If you’ve got the breakfast blahs, opening the door on Australia’s bush food pantry is a sure-fire way to change things up. And it’s an easy way to do it too – not only can it be as simple as putting some powdered native fruit in your smoothie, but getting your hands on these amazing flavours is much easier than it used to be.
“We’ve got so many great ingredients in our own backyard,” says chef and cookbook author Justine Schofield, who says that travelling through the Northern Territory to film her new show, Outback Gourmet, really opened her eyes to the range of Indigenous ingredients and how they could be used. In the past, they weren’t as readily available, but with more companies now selling online, access has become easier, she says. “Using it in our everyday cooking is now absolutely possible and it tastes delicious.”
Inspired to give some new flavours a go? Here are some of our favourite ways to add bush foods to breakfast.
Slather on the jam
Is toast your breakfast fave? Or perhaps you’re a fan of a breakfast scone for a weekend breakfast (if so, these flaky, buttery scones are just the ticket). Then try this recipe for tart-but-sweet, brilliantly red home-made rosella jam or this simple recipe for gubinge (aka Kakadu plum) and star-anise jam. You could also ring the changes in your scone with these bush tomato scones.
A trifling matter
If dessert for breakfast sounds deliciously indulgent, give Justine Schofield’s lemon myrtle-flavoured pineapple and coconut trifles a go. She was inspired to create this recipe during an early morning visit to Leliyn (aka Edith Falls), a natural swimming pool in Nitmiluk National Park, north of Katherine in the Northern Territory, and while we’d obviously be lying if we said eating one will magically transport you to where she whipped it up, perhaps closing your eyes and savouring the flavour of lemon myrtle in this tropical brekkie might give you a wee bit of the peace of this scenic spot.
Eggs for breakfast
If eggs are your go-to, you can try all kinds of native sea greens and bush herbs. Use beach mustard greens to add a fiery garnish, add dried herbs such as sea parsley to scrambled eggs, or try a sheep’s cheese frittata from Indigenous chef Mark Olive, who uses saltbush, pepperleaf and Warrigal greens in this recipe from NITV.
They are so easily available that we don’t always think of them as an Australian native food (and they are mostly commercially grown, not wild harvested) but macadamias are as Australian as thongs, lamingtons and meat pies.
Put them on your breakfast menu in these peach and macadamia muffins with lemon glaze, as a crunchy topping on home-made passionfruit ricotta bowls, or in the macadamia-walnut butter served with these paleo choc-chip pancakes:
Or use them to make a gluten-free, grain-free banana, macadamia and chia seed porridge:
One big, happy pancake
Feeding a family, or friends? A Dutch baby is like a big easy-to-make cross between a pancake and a popover, perfect for the weekend start. Justine Schofield made this lemon myrtle Dutch baby for a dessert to share at a campfire dinner in Outback Gourmet, but says it’s great for breakfast, too. (Her recipe includes instructions for making it in an oven, as well as in a campfire.
“Lemon myrtle is a sensational ingredient, it's got that balmy lemony flavour, so it’s absolutely delicious to use in this. But you can make a Dutch baby sweet or savoury. They're usually done quite small, but I love to do it as a whole puffy, big pancake.”
Time for tea (or a wattlecino)
If you like a cuppa with breakfast, there’s an exciting world of native flavours for you to explore. Here are a few examples to inspire you: The range from Warndu, for example, includes finger lime and river mint; Davidson plum and lemon myrtle; and river mint and ant (apparently the brew is “minty with a savoury, Vegemite and citrus punch from the ants”). The Kakadu Plum Co sells maarr (native lemongrass) tea, which they describe as great with meals, as it is said to aid digestion, and gulbarn tea (good hot or cold, they say, so this one might be a good choice if you like iced tea in summer). (Coffee lovers, we haven’t forgotten you. If a wattlecino sounds more your thing, read this article for ideas for using wattleseed in, or instead of, your morning brew.)
Discover more bush food flavours in Outback Gourmet, with double episodes screening 7.30pm Sundays on SBS Food Channel 33 from 31 March, and then available on SBS On Demand.
Prepare this chia pudding (without the topping) the night before for an almost instant breakfast.
Excellent served for brunch or even a Sunday night dinner, this dish, which sits somewhere between an omelette and a frittata, is so easy to make.
Put a warm glow in your belly and set you up for the day with this grain-free bowl.