Viewers of MasterChef Australia will have noticed the upcoming trend of using native ingredients in anything from savoury dishes through to delectable desserts. During our Science Week 2021 theme of Food by Design, we acknowledged the contribution and millennia of culinary heritage of the First Nations peoples of Australia and their Bush Tucker.
Ms Menzies talked us through the myriad of Bush Tucker foods that Indigenous people have been using in their food preparation. Commonly available grasses, berries, seeds and leaves have distinct flavours and are either cooked, ground and prepared in ways that might be used alongside other dishes. While many of them have English names such as Native Basil or River Mint, their flavours are unique and usually nothing like what the name might suggest. However, in other cases such as the Bush Tomato and the Mountain Pepperberry, they may look nothing like the name, but the taste resembles dried tomato or very peppery pepper.
The aim is to have many more of these Bush Tucker plants growing in the grounds at Whitefriars, both for the beauty of the plants themselves and for the education that can be provided by having them growing at hand. Food Technology studies cooking sessions often do include native Australian foods so growing plants like Native Spinach would be useful because it is not readily available to purchase fresh.
Ms Menzies often offers tastings of teas made from the dried leaves of plants like Aniseed Myrtle and Lemon Myrtle, all of which find favour with the boys who try them. And not only do they taste refreshing, but they are also packed with all nature of goodness for health.
Luckily nowadays many of the spices made from Bush Tucker plants can be found on supermarket shelves and so using them to flavour up traditional dishes can add the knowledge of the many generations of the First Nations to our tables. We made shortbread biscuits using ground Wattleseed and Lemon Myrtle and they were a hit!
Students can access a video on how to make Bush Tucker Shortbread here: Make Bush Tucker Shortbread
Learning Leader – Science and Technologies
Bush Tucker Resources
• Bush Tukka Guide, Samantha Martin
• DarkEmu Onlinefoodorders