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The Great Australian Lamington

The Great Australian Lamington
Lord Lamington Governor of Queensland - creator of the world-famous Australian Lamington.
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The Humble Australian Lamington - Created in Queensland in 1901


Australian Lamington
THE WORLD-FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN CULINARY ICON NAMED AFTER THE GOVERNOR OF QUEENSLAND - LORD LAMINGTON.

The world-famous Australian lamington is over a century old.

Despite some dubious claims from New Zealand, the lamington is as Australian as meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars, ranking alongside the other true Australian icons of the pavlova, peach melba and Vegemite.

This Australian culinary icon, which consists of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut, was created through an accident at work by a maid-servant to Lord Lamington, the thoroughly-British eighth Governor of Queensland.

The maid-servant was working at Government House in Brisbane when she accidentally dropped the Governor's favourite sponge cake into some melted chocolate.

Lord Lamington was not a person of wasteful habits and suggested that it be dipped in coconut to cover the chocolate to avoid messy fingers.

Paul Tully celebrates
the 100th anniversary
of the world renowned
Australian lamington
on 19 December 2001
Lord Lamington devoured this new taste sensation with great delight and the maid-servant's error was proclaimed a magnificent success by all! The Governor however is on the record as calling them "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits".

Lord Lamington was born in London, England on 29 July 1860 as Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE holding the aristocratic title of Baron Lamington.

He was Governor of Queensland from 9 April 1896 to 19 December 1901.

After leaving Queensland, he went on to become the Governor of Bombay in India for 4 years. He died at Lamington House, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1940.

According to Hansard page 728 at the Australian Constitutional Convention in Canberra on 11 February 1998, Cr Paul Tully, an elected delegate representing "Queenslanders for a Republic" suggested that his extensive research of the Governors of the 6 Australian colonies and states had produced evidence of only "one, single, solitary, positive achievement of any Governor since the First Fleet arrived in 1788" and that was Lord Lamington's contribution to the culinary delights of the Australian nation!

Lord Lamington served Queensland for 5 years but despite all of his colonial, aristocratic pomp and ceremony, the only thing which Charles Wallace Alexander Napier COCHRANE-BAILLIE will ever be remembered for in Australia is the creation of the world-famous lamington.

PAUL TULLY'S TRUE-BLUE DELICIOUS AUSSIE LAMINGTON RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour 1/2 cup milk.

Beat the eggs well, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved. Add the milk and vanilla essence and then stir in the self raising flour and whip the butter into the mixture. Pour the mixture into a cake tin or lamington baking dish and bake in a moderate oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes and then stand for 24 hours preferably in the refrigerator, before applying the icing.

THE CHOCOLATE ICING
4 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups desiccated coconut.

Stir the cocoa and icing sugar vigorously in a large bowl, adding the milk, butter and boiling water, warming the chocolate mixture over a very low heat until it has a smooth creamy texture. Cut the sponge cake into equal squares about 5cm x 5cm and, using a fork or thin skewer, dip each piece into the chocolate mixture ensuring that the mixture is liberally and evenly applied. Dip each piece into the desiccated coconut, allowing the lamingtons to cool on a wire tray for several hours.

THEN SIT BACK, RELAX AND SAVOUR THE DELIGHTS OF YESTERYEAR COURTESY OF LORD LAMINGTON'S ABSENT-MINDED MAID-SERVANT!

THANK GOD, THE LAMINGTON WAS NOT CHRISTENED THE "COCHRANE-BAILLIE". IMAGINE ASKING FOR A "COCHRANE-BAILLIE" IN A CAKE SHOP!


Do you have an interesting historical anecdote about the Australian lamington?
Please email the Australian Lamington Official Website.


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Sydney's Bennelong restaurant re-opens and is serving Cherry Jam Lamingtons

SYDNEY TASTE



Fresh face of restaurant result of multi-million dollar re-fit
New design will seat 99, with another 40 in the bar
Be prepared to shell out $125 for three-course experience


AFTER what seems like an age for Sydney foodies, the iconic Bennelong restaurant reopens under a sail of the Sydney Opera House tomorrow.

Exactly 18 months after the doors closed on Guillaume Brahimi’s Bennelong, chef Peter Gilmore and restaurateur John Fink are waiting in anticipation for the first official customers to walk through the door tomorrow night after a multi-million dollar refit.

“I’m not nervous at all, to be honest. I’m really pumped,” Fink said. “It’s one of the greatest privileges of my professional life.”

Gilmore and Fink, staff, friends and family have been trialling the menu and different spaces for almost two weeks, including the restaurant proper, a bar, a semi-private dining space and the casual “Cured & Cultured” section. Chefs to have enjoyed a sneak peak inside include Alex Herbert and Martin Boetz.


The restaurant’s stunning new interior space.


The Bennelong kitchen crew get cracking.


“We started with family and friends so it was nice and easy, we were just trying to get a feel of the space. It’s like test-driving a Maserati around the block,” Fink says.

“Then we get industry professionals to come in and you expect them to tear you to shreds.

“But we are still driving the Maserati. We’ve now got stickers on the side and the helmet on and we are ready to go.

“I think we’ve spent close to two weeks in a training period. In the first week we did a whole day on HR, workplace policies, health policies, sexual harassment, use of IP and IT, hygiene, how to wash your hands, everything.”


The Bennelong: All lit up and ready to start again.

The new restaurant, which will seat 99 in the dining room and 40 in the bar area, will feature a $125 three-course a la carte dinner menu with six entree and seven main course options, plus a two-course lunch menu for $80, or three courses for $130.

Patriarch of the restaurant group, Leon Fink, didn’t have much to say, his son said.

“I know when he’s happy, he doesn’t talk much. You know you really have to do something when he starts to say something.”

Entrees include Queensland scallops with dory caviar, cultured cream and citrus, slow-cooked heirloom pumpkin, Bruny Island C2 cream, Manjimup truffle and roasted seeds or grilled Lady Elliot Island bug, fermented chilli, organic turnips and radishes.

Mains include roasted John Dory served on the bone, orach, turnips, kalian and umami butter,

King George whiting, sea scallops, leeks, native parsley, celery heart, ice plant broadbeans and kale, Flinders Island salt grass lamb, nasturtiums, anchovy salt or Macleay Valley suckling pig, with black garlic and “smoky juices”.


The Bennelong team before completion of the renovation.

There are also vegetarian options including a dish of ancient grains, eggplant, mushrooms and hazelnuts.

There will also be a selection of seafood and charcuterie at the Cured & Cultured bar such as

Sydney rock oysters with lemon and pepper granita, raw Mooloolaba yellow fin tuna, mushroom soy, pickled white radish and sesame oil, a dish of red claw yabbies with lemon jam, cultured cream and buckwheat pikelets or a salad of saltwater chicken, udon, palm heart, sesame and peanuts, plus Byron Bay black pig prosciutto and smoked Wagyu tartare.

