How to use Indigenous Australian ingredients at home

Bushfood brittle is easy to make in a home kitchen and great for gifts.
Bushfood brittle is easy to make in a home kitchen and great for gifts. Photo: Luisa Brimble

Learn how to create truly Australian food and drinks at home using ingredients such as warrigal greens, finger limes and native thyme with these recipes from Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard.

Some of the ingredients may need a little online sleuthing to track down, but this resources guide is a good place to start. Alternatively, ask your local supermarket to stock some, forage for a little (respectfully) and better yet, grow a little too. Whether it's a balcony or a backyard, growing herbs and greens is easier than you think! 

Bushfood brittle

The perfect sweet and sour candy. Sweet from the brittle and sour from the tangy limes. A great gift for every occasion, too.

Warndu Mai (Good Food).
Warndu Mai (Good Food). Photo: Hachette Australia

Makes 1 sheet

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups caster or raw sugar

¼ cup freeze-dried finger lime

¼ cup dried rose petals

¼ cup sandalwood nuts

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METHOD

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Place the sugar in an even layer on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning tray halfway until sugar has melted and is caramelised. (It will start to melt from the edges in.)

Spread with a palette knife if there are any patches of sugar that have not started to melt.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with freeze-dried finger limes, rose petals and sandalwood nuts. Set aside for 10 minutes to set.

Break into shards to serve. This brittle can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Sea rosemary, lime and Murray River salt Anzac biscuits.

Anzac biscuits made with ground cinnamon myrtle. Photo: Luisa Brimble

Sea rosemary, lime and Murray River salt Anzac biscuits

This recipe is both sweet and savoury. Make the biscuits flat and thin and use them with cheese as a gorgeous alternative to crackers.

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS

1¼ cups plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon myrtle

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup caster sugar

zest of 4 blood limes

2 long sprigs of sea rosemary, coarsely chopped, stems removed and discarded

½ teaspoon Murray River pink salt, plus extra for sprinkling

1 tablespoon golden syrup or treacle

1 tablespoon honey

150g unsalted butter, chopped

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1½ tablespoons water

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 185°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, place the flour, cinnamon myrtle, oats, coconut, sugar, lime zest, sea rosemary and salt, and stir to combine.

In a small saucepan, place the golden syrup, honey and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has melted.

Remove from the heat. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the golden syrup mixture.

Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on baking trays, pressing down on the top to flatten.

Sprinkle with a little salt, to taste.

Bake for 12-20 minutes until golden brown, depending on the thickness of your biscuit.

Green gnocchi with cinnamon myrtle burnt butter sauce.

Warrigal greens made into gnocchi. Photo: Luisa Brimble

Green gnocchi with cinnamon myrtle burnt butter sauce

Stop drooling.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

400g warrigal greens

handful of sea parsley, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

140g ricotta

85g plain flour

2 free-range eggs

100g grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

For the burnt butter sauce:

100g butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon myrtle, plus extra to sprinkle

1 garlic clove

1 sprig of sea parsley, leaves picked, to garnish

salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

Place 300g of the warrigal greens in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave for 1-2 minutes until wilted, drain thoroughly, squeeze out excess water and finely chop.

Place the warrigal greens, parsley, garlic, ricotta, flour, eggs and cheese in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use a fork to stir very thoroughly.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into finger-sized lengths then cut into 3 cm portions. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the gnocchi until just cooked, a few minutes. They will float to the top when cooked. Drain and set aside.

To make the burnt butter sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the cinnamon myrtle, garlic and remaining warrigal greens. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the butter is slightly brown.

Toss the gnocchi through the sauce, stir through the sea parsley leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with cinnamon myrtle to serve.

Tamarind and thyme creme brulee.

Creme brulee made with tamarind. Photo: Luisa Brimble

Tamarind and thyme creme brulee

Wowzers. Next Level. Epic. Our favourite. Yummo. Our version of rhubarb and custard.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

250g boonjie tamarind, chopped

1 cup caster sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup orange juice

500ml double cream

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

6 sprigs of native thyme

6 egg yolks

¼ cup caster sugar, extra, for sprinkling

2 sprigs native thyme, for garnish (optional)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place tamarind, ½ cup sugar, the water and orange juice in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the consistency is thick and jammy.

Spoon into the base of 4 x ¾ cup heat-proof ramekins or dishes. Place cream, vanilla essence and thyme sprigs in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove thyme.

Place egg yolks and the remaining sugar together in a bowl and whisk. Pour cream mixture into egg mixture and whisk. Pour back into the saucepan, heat over low heat and cook for 4 minutes or until thick.

Carefully pour into ramekins. Place in a baking dish and pour boiling water into the baking dish to about halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just set. (The brulee should have a slight wobble.)

Cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold. Sprinkle with extra sugar and torch the tops with a kitchen blowtorch until golden and caramelised.

Serve immediately.

Note: If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch, preheat oven grill to high. Place ramekins under grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until tops are golden and caramelised.

This is an edited extract from Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard published by Hachette Australia, hardback $45.