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|Australian Bushfoods magazine. Issue 7 - May-June 1998|
BUSH TOMATO SOUP
This soup may be reduced even further to form the basis of a pasta sauce. The bush tomato flavour will strengthen with time, so it is advisable and convenient to make this soup in advance and heat to serve.
To serve 6
1 1/3 cups (200 g) bush tomatoes
10 dried native pepper leaves
20 very ripe, red tomatoes
2 large onions, finely diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
fresh basil leaves to taste
In a food processor, grind the bush tomatoes and native pepper leaves to a fine texture that resembles coffee grounds. You will find this easier if the bush tomatoes have been frozen before processing. Bring a pot of water to the boil and immerse the fresh tomatoes for about 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and peel. Chop coarsely. Saute the onions in the olive oil in a medium¬sized saucepan over medium heat until soft and tender. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the ground bush tomatoes, native pepper and salt. Cook for 45 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh basil a few minutes before the end of the cooking time. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth. To serve, accompany the soup with a small pizza brushed with olive oil and topped with goat's cheese, basil and a good sprinkling of ground bush tomato. Or twist some puff pastry into long sticks, brush with a little butter, parmesan and ground bush tomato.
WILD LIME MARMALADE
to make 6 cups (1/2 litres)
l cup (140g) wild limes, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
8 cups (2 litres) water
Combine the wild limes, lemon and water in a large, heavy-based, stainless-steel saucepan and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat and allow to simmer briskly until the volume of liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and measure the volume of liquid in a measuring jug. Add an equal weight of sugar to the volume of water. (For example, use 1 kg sugar for 1 litre liquid, and so on.) Stir until the sugar dissolves. Return to the heat and bring back to the boil. Continue to cook until the marmalade reaches its setting point. Test this by placing a teaspoon of the marmalade on a chilled saucer. If it is ready, the marmalade will form a skin and wrinkle when pushed with a finger. If it is not ready, it will still be runny on the saucer and will require additional cooking time.Once the marmalade is ready, ladle into sterilised jars and seal.
Refrigerate after opening.
WILD ORANGE AND LAMB CASSEROLE
To serve 6
2 wild oranges, halved and with flesh removed
2 cups (500 Ml) water
1 tablespoon (25 g) castor sugar
2.5 kg diced lamb (ask your butcher to do this)
1 tablespoon (20 g) plain flour
1/4 cup (60 m) oil
3 onions, diced, 3 parsnips, diced
3 carrots, diced, 3 potatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed,
3 fresh oranges, peeled and diced
2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
1 teaspoon (2 g) native pepper
1 teaspoon (2 g) wild or common thyme
Preheat the oven to 160o C (325 F). In a saucepan, bring the wild oranges, water and sugar to the boil and keep boiling for 2-3 minutes. The seeds will loosen from the wild oranges, so strain the fruit to remove them. Retain the pulp and cooking juices. Dust the diced lamb with the flour. Heat the oil in a heavy-based skillet, and brown the lamb in batches. Return the lamb to the skillet, add the diced vegetables, garlic, oranges, cinnamon sticks and seasonings. Ensure that all the ingredients are well mixed together and transfer the mixture to a suitable casserole dish. Cover with the wild orange pulp and juices, and cook in the preheated oven for 1 1/2-2 hours.To complement the dish'
Middle Eastern overtones, serve on a bed of couscous seasoned with native mint.
BUSH TOMATO AND CHILLI SALSA
Salsas are the cook's answer to producing a delicious sauce on the spur of the moment, and will dress up almost any grilled meat or vegetable dish. Try this over grilled chicken, with a steak or tossed through pasta shells. To make 2 cups (500 ml)
1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar
1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
1 tablespoon (25 g) castor sugar
3 small red chillis, finely chopped
2 teaspoons (10 g) ground bush tomatoes (Akadgera)
10 large, ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (skinned if preferred)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons (50 ml) good quality olive oil
In a medium-sized stainless-steel saucepan, bring the vinegar, salt, sugar and chillis to the boil. Add the ground bush tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat. Remove from the heat. Combine the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a large bowl. Add the saucepan ingredients to the bowl. Let the salsa sit for an hour for the flavours to infuse before serving. Just before use, drain off any excess liquid that has collected and stir throught the olive oil.
A pocket-ful of bushfoods...
`A Companion Guide to Bush Food'
As a companion to her larger book, `Bush Food', Jennifer Isaacs has put out a field-size guide to our native edible species. This `slip in your back pocket' book lists the foods alphabetically by common name and contains a very satisfying number of high quality photos.