Or just stay for a $28 dessert, including the classic pavlova with a Gilmore twist of Opera House sails, a cherry jam lamington, strawberries and cream or “chocolate cake from across the water”, a reference to Quay, Gilmore and Finks other famous venue on the other side of Sydney Cove at the recently refurbished Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Bennelong now puts the Fink Group in three prominent positions on the city side of Sydney Harbour, as they also have Otto, the modern Italian restaurant, under chef Richard Ptacnik, on the next headland at Woolloomooloo.


The Bennelong team includes (from left) sommelier Russell Mills, restaurant manager Neil Walkington, general manager Kylie Ball, chefs Rob Cockerill and Peter Gilmore and owner John Fink.

NZ secret cake club enjoys Aussie Lamingtons

Secret cake club opens doors


Helen Cox, fourth from left, started a
Kiwi Clandestine Cake Club after
reading the UK club recipe book.


There's a new club in town and its members indulge in the secretive eating of cake.

Clandestine Cake Clubs are popular worldwide and Helen Cox has cooked one up in Auckland.

Nine people gathered for a slice of the action, and of the cake, at the first meeting in Cox's Browns Bay home.



The Clandestine Cake Club's first
 meeting set a high standard.

Internationally, the clubs follow the same recipe and there are few rules.

No one knows the venue until just days before and as long as you've registered, you'll be sent an email with the location.

Bakers can bring a non-baking friend to help eat the cake but don't expect to be let in with rule-breaking cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pies or tarts.

Each meeting has a theme, Auckland's first is, "Sweet As – Quintessential Kiwi Cakes".

Ohakune carrot cake, a lamington and hokey pokey cake, and of course a buzzy bee are among the seven the theme draws to the table.

"That's the beauty and the magic. It's completely up to each person's interpretation of the theme," says Cox.

Although all cakes are welcome and taste buds are kind judges, presentation standards are high and some bakers spent hours on their edible projects.

Cox is on maternity leave from her personal assistant job and says there's no such thing as a bad cake.

"As long as it's made with love and with fun. Having fun is the most important thing."

After a slice of each cake it takes a while for everyone to move. When they do, it's back to the table to cut up and hand out leftovers to take home.

Cox hopes to whisk up more members before the next meeting but says it's hard spreading the word to people outside her personal network.

Discussions decide next month's theme, "A Slice of Cake".

The mission is to turn a slice, such as caramel or ginger, into cake form.

All the members know for now is it will be held somewhere in Takapuna.

The first Clandestine Cake Club was started in Britain in 2010. There are now more than 30 in 16 countries including one in Christchurch.

To find out more and join the Auckland club, go to the clubs tab at clandestinecakeclub.co.uk



Australian Lamington cakes with quince



Makes 12

There's nothing like a small baked treat with a delicious twist to improve any occasion. I love a good lamington, and my favourite condiment is quince paste. I have put them together here for a tart twist on the Aussie classic that can be served for any occasion.

Lamingtons, but fancy!

Ingredients
  • 115g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 240ml milk, at room temperature
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 35g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 45g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 cups desiccated coconut
  • 200g quince paste, warmed and pureed 
  • 300ml cream, whipped to soft peaks

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12-muffin tin with paper patty pans.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and 120ml milk to the butter mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the patty pan cups with the batter and bake for about 18 minutes or until just set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, remove paper patty pans carefully. Place the icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.

Heat the butter and remaining 120ml of milk in a small microwave-safe bowl until the butter is melted then pour into the icing sugar mix. Stir the mixture until it reaches a smooth pouring consistency.

Place the coconut on a large plate. One at a time, dip the cupcakes into the chocolate coating then roll the cakes in the coconut. Gently transfer the lamingtons to a clean wire rack to set.

Once set, use a small paring knife to cut out a teaspoon-sized hole in the top of the cake and fill with quince puree. Pipe cream on top of each cake and serve.

TIP: Icing the lamington cakes is easier with two people: one to dip each cake in the chocolate, the other to coat it in coconut, so you don't have to clean the icing off your hands each time.


Makes 12

Main Ingredients - Eggs, Cream/Milk, Coconut
Cuisine - Modern Australian
Course - Dessert, Snacks, Finger-food
Occasion - Australia Day, Morning/Afternoon Tea, Birthday, Picnic

Lamingtons: Australia's own national delicacy

IT'S definitely a dessert Australians call their own. The Lamington consists of squares of sponge cake coated first in a layer of traditionally chocolate sauce, then in desiccated coconut. Lamingtons are sometimes served as two halves with a layer of cream or strawberry jam in between.

While there's some argument over the origin of the Lamington, most food historians believe it was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, although it might have been named for his wife, Lady Lamington.

Legend has it that Lamington's chef, French-born Armand Galland, was called upon at short notice to provide something to feed unexpected guests. He quickly cut up some leftover French vanilla sponge, dipped the slices in chocolate and set them in coconut. The guests were delighted and asked for the recipe.

Queen of Lamingtons is master baker Nadine Ingram, who owns the hugely popular Flour and Stone patisserie in Sydney's Woolloomooloo district. Aficionados say her Lamingtons are the best in Australia.

During my recent trip to Sydney, I dropped by Flour and Stone to talk to Nadine about Lamingtons.

This uniquely Australian dessert went out of fashion a few years ago, but thanks to the efforts of bakers like Nadine, Lamingtons are now as popular as ever and today appear on the menu of high-end restaurants and are sold in trendy bakeries throughout the country.

Nadine added Lamingtons to her extensive menu in early 2012. “The reaction was overwhelming,” she said. “They always sell out. We can't not have them.”

And bakers have been reinventing the dessert. Recent interpretations include a Lamington affogato, Lamington Tiramisu. At Flour and Stone, Nadine's iteration is a panna cotta Lamington.

But before we start on the more complicated interpretations let's look at this traditional recipe:

Ingredients

Cake

4 eggs
200g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
110g butter, melted and cooled

Icing

75g unsalted butter
250ml milk
65g cocoa powder
435g confectioners' sugar

6 cups desiccated coconut

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 3 cm-deep, 20 cm x 30 cm (base) pan. Line with baking paper, leaving a 2 cm overhang on all sides. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture may curdle).

Sift half the flour over butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add half the milk. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside overnight.

Icing: Sift confectioners' sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and boiling milk. Stir until smooth.

Cut cake into 15 pieces. Place coconut in a dish. Using a fork, dip 1 piece of cake in icing. Shake off excess. Toss in coconut. Place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat with remaining cake, icing and coconut. Stand for 2 hours or until set. Serve and enjoy.

Poll reveals Australia’s favourite food icons as Lamingtons rank ahead of Chiko rolls and Dagwood Dogs


Nadia Sinkovic 11,
loves her vegemite. 
VEGEMITE has trumped the meat pie as Aussies’ top food icon in a tastebud opinion poll.

Pavlova was nominated third favourite, despite a long-running dispute with New Zealand over the meringue dessert’s heritage.

Steak and macadamia nuts were next in line, surprisingly edging out lamingtons.

Those quizzed placed eating kangaroo ahead of Chiko rolls as “icon” status. Dagwood dogs were next, while Iced Vovos were least nominated.

