What I Did on Australia Day

Traditional bush recipes. We used none of these.

Well, this is a bit of a misnomer. There are a few distinct problems at play here.

Why Quorn? Because Quorn!!!

Given I was undertaking these activities on the evening of the 26th January in London, which basically means that Australia Day was already over in Australia. I don’t know if this affects the veracity of the title.

The other thing is whether I should even be celebrating Australia Day at all. There’s some pretty dark historical shenanigans tied to this day, committed by a country of long dead bastards that nobody really wants to think about the actions of.  But I think I’ll save my ramblings regarding Australian identity and nationalist myth making for another post.

Because this isn’t a post about politics (we didn’t play my game, Australia Day, for that matter either.  But that’s beside the point.), but about the much less divisive topic of dinner.

I made curry pies.


Now, this may not seem to be a unique or unusual thing for any of my probably non-existent Australian readership, but it is a little something that has been niggling at the expat friend with whom we’ve been staying. The British do not seem to produce curry pies, or at least not as far as we’ve been able to discern. Or cinnamon donuts for that matter, which is both disheartening and a bit beyond my ability to correct. And the British idea of a pie, as presented to us, has been rather different to what we’re used to. Rather than the self contained meal packages I’d grown up with, the are usually just a bowl of stew with a piece of pastry perched, often precariously, on top.

A Pot Pie, perhaps. And usually meat and ale flavored, so not what we we’re after. So I made the remedy.

And for those of you who are worried, don’t fret. My cyberpunk diet remains in effect. My pies were full of Quorn, a mysterious substance that I had encountered in the past but had yet to experiment with. My partner and our friend went with beef, a kind of Quorn but made out of cow.

The drop of the night.

Anyway, the ritual begins. The constituent parts (quorn or cow quorn) are fried with onion. The heavy filing is then bulked with red wine, my go to blood substitute when making soy based dishes. Yellowtail in this case, because PATRIOTISM! and a special at Sainsburys. So cheap!

Bit of salt and pepper, some stock to thicken up the beef mince.

Then some medium curry powder until the filling achieves is traditional yellow colouration.

Now here’s where things get a little funny. Our host and I both like our pies very spicy, so chilli on hand, but my partner prefers a milder blend. And the other two are having the meat filling, which… I am not, so there was a bit of musical pans while I sorted that out.

Anyway, line some little pans with puff pastry. Would have preferred round ones, but what the hey, we make do. You could use a pie dish if you actually owned one, which as drifters we do not.

The other drop of the night. Might have been coffee and Canadian Fireball whiskey in the mug. I don’t have a problem…

Add filling! Add a puff pastry lid to complete the baked structural integrity, a smattering of milk or soya to proof the lid against burning, then into the oven at 180°C!

Remove when their ready. What? You want a time limit? Well, that really depends on your oven, and in my travels between ovens I have come to the conclusion that the temperature setting is inevitably made of lies, so I’ve never much bothered with specific times. I suppose I could solve this with use if the temporal Australianism, “-ish”, used as a suffix and meaning “approximately”. So, give it fifteen minutes-ish, stick a fork into the centre for five-ish seconds, then touch it to your lip. If it’s hot, and the pastry is nice and flaky, your pie is done.

Eat it. I probably shouldn’t have to instruct you on how to do that.

The Verdict

Well, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, the bit where my guinea pigs- I mean friends and loved ones inevitably tear me apart for my terrible cooking. Well not this week readers! The pies were well received, to quote “even better than the last batch”. The Quorn, too, tasted exactly like an Australian meat pie, bringing to mind the scandals of my youth, where it turned out the damn things were something like 70% soy protein anyway. So the Cyberfood project is tested and successful again.

And we drank Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer. Because the only “Australian” beer I could find was Fosters, which is brewed in Edinburgh and crapulescent beyond what it’s fictional status should allow.

The final product. Partially eaten, as I am sure you’ve come to expect.

So there you go. Hope you all enjoyed your culturally problematic day off work, or Monday as it was for the rest of the world. Cheers for your continued imaginary readership.

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