Wild food Weekend

The GULP NT project has recently starting focussing on bush tucker and wild foods (wild food also included feral animals and weeds) and developing ways of making these interesting plant parts and creatures into delicious dishes.

A group of interested individuals involved in the project got together to brain storm, discuss and experiment with the use of wild foods, including road kill, seafood, bush fruits, roots and leaves. This isn’t the first time as the GULP project has used wild foods to create recipes. GULP members have already been promoting the use of the cane toad, have been wild food collecting in the mangroves with long term Top End local Llyod and GULP has also been involved in a remote project working with a community on an Arnhem Land homeland in devolving products from the wild harvested and abundant Mundtj (Buchanania obovata)

Fruit selction
Before the recent wild food gathering members of the group harvested wild foods either individually or with others and brought them together.

MANGROVE SEAFOOD

The harvest included many Mud crabs, mud mussels, periwinkles and long bums. These were collected in the very amazing Adelaide River Mouth with environmentalist, local seafood enthusiast and friend Llyod. The expedition took all day but was very worth it.

Longbums, loved also by indigenous people are amazing food in a cone-shaped shell with the very awesome scientific name Telescopium Telescopium. They are found amongst a variety of brackish mangroves in the mud and once cooked turn a wild green colour. They can be boiled or cooked in the coals and then need to be smashed out of their shells. We cooked them up, once shelled in coconut lemongrass, ginger and chilli with home made coconut milk from foraged coconuts from Coconut Grove.

longbum

The main focus of our sea food harvest was the delicate and specialised mud mussel ( Polymesoda erosa or Jukwarringa in Tiwi). Once boiled for a short time they open revealing a salty and watery small shell fish which really is delicious. These are mostly found amongst the roots coming up from the mud of the Grey Mangrove, Avicennia marina and are best picked when buried far in the mud and harder to spot. This is the tidal zone, so you have to get in at low tide and you may end up as a mud monster.

Mussel broth best

We also picked up a few periwinkles found on the Stilt mangroves or Rhizophoro.

The mud mussels are best just steamed in a pan until they open. They can be cooked with the leaf of the Grey Mangrove, and this boiled with water is quite tasty as a tea.

A little note on sustainable harvest- Whenever collecting wild food you need to only take as much as you need, always leave more than you take so the plant or animal can reproduce. If the animal or plant is feral/ a weed then this rule does not apply and you help the native environment by taking the produce. 

On our sea journey we also put crab pots down and came back with some juicy mud crabs. We made sure all were big enough and put all females back.
Llyod and crab

ROAD KILL WALLABY
Road kill wallaby also featured on the menu. This needs to be fresh, skinned and gutted and can then be frozen for later. It is very sad that many animals are hit by cars, but if you can eat them then there is less waste and to a point the meat had a natural and free life before the unfortunate end.

Bamboo 2

Lou took a technique often used in Asia and after cutting up the meat mixed with a variety of herbs and flavourings including lemongrass, ginger and chilli. This was then stuffed into the bamboo tubes and placed in the coals out of the flames of the fire and sort of steamed.

Bamboo steaming

NATIVE FRUIT

 Cluster figs were collected by Grusha from Casaurina coastal reserve, they seem to be just getting ready here and all over the riverine margins. They grow on the stem and branches of this tree (Ficus racemosa) and change to an orangey colour when ready. They have a slightly fluffy texture with the hint of sweetness, but to be honest are not that delicious off the tree. Grusha made these into incredible syrup by stewing them in water in a slow cooker with sugar and spices for a couple of hours. These were so good. These were cooked up and a served on pancakes with yoghurt and kapok flowers.

Grusha figs

figs on pancakes figs top view

Pandanus nuts, were cooked on the coals and broken open, but with not much success, the seed seemed to be a little hard to get out, we might need to get a little more advice on this one from our Yolngu family.

Pandanus nuts

Kakudu plum- Terminalia ferdiandiana (frozen and pickled as just out of season) was bought along. The fruit seemed pretty tasty and less stringy frozen. The pickles, preserved in vinegar, sugar and spices were very tasty. It had been picked in May from the bush on the outskirts of Darwin.

pickled green plum

Local Yam root (Dioscorea sp.) was carefully peeled, this took a while as it is very hobbly boobly. This ha been grown in Grusha’s garden, originally collected from the bush. This is the time to harvest them, in unburnt bush so the leaves can be seen. The later in the dry season the foliage dies back.

Yam

Emma had collected Syzgium fibrosum, which actually occur more in Arnhem land, but have often planted in landscaping. These sweet little fruits were added to pickled crab and also made into a sweet sauce by simmering with sugar and having as a great side sauce.

Syzygium fibrosum bowl

Wild Rosella (yes kind of a weed) was bought along for cutting and preparing, but also some premade jam was bought along. The Rosella was actually collected in some remnant bushland in the Howard River region in some disturbed areas.

Rossella cutting

Kapok flowers which are currently in flower were added to dishes.

