• Food Safari Earth's plant-based gado gado (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns
While bushfires were understandably the nation's biggest preoccupation in 2019, we were almost as interested in eating plants as we were in saving them. Here's what Australians most wanted to eat this year, according to Google.
Bron Maxabella

11 Dec 2019 - 8:35 AM  UPDATED 11 Dec 2019 - 8:35 AM

It's terrifying, but sadly not surprising, to know that the most Googled search term in 2019 was 'fires near me'. It's been a helluva ride this year. Cyclone Oma, Townsville flooding... the trending news search terms are sobering, to say the least.

Which is why seeing beef stroganoff land in the top three most searched for recipes for the third year in a row is decidedly comforting. A good recipe is like that - dependable, reliable and solid. Unlike the weather these days.

Beef Stroganoff is the most Googled dish for 2017.

Whip up a little comfort via the recipe here.

Keeping things green

While a beef dish might have had a podium finish, it was plant-based recipes that achieved gold this year. This is indicative of a growing awareness of the importance of eating plants for health and wellbeing.

“Plant-based dietary patterns, especially when they are enriched with healthful plant-based foods, may be beneficial for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes,” concluded a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine in July this year. Cue a rush on 'plant-based recipes' searches.

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Back to the classics

We might be more enlightened on the plant food front, but it's really the classics we crave. The humble scone slid merrily into second position this year. We like to think one Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans and his wife Sadie Chrestman had something to do with the trend. Sadie's recipe for buttery scones, cooked over the campfire and served with plenty of homemade jam is definitely worth searching for.

Indulge yourself with Sadie's recipe here.

Betsy’s drop scones with rhubarb and raspberry ripple cream

Drop scones are not as unfamiliar as you think. They're also called pikelets and their petit size means eating a high stack is far more achievable than with its pancake cousins.

Pumpkin & fennel scones

The pumpkin (squash) adds lightness to these scones that you perhaps wouldn’t expect, and the colour is sensational! I am a traditionalist when it comes to making scones and believe you should rub the butter in with your fingertips. You can do this step with a food processor if you like; just don’t process for too long as retaining visible specks of butter helps the texture of the scones.

Caramelised pear scones

Sweet pieces of pear add a twist to this classic afternoon tea treat. 

Apple of my pie

Apple pie recipes also made the top five... You see? There's a clear trend here. While Australia burns and Aussies fret ('Election results Australia 2019' was the number one searched for news topic), we crave something sweet and comforting to sink our teeth into. Like scones and beef stroganoff, apple pie is a recipe we can always rely on.

It's universally loved, it's not difficult to make, it looks impressive, it tastes like home - if home was an apple orchard in the crisp Huon Valley and we lived in a small, though impossibly charming, cottage and had time to bake on our AGA. Apple pie is just that kind of dish.

Devour the recipe here.

Frittata and rice are always nice

We are proud to report that Aussies are cooking up a storm when it comes to search terms. Rounding out the top ten most searched for food terms were frittata and risotto, fried rice and osso bucco. Indeed, all four are traditional dishes, tried and tested over generations. The secret to keeping things fresh is most definitely in how you handle your classics.

While Italians would never condone messing with a recipe, most old favourites go well with a little tweaking. Grandparents in every culture have been doing it for years. Adding unique flavours through an interesting vegetable variation or an unexpected punch of spice makes a dish your own. Try one of these variations for your next midweek meal:

Baked pumpkin and sage risotto

Fried sage leaves add another level of flavour to this easy oven-baked pumpkin risotto. 

Asparagus, pea and mint frittata muffins

A lovely portable lunch. Serve warm or cold with a generous salad or freshly cooked greens.

Kimchi fried rice
If you’re like me and always keep a tub of kimchi in the fridge, this is one of those weeknight dishes that’s perfect when there isn’t much else around. You’d be surprised how tasty and satisfying a bowl of this economical fried rice can be.

Find this tasty frittata recipe here.

Keto know-how

Further afield, food questions also rated. Trending in the 'What is...' category was 'what is a keto diet' at number six. This was below 'what is a VSCO girl' and 'what is a boomer', suggesting that the 'what is...' category is the place to find the true preoccupation of the nation each year. People also wanted to know what Brexit, Area 51 and Momo were, so let's hope Google had all the answers there.

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Back to keto: the trend has been going strong all year and shows no signs of carb-loading any time soon. If you're keto-curious, it's worth reading up on what really happens to your body when you go keto. It's also important to note that the diet doesn't work for everybody. And while it may not, at least there's always stroganoff...

Top 10 Google search recipes (trending):

  1. Plant based recipes

  2. Scones recipes

  3. Beef stroganoff recipes

  4. MKR recipes 2019

  5. Apple pie recipes

  6. Frittata recipes

  7. Fried rice recipes

  8. Risotto recipes

  9. Hello Fresh recipes

  10. Osso buco recipes

Plant-based recipes
Grilled miso eggplant and haloumi burgers

"So tasty and good, the combination of these flavours makes for stunning vegetarian burgers. Get into pickling vegetables, because they’re not only good for you, they also add a wonderful tang." Peter Kuruvita, Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen

Green garlic and farro salad with marinated zucchini

There is certain produce that, once it comes into season, I cook and eat compulsively until it disappears from the market. Green garlic – the immature garlic bulb that isn’t yet papery on the outside – is one example. I use a mandoline to thinly slice the whole bulb, and then sauté as I would minced garlic. Zucchini is another and this year I’ve discovered the fresh joy of it raw: just ribbons with salt, lemon juice and good olive oil. Here, both treatments get elevated. I love grain-and-vegetable salads: they’re happy in the fridge for many days, they serve a crowd and they’re great for picnics/cook-outs/travel.

Moroccan quinoa cakes

Quinoa is nature’s superfood and a great addition to salads, stir-fries or even as porridge. It can be used in a multitude of ways and making these delicious little cakes is a great way to use any leftovers that you may have in your fridge.

Masoor dal

One staple ingredient that tends to have a place in my pantry is masoor dal, otherwise known as the red lentil.

Lemongrass tofu and chilli kangkong

“Of all the wonderful food we ate on a recent holiday in Vietnam, the best food was still made by my mother-in-law during the few days we spent in my husband’s family village about four hours south of Ho Chi Minh. Of my favourites of hers is lemongrass tofu. It's beyond simple to prepare, even though I can still never get mine quite as tasty as hers and is basically just two ingredients – tofu and lemongrass. Eaten alongside bowls of steamed rice, chilli greens and a dipping sauce, it makes the perfect light summer meal. Even my meat-loving husband comes back for seconds.”

Eggplant meatballs (polpettine di melanzana)

The Milanese poet Giovanni Raiberti called Milano "the capital of meatballs". Anything left over from a previous meal can go into a polpetta or polpettina. It’s a good way to avoid wasting food.

Egyptian carrot salad with pita, almonds and olives

A beautiful salad to share with friends.