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Herbs. Bush herbs are better added as finishing seasonings to sauces so that the flavors can infuse rather than being cooked in (which destroys most of the volatile oils responsible for the flavors). This is also true for gumleaf oil and lemon myrtle oil which are both commonly used as cold flavors. However, gumleaf oil is less volatile than lemon myrtle oil and can be used as a finishing baste to cooked meat, if diluted appropriately. One herb which can take some heat is mountain pepper which loses its zing on heating but will impart its bushy base flavor into meat stocks and soups. To add back the zing, a finishing seasoning allows mountain pepper to mix with mixed conventional pepper in steak sauces etc. An important consideration when using bush foods is that the flavors typically exhibit an effective concentration range. Adding too little of a herb will contribute no perceptible taste. Add enough within a usually narrow concentration range and the flavor is obviously present, distinctive, and appealing. Experience and using incremental increases are better than overdosing. Within their effective concentration ranges all the native herbs currently available are cost-effective in use and delicious alternatives to conventional herbs and spices if well-balanced with other flavors. Other flavors: Wattle, roasted quandong kernels and akudjura could be considered as spices and used to flavor rich stocks and sauces. Wattle needs to be boiled and is not sensitive to heat. Roasted quandong kernels need to infuse at an addition rate of 3 - 4 kernels per finished serving of sauce. Akudjura sauces or stocks need the addition of salt as an enhancer and to balance the inherent bitterness of the fruit. Macadamia nuts, roasted and blended into a nut butter also make an ideal sauce flavoring with its smooth richness and enduring effect on the palate. Aromatic and pungent flavors can be effectively underpinned with macadamia nut butter.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|