Add bush tucker to fes­tive feast list

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Time Out - Tom Zaun­mayr

When you think Christ­mas lunch in Aus­tralia mem­o­ries of chicken sal­ads, cold ham and pud­ding come to the fore.

In re­al­ity, how­ever, none of this is re­ally uniquely Aus­tralian.

Of course we have the well-known na­tive foods: kan­ga­roo, prawns, fish, croc­o­dile, but that is just scratch­ing the sur­face.

There is an in­creas­ing recog­ni­tion of our coun­try’s in­cred­i­ble bush tucker. Chefs are us­ing it to bring new flavours to some of the best restau­rants in the world, but it is yet to make its way into do­mes­tic kitchens on a broad scale.

That is not to say it can’t. If you fancy your for­ag­ing skills, you can head bush, but it is much eas­ier to find bush tucker on the shelves of pro­gres­sive food out­lets these days.

Fer­vor head chef Paul Iskov said na­tive food was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ac­ces­si­ble to home cooks.

“If some­one wants to try a lot of dif­fer­ent herbs, dried herbs, chut­neys and those sorts of things, you can go visit places like Maal­inup Art Gallery,” he said.

“It is get­ting a lot bet­ter even at su­per­mar­kets where you have kan­ga­roo, dif­fer­ent sauces like Kakadu plum, le­mon as­pen, and even some le­mon myr­tle and wat­tle­seed from IGA.

“Things like macadamia and san­dal­wood nuts are easy to source.”

Iskov has just re­leased a cook­book ti­tled Fer­vor, cen­tred on cook­ing with na­tive foods.

He said those look­ing for an easy way to start their jour­ney to us­ing more bush foods could sim­ply ex­change one or two tra­di­tional in­gre­di­ents for na­tive al­ter­na­tives. “Com­ing into Christ­mas, quan­dongs are in sea­son, it is a good time to ac­tu­ally pick some of those and dry them, freeze them or even put them in a lit­tle sugar syrup,” he said. “They go well on a pavlova or even with Christ­mas turkey.

“We started off do­ing sim­ple stuff like a spag bol or curry where in­stead of us­ing sage or pars­ley we would use sea cel­ery or some le­mon myr­tle.”

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