Category Archives: Discover Australia

Delectable Davidsons Plum

A native fruit that’s intense and packed with anti-oxidants.

While it’s too tart for most of us to eat as a fresh fruit, in cooking it is one of my favourite bush fruits. A little Davidson plum goes a long way to colour and flavour ice cream, mousse and sweet sauces. It makes a sensational fruity savoury sauce and gives kangaroo goulash a rich fruity tang.

We stock both frozen fruit and powder.  The powder is an excellent addition to biscuits, muffins and icecream.

Davidsons Plum Freezer Jam (no cooking required)

davidsonsplumfreezerjam

De-seed 30 Davidsons Plums and puree. Combine one cup and 1 Tablespoon of sugar plus 4 Tablespoons Balls RealFruit Instant Pectin and stir until blended then add plum puree and stir for 3 minutes.  Ladle jam into plastic freezer jars ensuring you leave a cm head space .  Adjust caps.  Let jams stand for 30 minutes to thicken.  Label.  Freeze or refrigerate up to 3 weeks.

The Curious Cook

What do you give the cook in your life?

Taste Australia Bush Food Shop has 3 different box sets of native food ingredients.

A Cook’s Delight

  • 13 dried and ground leaves
  • Aniseed Myrtle, Australian Holy Basil, Cinnamon Myrtle, Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepperleaf, Native Basil, Native Sage, Native Thyme, Peppermint Gum, River Mint, Saltbush, Sea Parsley, Strawberry Gum
  • 9 dried and ground berries, nuts and fruit
  • Davidsons Plum, Finger Lime, Kakadu Plum, Illawarra Plum, Riberry, Sandalwood, Lemon Aspen, Pepperberry, Wattleseed, Desert Lime, Native Blood Lime or Bush Tomato
  • Box set presentation, perfect for the cook in your life!

A Taste of Australia

  • Contains 15 different ground or leaf bush herbs:
  • Aniseed Myrtle, Australian Holy Basil, Cinnamon Myrtle, Mountain Pepperleaf, Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepperberry, Native Basil, Native Sage, Native Thyme, Peppermint Gum, River Mint, Saltbush, Sea Parsley, Strawberry Gum, Wattleseed.

Introduction to Australian Native Bush Food

  • 10 different bushfood herbs –
  • Aniseed Myrtle, Mountain Pepperleaf, Lemon Myrtle, Native Basil, Native Thyme, River Mint, Saltbush, Sea Parsley, Strawberry Gum, Wattleseed
  • plus 5 bush food seasonings – Desert Flakes, Munducklin Curry Powder, Bush Tomato Seasoning, Seafood Sprinkle, Swagmans Salt, Pepperberry Salt, or Tanami Fire.

Maggie Beer’s delicious Constitution Cake could be your new New Year tradition

Maggie Beer’s Constitution Cake (photo from her website) is a firm favourite amongst our customers to serve at Christmas and features Quandong, Davidsons Plum, Muntries and Macadamias which are all available in the Taste Australia Bush Food Shop

Ingredients

  1. 150g quandong dried
  2. 1 1/2 cup Verjuice
  3. 50g caster sugar
  4. 120g dried currants
  5. 60g almond whole
  6. 180g unsalted butter chopped
  7. 150g brown sugar
  8. 4 free range eggs
  9. 180g self raising flour
  10. 1/2 tspn cinnamon ground
  11. 1/2 tspn nutmeg ground
  12. 180g davidson’s plums Defrosted, sliced and seed removed
  13. 120g muntries defrosted
  14. 1 lemon zest finely grated
  15. 120g candied mixed peel
  16. 120gm Dry Roasted Macadamias
  17. 100gm icing sugar
  18. 1 egg yolk
  19. 60gm dry roasted almonds

Reconstitute dried quandongs by soaking in 375 millilitres of Maggie Beer’s Verjuice and 50 grams caster sugar for 30 minutes, then boil for 5 minutes. Turn off, add currants, leave to soften for 1 hour. Drain and reserve syrup.

Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease and line a 20 cm round spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

To make the nut paste, blend 120gm roasted macadamias in a food processor, then add 100gm icing sugar and 1 egg yolk and pulse to form a stiff paste. Set aside.

In the cake mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture curdles. Fold in the flour, spices, currants, quandongs, sliced davidson’s plums (seed removed), whole muntries, almonds and candied peel. Stir in the grated lemon zest and the reserved syrup, to give a soft batter.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared tin, then spread the nut paste over the mixture and top it with the remaining batter. Bake for 2.5 hours (or until a fine skewer comes out clean). If the top colours too quickly, cover with foil for the last hour. Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin before turning it out.

