The Road Ahead : February 2011
MAKES YOUR DAY FEB/MAR 2011 THE ROAD AHEAD 11 QUEENSLAND INGREDIENT LIFESTYLE RECIPE AND IMAGE, COURTESY OF BENJAMIN CHRISTIE WWW.BENJAMINCHRISTIE.COM Move over Pavlova, Australian cuisine is currently undergoing a shift thanks to Queensland-based research into the flavours of native plant foods. AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FOODS are now becoming just as common on the shiny white plates of upmarket urban restaurants as in their bush heartland. Satisfying the demand for novel and unique flavours, bush food is attracting a growing appreciation and is increasingly being used to add a distinctly Australian twist to international dishes. But while native ingredients make their way onto menus and into products as diverse as sauces, relishes and alcoholic beverages, consumers don't always have a sensory reference point for such flavours. This was the catalyst for research by Dr Heather Smyth from Agri-Science Queensland at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, in conjunction with Australian Native Food Industry Limited (ANFIL) and Rural Industries Research and Development. The research, completed earlier this year, began the process of demystifying the flavours of Australian native plant foods and resulted in the first flavour wheel, or lexicon, describing the unique flavour diversity of indigenous plant foods and products. "Ingredients such as lemon myrtle, quandong, bush tomato and desert lime are now common place on many menus, but the flavour of these foods is not always what you might expect," Dr Smyth said. "Chefs and consumers understand the aromas of traditional European or Asian ingredients, such as lime or rosemary, but until now there was nothing to describe our own unique Aussie flavours." The Australian native flavour wheel acts as a standardised set of tasting notes to describe the sensory elements of 16 of the most popular native foods, helping to educate uninitiated tastebuds and allow chefs and home cooks to better incorporate native ingredients into their meals. For information about native ingredients, visit www.anfil.org.au. For a copy of the Flavour Wheel, visit www.deedi.qld.gov.au and search for 'Native Flavours'. For information on Queensland bush food growers and retailers, visit www.qldbushfood.com. STORY BELINDA PETERS food for thought grilled barramundi with lemon myrtle mash (SERVES 4) INGREDIENTS: 4 x 200 g barramundi fillet, skin on; 1 kg potatoes; 120 ml (½ cup) milk; 80 g butter; 3 g (½ teaspoon) lemon myrtle; pinch salt; macadamia nut oil; 45 g (3 tablespoons) quandong confit; fresh herbs. TO MAKE: Peel the potatoes and place them into a small pot with salted cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 40 minutes. Strain and allow to sit for a few minutes to dry out. Then return to pot and mash the potatoes. Add butter, milk and lemon myrtle. Season if required with salt. Heat the grill or barbeque. Season the barramundi on the skin side and season with salt. Place the barramundi skin side down and cook till crispy, turn over and finish till medium. To serve, place the lemon myrtle mash potato on the plate, then place the grilled barramundi on the mash. Drizzle some of the confit juices around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs.