Pete Evans' 'Ultimate Occa Burger'.
Pete Evans' 'Ultimate Occa Burger'.

Pete Evans

Australia Day is the ideal holiday to bust out your tongs, spark up the barbie and create some delicious Aussie flavours for your family and friends to enjoy. Quintessential Australian food is definitely something to be patriotic about, especially when you can make it healthier and more satisfying without skimping on flavour. It's no big secret that many of our national dishes may not have originated in our homeland but we've certainly done an exceptional job of incorporating our Aussie spirit into our food and making it our own.

As a passionate chef and qualified health coach it's a priority for me to cater to everyone as I understand and respect the fact that many of us have different dietary requirements and beliefs, which is why I also choose to create flavoursome, nutritious food suited to people with food intolerances, allergies and health concerns.

The following recipes are some of my favourite Australian-inspired dishes and, believe me, it was no easy feat choosing only four. I opted for traditional tucker that reminded me of my youth and growing up in our glorious country and they are free of refined sugar, gluten, wheat, dairy and grains.

So what's on my 'Straya Day menu? The mighty meat pie, finger-licking fish and chips, and for a sweet treat to top it all off, the lavish lamington.

Don't be shy, give them a go and have a safe and happy Australia Day.

Ultimate Occa Burgers

 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or ghee, duck/beef/pork fat)
8 large Portobello mushrooms, cores removed
4 slices nitrate-free bacon (optional)
2 tbsp fermented or homemade tomato sauce  
8 slices tomatoes
4 gherkins, sliced, or fermented pickles
2 brown onions, sliced into rings
4 tbsp chipotle aioli (see recipe below)
2 carrots, grated
1 large beetroot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 tbsp seeded mustard
8 leaves butter lettuce
4 organic free-range eggs
Sea salt
Pepper

Patties
600g chuck steak, minced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Pinch of dried oregano
1 organic free-range egg
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt or other quality salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
½ brown onion, finely diced
1 tbsp dijon or wholegrain mustard  

Preheat the oven to 240C.

Place Portobello mushrooms on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil.
Drizzle the mushrooms with coconut oil or other fat of choice, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 10 – 15 for minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

Remove from the oven and place the mushrooms on a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Allow to cool.

For the patties
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and shape into four patties.

Heat the barbecue or grill to medium heat. Add two tablespoons coconut oil (or other oil) and place the patties, bacon and onions on the barbecue. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden, then flip the patties and bacon over and continue cooking for a couple of minutes or until cooked through and the onions are tender and caramelised.  Remove and set aside to keep warm.

Add a little more coconut oil to the barbeque and cook the egg to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the patties and the burgers in the middle of the table with all other components in individual bowls and let everyone help themselves to build their own burger.

Makes 4 burgers

Chipotle aioli

250g aioli (see recipe below)
2 chipotles in adobo sauce – or to taste
1 tbsp adobo sauce

Blend all ingredients together using a hand-held blender, until smooth.

Makes 280ml

Aioli

4 free range egg yolks
2 teaspoons dijon or fermented mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 garlic confit cloves, finely chopped (see recipe below)
Sea salt
400 ml light olive oil or macadamia oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and some salt using a hand-held blender. As you blend, slowly pour the oil in a thin, even stream until all the oil has been added and the aioli is thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated.

Makes approximately 500ml

Confit Garlic

150g garlic cloves (approximately 25 cloves), peeled
250ml coconut oil or macadamia oil

Place the garlic cloves and coconut or macadamia oil in a saucepan over very low heat (you do not want the oil to boil). Cook gently for 2 hours or until the garlic is soft. Store the confit garlic in its oil in a sealed jar in the fridge. The confit garlic will keep for around two weeks.

Makes 150g

shank"

Lamb shank pie

2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee

4 lamb shanks, trimmed

400g whole peeled tomatoes

250ml good-quality red wine

500ml beef stock or water

2 tbsp arrowroot

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 brown onion, peeled and chopped

2 sticks celery, chopped

¼ celeriac, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 tbsp parsley, chopped

4 sprigs thyme, chopped

Pie crust

1 cup almond flour

1 cup coconut flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 cup very cold lard or coconut oil

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

2 free-range eggs

Makes 550g

1. Rub 1 tablespoon coconut oil on the lamb shanks and season with salt and pepper. Brown the shanks in a medium-sized saucepan or casserole dish on all sides for a few minutes until all surfaces are lightly browned and cooked evenly. Transfer the shanks to a warm plate and drain off any excess oil.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add all the herbs and vegetables to the pan. Increase the heat to high, and once they begin to soften, lower the heat to moderate and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, combine the whole tinned tomatoes in a blender with red wine, beef stock and the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot, then blitz until combined. Return the shanks to the pan and add vegetables and the blended tomato liquid mixture (it's OK if the bones of the lamb shanks are outside the pan, but the meaty parts of shanks should be well-submerged).

4. Place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for two hours on medium heat.

5. When the shanks are soft and tender, remove them from the pan and place in a separate dish. Shred the meat off the bones and return the meat back to the pot, simmering for a further 30 minutes or until the mixture reaches a thick consistency, as the filling for the pie. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool completely before making the pie crust.

To make the pie crust:

6. Preheat oven to 160C. In a mixing bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour and mix to combine. Cut up the lard or coconut oil into small pieces and work into the mixed flour using your hands, until a fine crumb-like texture forms. Add the salt and eggs and mix well to form the dough. Transfer dough on to a tapioca-floured/dusted working bench and knead it until it becomes smooth. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until it's firm enough to roll out. Grease a 25cm pie tin with coconut oil. Divide the dough into two portions, one weighing 300 grams, the other weighing 250 grams.

