Our forthcoming Time Out Talk, The Politics of Bushfood Now, explores the complex topic of native ingredients in a contemporary culinary context. While native ingredients are novel in fine dining, they come with long and vital histories attached to them, histories we're not always good at celebrating.
Because it's hard to appreciate something you haven't tried, we've enlisted the help of the remarkable Sharon Winsor to serve up a tasting menu of bushfoods on the night. Sharon is a Ngemba Weilwan woman of Western NSW, and the founder of Indigiearth, a catering and retail company that specialises in sourcing native ingredients directly from Indigenous communities, in a way that is sustainable, and helps foster economic and social development. Sharon is also a member of Five Kungas, an alliance of Indigenous women within the bushfood industry, who are fighting for a more ethical and equitable approach to sourcing and using native ingredients.
"My passion with my people is getting bushfoods back into everyday diets, encouraging healthier lifestyles and getting our kids involved again," Sharon tells Time Out. She explains that native ingredients offer the chance for young Indigenous Australians to reconnect with their cultural heritage. "When you’re out with elders collecting bushfoods then you’re always talking and hearing stories."
In addition to her own line of culinary and beauty products, Sharon was instrumental in supplying Noma Australia with ingredients when they popped up in Sydney earlier this year.
But, at our talk, it'll be her own recipes she's dishing up. "[I'll be] creating dishes that are sort of familiar, so people are willing to try bushfoods without going into the heavy stuff." On the night of the talk, for an additional $15, she'll be serving a tasting menu that features:
Bush tomato quiche: "It has very nice rich, earthy flavour. Bush tomato really doesn’t taste like European tomato. Some people actually refer to it as a desert raisin, it's got a bit of a burnt caramel kind of flavour. You can use it in casseroles, bakes, and dips by mixing it with cream cheese."
Lemon myrtle arancini with bush tomato relish: "When you mix bush tomato with different types of items you get different flavours. It reacts differently with different things," she says of the tangy combo.
Bushfood burgers: "I'll be serving emu, kangaroo and crocodile burgers. We’ll use bush tomato chutney, quandong chutney and rainforest plums with chilli sauce for the crocodile... Crocodile tastes like a mixture between chicken and fish. They’re farmed and they get fed a lot of chicken, and that’s where that flavour comes from. A lot of people are surprised at it being a white meat. We use the tail because that’s the most delicate part. Emu is very gamey and very rich. If you’re not a big red meat fan, then emu’s not for you."
Wattle seed cheesecake: "Wattle seed has got a coffee, hazelnut flavour. There’s a chocolateyness in there too."
Native ice tea: "I’ll be doing a wild rosella and lemon myrtle ice tea. It’s a refreshing citrusy taste. Rosella tastes sort of like a mixed berry flavour, although it's got a quite distinctive flavour. It’s a member of the hibiscus family."
You can get your tickets to next Tuesday's Time Out Talk here.
Note: Image used is a stock image only, and was not taken of Indigiearth's product.