Cooking with Native Australian Super Foods

A recipe for Native Pikelets, containing some of Australia’s bountiful superfoods!

The recent popularity of so-called “superfoods” has been a hot nutritional topic for the past few years. And while the trend can sometimes seem a little hyperbolic, many of these nourishing, plant-based extracts, usually available in powder form, have their origins in indigenous wellbeing practices. Our ancestors discovered and cultivated their native roots, berries, seeds and leaves to bolster longevity, treat ailments and provide critical nutrients when sustenance was sparse. Usually these plants thrived even in arid and barren conditions, and their adaptogenic qualities—hardy in the face of ecological adversity—were prized for imbuing the forager with those same qualities. Think of now-popular super foods such as maca from Peru, ginseng from China, and holy basil (or tulsi) from India. Known as the “ancient healers”, today they are more coveted for their health and beauty-boosting powers. But perhaps lesser known is the bounty of native Australian superfoods, which thrive in one of the Earth’s most sun-scorched landscapes.

There’s Kakadu plum, high in vitamin C with hydrating and antiseptic properties; antioxidant-rich Davidson plum; anti-inflammatory quandong, and disease-fighting finger lime and lemon myrtle (great as a tea), among others. You can find them from companies such as The Australian Super Food Co. who have harnessed the potency of these ingredients, making them easy to blend into smoothies, sprinkle on salads and bake into muffins. “I first became interested in native ingredients while doing some research at university over ten years ago,” says Queensland-based food stylist and recipe writer Hannah Archibald of The Seasonal Circle. “I came across the Kakadu plum, which was found in the 1980s to have the highest level of Vitamin C than any other known fruit at the time. It was gaining a bit of interest as a potential ingredient in health and skin supplements and I was interested in its horticultural development.” Some of Archibald’s other favorites include “native finger limes, pepper berries and lemon myrtle–all have become more accessible in recent years and are very versatile. Finger limes are being heralded as the next macadamia nut in terms of popularity, and I love incorporating Illawarra plums and Davidson plums into dishes for their high antioxidant content.”

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For inspiration on how to use these goodies in our cooking, we looked to the charming and irreverent online food ‘zine Dish Pig, which often collaborates with Archibald on recipes. Founded by Georgia Ashdown, a former fashion magazine stylist and producer, the ‘zine aims to discover the new and next in food, and act as an outlet for the community of creative folks in food, hospitality, photography, art, fashion, architecture and design. Here, Dish Pig shares Archibald’s recipe for Native Pikelets (that’s pancakes to those in America!) with macadamia nut cream and Davidson plum jam.

Native Pikelets

Wattleseed adds an earthy flavour to the pikelets, while the macadamia nut cream adds texture. The Davidson plums are quite tart, a common characteristic in many Australian native fruits. Illawarra and Davidson plums are very high in antioxidants, although they can be hard to source, so blueberries or any type of local plum can be substituted in this recipe.

Makes 12 Pikelets

Macadamia Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup raw macadamia nuts

1.5 cups water

Combine macadamia nuts and water in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Drain milk through fine muslin cloth to yield around 1 cup of milk to use for pikelet mixture.

Save the pulp and the remainder of milk and mix into a thick cream-like consistency.

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Davidson Plum  Jam

2 cups chopped Davidson’s plums (or local other seasonal plums or blueberries)

1 cup raw sugar (or substitute other natural sweetener to taste for a sugar-free option)

¾ cup water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced and a thick consistency. Allow to cool.

Wattleseed and Illawara Plum Pikelets

Ingredients:

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

1/3 cup rolled oats, finely ground

1/2 tsp ground wattleseed (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup macadamia nut milk

2 eggs, separated

1 whole pear, finely grated

1 lemon

6 Illawarra plums (or local seasonal plums or blueberries)

20g butter or coconut oil for cooking

Combine spelt flour, oat flour, wattleseed and baking powder in a bowl. Finely grate pear and zest 1 lemon. Whisk egg yolks and macadamia nut milk in a separate bowl until combined, then add pear and lemon zest. Pour this mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form and then fold through mixture. Place large frying pan over medium heat. Add a dot of butter or oil and a tablespoon at a time of batter into pan. Add sliced plum or blueberries to the top of each pikelet if desired (works well without). Cook until bases are golden (approximately 2 minutes) then flip and cook for a further two minutes or until golden. Keep warm and repeat with remaining butter and batter.

Serve pikelets warm with macadamia nut cream and jam.

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Comments

  1. G’day! Thank you for the mention of The Australian Superfood Co! We are so glad to see our Aussie superfoods gaining some attention overseas. Would love to send your office some products to enjoy — email us with a mailing address if you’re keen!

    xx

  2. Indigenous Australians have the World’s longest living culture and their foods, along with traditional resource management, underpin this feat. For anyone wanting to know more about the Australian superfoods, may I humbly refer to my book; Wild Foods; Looking back 60,000 years for clues to our future survival. The fact is that we are threatening our own health with modern foods and the small number of different foods we eat today compared with the number (and quality) of wild foods. These were up to 10 times more in number and up to 100 times more in nutritional potency.

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