Water Lilly roots (Nyphaeae sp.) harvested that morning from our friend’s dam, were skinned and chopped up to go with the cooked crab. Some backyard egg and lemon mayonnaise was also made to go with it.

lotus roots

Some crab was also pickled with lemongrass, vinegar, ginger, a little chilli and Syzygium fibrosum, which Emma had harvested that morning. This Lilly Pilly is found in Arnhem Land and is very tasty and is now grown in many gardens and for landscaping, so can be ‘foraged’ from in more Urban areas. Steaming and then de-shelling the crab was quite a task!

Crabbed outcut crab in pot

pickled crab

Grevillea flowers from the Fern Leaf Grevillea (Grevillea Pteridifolia) were made into a delicious malty sweet drink, just by adding boiled water from the fire.

Grevillea tea

We also made some Hibiscus, lime and lemongrass tea, not native but also could be served in combination with the Grevillea..Hibiscus lemongrass tea

The gathering was held on  Liz ‘s 30 acre property in Darwin river , which she manages as Land for Wildlife and is all intact, beautiful native woodland (and completely weed free) This seemed a great setting for a wild food workshop and we are very grateful to her as we had to change locations at the last minute and she let us use her place and outdoor kitchen. It is also worth noting that all the plant species that seem tasty to humans support wildlife from insects to birds and mammals.

Liz Amy and BhaviniThis workshop was just the start of many more wild food collecting and preparation experiences and the project hopes to host walks and workshops on particular bush tucker in the October/ November season for any interested others and involve Larrakia representatives.

We will also cover each of these ingredients separately and feature focus pieces on them, so watch this space and we would love to hear from you if you cook with wild foods / bush tucker.

Jamaican Roots in Darwin

Matumba is a fabulous member of our Darwin community and  has lived in Darwin for 16 years. Matumba smiles2

Matumba grew up in Darliston near Montego Bay in Jamaica in the Carribean with his Grandma until he was eight years old. It was pretty simple living, but food was always important, using whatever was grown on the island and available. A real treat and childhood favourite was Cassava Pone- a sweet desert made of grated cassava, sugar and spices. It is like a cake with no flour- there was a lack of flour and only corn maize was available, or local roots Taro and Cassava, which we are happy to be able to grow here!

Matumba moved to London when he was eight to join the rest of his family, but Jamaican cooking still was an important part of life, but a lot of the ingredients had to come from far, but were available due to a strong Caribbean community in London.

After leaving London and travelling in Greece and Australia Matumba settled in Darwin, where he know lives with his family and is happily growing Cassava and other tropical veggies that are so familiar from his childhood.IMG_3756

Matumba shared his story and cassava pone recipe with the GULP team and a large audience of other Darwin community members, with the help of his son Darliston!

Matumba and Darli

The recipe goes something like this-

500g  raw cassava grated

1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
½ tsp. nutmeg or mace
250 g grated coconut- fresh is best
2 cups hot water
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp. melted butter or oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp, ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

  •  Combine cassava with milk, sugar and spices and mix well.
  •  Add coconut, hot water and melted butter.
  • Mix briskly and taste for sweetness desired.
  •  Add more sugar if necessary, pour into greased Pyrex dish.
  • Enjoy with friends
  • cassava pone

Community Banana Festival

Here it is the fabulous announcement of The Community Banana festival! March 8th at The Mulch Pit in Night cliff.

Join us in our love of the banana and our sadness it is getting destroyed- Come and celebrate how amazing the banana is, join in a weaving workshop and learn about its fibres, see cooking demos of all its parts- trunk, leaves and fruit.

Enjoy some banana inspired songs, banana art. Bring a banana dish to share and be part of some banana theatre/ music

There will also be a space for discussion/ a panel!

Please contact us if you would like to contribute. We are looking for more banana trunk cooks and crafters! More banana info and links soon….banana poster lge

Indian roots- A cassava curry

CassavaEarlier this year we held a fabulous roots workshop at The Mulch Pit (in Nightcliff, Darwin).

The cooks

We had over 30 people attending, some cassava harvesting and wonderful presenters sharing their food stories and recipes of the easily grown roots- Cassava and Taro, they included-

  • Matumba and his Cassava pone and Taro chips
  • Grusha and Cassava gnocci
  • Pascalini and Shirley and wonderful cassava leaf dishes
  • Emma and a Pacific taro leaf dish and
  • Bhavini and her cassava root curry.

So a full update of the day and recipes is being worked on- but for now here is Bhavini’s story. Bhavini has lived in Darwin for over 15 years and is also part of our GULP events team, she grew up in England in an Indian family and was passed on many recipes from her mum. In England many ingredients for these needed to be imported, so she is happy to live somewhere they can be grown, and she eats a lot of local produce, growing it and buying it from Rapid Creek Market.

Bhavini explains

Above Bhavini explains the Cassava plant and how it is grown and used..

