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QueenslandThis evening sees us head back to Australia and to Queensland; which is the second largest and third most inhabited state in Australia. Queensland can be found in the North East and The Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean are its maritime border on the East and to the South is New South Wales, South West South Australia and West The Northern Territory.

There is a populace of almost 5 million, the capital and largest city of the state is Brisbane, which incidentally is Australia’s third largest city. Queensland is referred to as “The Sunshine State” and home to 10 of the 30 largest cities in Australia.

Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait were the first to reside in Queensland and Willem Janszoon a Dutch navigator was the first European to arrive in 1606. In 1770 the explorer James Cook demanded Australia’s East coast for the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1788 New South Wales was founded at that time included all of what is now Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania

Queensland was explored in subsequent decades until the establishment of a penal colony at Brisbane in 1824 by John Oxley. Penal transportation ceased in 1839 and free settlement was allowed from 1842.

In 1859 Queen Victoria signed to separate the colony from New South Wales. The state was named in her honour. and 6th June when she signed the papers is celebrated at Queensland Day. Statehood was achieved on 1st January 1901.

The cuisine of Queensland really depends to a greater degree on the ocean and the subtropical climate so obviously seafood is a speciality in Queensland, with delicacies mud crabs, king and tiger prawns, fresh barramundi, mackerel, sea scallops and Moreton Bay bugs – mmm not sure about those. Fruits are in abundance and Macadamia nuts being native and can be found in many dishes including salads and desserts. The regional drink is Castlemaine XXXX with a few wineries scattered around. Bars and trendy cafes can be found with the odd European and Asian influenced restaurants including ones which specialise in modern Australian food, which can be a beautiful mixture of different foods.

Leaving No 1 son in charge today – he came up with tonight’s dinner and although the dinner is Australian, not sure it originates from Queensland, but he tried…  Australian meat pie

This is The Australian Traditional Meat pie! Usually eaten for lunch for just watching the Aussie rules footy. You can make 1 big meat pie or more little ones from this recipe

Its basically a minced beef and onion pie, but the gravy is made up various ingredients to give it a kick.

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The minced beef and and onion are browned off together, the smell was lovely coming from two, in Alastair’s words, boring ingredients.

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Meanwhile mix up the lush ingredients for the gravy which incorporate Tomato ketchup, Oregano, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, beef stock cubes and water, combining thoroughly the adding to mince mixture, bring to the boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Smelling Good

When cooked for the 15 minutes, turn out and leave to cool.

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Meanwhile roll out the shop bought prepared puff pastry shaping to cover the bottom of a greased pie dish… Set aside

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Once cool pour the mixture into the dish and place the lid on the pie, brush with milk and place in the oven to bake – the aromas from the gravy ingredients soon start to fill the kitchen…

A very welcome home form work sort of dinner…

Alastair opted to serve Creamed, potato with broccoli and carrots with this dish and he also decide to cook a traditional Australian Bread – Damper Bread

Damper is the bush-bread of Australia. Drovers (cowboys) baked Damper in camp ovens buried in the hot ashes of their camp fires in the Outback, but if you don’t want to build a camp fire in your backyard, damper can also be baked in a normal kitchen oven

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This is made by adding salt to the flour, folded the butter into the mixture and made a well in the mixture and added milk and water, mixing into a dough. Alastair moulded into a circle, cut a cross in the top and placed in the oven to bake..

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Oooh err sitting in the kitchen waiting for this is wonderful – the smells are amazing…. 😉 well done Alastair.

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I am so proud of my son tonight, this dinner looked, smelt and tasted amazing….

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The Damper bread was actually quite delicious and very different to what I had tasted before.

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Family Verdict: An beautiful dinner and well executed and cooked – well done Alastair. Although the pastry was shop bought he prepared it well as I sometimes find that if handled too much it splits and doesn’t roll at all well. The mince mixture was very tasty. A great choice of mash and veg. The extra gravy that he made, he added Worcestershire sauce and Oregano to mirror the seasoning that had gone into the pie. An all round delicious dinner…

The only think I like better than talking about Food is eating

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