Celebrate our native Aussies on January 26
SAUSAGES and prawns on the barbie, Pavlova and Lamingtons - these are the foods we consider "Australian” and that we use to celebrate Australia Day.
But what about the original Australian foods - the native foods that have grown right here in our backyard for tens-of-thousands of years?
From the fresh lemony zing of a finger lime to the toasted coffee and chocolate aromas of wattleseed, native foods offer a whole new world of unique and delicious flavours that are truly worth celebrating.
Here's a guide to some of the best, available at your local farmers' market.
Native to northern New South Wales, lemon myrtle has a fresh and clean, lemony flavour. For a thirst-quenching Australia Day drink, make a lemon myrtle iced tea - simmer lemon myrtle leaves or tea with some sugar, lemon and limejuice, and then allow to cool before serving on ice. Lemon myrtle can be substituted in almost any recipe that calls for lemon or lemongrass, and it's great with seafood. Add a sprinkle to your aioli and use as a dipping sauce for barbecued prawns. Lemon myrtle spice and tea available from Playing With Fire at the Mullumbimby Farmers' Market.
Another northern NSW native, davidson plums are rich in antioxidants. They're in season now, and can be eaten raw, but are quite tart. For this reason, they're often made into jams, sauces and desserts. Rainforest Foods (Mullumbimby/New Brighton farmers' markets) makes a popular davidson plum and sweet chilli sauce that is excellent as a dipping sauce, or try it as a marinade for your Aussie Day barbecued spare ribs.
Known as the caviar of the citrus world, finger limes contain hundreds of tiny beads that release a fresh lime flavour when they burst in your mouth. Perfect with Australia Day prawns. You can also squeeze them into sparkling water or cocktails. Available from Neville Singh (New Brighton/Mullum) and Playing With Fire, where you'll also find a lovely finger lime cordial.
With a chocolate hazelnut flavour and toasted coffee aroma, watlleseed is great in muffins, cakes and breads, and pairs perfectly with chocolate and ice-cream. For the centrepiece of your Australia Day table, try whipping up a wattleseed Pavlova. Available from Playing With Fire.
RECIPE: Garlic and chilli prawns with pepperberry and saltbush
Ingredients: 1kg tiger prawns (shelled and deveined, tail left intact), 4 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp chilli flakes, 1 1/2 tsp pepperberries, sea salt, 1 1/2 tbsp macadamia oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 tbsp vino cotto, 1 tsp saltbush, 2 finger limes, 1 1/2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped.
1. Place the prawns, garlic, chilli, pepperberries and a good pinch of sea salt into a bowl, mix well and then refrigerate until needed.
2. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and vino cotto. Stir well and set aside.
3. Heat a barbecue grill or griddle pan over high heat. Cook the prawns a couple of minutes on either side and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the dressing over the prawns and then sprinkle with the saltbush, finger lime pulp and coriander leaves. Sprinkle a little more chilli flakes over, if you wish. Eat immediately.
Recipe courtesy of John Bek, Heneedsfood.com