One thousand adults, polled by Pure Profile for the upcoming Good Food and Wine Show, could choose from 10 icon suggestions or select their own.

Both men and women preferred their own cooking to their mother’s or a professional chef’s, the survey also found. Most blokes rated their partners’ culinary skills best.

Men tended to have the most adventurous palates.

They were more willing to try new things, tweak recipes, or try wild meats such as crocodile, boar and wallaby.

Half of Australians were inspired to make their dinner from whatever was in the fridge or pantry rather than rolling out standard week night meals or reading and researching a recipe.

Join the Great Australian Bake Off 2015

Maggie Beer is a judge on Foxtel's
new season of The Great
Australian Bake Off.
WHEN you ask veteran chef Maggie Beer why she loves cooking, the passion oozes from her voice gooier than one of her signature chocolate puddings.

"The best thing about it is baking for the people that you love," she says.

The amiable culinary icon will this year join acclaimed chef Matt Moran to judge the new Foxtel series The Great Australian Bake Off - something she hopes will allow plenty of Queensland women and men to show off their culinary skills.

"We're wanting to cast the net even wider and encourage the men of Australia to join the show," Maggie says.

"We want a lovely mix of ages and genders… that is what will make it more interesting I think.

"If we can have a mix of young, middle-aged and old - because I'm old myself," she chuckles, "but we'd like to encourage the men thinking about it who are perhaps tentative, to join the fray and have some fun."

Maggie says she'd like to continue the trend of moving away from the "traditional way of thinking" when it comes to men donning the aprons and baking a cake.

"What I think is happening with food, is people of all ages and genders are understanding the creativity and the inspiration that's in them they haven't expressed before so they're starting to get interested (in baking)," she says.

"When they get the time they see what it's all about; it's something that I believe may be lurking in a lot of people but they've perhaps been busy and haven't tried it."

I bite the bullet and share with Maggie my own belief of having a (very) hidden talent, having always thought I'd be an excellent baker if only I were bothered to try. Call it lazy, or just having a false sense of my own God-given gift just waiting to pour out, Maggie was quick to support my pipedream:

"Perhaps it hasn't been the right time, but it will be. There'll come a time when it's right for you, but it has to become a focus and priority for a while to really expand on your interest," she says encouragingly.

"(Practice) when you can, engage in it and hope the passion blooms… I just think baking and cooking is such pleasure. If you love it, you love it for yourself and the people that you love."

Maggie urges those home cooks who may be thinking of sharing their baking talents with the world to jump on board the new series of The Great Australian Bake-Off.

"If you're thinking of auditioning, you already love to cook and to bake," she says.

"One is not exclusive of the other but food has got to excite you. Sharing your food with family and friends has got to excite you."

The Great Australian Bake Off will put 12 home baking enthusiasts through a series of gruelling elimination challenges, baking a mouth-watering selection of cakes, pies, tarts, pastries, bread, biscuits and desserts, all in the hope of being crowned Australia's Best Home Baker.

"It's got to be more than just baking a cake. It's thinking about food, creating it in your mind and wanting to learn," Maggie says.

"That's what happens when you get the time to really focus on it. You already have the passion to learn so it only builds from there."
Food author Maggie Beer:
"I love to learn and I am
always exploring."

Road to a life-long career

Maggie Beer is a self-taught cook, food author, restaurateur and food producer based in South Australia's Barossa Valley. After establishing the highly acclaimed, award-winning Pheasant Farm Restaurant in 1979, she went on to set up her state of the art export kitchen in 1993. These days, Maggie juggles her career in television presenting and food writing, with running her food business from the Barossa.

Maggie tells APN she was lucky to be brought up in a household where food was "vitally important".

"It isn't the most familiar story in a typical Australian household," she recalls.

"My father had an instinct for food, my grandmother was a beautiful baker and myself and my eldest daughter love to bake.

"Cooking in general came easy to me. I'm not saying baking came easily to me, because you have to follow such strict rules. But I love to learn and I am always exploring."

Maggie says cooking was "simply a necessity" when her family were farming pheasants in the 1970s and people didn't know how to cook them.

Travelling to all different parts of the country, Maggie says Queensland shines when it comes to locally-grown produce.

"I have seen the food in Queensland really develop over the years which has been a lovely thing," she says.

"Whenever I'm in Queensland I would always go to a really good restaurant, and I love your markets. The markets on the coast, at Noosa and up at Port Douglas it's all about showcasing the food.

"You have a very particular climate in Queensland which makes your food really interesting."

The Great Australian Bake Off will begin production shortly, and the Foxtel series is currently looking for contestants. Amateur baking enthusiasts can register at australianbakeoff.com.au.

Great Australian Bake Off's Casting call...

Are you a whiz with a whisk? Maggie Beer and Matt Moran want you. From lamingtons, to Anzac biscuits, to vanilla slice, we are a nation who have a passion for impressing our friends, family and colleagues with our latest baking creations. The Great Australian Bake Off will celebrate our country's love for baking. We are looking for passionate bakers to apply for the latest Australian TV series, and be put to a series of cooking tasks that will crown one winner Australia's best amateur baker.

Based on the highly successful BBC series The Great British Bake Off, The Great Australian Bake Off will be a showstopper as culinary icon Maggie Beer and acclaimed chef Matt Moran judge your best cupcakes, sponge cakes and shortbread. Or you might prefer to wow us with your ombre cakes, salted caramel tarts and your bombe alaska. Whatever your bake, if you think your baking is up to scratch, apply to be a contestant now.

Visit:  fmashows.com/the-great-australian-bake-off/2015



National Doughnut Week: the very best doughnuts in London - with a hint of the Aussie Lamington

Whether you like your doughnuts covered in sugar or stuffed with cream, there's a deep-fried delight that's perfect for you


Go nuts: The Lamnut is a hybrid of a traditional Australian Lamington cake and a ring doughnut.


As doughnuts continue to upstage cupcakes in the capital, available in all sorts of weird, wonderful shapes and sizes, National Doughnut Week gives them a place to truly shine.

Still wondering where to start? Here are the glorious balls of deep-fried dough you need to add to this week’s doughnut-eating bucket list.

Glazed and sugared


Matcha doughnut


Crosstown Doughnuts, who have just opened a new Soho store on Broadwick Street, offer a delicious matcha doughnut: a glazed ring doughnut flavoured with the tea that famously boasts antioxidant properties (the health benefits are probably outweighed by all the sugar, but we’ll forget about that). If that doesn't float your boat, try the orange blossom glazed doughnut with its discrete layer of date jam and orange blossom glaze, or the cinnamon sugar ring doughnut.


Matcha made in heaven: Crosstown Doughnuts' tea-flavoured treat

Rhubarb crumble doughnut


The wonderfully-named Glazed & Confused, whose doughnuts are scattered around independent coffee stores in London and available online, do a particularly special rhubarb crumble doughnut. It's a ring doughnut with a rhubarb sugar glaze and crunchy homemade oat crumble crumbs. What's not to like?


