The Australian outback has approximately five thousand different native food species. The Australian Aboriginal people have a distinctive and innovative relationship with land and food, collecting nectar from bottle bush flowers or honey from ants’ stomachs.
Sounds a little different to our drive down to the supermarket for ready-made snags, right?
Unfortunately, with the loss of traditional land came the loss of this gorgeous and revolutionary style of foraging and cooking many years ago.
Luckily, there’s been a culinary uplift in Australian native foods over the last few years. Everyone from the home-cook to the two-hat chef has been embracing macadamia nuts, finger limes and even kangaroo meat.
We’re so fortunate to have some of the most distinctive flavours within our flora. It's time to expand our minds, and taste buds, to our very own homegrown heroes.
Kakadu plums are about the size of an olive and have a dry and astringent taste, but what they lack in size and sweetness, they make up for in health benefits.
Kakadu plums contain almost fifty times the amount of vitamin C than oranges! Traditionally, Australian Aboriginals used this exceptional ingredient as an antiseptic, and a soothing balm for aching limbs. Kakadu plum is excellent in sweet recipes, and fair dinkum, do I have the recipe for you!
My Kakada Plum and Blueberry Ice Cream is perfect for those with a sweet tooth among us.
Let’s talk about lemon myrtle (don’t moan about it, Harry Potter fans!). Available in oil or whole dried leaves, lemon myrtle is rich in vitamin A and E and hosts an impressive amount of calcium, magnesium and zinc. If you’re feeling stressed or trying to improve your sleep, lemon myrtle may be your answer. You can use it in sweet or savoury dishes, including marinades, roasts and soups.
Have you ever tried a bush tomato? Well, close your eyes and imagine combining a sun-dried tomato, caramel and tamarillo altogether and that’s what you’d get! It’s peculiar and tasty all at the same time. This peanut-sized tomato packs serious flavour and is only needed in tiny amounts to add its intense character to your stew or sauce. It’s also full of selenium, an antioxidant that’s great for thyroid health.
Now it’s time for our favourite nut, no, not your aunty Karen, macadamia! While these nuts require a little (or huge) dip into the wallet, they’re arguably one of the tastiest nuts going around. If the butter-like flavour isn’t enough to sway you, maybe the benefits will.
Macadamias, loaded with antioxidants and high levels of flavonoids, can help reduce oxidative stress. Macadamia nuts make delightful nut butter, add creaminess to soups, such as my Macadamia, Garlic and Parsnip Soup or can act as the foundation for raw treats like these tasty Supercharged Snickers Bars.
Let’s play a game: guess what ingredient I am.
Are you ready?
I’m a fruit with a zesty flavour, in the shape of a finger? Any guesses? You got it – the finger lime! This local ripper fruit, bursting with zest, tastes slightly tart and citrusy. Finger lime is rich in vitamin C, folate, vitamin E and potassium, and acts as a protective antioxidant in human cells. Try it in dressings, jams and sauces.
Now for the ingredient of the hour, the humble wattleseed. The love child of coffee and chocolate, who wouldn’t want to dig right in? This unsung hero is high in protein, is as versatile as ingredients come, and has high concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.
These shortbread-esque cookies are taking on a whole new culture. Celebrate Australia's gorgeous native ingredients by diving into my Wattleseed and Lemon Biscuits.
They are a wonderful treat with a cup of good Aussie afternoon tea.
Wattleseed and Lemon Biscuits
- 100 g (312 oz/1 cup) almond meal
- 30 g (1 oz/14 cup) coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 110 g (334 oz) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 110 g (334 oz/3/4 cup) coconut sugar
- 100 g (312 oz/13 cup) almond butter
- 112 teaspoons vanilla powder
- 1 TBS wattle seed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal, coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar for about 1 minute. Stir in the almond butter, vanilla powder, wattle seed, egg and lemon zest until well mixed.
Fold the almond meal mixture into the egg mixture, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 16–20 balls, place on the prepared baking tray with at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) between them and press each one down with a spatula.
Bake for 12–15 minutes, until golden, then cool completely on the baking tray. They’ll be soft in the middle but will harden as they cool.
Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments section down below 🙂