Though once dominated by British culinary tastes, Australian cuisine is now influenced by a variety of Mediterranean and Asian foods introduced by immigrant cultures. Many people living outside of Australia think of native Bush Tucker when they contemplate Australian food, but Southeast Asian, Greek, Lebanese and Italian influences are now more common.
by Jacqueline Hollingworth
Quandongs are a native fruit like a peach—but not very sweet. They have a delicate acidic taste—to my taste, a bit like rhubarb. Quandongs, halved and seeded look like bright red/crimson coloured apricots. They are best stewed in castor sugar, water and orange juice. Left overnight to obtain the best flavour and served with ice cream or puréed as a base for other desserts like pies or tarts.
Wattle Seeds. There are between 850 and 1000 species of the wattle bush/shrub/small tree in Australia. The thorns can be used as a treatment for snake-bite (don't know the details as I would prefer to be in intensive care in a hospital ) and the seeds can be roasted or steamed or pulped (processed). They have the consistency of poppy seeds, are crunchy and taste of well—Australia. Incidentally wattle seeds are high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre.
Witchetty/Witjuti Grubs are just that: tasty grubs are like borers and found in live wood in stems, trunks and roots of certain wattles. They are good sources of calcium and iron. An acquired taste, I suppose, like oysters, but I cannot eat them raw. Depending upon the wattle, they have different flavours. I have had them barbecued many times, without their heads. It's a cultural thing like eating prawns with heads still on I think. But I do prefer them headless and I love them. Hard to get and available in tins as soup
Kakadu Plums are just that: sweet plums, a round fruit in a plum like colour. But not as sweet as our western palate is used to. Nothing weird about them but very hard to find down south, here in Victoria. I love it as a jam but it can be used in the same way as quandongs.
Bunya Bunya Nuts are like our macadamia nuts—just delicious! I know that we export our macadamias, but bunya-bunya nuts not as yet. I would like to see these used as satay sauces. I have made some stunning satay sauces from macadamias—and can only get bunya bunya nuts when I go back to Western Australia. I have not experimented with bunya bunya nut satay sauce yet.
Goanna is a native lizard and part of the Monitor family and now an endangered species. They vary insize. At present it is not farmed on a commercial basis. Should be, as goanna is high in protein. Like snake and crayfish, for example, it is a garbage feeder. Thus a very nice food!
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