Ready to crumble: Glazed & Confused's rhubarb doughnut


Filled: more is more

The crème brûlée doughnut


With its array of mouth-watering flavours, toppings and colours, Dum Dum Donutterie in Box Park, Shoreditch is one of London’s best shouts for decadent doughnuts. The crème brûlée doughnut is a popular option, covered in a glistening, crunchy caramel glaze and piped full of rich vanilla cream. The peanut butter and jelly doughnut, inspired by America’s love for PB & J, is also a customer favourite.


Life is sweet: the crème brûlée doughnut


Salted caramel doughnut


In Borough Market, bakery Bread Ahead has garnered a cult following who loyally turn up every Saturday to get their hands on one of baker Justin Gellatly's fit-to-bursting salted caramel doughnuts. Golden, soft balls of dough are filled with salted caramel cream, then plugged with a shard of crisp, homemade honeycomb, before the whole thing is sprinkled with sugar. Eating will get messy but it must be done and enjoyed.


Divine dough: Bread Ahead's salted caramel creations


Savoury: doughnuts for dinner


The katsu curry donut


All hail the katsu curry donut, created with love in Clapton by small-scale doughnut company, The Hole Donut. A spicy, punchy spoonful of katsu curry is encased in a soft, doughy ball and generously sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch. They work far better than you’d ever think, and simply must be tried.


A change from the usual: the katsu curry doughnuts


Ox cheek doughnut


This doughnut, served with apricot jam and paprika sugar, is one of the must-try dishes on the menu at Duck & Waffle. Well worth venturing 40 floors up to sample.


What a cheek: the ox doughnut at Duck & Waffle


Crab doughnut


They say you go Chiltern for the celebrities, not the food, but we disagree. Chef Nuno Mendes’ dainty balls of dough stuffed with fresh crab are spectacular.

Bitesize: the ones you pop and can’t stop

Doughnut bites


Street foodies You Doughnut steal the crown of this category with their impossibly moreish doughnut bites. The dessert traders rotate around London’s markets, often found at KERB and this summer Street Feast Dalston Yard, pleasing punters with their mini sweet treats served by the pot and loaded with sauces and toppings. A mouthful of heaven.


Oh, just one more then: You Doughnut's mini treats


Mexican doughnuts


Asia de Cuba in St Martins Lane has recently relaunched with a new menu and chef, but thankfully kept their Mexican doughnuts on the menu. These bite-size brioche balls, rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a spicy Thai chilli chocolate, are worth leaving room for — they're light enough to eat plenty of, rest assured.



Mexican madness: the doughnuts at Asia de Cuba

Oreo doughnuts


On the glutinous end of the spectrum, The Blues Kitchen (which has sites in Camden and Shoreditch) do small but deadly with their Oreo doughnuts: Oreo cookies are coated in dough and deep-fried so everything smooshes and melts into a gooey, chocolatey, delicious mess.


Genius or insanity? The Oreo doughnuts

Doughnut butties and burgers: why use bread when you can use doughnuts?

Delicious doughnut burger


Not content with adding savoury fillings to doughnuts, innovators have done one better and added doughnuts to savoury meals. A "Delicious Doughnut Burger" has just been added to the Ed's Diner chain menu as the Burger of the Month. It comprises sweet doughnut stacked with a beef patty, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce. Somehow it works.



Fancy a doughnut for dinner? The Ed's Diner offering

Deadly donut burger


Later this year, Leeds' favourite Red’s True Barbecue will be landing in London, bringing with it its deadly donut burger. That's “two house-made 100 per cent steak burgers flame grilled over hickory, melted double cheese, smoked peppered bacon, dirty sauce and deep fried crispy onions, all between two sweet glazed donuts". Are you brave enough?


Culinary challenge: the deadly donut burger


Doughnut buttie


Elsewhere, get the day off to a good start with a Doughnut Buttie at BIRD, Shoreditch — an upgraded bacon sarnie with doughnuts and maple syrup drizzle.


Bacon and doughnuts... a magic combination?


Fusion: the doughnuts which can’t decide if they really want to be doughnuts

Croconut


Cronuts had their moment a couple of years ago but though the hype has died the product remains. Dum Dum Donutterie has a selection of creative versions, including the almond creme and pistachio cronut, but the best is the Croconut, infused butter crème, a dark chocolate glaze and coconut sprinkles.


I should coco: the Croconut


Duffin


Continuing in this vein, tea room Bea's of Bloomsbury (who were among the originators of the London Cronut scene) offer the Duffin, a jam-filled muffin-shaped doughnut. It'll mess with your mind.



Fluffy goodness: the Duffin

Lamnut doughnut


Crosstown Doughnut do a noteworthy fusion with their Lamnut Doughnut — a hybrid of a traditional Australian Lamington cake and a ring doughnut.


Doughnuts, meet Lamingtons: the Lamnut

The goodness of glaze with inspiration from the Australian Lamington









From being an all-American snack, the doughnut has captured hearts across cultures. SUSANNA MYRTLE LAZARUS finds out what makes the sweet treat an international favourite

Warm, jam-filled and crusted with sugar — the memory of the first doughnut I had as a child is not something I will forget. The sticky sugar got all over my clothes and the sickly sweet jam left red lines around my mouth not unlike the Joker’s scars, but it also left me with a lifelong love for the sweet snack.

Over the past week, a lot of people in the United Kingdom have been sharing videos of their attempts to eat a similar doughnut without licking their lips even once (it’s harder than it sounds). And doughnuts of all shapes, sizes and flavours are selling by the dozen, as people are indulging their sweet tooth by telling themselves that it’s for a good cause: National Doughnut Week.

Started by an independent baker, Christopher Freeman, in 1991, the annual event was meant to raise money for various children’s charities. So far, over 14 million doughnuts have been sold as part of the fundraiser, from small-time bakeries to the chain stores like Krispy Kreme. (If you’re easily amused, look up those doughnut-eating videos by searching for #nationaldoughnutweek on social media platforms.)

While its predecessors can be traced back to ancient civilisations, the doughnut as we know it today is attributed to Elizabeth Gregory. The mother of a mid-19th century ship’s captain, she made a fried dough delicacy flavoured with nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon rind, and filled it with nuts at the centre in case the dough didn’t cook through: hence the very literal name. They really caught on during World War I, when women volunteers, catchily called Doughnut Dollies, distributed millions of them to homesick American soldiers. The advent of the first doughnut-producing machine in 1920 cemented its popularity by becoming a fast food staple. And of course, Homer Simpson made the pink-frosted, sprinkle-covered doughnut a pop culture classic.

I’ll admit it; I did not wait for the big brands to grace Chennai with their presence. I once asked a friend who had gone home to Delhi for the holidays to bring me back a selection from the Singapore-based chain, Mad over Donuts. She, bless her soul, obliged. For many years, the sugar doughnut was all we could get in our neighbourhood bakeries. Occassionaly, we would come across a batch coated in a barely-there chocolate glaze. A slightly better version was available at the bakery chains and coffee shops that began popping up all over the city. And now, we’ve got dedicated stores that are filled with the divine scent of doughnuts being baked or fried. With more international brands launching in the city, I sense many delicious outings over the coming months.

