Sunday, April 16, 2017

Australian Sweet Potato and Chive Damper

My daughter's Girl Scout troop is having a program this Tuesday about Australia. Some of the girls, including my daughter, are supposed to bring in traditional Australian foods. I did a little searching online, and found a nice sounding recipe for sweet potato and chive damper that could easily be veganized with Earth Balance margarine (or any number of other vegan spreads, such as Miyoko's European-style "butter")replacing butter.

Here is the recipe reproduced from the website.

My daughter enthusiastically helped, and especially enjoyed getting her hands nice and clean then diving in with the mixing.

I also cooked some green beans with no added fat on a cast iron stove. Using a trick I learned in Italy, I served with a little lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.


The damper was very good. My daughter loved it! It was heavy and quickly filled us. I'd say that this loaf is enough for at least 6-8 servings.

Ideas for the future

I'm woefully ignorant of Australian food and am thankful for my daughter and her Girl Scout troop for having me explore today. After dinner, I contacted a friend of mine, also vegan, in Australia, and she said that the "damper" is a common traditional bread; during early European settlement, many people worked in remote locations, and damper was an easy bread to make, requiring the settlers to just carry salt and flour. They would mix these into a dough and then bake on a camp fire. "Nowadays," she wrote, "lots of people add different things to it to make it more interesting. For example, a friend adds rosemary, dried tomatoes & olives to it."

I see from wikipedia that damper "was normally cooked in the ashes of the camp fire. The ashes were flattened and the damper was placed in there for ten minutes to cook. Following this, the damper was covered with ashes and cooked for another 20 to 30 minutes until the damper sounded hollow when tapped." I'll have to experiment with my own types of damper. I bet I could make a subtly sweetbread with currants and almonds, perhaps like a scone.

I bet I could slice damper and add items like seitan or beans (whole or blended), as well as maybe crunchy greens like Romaine lettuce. Leftovers for later this week?

This meal wasn't one with no added fat. I translated the 60g of butter to about 2 ounces of Earth Balance; we didn't have that much Earth Balance, and, at least the first time with such a recipe, I wanted to not yet focus on cutting the fat a lot, so I used a little canola oil (nowadays, the only time I use oil at all is to clean my cast iron pans and to rub a little on and then rub off to get a little browning when I cook foods like tempeh on cast iron) as well. Two ounces of Earth Balance (a tub is 15 ounces and the nutrition label says that 1/30 of the tub is 1T, which is 11g of fat) has about 2/15 x 330g fat, or about 44g of fat. If one loaf serves 8, that's a little over 5g of fat per serving. In the Food for Life program, we recommend that no one dish have more than 3g of fat, so, while high, this dish isn't extraordinarily high in fat. I simply don't bake enough to know about ways to reduce the fat significantly, but it probably would be worth trying with maybe half as much fat.

I rarely bake but usually enjoy it when I do. Now that we bought some self-rising flour, I should experiment with biscuits, something I've never cooked.

My friend tonight also described other traditional Australian dishes like ANZAC biscuits (cookies), Lammingtons (sponge cake with chocolate and coconut atop, often served with jam), pumpkin scones, pavlova, pie floater, sausage sizzle, fairy bread. I've never heard of any of these and perhaps should explore them. I'm so lucky - she has promised to send me some Australian herbs and spices!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home