Thursday, 26 June 2014

' MOUNTAIN PEPPER & WATTLE SEED DAMPER .'

Mountain Pepper & Wild Green Wattle seed Damper with Wattle seed butter, Rainforest fruit jam, Micro Cinnamon & Lemon myrtle leaves and Silver Wattle flowers.


                This little dish, most likely served for afternoon tea is a bit of, when bush tucker meets devonshire tea. Inspired by a little field trip with my two sons in the wetland catchment adjacent to our property. The area is a natural haven for all different water bird, heath and native trees and shrubs and on the fringes wattles and pine. On the walk we managed to forage a 2 litre bucket full of wattle seed from a Green wattle tree and some branches of Queensland Silver wattle bloom, along with some pine needles for a different prep. There are 120 edible Australian acacias, and are being used by the indigenous people of Australia in many ways. Common varieties for seed for this area are the Green, Brisbane, Silver, Cootamundra, and the Velvet wattles. Seed was traditionally eaten either green ( and cooked ) or dried, roasted and pound to a flour to make a kind of bush bread, the damper. The flowers were mixed into a batter and a kind of pancake were cooked on hot rocks and an adhesive was made from the gum (sap) that runs from the trees trunks, in modern bush food cooking this can be used in substitute for other gums, to thicken sauces and set jams, imparting a resinous botanical undertone. Wattle seed when roasted has a nutty malt flavour with a hint of carob. I've used the wild harvested Green wattle seed in making both the damper and the butter. The mountain pepper berry is store bought and comes from Tasmania where it flourishes in the cool mountain climate and the Rainforest jam refers to the native fruits gathered from our backyard food forest. This jam was made about 6 months ago and is a perfect time to make it to the plate. Below are a list of the preps in order of execution.                                            
               In our food forest we have planted out 18 species of bush food plants and there were another 4 species already existing when we arrived at the property. Six species of the ones planted have not survived, leaving us with 16 different bush foods growing through our yard of which 10 of these were used to make the rainforest fruit jam.                                                                                                    
RAINFOREST FRUIT JAM- To make this jam I first made two cups of strong tea from crushed Cinnamon and Lemon Myrtle leaves, this was then strained into a heavy based saucepan to this I added a squeeze of half a lemon and the green seed pods from the rosella fruits. This was brought to a simmer and cooked down for around 10-15 minutes to release and activate the pectins in the pods. Once thickened, the syrupy liquid was strained and returned to the saucepan adding all the prepared fruit ( Rosella calyxes, Midgen berries, Magenta cherry, Lilly Pillies, Sandpaper figs, Native lime berries, Cedar bay cherries and Atherton raspberries). The fruit was cooked down until soft and then measured, adding an equal portion of sugar and returning to the stove to simmer until the jam set on a cold plate.                                
MOUNTAIN PEPPER & WATTLE SEED DAMPER- To make this edible acacia bush bread I began by preparing the wattle seed flour by de-podding the seeds and roasting them for around 10 minutes on a flat tray in a 210 degree C. oven, frequently tossing them around to get an even roast. The seeds were then cooled and ground to a flour in a spice grinder. I also ground some whole pepper berries to a cracked pepper consistency. Then in a mixing bowl I rubbed 60g of softened butter through 3 cups of self raising flour to form a crumb. To this I added 30g of roasted wattle seed flour, a teaspoon of salt and 10g of ground mountain pepper, this was mixed through the crumb to evenly disperse. I then made a well in the centre gradually adding 1 cup of Oat milk mixing to form a dough. The dough was then divided into large spoonful portions and baked in a 200 degree C. oven for around 20 minutes, until golden on top and cooked in the middle.                                                                                                        
WATTLE SEED BUTTER- While the mini bush breads were baking I soaked 2 teaspoons of roasted wattle seed flour, 2 teaspoons of raw sugar, half teaspoon of vanilla extract in a quarter cup of boiling water for 30 minutes, this was then poured through a sieve and set aside. In a small bowl I creamed a half cup of softened butter using a stick blender until soft and fluffy. To this I added the concentrated wattle seed essence and with the stick blender mixed until thick and incorporated. This wattle seed butter can be kept for a month covered and refrigerated.











   

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