Bhavini explains2

Below she explains all of the ingredients used for a cassava recipe learnt fro her family; the recipe has a tomato base, so to keep it as local as possible make this when tomatoes are harvested (August- October)

Bhavinis spices

Indian cooking uses a lot of dry spices and each bride is given this nifty looking tin set to store them in on the time of her marriage! Some of these spices can be grown in Darwin, like turmeric and chilli and cardamon and mustard seeds (dry season), of course many of these are very fiddly to harvest and imported cheaply from Asian countries; others are a little harder (like cloves and star anise) as they are from large trees.

Tamarind features as the zingy flavouring to the curry and is a large tree with a pulpy pod and can be found happily growing in the Darwin region, or bought processed from Asian shops.

The cassava root is peeled and cut into pieces and all of the other ingredients chopped.

Here is the full recipe- 

Ingredients

1kg of cassava skinned and cut into 1inch cubes
4 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
1 large brown onion roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
3 bird’s eye chillies (adjusted to taste)
6 curry leaves
2 tea spoons of tamarind concentrate/2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
2 tea spoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 table spoon olive oil
6 leaves of Thai coriander finely sliced

cassava cooking

 Method

Boil cassava in lightly salted water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1L of water) until tender.

Drain liquid and reserve.

Pound garlic, ginger and chilli’s into a paste using a pestle and mortar.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin seeds and wait until they start to “pop”.

Add onions and curry leaves and sauté until softened (5 minutes).

Add curry paste and dry spices and fry until aromatic (you will feel a tickle in your nose).

Add chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste/pulp and sauté until tomatoes have softened, add 500ml of water and bring to the boil.

Add cassava and cook for 30-40 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Garnish with coriander

Serve with rice and riata

Bhavini curry

For PDF version of Bhavini’s recipe click here

Sapodilla dessert

Delicious Sapodillas are ready and available at the Rapid Creek, and probably other local food markets.

Sapodilla, or Manilkara zapota, is a small brown rough skinned fruit resembling a (soft) small potato. It has a rich sugary malt like flavour and is from the Americas. It is grown in the Darwin region.

I have now put up this recipe, in the recipe section, which came from Erin, at our last workshop- it is a raw dessert with coconut cream and oil and is delicious…

Raw food seems to be all the rage, so here is a truly yummy recipe with a special locally grown fruit. I am sure you could also experiment with Black Sapote (a totally different species of yummy goopy fruit) and other fruits that catch your fancy with a similar texture.

Raw Sapadillo tart 2

Ingredients

For the filling

 2 cups sapodilla flesh
¼ cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
3-4 banana flesh
¼ cup coconut nectar (optional)

For the base

 ½ cups coconut meat
2 cup activated raw almonds
(soaked in filtered water overnight)
1 tbsp. Organic Honey
1 tbsp Almond butter
¼ cup Organic Virgin Coconut oil
1 pinch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

The base

 

  • Place the base ingredients into the food processor and blitz until well combined.
  • Using a flan tin, scoop out the mixture into the tin and press firmly until the mixture is tightly packed. Place into the fridge to set.

 

The filling

 

  • Make sure all the seeds and skin is removed form the fruits, place all ingredient into a blender or food processor and puree until no lumps are present.
  • Pour the mixture onto the base and pop it in the freezer until set.
  • Dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Download recipe here- Raw Sapadilla dessert recipe.

Erin’s GULP workshop in Alawa

So our GULP project is all about tapping into the amazing community we have here in Darwin that use produce that grows here and sharing the knowledge.

A couple of weeks ago we held a GULP workshop  at Alawa Primary School, facilitated by Erin Vaid.  Erin runs the kitchen part of the kitchen garden program at Alawa Primary School and knows a lot about cooking local tropical produce.  Children at the primary school, in yrs 3-6 have a kitchen and garden lesson every week. The garden is part of the farm and there are also goats, chickens and at the moment cows.

A lot of Erin’s inspiration comes from India, where her husband is from and her background as a chef. She lives with her husband and daughter in Darwin.

Erin and Family

20 enthusiastic people from the Darwin community joined us in the kitchen to cook  delicious dishes in small groups and then eat together and share local cooking ideas. It was really lovely to bring everyone together and share ideas, and learn from Erin.

Jackfruit curry cooks

Recipes are now on the recipe page, or click the photos below.

Recipes included a green Mango salad, what better way to enjoy the start of the mango season-

Green Mango salad2A jicama salad with local herbs and peanuts….

Jicama salad 3Jicama salad

 

Jackfruit curry with local tomatoes and coconut milk ….

Banana trunk curryJackfruit frittas with Asian dipping sauce

Jackfruit frittasBrazilian spinach parcels

Brazilian spinach and feta triangles

A taro curry….

Taro curry (Erin recipe)A banana trunk and chicken curry

Banana shoot ingredients

With these ingredients above, cooked with laughter …

 

Banana curry stiring

Banana shoot curry

and last but not least an amazing raw sapodilla and coconut tart.

bindi Sapodilla

 

Raw Sapadillo tart 2 What a feast!

Table fullWe can’t wait till next time, Thanks Erin… and remember we are always looking for your input, so contact us, even if you would like to share just one recipe! Lets celebrate what we can grow in our back yards, schools, nature strips and cook together!