By Lauren Ingebrand
AmesEats Flavors blogger
This weekend was a special one in New Zealand. April 25th is known as ANZAC day. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. The national holiday was created to commemorate those who fought at Gallipol in Turkey during World War I. It now serves a broad day of remembrance for all those who died and served in military operations in their countries. Part of celebrating ANZAC day is by enjoying an ANZAC biscuit. The biscuits are made of rolled oats, flour, coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda, and boiling water. It is said that these biscuits were sent to soldiers abroad by their wives because the ingredients do not spoil easily and kept well during naval transportation.
I bought some ANZAC biscuits at the grocery store to try. They were quite delicious. These ones were pretty hard so I found that they went best with a hot drink such as tea. They have a very sweet and distinct taste from the golden syrup. I could barely taste the coconut so it mostly tasted like sweet oats.
The British, French-Canadians, and Australians all enjoy meat pie, but if you talk to a New Zealander they will claim it as a completely kiwi dish. Meat pies are sold at bakeries, dairies, grocery stores, restaurants, and pretty much everywhere else in Dunedin. Curious about the country’s obsession with meat pie, I decided to bake my own.
I started with 2 pounds of ground beef. I browned it and added diced onions, carrots, and mushrooms (substituted for celery). I added white wine, beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and a variety of herbs. It boiled on the stovetop for over an hour while I made 4 piecrusts. I assembled the 2 pies with a crust on the top and bottom of each. Unfortunately our limited kitchen didn’t come with pie tins so I used cake pans instead. I baked them in a 210 degrees Celsius oven for 20 minutes.
Some friends brought over mashed potatoes and we threw together a salad for a delicious kiwi meal.
Marmite is a classic New Zealand yeast spread. It is a by-product of beer brewing. Marmite is a thick and sticky brown spread with a strong flavor. The main ingredients include yeast, sugar and salt. The spread is most commonly eaten on toast, crackers, and biscuits.
I did not enjoy my Marmite experience. There is nothing in America that tastes similar to it so the flavor was completely different than anything I had tried before. It tasted extremely salty and the smell was almost unbearable. Marmite will not be something I miss when I head back to the U.S.