In spite of the variety of choices now available, one can’t help but be jealous of those in cities like London and New York, with their Matcha, salted caramel, creme brulee and bacon-flavoured doughnuts apart from cronuts, duffins and lamnuts (inspired by the Australian Lamington cake).

Not to mention the fact that the USA has set apart at least four occasions to celebrate the doughy confectionary: National Doughnut Day, International Jelly-filled Doughnut Day, National Cream-filled Doughnut Day and Buy a Doughnut Day.

The thought of all this sugar drives me to the nearest mall to scarf down a chocolate-covered custard-filled doughnut. But it’s not just for dessert or a snack in a nation that loves its sweets: have it with coffee for breakfast or cut one in half, and make a sandwich with your favourite filling for lunch or dinner.

And while we can’t compete with John Haight, the Guinness Record holder for consuming 29 doughnuts in just over six minutes, go ahead and pick one up today. It is, after all, the weekend.

Making Aussie Lamingtons and other great stuff the way it should be

Make almost anything
including the humble
Australian lamington.
Back then, it was just food. And the food we ate came from the Edmonds Cook Book.

History books: an early edition of the much-loved Edmonds Cook Book.

A wreck, a joke, a travesty. A downright abomination. So old, so battered, so broken, and yet I remain useful, and so does my old Edmonds Cookery Book, which I have owned since primates first swung down from the trees and began to walk upright and eat with a knife and fork.

What year was it printed? Buggered if I know. Both covers are long gone, so this photo shows someone else's more presentable copy. My own ain't pretty, with shredded and missing pages, a knackered binding, and the most popular sections splattered with cake batter and home-made tomato relish. I slowly peeled apart two food-glued pages one day to see what I was missing and found a large yellow ring of mummified onion, perfectly preserved beside the recipe for Mustard Pickle. It's a feast for the eyes and the memory, this book. To read the recipes is to smell warm baking in your mum's kitchen. These are the dishes I grew up with, before anyone ever thought to call them "dishes." Back then, it was just food, and the food we ate was in the Edmonds Cookery Book.

Date Slice. Neenish Tarts. Louise Cake. Lamingtons. It's an embarassment of riches, this book, and proudly old-fashioned. Bugger Google. If you want to make mustard sauce to go with hot corned beef, you look in here. If you suddenly come over all nostalgically peckish for your nana's curried sausages, that's here, too; it's just a basic white sauce with added curry powder, slathered over sausages that have been boiled until the skins slide off like saggy condoms. And yet- it's utterly delicious!

The Edmonds tells it like it is, or at least, like it was. It fights faddish food, overly complex food and spurious food-wank during a time when so much tried and tested tucker is being diminished by unnecessary reinvention. Every second café now offers revved-up versions of old favourites that were better the first time around. Do we really want Ginger Crunch without the crunch, the oversweet icing studded with lumps of crystallized root ginger atop a thick oaty base? We do not. Ginger Crunch should be hard as hell and thin as a poor man's wallet, the icing hot with powdered ginger. 

First published in 1908, the Edmonds has since sold over three million copies across multiple reprints, making it this country's biggest selling book by a country mile. Like The Beatles, the Edmonds is more popular than Jesus, with The Bible way down the bestsellers list and persistently misclassified as non- fiction.

But while I have no truck with God, I have an unshakeable faith in the Edmonds. That magnificent sunburst logo. The 'Sure To Rise' motto that's now the punchline for rude honeymoon jokes and ravers' T-shirts. The abundant weirdness to be found within its less-travelled pages.

I suppose it's possible that someone with an autumn glut of beetroot and a spare packet of blackcurrent jelly crystals might want to boil and slice the former then suspend the slices in a wobbly bowl of the latter to make Beetroot Mould. "Delicious," it says here, "with cold meats." But do we really need to know how to make Colonial Goose, Veal Birds or 'Mysterious Pudding'? Is the world crying out for another helping of Luncheon Sausage Cornets?

It's perhaps this scattering of the redundant and the unpalatable in ancient "deluxe" editions like mine that's led to the publication this month of a stripped-down version called Edmonds Classics: New Zealand's Favourite Recipes (RRP $29.99) – a greatest hits collection, if you will, with the featured recipes chosen by you, the general public. Late last year, publishers Hachette NZ invited New Zealanders to nominate their favourite Edmonds recipes, and the top five were Banana Cake, Afghans, Ginger Crunch, Scones and Pikelets, with unimpeachable culinary classics such as Yoyos, Pavlova and Bacon and Egg Pie further down the list. 

"A couple have disappeared since the last edition," says Ruby Mitchell, marketing manager at Hachette. "But really, the Top 20 hasn't changed much in over a decade. I'm not surprised Banana Cake's at the top. I made a lot of things from the Edmonds when I was a child, but the only one I still make today is Banana Cake." The most notable newcomer is Cinnamon Cream Oysters, that unfortunate name suggesting an unholy combo of salty mollusc, coagulated dairy product and spice. "I know, yes, it does sound pretty dodgy, but they're delicious! Lots of people wrote in saying how much they loved them, and that's why they've made the Top 20."

Australian Delight: Jam and vanilla cream Lamingtons

Jam and vanilla cream lamingtons.
How to make this delicious Australian cake.

Equipment

20 x 30cm slice pan, piping bag, and 1cm star nozzle



Ingredients
  • 250g butter
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 170g (2 cups) desiccated coconut
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 245g (3/4 cup) strawberry jam


Chocolate coating
  • 450g (3 cups) icing sugar mixture
  • 2 tablespoons dark Dutch cocoa
  • 30g butter, chopped
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) water, boiling

Method


Step 1


Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Line base and sides of a 20 x 30cm slice pan with baking paper. Use electric beaters to beat butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs well, 1 at a time.


Step 2

Beat in extract. Fold in flour and milk until well combined. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Step 3

Trim cake edges. Cut into 15 squares. Set a wire rack over a tray. Place coconut on a plate. For coating, place icing sugar, cocoa and butter in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water. Stir until melted and combined.


Step 4

Place a cake square in choc coating. Use 2 forks to turn to coat. Remove and allow excess coating to drain off. Roll in coconut to coat. Place on wire rack for 30 minutes to set. Repeat with remaining cake squares, cocoa mixture and coconut.


Step 5

Use electric beaters with a whisk attachment to whisk cream and vanilla bean paste in a bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle. Use a serrated knife to cut the lamingtons horizontally.


Step 6

Spread 2 tsp of jam on 1 cut side of lamington. Pipe cream on top. Top with remaining lamington half. Place carefully on a tray. Repeat with remaining lamingtons, jam and cream. Place tray in the fridge for 30 minutes, to set the cream.

Australian Lamington - Delightful Chocolate Coconut Cake

Australian lamington.
Lamington is an Australian dessert recipe consists of sponge cake coated first in a layer of chocolate sauce and then desiccated coconut.  

It is one of the delicious cake recipe loved by all kids. 

It can be specially prepared for birthday parties, morning and afternoon teas. 

The sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing gives wonderful look and taste. 

Here is the simple preparation of Aussie Chocolate coconut cake.

Serves: 24

Ingredients:

For Cake:

125g butter
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
250g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
120ml milk

For Icing:

450g icing sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
120ml milk
2 (200g) packages desiccated cocon

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 1900 C.

2. Take 20x30cm rectangular baking tin, grease and flour it.

3. Take a large bowl and cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light fluffy.

4. Take previously greased baking tin and pour this mixture into it.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

6. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Store overnight to give the cake a chance to firm up before icing.

7. Icing preparation: In a large bowl, combine icing sugar and cocoa. In a saucepan, heat milk and 1 tablespoon butter until the butter is melted. Add the milk to the sugar mixture and mix well to create a fluid, but not too runny, icing.

8. Cut the cake into 24 squares. Place coconut in a shallow container. Using a fork, dip each square into the icing, then roll it in the coconut. Place onto a cooling rack to dry. Continue for each piece. The icing will drip, so place a sheet of paper under the rack to catch the drips.

Lamington drives and chook raffles show the true Aussie spirit

Drisana Levitzke-Gray,  Professor Lyn Beazley AO,
 Governor Kerry Sanderson AO, Stacy Dunbar
 and Graham Mabury.
As a kid growing up my only clear memory of "volunteer" being used was one of the few war stories my Dad, a Tobruk Rat, would tell. Apparently a sergeant-major asked for volunteers interested in music. Four stepped forward and shortly after were seen lugging a grand piano across the parade ground.

Yet in all of the many places across Australia in which I lived, people were always "pitching in", "giving a hand" or "having a whip around". It wasn't called "volunteering" it was simply how we lived. The lamington drives for the CWA were only surpassed by the chook raffles for the footy club. If your neighbour was ill, everyone helped get his crop off. When a wisp of smoke appeared on the horizon, everyone grabbed the tankers and went.

They still do. The idea that we don't volunteer any more doesn't stack up. Magnificent volunteer fire fighters still put themselves in harm's way. SES members are still the angels in orange when disaster strikes. They're a credit to us and to the bosses who give them time off work to attend emergencies. In her foreword to the National Volunteering Strategy in November 2011, then Minister Tanya Plibersek wrote, "Each year, more than 6 million Australians contribute their time, energy and expertise to volunteering activities" contributing "more than 700 million hours of unpaid work".

It has to be the real deal. As one Australian PM famously said, "An Australian can pick a phoney in a fog at four hundred metres". It has to be communicated in a way that resonates with the group you're seeking to engage – and we're an incredibly diverse bunch these days. Some say young people don't volunteer any more. They're on duty as life savers at our beaches, and serving in third world countries. On his return from an overseas project with his school, one fifteen year old in my church raised enough to significantly improve water quality in the village he'd visited.

In 1974 I joined a group of twenty-somethings, from churches of every denomination and none, trying to support the homeless young people we were encountering, when most didn't believe they existed. Aussies within and beyond churches, in business and eventually government gave us support. One rental home in Victoria Park grew into part of the Mission Australia network. The Christmas lunch we started in Wellington Square still caters for the lonely each Christmas Day.

Radio 6PR had faith in an untried rookie who wanted to use commercial radio to help create community and wouldn't do ads. My colleagues always found a way to say "Yes" and because of their support, inter-agency Christmas and Blanket Appeals and Lifeline WA came to be. A phone line became a lifeline, and still does, thanks to volunteers manning phones twenty-four seven. The ex-military man who rang Nightline saying, "I guess I just wanted to say good-bye to someone" is alive today as are countless others. The lives of people they would never meet were changed by the service of these selfless, great Australians, and I'm honoured to have journeyed with them. Any public recognition I have received is truly theirs.

It's not just in formalised programmes. When my wife and I had a blow-out in the middle of a state forest at sunset, I had just started unloading the boot when a four wheel drive pulled up. A friendly young family emerged, changed the tyre, and followed me back to Perth. Like the fisherman who returned the wallet I'd dropped at Cervantes, they would not accept any reward.

The old adage is true – volunteers have no dollar value not because they are worthless but because they are priceless. They have discovered what George Bernard Shaw called "the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

Quandong Lamingtons take the cake: Broken Hill mother and daughter win national recipe competition

 Claire McCrae (L) and Lee Robertson with their famous
quandong lamingtons made from 
their award-winning recipe.
Not much grows in the outback town of Broken Hill, but the quandong makes a tangy exception.

The desert peach, as it's affectionately known, is a small tart fruit that thrives in Australia's arid regions.

Now the humble fruit will feature in a new cookbook, after a mother and daughter team from Broken Hill won a national recipe competition with their quandong lamingtons.

"I guess quandongs, it's not everybody's cup of tea really, but those that have tasted them they seem to have enjoyed them," Lee Robertson said.

The quandong lamingtons are a twist on an old family recipe that her mother Claire McCrae had been cooking for years.

"[My mother] used to make them with a jam, a different kind of jam and we thought logically, why wouldn't [quandongs] work?" Mrs McCrae said.

Shaped like cupcakes, the lamingtons are rolled in homemade quandong jam before they are covered in coconut. The full recipe is a secret until the new cook book is released.

"A bit of a tangy-type flavour, they really are quite lovely," Ms Robertson said of the pair's creation.

"The cream complements the quandong," added Mrs McCrae.

Earlier this year the ABC announced a national cooking competition, "Australia Cooks" to show the best recipes from across Australia using local produce. After cooks submitted their recipes, they were tested to make sure they could be replicated.

"I didn't think we had any hope at all ... but it was a fun thing to do," Mrs McCrae said

"It was something we can do together," Ms Robertson said.

"It's a boost to our cooking confidence."

The humble Aussie lamington, why do we love it so much?

Australian lamington.
Why do we love the spongy, chocolate, coconut goodness of the traditional Aussie lamington so?

This weekend, the cake is showcased at not only the Royal Easter Show, but also at polling booths around the state as voters select their next government.

If you're looking for the perfect lamington recipe, Glad Shute from the CWA and a former cake judge at the Royal Easter Show shares her recipe with us.




Lamington recipe

Ingredients - CAKE

  • 125 grams butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups of self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk


ICING

  • 3 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs of cocoa
  • 1 tbs of butter
  • milk
  • desiccated coconut


METHOD


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Beat butter and vanilla essence together. Gradually add the caster sugar until you get a creamy consistency. Mix in the two eggs and self raising flour. Add the milk and mix until the mixture is ready to pour into a greased slice tin.

Bake for approximate 15 minutes.

Remove the cake and let it cool briefly in the tin. Once slightly cooled, remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack.

Once completely cooled, cut the cake into 2 1/2 inch squares. Put the squares into a plastic bag and freezer them until they are cold and set.

To make the icing, add the icing sugar, cocoa and butter to a bowl and mix. Gradually add a small amount of milk until you get the consistency you want. When done, put the bowl of icing over a pot of hot water so the icing doesn't set.

Take out the lamingtons and individually skewer them. Use a spoon or ladle to pour the icing mixture over the lamington squares. Make sure they are all well covered.

