Category Archives: Discover Australia

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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