A Very Bush Tucker Christmas

by | Dec 20, 2018

Christmas is all about Summer in the southern hemisphere. Whether your silly season flavour is a stinking hot day, breezy arvo or a balmy evening, here are a few simple ways to enjoy some very Australian flavours in your holiday luncheon.

(Pro tip: Try telling your guests you used native ingredients. This can be a great conversation starter!)

Cool drinks with native hints

Water infusions and chilled teas are all the rage throughout the Summer months. For a simple cold drink, fill a jug with water, add a few sticks of Native Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) or calyxes of Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and allow to steep in the fridge for an hour or two. Alternatively, steep your bushfood ingredient in hot water for up to five minutes, before chilling in the fridge.

Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flowers too late in Summer to harvest your own for Christmas, but these days, many major supermarkets carry Rosella syrup for flavouring drinks.

This works with native fruits as well, though many species won’t ripen in time for Christmas. Still, if you’re game, try experimenting with the natural sweetness of Wild Currant (Antidesma erostre), Ooray (Davidsonia pruriens), Small-leaved Tamarind (Diploglottis campbellii) and Black Apple (Pouteria australis) — though, for stronger, more intense flavours, you might like these fruits better in juices and smoothies.

Table snacks with a bushtucker twist

Unlike seasonal bushtucker fruits and veggies, Australian bush herbs like Native Thyme (Prostanthera incisa) and Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) are available to pick throughout the year. This makes the DIY holiday cheese board a prime candidate for giving native ingredients a go.

Shortbread cookies are among the many creative uses for native nuts like Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and Macadamia.

Try making your own Bush Herb Crusted Goat Cheese and serve with a variety of native produce like locally sourced honeycomb, Desert Lime chutney, Rosella jam, Pickled Lilly Pilly, dried native berries, damper bread, and bush herb crackers.

Spice up your Christmas shortbread with a little Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) powder or finely grated Atherton Ginger (Alpinia caerulea ‘Atherton’), but be warned — really fresh ingredients can be overpowering. Add them in small quantities, tasting as you go. If you’d rather stick to what you know, make your biscuits as per usual, then just top them with crushed Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) or Macadamia nuts and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Other great snacks for the season include Lemon Myrtle Cake, Sandalwood Nut & Jaffa Fudge, Lemongrass Chicken & Warrigal Canapés, pavlova with native bush fruits, damper scones with native fruit jam, and candied quandongs.

Special seafood seasonings

Acidity and sharp flavourings are a great rule of thumb for seasoning seafood. This means you can be as generous as you like with Finger Lime (Citrus australasica), Native Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus), Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), Desert Lime (Citrus glauca), Atherton Ginger (Alpinia caerulea ‘Atherton’) and Lemon Aspen (Acronychia acidula).

Sea Parsley (Apium prostratum var. prostratum) and Native Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ambiguus) are perfect matches for snapper, salmon, squid and marron. Photo & recipe by RiverMint Dining.

With their naturally salty flavours, you’ll also find success using coastal greens like WA Samphire (Tecticornia lepidosperma), Old Man Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia), Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa), Sea Celery (Apium prostratum var. prostratum), Sea Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum) and Seablite (Suaeda australis).

Fancy a recipe? Try Snapper & Sea Parsley (RiverMint Dining), Marron With Lemon Myrtle Emulsion (Fervor) or this Asian fusion spin on Moreton Bay bugs (Ochre).

More recipes and ideas

Bushfoods represent a rich and vibrant history in Australia’s culture — one that’s existed for thousands of years. The bushfood movement is growing, and we want to make it easy for everyday people to become a part of it.

We’ve put together an e-book of our favourite recipes using Australian native ingredients, featuring contributions from some of Australia’s leading chefs — including all the recipes from our website plus more, covering entrees, mains, desserts and more, along with a few basics like drying your own herbs and making your own jam.

You can order it here. Hope you enjoy it.

Our Book: Bushfood for Beginners

Packed with tips and advice from the seasoned green thumbs at Tucker Bush, it aims to help any enthusiastic gardener take the first step in their long and bountiful bushfood journey.

We’ve put together an e-book of our favourite recipes

Featuring contributions from some of Australia’s leading chefs, using native bush tucker ingredients. This book includes all the recipes from our website plus more, covering entrees, mains, desserts and more, along with basic essentials like drying your own herbs and making your own jam.

Introducing Our Range Of Dried Herbs

Tucker Bush Native Herbs are dried and ready to use in your cooking. Enjoy these local flavours with cooked meats, baked treats and steeped in hot water for an aromatic tea.

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