Dip the chocolate covered lamington into a tray of coconut, give them a shake and put them on a rack to dry.


Australian Lamington - Chocolate Coconut Cake

Aussie Lamingtons.

Lamington is an Australian dessert recipe consists of sponge cake coated first in a layer of chocolate sauce and then desiccated coconut. 

It is one of the delicious cake recipe loved by all kids. It can be specially prepared for birthday parties, morning and afternoon teas. 

The sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing gives wonderful look and taste. 


Here is the simple preparation of Aussie Chocolate coconut cake. 

Serves: 24 

Ingredients:

For Cake:

125g butter
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
250g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
120ml milk

For Icing:

450g icing sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter, melted
120ml milk
2 (200g) packages desiccated cocon

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 1900 C.

2. Take 20x30cm rectangular baking tin, grease and flour it.

3. Take a large bowl and cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light fluffy.

4. Take previously greased baking tin and pour this mixture into it.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

6. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Store overnight to give the cake a chance to firm up before icing.

7. Icing preparation: In a large bowl, combine icing sugar and cocoa. In a saucepan, heat milk and 1 tablespoon butter until the butter is melted. Add the milk to the sugar mixture and mix well to create a fluid, but not too runny, icing.

8. Cut the cake into 24 squares. Place coconut in a shallow container. Using a fork, dip each square into the icing, then roll it in the coconut. Place onto a cooling rack to dry. Continue for each piece. The icing will drip, so place a sheet of paper under the rack to catch the drips.

The death of the Lamington

LORD LAMINGTON DEAD


Australian Associated Press

Lord Lamington.
LONDON, September 17. - The death occurred this morning of Lord Lamington, a former Governor of Queensland (from 1895 to 1901), and later Governor of Bombay. 

He was 80 years of age. Lord Lamington was one of three men injured when an Indian shot Sir Michael O'Dwyer dead at a meeting of the East India Association in the Caxton Hall, London, on March 13. 

Lord Lamington, whose right hand was partly shattered, was taken to a hospital, but left for home after receiving treatment.

Pace 4. - Youngest Governor.


The Courier-Mail, Wednesday 18 September 1940

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40931425



Lord Lamington's Death Recalls
Stormy Days of Politics


By Firmin McKinnon

A younger Lord Lamington.
LORD LAMINGTON, whose death in his 81st year has been reported by cable message, was the eighth Governor of Queensland - the youngest Governor this State has had.  He was not quite 36 years of age when he arrived here with a young bride in April, 1896. His son, the Hon. Victor Brisbane Cochrane-Bailley, who succeeds as third Baron, and his daughter were born in old Government House, now the University. 

Many old Brisbane residents will remember having seen the small children with their mother or a nurse in the Botanic Gardens, particularly around the ponds, then the haunt of wild ducks and other aquatic birds. 

Though Lord Lamington was a young man when he was Governor he was an accomplished constitutional authority, a qualification especially necessary in those stormy days of politics, when Sir Thomas McIlwraith and Sir Samuel Griffith were the veteran political protagonists, and Hugh Nelson, James R. Dickson, Horace Tozer, Arthur Rutledge, and Robert Philp (all to be knighted subsequently), Anderson Dawson, William Kidston, and Andrew Fisher were coming men, all to be prominent later, all in State politics, and some in Federal. 

"Original Of "Buckhorst" 

Before coming to Queensland, Lord Lamington had been private secretary to Lord Salisbury when he was British Prime Minister. His father, the first Baron, had been closely associated with Disraeli; and it is generally understood that he was the original of "Buckhorst" in Disraeli's novel,"Coningsby." 

After leaving Queensland in 1901 Lord Lamington went to Bombay as Governor and subsequently settled on his estates in Lanarkshire in Scotland. About 18 months ago he intended making a trip to Queensland, but was prevented because of the uneasy state of Europe at the time.

Lord Lamington was devoted to outdoor exercise. He was a first-class cyclist when he was in Brisbane, an excellent walker, and a keen polo player. His favourite sports, however, were shooting and fishing, of which he was passionately fond. His name is commemorated in the Lamington National Park, beyond Beaudesert. 

Lady Lamington, subsequently a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Mary, took considerable interest in social movements in Brisbane. Until recently her name was commemorated in the old Lady Lamington Hospital,now used for military purposes.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40931491





Lord Lamington's legacy to Queensland - A cake an a mountain retreat

Lamington National Park, named
 after Lord Lamington, Governor
of Queensland.
Queensland's World Heritage Rainforest is a magical world of tumbling waterfalls, secretive caves, shady creeks and extraordinary plants and wildlife.

With soft sand between your toes, an arc of ocean as far as the eye can see and urban amenities almost on the water's edge, the Gold Coast has a front yard to be reckoned with. But when you need a break from sea, sand and hot sun, the back yard is pretty spectacular too.

Green hills ripple westwards to become the unspoiled folds of Lamington National Park, where a rainforest retreat began almost 100 years ago. In between are the neat farms of Beaudesert and ideal conditions for hot-air ballooning.

The orange balloon slowly inflates and coaxes a spectacular sunrise that's worth a 4.30am start. Jauntily described by the pilot as "a giant laundry basket with a gas cooker overhead," passengers find the balloon's liftoff is surprisingly gentle.

A hint of breeze drifts it over horse studs, old Queenslander farmhouses, rambling modern homesteads and the rolling hills of a million-year-old caldera. Birds call through the pearly morning mist; the balloon's silhouette becomes an icon on the patchwork fields below.

Our actual destination is as delightfully uncertain as the wind direction, but wherever you land, there's the anticipation of a hearty breakfast. First, thousands of cubic inches of warm fusty air must be pressed from the balloon's orange folds. The ritual of packing up invites the instant camaraderie of a shared experience.

O'Reilly's Vineyard in the Canungra Valley has become a popular venue for post-ballooning champagne, breakfasts, lunches, tastings and private functions.

The charming colonial homestead was transported to the site more than a decade ago and the adjoining vineyard established by a sixth-generation descendant of the O'Reilly brothers who settled in the area in 1911. Mesmerised by the beauty of the land they were farming, they pioneered tourism by building a remote lodge in 1926 and the family has been hosting visitors ever since.

Reaching the lodge from Brisbane once involved two days' tortuous travel by train, coach and packhorse, but like the founders of Las Vegas, the O'Reillys also believed "if you build it they will come".

When the national park was created, the family became joint custodians of the World Heritage Rainforest and remain committed to preserving the natural environment for guests to enjoy.

Well-marked trails and the wonderful treetop walkway allow visitors to discover tumbling waterfalls, secretive caves, shady creeks and the extraordinary plants and wildlife. You can also get around on almost silent, eco-friendly Segways and be introduced to Australia's falcons, owls, peregrines and eagles in a Bird of Prey demonstration.

