Company Profiles...More than a Morsel
A continuing series.
More than a Morsel has `blazed the bushfood trail' for over 5 years. When owner Brian Lizotte discovered native bushfood ingredients, he dived in with enthusiasm. From giving lemon myrtle tea to singers such as Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel and Janet Jackson as a "Throat Tonic", the firm `graduated' to bushfood banquets for over 200 band and crew members on Michael Jackson's 1996 History Tour of Australia. Their driving inspiration for this distinctive bushfood first came from the true pioneer of the industry, Vic Cherikoff of Bush Tucker Supply Australia.
Some of the `gigs' which have enjoyed Morsel's bushfood experience include: Polo Magazine's Dom Perignon Polo Challenge, Faith No More, Jon Bon Jovi, KD Lang, U2 Popmart, Billy and Elton, Jimmy Barnes and Air Supply.
In September of last year, Morsel held a Bushfood and Wine Tasting Extravaganza which had such an overwhelming response that they held a second event in October. Celebrities, the media, wine representatives and Vic Cherikoff were among the guests at this second event.
More Than A Morsel specialises in catering for the Arts, Entertainment & Leisure Industries. Nine years of experience has enabled the firm to build a solid reputation and a client list that includes some of the biggest names in both the entertainment & corporate arenas. Morsel has also opened a cafe in the inner Sydney suburb of Glebe which promotes the use of Australian bushfoods.
Some of the bushfoods used by 'Morsels'
Kakdu plum - these are the world's highest fruit source of vitamin C and have a subtle, apricot flavour.
Rosella fruit: a tart berry-and-rhubarb flavour with a rich, red colour. The spreadable fruit can be used simply as jam, as a glaze or garnish.
Wattleseeds: a tempting coffee-chocolate-hazelnut flavour for hot beverages or desserts, eg. Wattleseed pavlova, pastries, pancakes, bread or ice cream. Akudjura (bush tomato): an interesting tamarillo, caramel and spice flavour for cheese dishes, sauces, bread mixes, butter or as a sprinkle on pizza, pasta, fresh salad or vegetables.
Akadjura - Bush tomato: an interesting tamarillo, caramel and spice flavour for cheese dishes, sauces, bread mixes, butter or as a sprinkle on pizza, pasta, fresh salad or vegetables.
Warm wattleseed chicken morsels with a lemon aspen dipping sauce
Damper bushettas with an array of toppings: native mint haloumi cheese with warrigal salsa verde, bush tomato chutney, mushroom and macadamia nut pate
Macadamia nut crusted king prawns with wild lime marmalade
Pan fried crocodile skewers with a garlic and Kakadu plum glaze
Smoked barramundi with green ants on wattleseed pikelets
Char grilled lamb fillet with rocket and sweet potato and rosella chili sauce
Pumpkin and risotto morsels with a lemon myrtle mayo
|Don Macdonald and his wife Christine own D.J. Macdonald Wholesale, a multi faceted firm which, amongst other things produces a range of essential oils from Australian natives|
Most of Don Macdonald's life has revolved around farming and the nursery industry, with twenty or so years experience in the nursery trade, including propagation, wholesale and retail production and sales, cut flower production and sales and all aspects of nursery and florist management. Don has been associated with the essential oils industry for over ten years. It began initially whilst he was doing contract nursery construction in northern NSW and started from the ground up through friendships made with many of the old time bush cutters. Don surmised that if they had been successfully harvesting oils from the bush for such a long time they must be doing something right, so he began by basically following their principles.
It was through Don's diverse and practical agricultural and horticultural knowledge that he became involved with the local TAFE college conducting government funded training programs. These programs played a pivotal role in the establishment of four trial high yield blocks of Melaleuca alternifolia (Teatree), the inception of the essential oils industry on the Fraser Coast and the commencement of the Fraser Coast Essential Oils Association. Don's company, D.J. Macdonald Wholesale also produces tea tree oil, manages tea tree plantations on behalf of other producers, develops appropriate machinery for harvest and processing, is involved in projects with the Qld DPI. and CSIRO to improve yield and to commercialise new oil producing species and specialises in other essential oils harvested only from Australian native trees.
These trees include:
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree)
Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad Leafed Paperbark)
Melaleuca viridiflora (Vivid Flower Paperbark)
Melaleuca bracteata (River Tea Tree)
Leptospermum petersonii (Lemon Scented Tea Tree)
Leptospermum liversidgei (Swamp May)
Eucalyptus staigeriana (Lemon Scented Iron Bark)
Eucalyptus (Gum Tree)
Backhousia citriodora (Lemon Scented Myrtle) and
Backhousia anisata (Aniseed Tree)
From this obsession (stemming from many years exploring the bush) his current venture was born. Essential oils produced from several Australian natives have become popular because of their unusual properties. Many native trees produce oils with natural chemical compounds that are currently being replaced by artificially made substitutes. Don's belief is, if it's Australian it is either better or as good as similar overseas products. Linalool, for example, a chemical compound found in Melaleuca viridiflora, can be added to lavender oil to improve its quality.