Maggie Beer>>

Illawarra Plum: one of the best bush foods

Illawarra Plum Chutney

Reconstitute air dried Illawarra Plums (200gm) in water overnight, strain and set juice aside (can be made into a jelly).
Fry 2 large sliced onions and 3 garlic cloves (minced) in Macadamia Oil until slightly caramelised,  then add 2  fresh thinly sliced red chillies.
Add the Illawarra Plums plus 300ml apple cider vinegar.
Simmer on low heat for an hour before spooning into sterlised jars.

Perfect with kangaroo or with a cheese platter

Illawarra plums make a smooth, rich jam which is  delicious on your favourite bread, especially combined with macadamia paste, and as a gourmet addition to yoghurt, ice cream, desserts and cakes.

Air dried sliced Illawarra Plums available in store

Aniseed Myrtle :Traditionally used for weight loss, lactation & stomach complaints.

Aniseed Myrtle has strong aniseed scented and flavoured leaves which are often used for flavouring desserts, sweet sauces and preserves. It also is popular as a scented savoury sauce or marinade for meats and sets a deep fragrant flavour to salad dressings.

Made from the crushed leaves of Aniseed Myrtle it has a subtle sweet liquorice flavour. Great with fish or pork, steamed rice, seafood, biscuits, ice-cream or tea. Health wise it is touted for its superior antioxidant capacity.

Aniseed Myrtle Shortbreadaniseed_shortbread

Ingredients:
125gm butter
40gm sugar
25gm icing sugar
250gm plain flour
1 desertspoon Aniseed Myrtle
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Orange Juice

Cream the butter and sugar. Add icing sugar. Blend. Sift flour with Aniseed Myrtle and salt and then slowly add to the mixture alternating with orange juice until a smooth dough is formed.

Divide dough into 4 or 5 pieces. Shape into bars about 1cm thick. Place on ungreased sheet. Bake 150C for 15 to 20 minutes until pale golden (not brown).

Leave to cool and then transfer to wire rack.

Kale & Parsley Pesto
Blend 2 tspns coriander, 1 tspn lemon myrtle, 1/2 tspn aniseed myrtle, 1 tspn mountain pepperleaf, 1 tspn bush tomato and 100gm macadamias with handful fresh kale, handful parsley, 50gm grated parmesan, 2 garlic cloves, tbspn honey and macadamia oil

Spread on toast, use as a dip, stir through pasta, stuff chicken fillets

kale-parsley-pesto

BUY Australian Native Ingredients HERE

Sea Parsley: mild parsley/celery taste, a little bitter and salty.

Sea Parsley thrives in harsh conditions along Australia’s Southern Ocean coastline on sand dunes and between cracks in rocks just above the high tide line, right on the beach.

Sea Parsley, also know as Sea Celery can be used in salads and soups.It is best used as a flavouring in the same way as regular parsley is used. Captain Cook made use of this plant to prevent scurvy when “The Endeavour” visited the east coast of Australia and New Zealand in 1770 and it was subsequently used by early settlers as a source of greens.  In fact, colonists in Albany W.A. were the first to cultivate it.

Chicken Ragu Fettucine

Ingredients
1 x 1.8kg Free Range Chicken
100ml Macadamia Nut Oil or Light Olive Oil
1 dspn dried Sea Parsley
1 tspn dried Native Thyme
1/2 tspn dried Native Sage
1 tspn dried Lemon Myrtle
1 tspn dried Mountain Pepperleaf
100ml Tomato Puree
3 x 400gm cans diced tomato
1 1/2 cans of water
10gm Bush Tomato seasoning
1 stick celery (cubed)
1 carrot (cubed)
1 onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
3 rashers of bacon (diced)

Mix 80ml of oil with Sea Parsley, Native Thyme, Native Sage, Lemon Myrtle and Mountain Pepperleaf. Massage on and in the chicken and place on baking tray. Into the oven at 180C for about 80 minutes, turning every 20 minutes.

Meanwhile into a pot place the rest of the oil, bacon, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes before adding, the puree, tomatoes, bush tomato seasoning and water. Cook for 20 minutes and then turn off and allow to rest.

When the chicken is cooked and is cool enough to handle pull the flesh off the bone and place into the tomato sauce.

Tip: This recipe is best made in advance to allow the flavours to infuse.

Cook pasta as per packet instructions. Mix through the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and fresh green salad.

Peppermint Gum goes well with Lemon Myrtle & Sandalwood

Peppermint Gum, was initially found around the Blue Mountains and then west through the Great Dividing Range and south along the range into Victoria, as far as Ballarat.

Its minty overtones are excellent in tea, desserts, cakes & savoury dishes. As well as into sauces, pie crusts & stuffings for meat dishes.

A favourite for brewing Australian billy tea over a campfire, a handful of peppermint gum leaves were added to the pot.

