(This article first appeared on the School Newsletter on 5th August).
With NAIDOC Week we have been exploring bush tucker in our recipes: what it is, where it comes from and what we would have eaten in Bondi before the shops and houses and fast food places arrived. We talked about the planning needed to hunt, catch, prepare and eat a large animal like a kangaroo or crocodile, and the fact that none of the animal would have been wasted.
We discussed the similarities between bush tucker and the Kitchen Garden philosophies of eating local and seasonal foods, and most importantly about the knowledge passed on to recognise which plants, animals and fish were safe to eat.
I asked the children to smell the roasted and ground wattleseed I brought in and to tell me what they thought: Chocolate, coffee, Digestive biscuits, bread, peanuts and malt were some of the great suggestions. And so then the Carrots made some Wattleseed damper.
And I cut the finger limes we had in half and squeezed out the little lime ‘caviar’ balls for them to try. “WARHEADS!’ was the cry in most of the classes, sour as they were. The Artichokes made a Tom yum soup with finger limes with bok choi from the garden and mushrooms, and then squeezed in the little baubles as a citrusy garnish.
Paul brought us in some branches of lemon myrtle from his garden and we used them in three of the recipes: the Tomatoes made Risotto of broccoli and lemon myrtle, with the leaves infusing in the hot stock, and the Olives made Lemon myrtle shortbread – blending up caster sugar with dried lemon myrtle leaves for a lovely lemony oil flavour – and we also made some Lemon myrtle tea by simply steeping the leaves in hot water. Delicious and very easy! Not like catching a kangaroo…
A pity that we’ve needed to postpone The Rocket movie fundraiser. We’ll wait until warmer weather and try again then.
To volunteer for classes or weekend chicken duty: http://signup.com/go/n5ciGB