There are lots of things that make me homesick for Australia. As much as I love the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, I miss the feel of the warm beach sand between my toes. I miss Friday takeaway dinners from the local fish and chips shop where our food would be wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. I miss catching up with my girlfriends over chai tea lattés with a shared bowl of potato wedges drizzled with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. And although I love layering up in the European winter with my coat, scarves and cashmere wraps, I miss being able to wear a t-shirt. Just a t-shirt, with no cardigan or coat in sight.
To soften the melancholy, I frequently make dishes which remind me of Australia; food which I grew up eating and which I also want my children to know and hopefully love. Sausage rolls and meat pies make a frequent appearance at parties and large gatherings, as do lamingtons and friands for afternoon tea, and you will often find me serving pavlovas for dessert.
When Rachel Khoo recently asked me to contribute an Aussie-inspired breakfast dish to celebrate the Australian-themed week at Khoollect, the first thing that came to my mind was baked beans on toast. When I first moved to Switzerland, the familiar blue tin of Heinz baked beans was nowhere to be found on the supermarket shelves here, so I set about making my own version at home. While it won’t have the same nursery taste as the tinned stuff, it certainly tastes fresher and more vibrant. I love to add a bit of heat with some chipotle chile powder, a popular spice in the US made from roasted red jalopeño peppers (I also deeply miss our time spent living in Chicago, but that’s a story for another time!).
I’ve made this dish using both dried beans which had been soaked overnight in water, and with tinned cannellini or haricot beans. If I had to be honest, the end results are pretty much the same. You can adjust the heat to your liking, or leave it out entirely if you are serving small guests.
The Aussie-themed week at Khoollect coincides with Rachel Khoo’s appearance as a guest judge on the popular reality cooking show in Australia, My Kitchen Rules. I can’t express how much I enjoy this show – I’m fascinated by what other people cook at home and get so much inspiration and cooking ideas from seeing some of the dishes which the contestants create. And oddly enough, I love the scenes where they go shopping for ingredients at the local supermarket. That’s when I start to feel really homesick again …
You can find my recipe for Chipotle Baked Beans over at Khoollect, plus many more interesting articles which might inspire you to book your next holiday Down Under. I’m already planning my trip 😀✈️🐨