It’s summer here in Australia and we’re approaching Australia Day on the 26th of January. It’s celebrated much like the American 4th of July but not so much flag waving. Every year about this time I think about the celebrations of independence and nationhood. I suppose it’s because I’m in love with both countries and their journeys.
When I was growing up in Maine, there was always a parade on the 4th of July. Whether we were at Ocean Point or at home in Winslow, we went to the parade. Most children had a little flag to wave and the marching bands played their patriotic songs and old soldiers and baton twirlers were always included. It ended with the biggest fire trucks available and then it was picnic time.
There was one year that my brother and I were in the 4th of July parade at Ocean Point. It’s my claim to fame, paradewise. I was in other parades as part of the marching band but the 4th of July parade was just my brother and me and the wagon. We decorated it with red white and blue streamers and took turns pulling each other the entire parade route. He was 7 and I was 8.
I felt like I had been crowned queen and was greeting my adoring subjects but in actuality we were two little kids pulling a wagon.
There are a few parades for Australia Day but mostly it’s getting together with friends for a BBQ. Our next door neighbours, Fran and Chris always have a big party and they either do pizzas or suckling pig in the outdoor pizza oven. It’s pig again this year and I can’t wait. Fran always cooks sausages on the BBQ, splits them down the middle and stuffs them with oysters.
Everyone brings something to eat and something they want to drink and there’s much laughter. It’s what celebrations should be like. Lots of Australians head for the beach on January 26th for picnics and BBQs and that’s where we’d be if we weren’t going to a party.
I’m bringing grilled peaches with cinnamon and maple syrup to the Australia Day BBQ next door. I think. It’s my plan but like all plans, I might think of something different on the day. We tested these gorgeous peaches and we both thought this was a winner of a dessert.
- 4 large freestone peaches (otherwise you'll never get the two halves apart)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- Preheat BBQ to medium-high heat.
- Mix the demerara sugar and ground cinnamon together
- Cut through the peaches until you hit the stone all the way around, twist and separate. Pull the pit out.
- Brush with oil and place cut side down on the grill and leave for about 5-8 minutes until there are nice grill char marks.
- Flip the peaches over and drizzle just a bit of maple syrup on each one and sprinkle with demerara sugar and cinnamon.
- Cook about 5 more minutes, then plate up. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and maybe a piece of shortbread.