 Lord Lamington - creator
of the world-famous
Australian lamington.
Modern transport means O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat can be a day trip from the Gold Coast, but the unsurpassable views and wonderful bush clad surroundings have never changed. The original guesthouse envelops you with old-fashioned hospitality, fine meals are served in the cosy dining room and a genteel library contains an extraordinary archive of the family's history. Outside, flocks of vivid rosella parrots still greet you and a sculpture of the O'Reilly brothers reminds that adventure tourism is not a new phenomenon.

Modern developments at the retreat include new accommodation, conference facilities, swimming pool, hot tubs and the aptly named Lost World Day Spa, where nature-inspired treatments are designed to refresh, revitalise and relax.

On arrival the air is filled with gentle fragrant aromas while a nectar-like drink is served for your inner cleansing. The tranquil sounds of water mingle with the whisper of mood-setting music, blue-hazed views are framed in the picture windows and the turquoise pool appears suspended above the hills and hollows.

Smoothed by anti-ageing Vinotherapy or soothed by a mind-melting massage, limbs become fluid and eyes beg not to open. Whether you choose a spa to energise, harmonise or de-pressurise, it will be close to an out-of-body experience and should be undertaken without guilt.

There's an understandable reluctance to return to civilisation, but you'll soon be sampling food and wine delights on Tamborine Mountain. On the mountaintop, Eagle Heights Village has become a mouth-watering gourmet mile interspersed with galleries, gift shops, colour and crafts.

You can be whisked along on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, or explore as randomly as the gastronomic mood takes you. Between Eagle Heights Brewery at one end of the village and Witches Chase Cheese at the other, there's a smorgasbord of local fudge, preserves, sauces, nuts, chocolate, baking and organic produce to tempt.

Mt Tambourine has its own coffee plantation, so you can't get a fresher or better cup than that. Kees Van Rijsen bought the small rundown property, nurtured it to produce three times more beans than any other Queensland producer and now "roasts and posts" to customers all over the world. The aroma and fine flavour is best appreciated on the plantation's sunny porch.

Select a deli-made hamper or shop for a picnic of local sourdough bread, fat glossy avocados that are now a major crop and tempting cheeses with quirky names like "Tamembert". With their own herd of Jersey cows grazing nearby, Witches Chase produces more than 20 varieties of cheese as well as dreamy ice-cream and yoghurt that is simply irresistible.

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat is in a class of its own. Consistent innovation and gastronomic perfection has been recognised and rewarded with a raft of "best restaurant" awards every year since 2005. Cocooned in a private rainforest, you'll discover unforgettable food, home grown produce and biodynamic wines. It's sustenance for body and soul and there's luxury villa accommodation if you choose to stay.

With several vineyards on the mountain slopes, there's plenty of scope for tastings and cellar door sales. Among them you'll find award winning red and white wines at Witches Falls Winery whose decade of success helped establish Queensland as a serious wine producer.

Cedar Creek Winery was named for the cedar forests that covered the mountain before being cleared for farming. Be sure to sample the winery's popular verdelho and rose, swirl a mellow tawny port or treat yourself to an elegant lunch overlooking exquisite formal gardens.

The Queensland Wine Centre is also located at Cedar Creek. Offering the most extensive range of the region's specialist wines under one roof, it's your most convenient chance to savour the best sips, nips and tips from Queensland vintners.

If whisky is more to your taste, Tamborine Mountain boasts its own distillery. For a not-so-wee dram of Michael and Alla Ward's range of flavoured whiskies, you'll think yourself inside a Scottish castle. With boundless enthusiasm for the product he exports all over the world, Michael will convince that whisky is a drink for all reasons.

At Eagle Height Brewery, line up a sampler tray of craft beers with bizarre names to test your nerve and distinctive flavours to test your palate: Nine Bullets Ale, Frank's Braggot or Wonglepong Wit. Bitter, light, sweet or white, whatever you choose, don't forget to raise your glass to the hilltop view.

From here you can see all the way to Surfers and in 40 minutes you'll be back where you began, swimming between the flags with soft sifty sand between your toes.

Top ten

1. Tamborine RainForest Skywalk: Your adventure begins in the Rainforest Eco Gallery which has a comprehensive array of rainforest fauna and flora information and displays. These include interpretive panels with descriptions and photos of sub-tropical rainforest wildlife, static displays and an aquarium with a variety of Australian freshwater fish.

2. Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk: Stroll a short section or join guided longer walks, and discover beauty, mystery and history along the 54 kilometre Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk linking the species-rich, Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area of Lamington and Springbrook plateaus via the scenic Numinbah Valley.

3. Tamborine Mountain Distillery: Hidden away in the Gold Coast hinterland lies Australia's most awarded distillery and liquor brand in the new millennium, Tamborine Mountain Distillery. With the combination of rich red volcanic soil and fresh spring water, the abundant fruit of the mountain is fermented and distilled. This family owned and operated boutique distillery manufactures fine liqueurs, schnapps, vodka, eaux de vie and liqueur chocolates.

4. Burleigh Brewing Company: Burleigh Brewing Company is Queensland's premium brewer and the Gold Coast's only craft brewery. You can buy takeaway beers from the Brewhouse Bar, Monday to Friday. The Brewouse Bar is open every Friday night.

5. Escarpment Day Spa: This award-winning rainforest Day Spa offers a range of rejuvenating treatments including aromatherapy, hot stone, salt glow, deep tissue massage, indulgent and relaxing facial, massage package and couples massages. Relieve stress and feel renewed with their skilful combination of Relaxation, Remedial and Deep Tissue techniques tailored just for you.

6. Songbirds Rainforest Retreat: Nestled among 52 acres of privately owned rainforest, Songbirds Rainforest Retreat is truly a hidden secret. Dine in the Award Winning restaurant where meals are fresh, innovative and served in a beautiful environment, the perfect setting for a lazy lunch or intimate dinner.

7. Tamborine Cooking School: Located in the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland in South East Queensland - 30 minutes from the Gold Coast offering cooking lessons using the best and freshest produce in the region. A multi course themed lunch menu is prepared (French, Italian, Moroccan, Asian, Spanish, Greek), guests can be hands on as they want to be or sit and watch the demonstration.

8. Gallery Walk: With its unusual and vibrantly coloured shops, art galleries, wineries, restaurants and cafes, Gallery Walk shopping precinct is definitely one of Tamborine Mountain's most well-known and popular visitor attractions. There is so much to see and do on Gallery Walk, with exciting shops full to the brim with original artworks, paintings and sculptures, glass works, pottery, ceramics, antiques, jewelry and clothing, to name but a few.

9. Gold Coast Airport Marathon: The 36th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held in July . . Regarded as one of Australia's premier sporting events, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon is set to attract more than 28,000 participants of all ages and abilities. Come for the run and then head to the Hinterland to rest and relax ! 

10. O'Reilly's Forest Weekend - October: Join visiting experts for an insight into the complex world of the Rainforest. Learn about Lamington's part in the 'Gondwana Rainforests of Australia' World Heritage site and the fascinating features that warrant its inclusion.

IF YOU GO

Getting there: There are direct flights from Auckland to the Gold Coast or it's a one-hour drive from Brisbane. Mt Tamborine is a 1 hour drive from the Gold Coast.