Home Is Where the Beetroot Is

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There are a lot of "growing pains" that come with living in a new city. Basically, quadruple that when it's in a new country. All these different stores and brands to get used to. Having limited internet access hasn't helped matters. Even food differences are a little overwhelming.

I've yet to find kale in any of the markets here. This is a major dietary staple of mine, so if you have insight, please let me know. The closest I've found is chard, which they call "silverbeet" here. Here are some other crazy names Aussies use for foods:

peppers = capsicum (I think this goes for red and green bell peppers.)

zucchini/eggplant = courgette/aubergine (this seems to vary, but I believe this is the UK version sometimes seen here)

cookies = biscuits (which leads me to wonder what they call biscuits... dear god, they do have biscuits here, right??)

arugula = rocket (very common in salads and sandwiches here)

bacon strips = rashers (obvs I'm eating the soy kind)

beets = beetroot

Beetroot is also extremely common here on sandwiches. I've only ever cooked with it once, myself and that was in a chocolate cake of all places. It turned my whole kitchen pink, so I decided when working with it yesterday I'd used the canned variety.

I tried to make a hummus out of it, but without a food processor, it came out extra chunky style. So here's my non-recipe: One can beetroot, one can chickpeas, both rinsed and drained. Mash them up with a fork in a bowl with lemon juice (I used about 1/3 of a lemon), garlic, just a teaspoon or so of olive oil, salt, and lots of black pepper.

I served it with some baked wholemeal pita chips alongside some lemon-grilled asparagus and broccolini. There was a lot left over today so I took a pita, covered half of it with my beetroot spread, the other half with this yummy carrot dip I bought, and spread a bunch of cucumber slices on top, folded and i half, and boom: lunch.

Amazing how a simple home-cooked meal can make you feel less like you're house-sitting a stranger's apartment, and more like you're actually, well, home.


Mandee said...

I recently blogged about how difficult it is to find kale in Australia. Only one veggie shop near me has it but they use it as decoration and to line their veggie displays! I have to go in and ask to buy some because they don't actually have it for sale. Another veggie shop owner looked at me weirdly when I asked for kale as they had no idea what it was.

Your best bet is to find a veggie shop near you and ask them to get some in for you on a regular basis.

Also we call them zucchini and eggplant here, courgette and aubergine is British.

American biscuits are more like scones to Aussies and Brits. Savoury scones (American biscuits) aren't common here, I have never seen them in cafes/restaurants. We just have sweet scones served with jam and cream. Our scones are round compared to American ones which are triangular shaped.

And yup, capsicum refers to the green, red and yellow varieties.

I would be just as lost if I moved to the USA but you'll get used to the funny names we call things! :D

M.L. said...

I just wanted to add that surely eating something called "rocket" seems kind of... awesome? A bit? Sort of? :-)

Oh, and I double-dare you to have some tinned beetroot on a (not-)hamburger some time.

Sharon Troy said...

@Mandee - I'm wondering if I can grow some kale on my balcony. I'm going to have to research this today. I have an Australian cookbook that uses the British words sometimes it seems. Maybe the author is a British ex-pat. Oh and re: biscuits/scones I was thinking I might make some savoury scones for the next bake sale, but do you think maybe they wouldn't go over well? Hmmm...

@M.L. Oh yes, rocket is an undoubtedly better name than arugula, which sounds like a disease ;-)

gusseting said...

you can get kale (and a million other hard to find things) from diggers. as for beetroot, check out this other beetroot cake from an aussie naturopath @ limes and lycopene who has a post about a sydney CSA (perhaps you might be interested?) and it sounds like they get kale.
most of the time when recipies ask for kale (ie green smoothies, in salads and pasta sauces) i just substitute baby spinach. hope that helps!

Sharon Troy said...

Good news! (As I know you are all dying in anticipation.) I found some kale at a market this weekend - the one at the Moore Park entertainment quarter. It was a huge bunch and only $4.50 which seemed reasonable compared to everything else there. I can't wait to steam some for lunch tomorrow :-)

Sarah said...

I can find kale at lots of places in Perth now. When I first moved here from the US, I was distraught because I love kale and collards!! However, over time it's been popping up more and more because they are starting to grow it here. I wish I could give you specific advice about Sydney, but the best advice to give is to just keep looking! It does indeed grow in this country, so it will pop up more often. When I searched online, only this came up: http://www.healthemporium.com.au/our-location/

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