When I asked my friends and family in Australia what they actually celebrate on Australia Day (26 January), no one could tell me but they all knew it was about being with your mates, drinking beer and listening to the TripleJ Hottest 100 countdown.
So I asked Wikipedia and it told me that its Australia’s National Day which marks the first arrival of British ships to Australia. Its a chance to celebrate the diverse society and landscapes of the nation a time to reflect on Australia’s history. I guess, although they celebrate different things, you could liken the festivties to 4th of July in the States.
Even better, its my 30th birthday on Monday woohoo, so I get a long weekend to celebrate my birthday this year. Corey and I are headed down to Byron Bay for the weekend where a whole bunch of our friends from around the country and even some from overseas will be. I’m having a sundowners beach party to celebrate and I don’t want to excite everyone too much, but I even got a pinata that may or may not be shaped like a cowboy boot because why wouldn’t you want a pinata if you can have one?
So to mark my first Australia Day in Australia I have a great recipe for lamb pies. Aussies love their meat pies and a homemade pie, made with excellent ingredients is just gorgeous. Theres a huge difference between one made at home with love and the ones you grab from the service station hot box after a night out… you know you’ve done it. Doesn’t it just seem like the best idea at the time?
I tried to use a gluten free puff pastry from the health food store but it was like 30C yesterday and humid as, so it didnt work very well the party just broke so I was hoping to give you a healthier recipe but you know what if you can tolerate gluten, its ok to have things that are not 100% healthy all the time as long as you savor and enjoy them and don’t feel guilty at all. Its the negative thoughts we associate to certain foods that have a far worse effect on our bodies than the actual foods themselves.
I hope all the Aussies have a great day on Sunday celebrating, reflecting and having fun.
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1.5 cups red wine
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 2 onions finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 sheets rolled puff pastry
- 4 sheets rolled shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg beaten for an egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Sear the shanks in a pan on medium to high heat, sealing them all over then place them in a large crockpot.
- Deglaze the searing pan with 1 cup of red wine and allow the alcohol to burn off then add 2 cups of beef stock and the bay leaves and allow to simmer to 3 minutes.
- Pour the liquid over the shanks then cover and pop in the oven for minimum 4 hours. You want the meat to fall of the bone. I usually do shanks in the oven for up to 6 hours on low heat.
- When they are done, remove the shanks from the oven and set aside to cool. When they are cool to touch, use your hands to pull apart the meat.
- Fry up the onions, carrots and garlic in a pan over medium heat. When they are soft, turn the heat up high and deglaze the pan with half a cup of red wine. Add the left over cup of beef stock and all the mixture to reduce slightly and thicken.
- Set the oven to 180C and using a cookie cutter cut out shortcrust pastry rounds and press them into two 12 pocket muffin tins. Using a folk prick the pastry then line each pocket with baking paper and baking beads or raw whole beans as weights and blind bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and discard the baking paper and baking weights. Spoon the lamb mixture into each pocket then cover each one with a round puff pastry cut out. Use any left over pastry to write things on your pies if you like. Brush each one lightly with an egg wash and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the pastry is lovely and browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Serve with some mushy peas and savor and enjoy.
- Makes: 24 mini pies