Five-Course Christmas Lunch with Australian Bush Ingredients

by | Nov 27, 2023

Treat friends and family to the taste of Australia. Our collection of recipes has grown over the last couple of years, thanks to the generosity and support of the Tucker Bush community. Here are our favourite choices for an impressive Christmas affair.

Course 1: Appetiser

Serving suggestion for Salmon Ceviche on a Lemon Myrtle Sable. Photo provided by Amber Heaton of @chefamberheaton.

An appetiser is a light, meat-free (usually) starter to whet the appetite and stir up excitement about what’s to come. Rule of thumb: keep portions small and prepare just enough (but no more) for your guests.

A classic Tucker Bush favourite recipe is RiverMint Dining’s Chicken, Lemongrass and Warrigal Wonton Cups, featuring in-season ingredients you can harvest straight from your bushfood garden. Or try Amber Heaton’s Salmon Ceviche on a Lemon Myrtle Sable, a world-class warm-weather delight that’s guaranteed to get your guests talking.

Course 2: Soup or Salad

Close-up of the Sandalwood Nut & Pear Salad, available in the Cooking with Bush Tucker cookbook. Photo provided by Marty & Connie Winch-Buist of WA Sandalwood Nuts.

The perfect soup or salad acknowledges the season and the occasion. Cold soups, such as Spanish gazpacho or French vichyssoise, work better for Australia’s very hot Christmas season, and you can easily swap out the traditional European ingredients for native bush herbs and vegetables — think Bloodroot, Native Leek, Round Baby Pigface, Bush Basil and Native Thyme.

We love Billie Cornthwaite’s Bush Tomato and Saltbush Soup, which can be adapted to a gazpacho style preparation or a savoury granita. For a sweeter theme, the Watermelon with Geraldton Wax Granita from Red Cabbage Food & Wine works as both a tantalisingly light in-between course and palate cleanser before the heavier main. Alternatively, Craig Squire’s Chilli Prawn & Mango Salad with Lemon Aspen and the Winch-Buist’s Sandalwood Nut & Pear Salad — both found in the Cooking with Bush Tucker cookbook — should serve you well for most summer dining occasions.

Course 3: Mains

‘Ferguson Valley’ lamb loin, pistachio, fennel puree, sweet potato dauphine, native bush mint, homemade Sandalford Cabernet vincotto. Photo provided by Andrew Mann at Sandalford.

The main course is the star of your luncheon. It should feature a protein and leave your guests feeling full and satisfied. An obvious Christmas main is the hot roast, but if you prefer not to run the oven on a scorching hot day, opt for pan-fried or barbecued meat, or cold cuts of glazed ham.

Simple but fancy: Mark Olive’s Seared Kangaroo Fillet with Illawarra Plum Sauce combines the hearty flavour of roo with the sweet tartness of native plum. Seafood lovers will adore Melissa Palinkas’s BBQ Freo Octopus with Jambinu Zest, an exciting way to introduce guests to the taste of culinary Geraldton Wax. But if lamb is more your style, we suggest Andrew Mann’s Lamb Loin with Fennel Puree served with a vincotto of Bush Mint and Sandalford Cabernet.

Course 4: Dessert

Serving suggestion for Vegan Pavlova with Native Fruit. Photo provided by Grzegorz Janecki of Odyssea City Beach.

Dessert provides a sweet ending to the meal, and can be served as individual portions or as a communal buffet in the centre of the table. If your guests prefer simplicity, we’d recommend Bindi Bindi Dreaming’s Lemon Myrtle Cake or Grzegorz Janecki’s Almond, Orange, Red Back Ginger Cake with their refreshingly zingy flavours on a warm day.

Seasoned home cooks may enjoy the novelty of Cat Clarke’s Wattleseed Profiteroles with Finger Lime Cream, Stokehouse Q’s Desert Lime Semifreddo, or Grzegorz Janecki’s Vegan Pavlova with Native Fruit.

Course 5: Cheese

Serving suggestion for Old Man Saltbush rice crackers with Nasturtium tip. Photo provided by Perri’s Plants to Plate.

The cheese platter is an Aussie entertaining favourite. With room for both savoury and sweet nibbles, it leaves plenty of room to get creative with native ingredients. Just check out Il Paiolo’s Bush herbs crusted goat cheese for inspiration on adding bushfood flavours to chevre or other semi-soft cheese. Or try the [Saltbush Rice Crackers with Nasturtium Dip] by Perri’s Plants to Plate, to cater for your dairy-free friends.

Choose local produce to keep with the theme of a bushfood Christmas — it has an added bonus of reducing the overall “food miles”of your final course. If dining outdoors or without air-conditioning, we’d suggest serving your cheese straight out of the fridge, since the summer heat will warm it up soon enough.

Merry Christmas from Tucker Bush

Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Tucker Bush team are looking forward to sharing more great gardening and bushfood tips in the New Year.

More recipes and bushfood inspiration

You can always check out our blog, our “Cooking with Bush Tucker” ebook, and the Cooking Friends of Tucker Bush Facebook group (make sure you agree to Admin rules) for more recipes and cooking inspiration.


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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