Aussies from across the kingdom were out in force to celebrate Australia Day with parties and gatherings galore.
One of the biggest bashes on Saturday was staged at the Bahrain Rugby Football Club in Janabiya with an obligatory BBQ, themed drinks and party games.
Manos’ restaurant team was out in force and the Blindside Barbeque & Grill was doing a roaring trade throughout the day.
The VIP guest of honour was Ambassador Ridwaan Jadwat, Australia’s special envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, who said: “It’s fantastic to celebrate Australia Day with the locals. I try and visit the Australian community as much as I can.
“I think it says something about the Australians’ appreciation of a relaxed way of life; Australians work hard and they also like to enjoy good food. We love our meat and we have the best in the world, the best livestock and the best produce, high quality and high-end products.
“Australians just love to enjoy themselves and I think the Aussie barbie (barbecue) shows it.”
Celebrity Chef Dominic Miles who opened the standalone charcoal BBQ and grill Blindside enterprise at the club, supported by GM Satish Palayat, allowed me into the kitchen to watch the team serve up some goodies.
The biggest sellers on the day were the Ruck & Maul, a burger topped with slow-cooked caramelised onion, sliced jalapeño and melted cheese, and the legendary Up & Under, two 150g burgers with cheese, crispy fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
There’s a choice between 100 per cent prime meat (BD3 and BD4 respectively) and one dinar extra for the Certified Angus meaty marvel option.
The Aussies couldn’t get enough of them and neither can other expats and the local audience. The jalapeño, a medium-sized chili pepper, certainly gives the Ruck & Maul a healthy kickback and you really need a sizable and flexible jaw to tackle the giant Up & Under!
The barbecue culture Down Under is much more reflective of the country’s resources, as well as its proximity to Asia according to The Herald Sun which quizzed Aussie food personalities on what they love to grill, revealing a much more diverse BBQ culture than you might expect.
First though, some definitions. While many of us use the terms ‘barbie’ and ‘grill’ interchangeably, bonafide BBQ experts Down Under and the Blindside chefs consider the two distinct.
Barbecue refers to cooking for a long period at a low temperature. This ‘low and slow’ approach to cooking meat allows for the food to soak up the smoke and rub flavours, and to become very tender and moist.
Grilling is the opposite approach. This method of cooking food involves being hot and fast on your grill. This technique is most commonly used for everyday backyard cookout fare like burgers, chicken, steak, seafood, vegetables and fruit.
For Australians, the barbeque is more all-encompassing, equivalent to a sense of grilling than the oft-used stereotypical Australian phrase of ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’.
For chefs like Curtis Stone, Marion Glasby, and Stefano de Pierri, the prime candidates for BBQ are lamb, sausages and prawns. However, there were other chefs who named choices that reflected Australia’s rich immigrant background.
Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans believes that ‘one of the joys of being Australian is being able to ‘pick and choose and take in all the good stuff from around the world’, which is why he opts for a Middle Eastern lamb kofte as a favourite.
The ambassador and the expat Aussies living in the kingdom are in the right place for that too … although I think I’ll stick to the brilliant burgers!
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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