Lemon Myrtle Cheesecake on a base of Peppermint Gum and Native Nuts

For the base, combine 1 cup butternut snap biscuits crushed, 1/2 cup macadamias ground, 1/2 cup roasted sandalwood nuts ground, 1 tspn peppermint gum powder, 125 g butter melted and then press into a dish to form a base.  Refrigerate.

Dissolve 2 tspns gelatine powder in 60 mls hot water and allow to cool

For the filling, blend 125 gm soft butter, 250 gm cream cheese softened, 1 cup caster sugar, 2 tspns vanilla essence, 2 Tbspns ground lemon myrtle, until creamy.

Gradually add gelatine to the filling mix.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Pour over the biscuit base and place in the fridge overnight.

Peppermint Gum Tea

Makes 2 cups
1. Heat 3 cups of good quality water to boiling.
2. 1 rounded teaspoon of Peppermint Gum flakes into the infuser or strainer.
3. Pour about 2 cups of boiling water over the infuser and into the pot. Let the Peppermint filled infuser steep for 2-3 minutes. Close your eyes and inhale the delicious aroma . . . by the time your tea is ready, you’ll feel relaxed and energized, even before you drink it!

Variation: Pour it over ice in a tall glass, and sip slowly. Iced Peppermint tea is a great summer beverage.

Peppermint Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:peppermint gum truffles
50gm butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
180gm chocolate
1 desertspoon Peppermint Gum
150gm Macadamia Nuts
2 Tablespoons Cream

Place first 5 ingredients into a bowl and melt over a saucepan of hot water. Then add the nuts and cream. Mix well. Drop spoonfuls into paper patty pans. Refrigerate to set.

 

PEPPERMINT GUM POWDER AND TEA FLAKES ARE AVAILABLE IN THE TASTE AUSTRALIA BUSH FOOD SHOP>>

The wonderfully versatile Strawberry Gum

Strawberry Gum is a very rare tree originally from a small region of New South Wales. The leaves have an essential oil called Methyl cinnamate, which acts as a flavour enhancer to sweet or savoury dishes.

It will enhance the flavour of berries, tomato based sauces, dairy or coconut milk dishes and  has a great affinity with chocolate.  It makes wonderful truffles, as well as aromatic sauces for poultry, pork, lamb or beef.

Combine with chilli in seafood recipes, or sprinkle over sweet potato before roasting.  It can even be used as a cure for crocodile.

Pair with vanilla bean for a lovely compote of poached fruit.

Add to a cheesecake base, fruit crumble topping, muesli energy bar, herbal tea infusion.

Iced Strawberry Gum tea is a great base for a fruity cocktail (recipe in our December newsletter).

The leaves are high in antioxidants and are anti-fungal and antibiotic, assisting with the microflora balance of the gut.

Strawberry Gum Custard Meringue

Custard:

  1.     8 whole dried Strawberry Gum leaves or 2 tbsp dried crushed leaves
  2.     6 free range egg yolks
  3.     1 cup cream
  4.     1 cup milk
  5.     150gm sugar

Heat milk, cream, sugar and leaves in a saucepan until boiling point. Turn off heat and allow flavours to infuse for minimum of 15 minutes (the longer the better).  Remove the leaves and return flavoured milk to a clean saucepan. Whisk in the eggs and increase heat slowly, whisky constantly until mixture thickens to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take off heat and cool, refrigerate.

Meringue:

  1. 6 free range egg whites
  2. 300g caster sugar
  3. 1 tsp white vinegar
  4. 3 tsp strawberry gum powder

Cut out a circle (about 20–25cm) of baking paper. Place on a baking tray.
Preheat oven to 100C
Place the egg white into a mixxing bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.  Then gradually add the remaining ingredients and combine.
Pile the mixture into the baking paper circle and spread evenly to the edges. (A dip in the middle helps contain the custard filling).
Bake for 90 minutes and then  turn off the oven and let it cool completely in the oven before removing.
Assemble just before serving.  Fill with custard and serve with seasonal fruit (shown here with current season fresh Cherries and Davidsons Plums – the tartiness of the plum cuts through the sweetness)

 

Our Island Home

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island, an 8 km x 5 km Australian island in the South Pacific Ocean defined by Norfolk Island Pine Trees, lush verdant volcanic terrain  and jagged cliffs.

Just a two hour flight from Brisbane or Sydney on July 1 2016, the island’s independence came to an end as the debt ridden holiday haven was taken over by the Australian Government.

For many islanders the changes were not welcome but there was no other choice.

I was there just prior to the hand over and can attest to the landscape.  It is beautiful, postcard perfect and a place all Australians should strive to visit at least once in their life.

I learned more about Australia’s convict history there than in any other place in Australia.  It’s not a pretty story.  There were some very gruesome events and most of them are entwined with Sydney’s convict beginnings.

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