The book covers almost all of the so-called `commercial species' and also details some lesser known plants which I personally found of great interest. For instance, I didn't know Old Man Saltbush (Atriplix
nummularia) was edible - it appears the prolific seeds are ground into flour and made into damper in the arid regions.
I also took note of the traditional method of cooking Mud Oyster (Polymesoda coaxans) - the closed shells are placed in the sand and a very quick, hot fire of twigs or dried grass is lit over them so that the flesh is lightly cooked but the juices retained. Fermented beverages, lizards, emu, the witjuti grub and even the daunting `Shipworm' (Terodo spp.) also get a mention in this small but information-packed book. A great background text aimed more at the central and northern parts of Australia but broad enough to interest readers anywhere in the country.
Old time, we bin live from this lot mayi...
Collated from the knowledge of a number of tribes in the Broome area, `Mayi' covers some 50 species found in this region, giving the tribal names (in some cases, these are markedly different but more often they have distinct phonetic similarities), scientific name, the use of the plant (both food and medicinal) and notes on orthnography.
Simple, very clear line drawings as well as a colour photo accompny each species - something I find particularly useful in identification.
The book is not only a handy reference for species of this area, it is also a delightful read - I have spent many an enjoyable half hour taking a break from the pragmatic side of bushfoods to savour the simpler side of `mayi'.
`Mayi - Some bush fruits of the West Kimberley'
The Traditional Peoples of Broome and surrounding areas,
Magabala Books, 1997
`Mayi' means `plant food' and this little book is an excellent introduction for those who wish to know more about the use the indigenous peoples made of our natural resources.
St Kilda Indigenous Nursery
Coastal species - phone for full
03 9645 2477
525 Williamstown Rd,
QLD: Cairns (Atherton Tableland)
Yuruga Native Plants
Specialist growers of native plants (including bushfoods) for Northern Aust. Phone for price list:
07 4093 3826
Kennedy Hway, Walkamin 4872
SA: Pt Broughton
M. & A. Boughen
Suppliers of Bush Tomato (Solanum centrale):
Washed, whole dried - $45 kg
Ground - $65 kg
Can supply smaller quantities.
Ph: (08) 8635 2438
PO Box 89 Pt Broughton 5522
Yeppoon Rainforest Nursery
Native rainforest species.
Bushfood plants. W'sale & retail
Ph/fax: 0749 393 963
Mobile: 0419 683 157
PO Box 109 Yeppoon 4703
S.E. Qld: Tallebudgera
Wide range of species
55 Station St, Mullumbimby NSW 2482.
Enquiries: web site: http://users.mullum.com.au/~botanica
Bush Nuts Native Nursery
A propagation/wholesale nursery with over 200 rainforest and rainforest margin species
64 Syndicate Rd
Tallebudgera Valley 4228
Ph/fax: 0755 338 105
Australian Native Produce Industries
A wide range for primary producers: berry, nut and seed, fruit, herb & spice and leaf crops for most regions of Australia.
Specialist in improved selections and grafted clones and hybrids. Send for price list
(include $5 if you want the descriptive catalogue as well).
ANPI, PO Box 163 Paringa, SA 5340.
Fax: 088 586 4511
In the Australian Magazine.
I'm a little annoyed with the Australian for failing to put dates and page numbers on their magazine - on or around July 25th they ran a glorious photo story on the work being done by CSIRO in Niger, western Africa. Much of the background to this story was contained in Issue 5 of this magazine (`Acacias in West Africa').
Toowoomba Chronicle Features Foods
July 29 - A full page colour feature in the Good Food Guide of this paper used a general article I've sent out to a number of publications around the country (`A Place in the Sun'). I would appreciate hearing from any reader who comes across this article in their local rag as most papers don't send me clippings!
Milligans' Sainsbury deal creates interest
Weekend Telegraph, July 11
The West Australian, undated
plus two other clippings sent to me with no name or date.
Millgans Gourmet Gallery gathered good press in Western Australia through their sale to English chain Sainsburys (see page 6).
An Echo Perhaps?
I'm still getting calls from people around the country who `heard me on the radio today...' As I haven't done any radio interviews in over a month, I find this strange. But I'm not complaining.
Connects with Bushfoods
The lastest issue of Green Connections ran a short article on backyard bushfoods.
As Does `The Buzz'
The April edition of this publication from `Australian Women in Agriculture' looked at bushfoods in their `Commodity Feature' - with special emphasis on women in the bushfood industry.
The Australian Magazine,
This clipping has dates on it! A spectacular full page colour photo is accompanied by a good background article which concludes that our indigenous foods have gone beyond novelty and are appealing to Australians because they're, well...beaut.