Aussie Culinary Greats and The Treats They Bake
You’ve seen them on television. Perhaps you’ve bought their brands in supermarkets and specialty shops or maybe even tried to re-create some of their finest recipes in your kitchen. Their reputations precede them. So, we thought it was high (tea) time to celebrate some of Australia’s baking royalty. Here, we bring a bit of them from their kitchens to yours, highlighting their bent for baking. We even share a smorgasbord of special recipes for some authentically Aussie baked delights – all of which we think would go quite nicely with a cup of Nerada tea.
Here are some of Australia’s culinary greats to add to your repertoire.
Poh Ling Yeow
A cookbook author and former MasterChef contestant – not to mention artist and actress – Poh Ling Yeow is now the host of Poh & Co. on SBS. As for her baking prowess, she’s secured her place in our bakers hall of fame with her weekly pop-up Jamface by Poh at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market. Jamface offers freshly baked cakes, slices, biscuits, pies and toasties with Poh’s own signature style – think miso caramel apple cake, lemon rhubarb tarts and pandan jelly cakes.
Poh has a reputation for putting a twist on classic recipes. She puts a citrus spin, for example, on the iconic lamington with her orange lamington cake. “The dipping bit requires a bit of patience, but I promise, it’s worth it!" she says.
Image Credit: SBS
Cook, food author, restaurateur, and food manufacturer Maggie Beer is an Australian legend whose career spans nearly five decades. Currently, she serves as one of the judges on The Great Australian Bake Off alongside famed Aussie chef Matt Moran.
Maggie is a staunch proponent of homegrown ingredients, and for her ANZAC biscuits, her secret ingredient is her verjuice, which adds subtle flavour to this classic Antipodean recipe. Made from the juice of unfermented grapes in her home state of South Australia, verjuice acts as a gentler, less tart alternative to lemon juice or vinegar but still provides a subtle tang.
A Sydney-based food editor, food stylist and best-selling cookbook author, Donna Hay is known for her simple yet show-stopping dishes. She has 26 award-winning cookbooks to her name, which have sold more than six million copies globally.
With so many versions of banana bread out there, naming a favourite is a tough call, but we think Donna’s version ranks among the best (and easiest). Her recipe results in a light, cake-like crumb that you can (and should!) enjoy warm from the oven. If you’re nuts about nuts, you can also add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans to Donna’s batter for a little crunch. Wanna bake more Donna? Her baking mix range should provide all the inspiration you need.
Image Credit: Associated Newspapers
Our list of Australian cooking royalty would be incomplete without naming the late Margaret Fulton. A celebrated food writer and once nicknamed “Australia’s original domestic goddess”, this iconic culinary expert influenced generations of Aussie home cooks. Surely, many of us still have a Margaret Fulton cookbook in our collections.
In fact, Margaret Fulton’s classic pavlova is the recipe that taught countless Australians how properly prepare the pavlova.
Following in her grandmother Margaret Fulton’s footsteps, Kate Gibbs is a talented baker in her own right. She is a food and travel journalist, serves as a contributing editor at delicious magazine and has published three cookbooks. Her most recent cookbook, Margaret and Me, is also a memoir about her time with her famous foodie grandma.
As Kate says on her website, “Even non hardcore bakers (like myself) should master the art of scones”. Well, we think she has with this buttermilk scones recipe. The results are scones that are light and fluffy on the inside but with a top that has a bit more bite to it. Butter them up, or serve them up with a dollop of jam and cream.
Another branch on this famous Fulton foodie family tree, Louise Keats is Kate Gibbs’ sister and another of Margaret Fulton’s gastronomic grandchildren. Given her culinary heritage, it’s no surprise that Louise says her family life has always revolved around cooking and eating well. In her food forays, Louise aims to bring a healthy twist to the next generation.
Louise’s best chocolate cake is a case in point. It’s a flourless, healthy, gluten-free rendition of a classic chocolate cake that uses hazelnut meal instead of flour. With its egg and nut content, it’s protein-packed. It’s a great go-to for dinner parties, special events and school festivities.
Katherine Sabbath says it best on her Facebook and Instagram pages: “Dessert is no trifling matter!” This cool high-school-teacher-turned-cake-queen has made her mark with her delectable desserts. Her cake creations range from witty and kitschy to oh-so-sophisticated.
In our search for goodies with a distinctly Down Under flair, what could be more Aussie than a dessert dedicated to the koala? Turns out, this much-loved marsupial makes for a pretty adorable cake, too – at least when Katherine bakes it. Her cutest koala cake recipe from her Bake Australia Great cookbook features honey cinnamon cake with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream. Want more baking inspiration from Katherine? You can buy the book at https://katherinesabbath.com/.
Image credit: Instagram
From Bake Australia Great published by Murdoch Books, $39.99
The foodie community knows Belinda Jeffery for her easy recipes that are simple, fresh and bursting with flavour. She is the author of several cookbooks, and the recipes from her delicious magazine column have become household staples. She is an undisputed baking queen, whether she’s whipping up a weeknight strawberry and rhubarb crumble or a lemon loaf cake to serve on a lazy weekend with a pot of tea.
A self-described “sucker for citrus cakes”, Belinda’s out to make suckers of the rest of us with her lemon and lime cream cheese butter cake. It even sounds decadent! The tang of the orange, lime and lemon zests and the lemon juice cut through the sweetness and bring a real flavour zing. The cream cheese makes it super-moist and velvety.
The legendary Lyndey Milan, OAM, has been a fixture on the Australian food scene for more than 30 years. She’s published nine bestselling cookbooks, has had eight television series and is former food director of the Australian Women’s Weekly. She’s also an award-winning multimedia presenter, speaker, and food and wine teacher and consultant.
In her TV series Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia, Lyndey travels Australia meeting food personalities and exploring regional food destinations. On one trip to Vittoria, NSW (between Bathurst and Orange), Lyndey cooked from The Beekeeper’s Inn. Appropriately, she wanted to make a dessert with honey as the hero. Her answer? Luscious honey blondies.
Image Credit: News Life Media
Similar to a brownie, a blondie uses vanilla and white chocolate instead of cocoa and brown sugar rather than white sugar to give it a chewier, moist texture. We think Lyndey’s blondies are sure to create a lot of buzz.
For more tea-licious baking recipes to go perfectly with your piping hot pot of Nerada, visit www.neradatea.com.au/blogs/recipes.