pour in the yoghurt and combine with 1 teaspoon of salt (add more or less to taste). Spoon the yoghurt into the muslin and tie it up with a piece of string. Hang in the refrigerator over a bowl for 2 days to allow the whey to separate. The longer you leave it, the thicker and creamier it will be.
To smoke the labne, you’ll need a super insulated esky (or anything that’s airtight), a smoker as the external heat source or a cold smoking gun, and 3–4 handfuls of maple-wood pellets. (Attila uses maple-wood chips in a smoker attached to an esky to cold smoke his own labne.) Make sure the labne is super chilled. Place in a shallow pan or tray and spread out; the idea is to maximise the surface area. Create ripples in the surface to catch the smoke. Light the external smoke source. You want a heavy smoke with no heat entering the esky.Using another tray or a brick, place the tray of labne in an elevated position in the esky.
Close the esky lid but do not seal completely – you need a small air gap in the top to allow the smoke to draw through. Smoke for 10 minutes until the surface of the labne changes colour to pale yellow. Mix the labne through and repeat for another 5 minutes, or until the surface is yellow again. Fold the labne through again, gently – being careful not to over-beat it.
Allow the labne to rest for a few hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. Spread the smoked labne around in a small mezze bowl. Arrange the baby eggplant on top. Drizzle with chilli oil and honey, and add a pinch of sea salt.Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the dish, and garnish with micro herbs and crispy sage leaves.
Recipe by Anthony and Rebecca Puharich featured in Food Safari Fire.
Makes enough for 25 sandwiches.
1 beef brisket, approximately 8 kg (17 1/2 lb)
salt and pepper
For the BBQ Sauce
560ml tomato sauce
375ml apple cider
80ml olive oil or vegetable oil
125ml worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
90g Americna mustard
2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
2 tsps cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsps onion flakes
Preheat an offset smoker to 107 degrees Celsius burning ironbark. Trim the brisket to 5mm of fat. Rub liberally with salt and pepper, then cook it for 12 hours, maintaining an even temperature of around 107 degrees Celsius.Remove from the smoker and rest for 30 minutes. Slice thinly to serve.
To make the BBQ sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened up a bit and deepened in colour and flavour.
White peach, elderflower & fromage blanc
Recipe by Andrew McConnell in The Great Australian Cookbook
175 ml cream
70 g sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 leaves gold-strength
350 g fromage blanc
175 ml thickened cream, whipped
100 g sugar
100 ml water
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
4 perfectly ripe white peaches
For the fromage blanc: place the cream, sugar, scraped vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. In a small bowl, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes until they are soft. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and whisk it into the hot cream until it has dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla pod. Whisk the fromage blanc to smooth out any lumps, then gradually stir through the cooled vanilla cream. Finally, fold in the whipped cream and refrigerate until set.
To prepare the peaches: bring the sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat and add the elderflower cordial. Peel and slice the peaches into wedges. Stir a few tablespoons of elderflower syrup through the peaches and leave them to macerate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
To serve, place a large tablespoon of fromage blanc in each bowl, topped with a few pieces of peach and a spoonful of elderflower syrup over the top.