Add bush tucker to festive feast list
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.”