I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading the journals of early Australian explorers.
It would be fair to say, other than the satisfaction of discovering something no European had seen before; and the accolades that came with their achievements, they didn’t have a lot going for them.
I mean; extremes of heat, dangerous critters, medical emergencies and hunger were all part of their expeditions into the unknown. And then there was the tucker – usually salted meat, flour, tea and sugar. Not much else and not much of it, either.
As time wore on, though, some of the grander undertakings understood food was important, and so made sure that they, at least, left home with adequate supplies.
Burke and Wills’ expedition across the continent took so much equipment that it became quite a burden. They had a couple of hundred sheep to eat and, as it turned out, they needed every one of them.
Here we look at a recipes that, no doubt, would have been on the menu back then, but with a bit of a modern twist.
CLASSIC IRISH STEW
- 1kg Boneless lamb shoulder, roughly chopped
- 1 lt Vegetable stock
- 1 Onion, thickly sliced
- 1 Leek, sliced
- 1 Cup Pearl Barley
- 8 Potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 Carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
- 1 Cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the lamb in a large saucepan, cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then skim off any white fat that comes to the surface. Simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes.
Add the onion, leek, barley and half of the potatoes and cook for 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft, then break them up and stir.This will thicken the stew.
Add the remaining potatoes and carrots. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes until potatoes are cooked. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in fresh parsley.