7. Take the 300-gram portion and place the chilled dough on top of a wide layer of plastic wrap and roll out the dough into a 30cm round, about 4mm thick. If the dough begins to crack slightly, simply bind it back together by pinching it with your fingers and lightly smoothing out the areas where the cracks have formed.

8. Place the pie tin upside down, directly over the centre of the pastry. Wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the pie tin and gently flip the pastry and the tin over together - correct side up. Press and smooth the pastry firmly into place, ensuring that there are no gaps between the pastry and the tin. Some cracks may need to be fixed, so simply bind the dough back together with your fingers to seal them. Peel the plastic wrap away from the pastry, and trim the edges using a knife or a pallet knife.

9. Roll out the remaining 250 grams of dough on a wide sheet of plastic wrap to a 5 millimetre-thick round. Carefully transfer the pastry sheet to a flat tray and refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm. Once chilled, cut out a 25 centimetre round, removing the excess pastry, and return to the refrigerator until required.

10. Meanwhile, pre-bake the pie shell in the preheated oven and cook for eight minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely before adding the filling.

11. Once the pie shell has completely cooled, fill the pie shell with the lamb mixture and evenly spread the mixture (you may have some leftover mixture - this can been stored in the freezer for later use).

12. Remove the chilled 25 centimetre pastry round from the refrigerator, and place the pastry round on top of the pie - plastic side up. Gently run your fingers around the sides to seal the edges and then carefully peel away the plastic. Make an incision into the pastry by inserting a knife directly into the centre of the pie (this allows the steam to escape while the pie is baking).

13. Bake the pie for 25 minutes or until golden. If the pastry is browning too quickly and the centre is still cold, cover with foil.

14. Serve with fermented or homemade tomato sauce.

Serves 6

macadamia"

Macadamia crumbed fish

200g macadamias, chopped into pieces or blended to a crumb in a food processor

50g shredded coconut

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

100g tapioca flour

3 free-range eggs, lightly whisked

600g your favourite fish fillets, skinned and pin-boned (flat head, whiting or snapper are all great options)

Sea salt

250ml coconut oil

Sweet potato chips, to serve

Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Mix macadamia crumbs, shredded coconut and parsley together in a bowl.

2. Put the tapioca flour in a shallow bowl, the egg in another bowl and combine macadamia crumbs and parsley in a third bowl. Lightly season the fish with some salt, and then dust lightly with the flour. Coat the fillets in the egg first, then roll the fish in the macadamia crumbs, patting down firmly.

3. Melt the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and shallow-fry the fish for 60 seconds until golden and crispy, then turn over and cook for a further 60 seconds or until crispy on both sides. Season with sea salt.

4. Drain off excess oil from the fish fillets using paper towels, then serve while hot with fresh lemon wedges, sweet potato chips and a side salad.

Serves 4

Sweet potato fries with rosemary and sage

800g sweet potato, peeled

80ml coconut oil, melted

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped

10 sage leaves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly coat a large baking tray with coconut oil.

2. Cut the sweet potato into 5mm thick slices, then cut the slices again lengthways into
 5mm thick strips.

3. Place the sweet potato, melted coconut oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and sage in a large bowl and mix well. Spread on the prepared tray in a single layer.

4. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn sweet potato strips over and continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. Keep a close eye on the fries as they can burn easily.

Serves 4

lamingtons"

Lamingtons

250ml coconut oil, melted

2 vanilla pods, split

160g honey

8 free-range eggs

2 tsp baking powder

125g tapioca flour

180g almond flour

For the chocolate & coconut icing

3 tbsp raspberry jam (see below)

190ml coconut oil, melted

60g cacao powder

60g carob powder

1 vanilla pod, split

120ml coconut milk

4 tbsp honey

120g shredded coconut

Raspberry jam

375g frozen raspberries, defrosted

350g raw honey

juice of 1 lemon

To make the sponge cake:

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 25 x 35 cm swiss roll (jelly roll) pan with a little melted coconut oil and line with baking paper. Split the vanilla pods and remove the seeds. Place the coconut oil, honey and vanilla seeds in a medium bowl and whisk together until well incorporated. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs for five minutes until thick and foamy. Gradually add the coconut oil - mixing in while beating the eggs. Remove from the mixer and fold in the baking powder, tapioca and almond meal.

Pour mixture into the prepared tray. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn the sponge cake onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely. Once the sponge cake has cooled down, trim edges and top to form a nicely even sheet. Cut in half so you have two equal slabs.

To make the raspberry jam: Place raspberries, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Mix to combine and place over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for a further three minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for a further 20 to 30 minutes or until the jam is thickened. Remove from heat and pass half of the jam through a fine sieve, then discard the seeds (this ensures the jam does not have an overly gritty texture from the seeds). Mix the sieved jam back into to the remaining jam and allow to cool. Pour the raspberry jam in a sealed, sterilised jar and refrigerate until needed. Store in refrigerator for up to three months.

To assemble the lamingtons: Spread a thin layer of jam on one side of the sponge and place the two sponge layers together to form a sandwich. Cut into 5-centimetre squares, and set aside.

To make the icing: Combine coconut oil, cacao, carob, vanilla, coconut milk and honey in a bowl. Blend using an electric mixer on a low setting or a whisk for one minute. Dip the sponge cakes into the chocolate and coat evenly with the shredded coconut. Set aside on a rack and allow to stand for one hour before serving.

Makes 15 lamingtons