Quarantine Travels: Australia

I have been saying that I want to go to Australia for years. I even tried to convince my husband that we should go to Sydney on our honeymoon. One day, we’ll make it there! In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for a themed weekend in our apartment.

The Food

We had a tricky time this weekend aquiring a few foods that we wanted to include in our weekend. We had no luck in acquiring Tim Tams, Vegemite, and Australian licorice. Our grocery stores sell all of these things, but they all happened to be out of stock. Instead, we went with other foods.

I usually think of sausage Rolls as an English food, but they showed up on several lists of Australian food. We’d never made them before, but they turned out delicious. The outside was flaky and browned nicely, and the sausage had a great bite to it. The paprika on top was a perfect touch. Even our dog was really excited by the smell of these and was sad he didn’t get one himself.

I also made strawberry pavlova, a meringue cake covered in berries and whipped cream. Meringue is tricky, and the cake actually took two tries, but it was worth it. The dessert was light and not too sweet. It was exactly perfect for the 90 degree weather we had in NYC over the weekend. It made me so excited to eat all of the berries for the next few months.

In my research into Australian food, I learned about barramundi, a sea bass native to Australia. I discovered that they sell it at Whole Foods and was very excited to try it. We followed the recipe on the package, and it was amazing. It called for a light garlic, lemon, and butter sauce that complimented the mild taste of the crispy fish.

We also had fun making fairy bread, a treat usually served at children’s parties. It is white bread spread with butter and then covered in colorful sprinkles. I’m not sure it will become a regular treat in our household, but it did make me smile.

Update 6/4/21: After several trips to Trader Joe’s, we finally found the licorice and “Tim Tams” were had been searching for during our Australia-themed weekend.

The licorice, I realized once I had a package in hand, is actually technically New Zealand sourced, but it is very similar to Australian licorice I’ve had. It comes in both black and strawberry, but the strawberry is my favorite. This licorice is sweet, thick, and extra chewy. It is absolutely delicious. I highly recommend grabbing yourself a bag.

We also found the Trader Joe’s Brand Tim Tams. These are chocolate cookies filled with chocolate creme and coated in chocolate. I mean, with that combination, how could these be bad?

The Entertainment

One of my recent missions has been to introduce my husband to the classic Mary Kate and Ashley films set in different countries, so we had to include Our Lips Are Sealed in our weekend. In this movie, Mary Kate and Ashley play twins sent to Australia through the witness protection program after they witness an jewel theft. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and we both enjoyed it immensely.

I remember watching The Rescuers Down Under as a child, and I hadn’t seen it in years. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit it. In this movie, Bianca and Bernard, two mice, are sent to Australia to rescue a boy who has been kidnapped by a poacher. While it does have a serious subject, The Rescuers Down Under has a great sense of humor and is full of charming characters.

Of course, the first movie that came to mind when we decided to theme a weekend around Australia was Finding Nemo. It has always been one of my favorite Pixar films. It manages to be both hilarious and heart-wrenching, a line that Pixar has mastered walking. I also highly recommend the musical at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom if you have the chance to see it.

One day, I will finally make it to Sydney and will finally try Vegemite.

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