I first started experimenting with ingredients native to Australia in 1997 but it wasn’t until around 10 years later after a chance meeting with Mike and Gayle Quarmby , creators of Outback Pride, at the Adelaide Showgrounds that I recognised an opportunity to promote and market our unique foods. “All we need to do now is to get people to eat this stuff” Gayle told me. It was a lightbulb moment.
Taste Australia Bush Food Shop started by stocking the products that Outback Pride had developed thus far. They included jams, sauces, cordials and seasoning mixes. It evolved into the largest range of dried ingredients I could source and with it came much experimentation in the kitchen. Today we have over 40 different ingredients plus a wide range of value added products.
As Co-Vid19 altered our lifestyles I decided to take advantage and document my culinary creations. It was tricky to remember to write them down because I incorporate native ingredients without thinking about it.
CLICK HERE FOR the first edition of MY Bush Food Kitchen- a free downloadable PDF
A low-lying shrub with broad, velvety leaves, now known as the Grewia savannicola is about to find its way to the Aussie table. The fruit generally has two seeds that are fused together side by side, covered in soft hairs, that hang down on a short stalk.
The bush, found across northern Australia and first discovered by Europeans near the Endeavour River in far north Queensland, has long been used by Indigenous people to treat dysentery and diarrhoea.
Drop a handful of fruit in 500ml water, boil for 10 minutes, strain and drink. A delicious brew.
Like many lands, Australia is a multi-cultural society enjoying food from varying cultures but until recent times our very own naturally occurring foods have been overlooked. Although much of this continent looks barren and infertile, there is an abundance of food and this collection of seasonings aims to bring attention to some of the ingredients endemic to our Pacific Ocean home.
Bush Tomato Seasoning is perfect for pizzas, pasta, salsa, sauces, seafood, vegetables and casseroles. It can be used in many dishes where a dash of spicy tomato is required. It has the right amount of bush tomato to balance the bitterness of bush tomato. Ingredients: Australian Tomato, Sea Salt, Bush Tomato, Aniseed Myrtle, Mountain Pepper, Paprika and Garlic
Desert Fire Seasoning adds a bit of bite to any dish. Ingredients: Saltbush, Chilli, Sea Salt, Mountain Pepper, Lemon Aspen, Garlic and Ginger.
Desert Flakes Seasoning to be used as seasoning, in sauces and casseroles or as a sprinkle over bread, meat, vegetables or pasta dishes. Ingredients: Saltbush, Sea Salt, Bush Tomato, Wattleseed, Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepper, and garlic.
Swagmans Salt is used in breads, salsas, salad, tomato based dishes. Ingredients: Sea Salt, Native Basil, Sea Parsley, Native Thyme , Saltbush & Mountain Pepper.
Tropical Pepperberry Sea Salt Use it as a rub or to add a kick to any dish. Particularly nice sprinkled over sweet ripe tomatoes and smashed avocado. Ingredients: Sea salt, Mountain pepper and Lemon Aspen
Used both as an ornamental as well as a bush tucker plant the cool climate Mountain Pepper produce both a leaf and a berry. The leaf provides a mild pepper taste but the berry has an unexpected zing. Just when you think they are sweet their kick begins. To some it could be quite hot.
Pepperberries are more versatile than conventional peppercorn, able to be used in sweet and savoury dishes. The leaves, stems and berries have an aromatic peppery taste producing approx. 3 times the anti-oxidants of blueberries.
Pepperberry not only adds depth to a casserole or slow cooker, it imparts a beautiful rich burgundy colour to the dish.
Slow cooked Pepperberry Wagyu (perfect for Winter)
2 small red onions
1 stick of celery
1 red capsicum
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
420gm cubed Wagyu Chuck Beef
1 Tablespoon Pepperberry – coarse ground of whole
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon Bush Tomato
Dice the vegetables and place in the slow cooker, add garlic, beef, Pepperberry, Tomato paste and water. Mix well to combine.
Slow cook for 7 hours.
10 minutes before serving add bush tomato seasoning and salt to taste. Serve with pasta, steamed beans and wild rocket salad.
If native foods are to become mainstream, we need to use them in our home cooking. Many plants are known by their traditional or botanic origins. In some cases it is difficult to understand what they are or what you are supposed to do with them……..grind it and use it as a sauce; cook as a thick spinach; boil and serve as a root vegetable; eat as a fresh fruit or preserve as a jam?