"So little work and study has been done on Australia's bountiful harvest, which includes bush tucker foods as well as essential oils etc., that we are still only standing at the forefront of an exciting new concept in our development. Some of our native trees are already being grown in overseas plantations."
THE BUSH TUCKER FELLA
One of Australia's most colourful characters (and most knowledgeable about our ancient native culture), is Allan Vousden, aka The Bush Tucker Fella. In childhood he lived with his family in the Kuring-gal National Park, near the "DHARUG" kingdom, learning all about bushfoods that grow in our parks. After school he went walk about in outback Queensland, later doing an apprenticeship as a Chef at a quaint little French Restaurant in Gordon, NSW.
Graduating from East Sydney Food College he returned to the bush, cooking for oil and mining crews in remote areas of Australia. In these 18 years of travelling and working in the Kimberleys, Great Sandy Desert, Nullabour Plains and Arnhem Land, he learned great knowledge from the elders of various tribes. The Hunters and Gatherers of the Communities imparted their secrets of the bush, including their food, medicine, and survival techniques. Returning to Sydney his reputation grew, cooking for two of our Prime Ministers and Tommy Hanlon Jr. He was Souse Chef at Penrith's Leagues, Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and with many other well known people and establishments. He has cooked on stage with Bernard King, on TV on "This Morning" (NBN TV) "Wonderworld" (Channel 9) plus numerous radio interviews. Suffering from a crippling arthritic disease since the age of 11 years Allan has achieved his dream, committing his life to teaching Australia's youth about native "Dreamtime" bushfoods and culture, with no Government assistance. He is a well respected member of the "Thaarawal" Community of Campbelltown, NSW. Through KULLANTEENEE BUSH TUCKER Supply & Promotion, he and Alana offer various special attractions. Kullanteenee has Australia's only travelling Indigenous Culture and Culinary Art Show. This includes yarns, video displays, live bush tucker plants in pots, dried flowers, fruits, leaves, nuts, etc.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isle Dancers, Story Tellers, Artists and Native Musicians can also be engaged at a little extra cost above Allan's educational services. Kullanteenee can cater for large or small functions anywhere in Australia, all quotes can be negotiated. Everyone's needs can be met whether it is for school, clubs, corporate functions, private or birthday parties, or any occasion. To see the show, hear the yarns or eat the delightful, food contact Allan or Alana at:
The Bush Tucker Fella, P.O. Box 6, Campbelltown, NSW 2560 or on 0481 118 845
Lacewood Jams of SA have an eclectic range which features Egyptian Dukkah (nibble food, traditionally sold in a small cone of paper), `Aussie Dukkah' and native food products.
The range includes Lemon Myrtle, Horseradish and Herb Mustard, Wild Bush Pepper Mustard, Lemon Myrtle and Honey Mustard Sauce, Plum and Port sauce with bush Tomato, Wild Bush Tomato and Chili Sauce and Lemon Myrtle Marmelade, with the range expanding all the time.
You can contact Lacewood on:
088 383 0362, Fax: 088 383 0425 or write to them at RSD 705, Blewitt Springs Rd, McLaren Flat, SA 5171.
With `Australian Bushfood Plants - an educator's resource', Kay Joyce has brought together years of research into one immaculately designed and well laid out volume. Aimed at teachers, trainers and others involved in imparting knowledge about bushfoods, the book takes the user/reader through a series of logical steps or excercises which cover every possible aspects of bushfoods.
The first section focuses on the learning program itself and the second, much larger section is activity based, covering the following: Plant identification, plant communities, preparation and cooking, health and nutrition (Aboriginal diet, early settlers, meal planning), ecological issues, Australian cuisine, market potential and production. A number of activities have been created for each of these topics - from bushfood crossword puzzles to data sheets the learner fills in The book is liberally illustrated with both line drawings and photos and blackline masters (overheads) are included for each section. I read through it with pleasure and realized that the book is not just a resource for teachers but also a valuable tool for those who simply want to learn more for themselves. With the topic of bushfoods gaining popularity in schools, this book is a timely and comprehensive guide for teachers around the country. I recommend it highly and wish Kay Joyce the greatest success - she has earned it through years of careful research.
`Australian Bushfood Plants - an educator's resource', phone 07 5448 5191 or write to Terra Gelaeran, 6 Atkinson Rd, Bli Bli Qld 4560
Merryn Carey and Peter Gow
What a treat to come across a booklet which is new (new to me, at any rate, I've only just found it!!) Authors Merryn Carey and Peter Gow have compiled a 30 page guide to bushfood plants which are suitable for cold and frosty winter conditions. As they say in the preface, tropical and arid land plants have had the bulk of the research till now which left potential growers in colder climates with few resources.
This is the first guide I've come across written specifically for cold climates and I hope that it `sounds the bell' for even greater research into temperate species.
Over 30 species are detailed, with information on habitat, use, growing and harvest. Interestingly, many of the species listed are also found in sub-tropical, arid and coastal zones. Many of the `commercially recommended' species are found here; Podocarpus elatus (Illawarra plum), Tetragonia tetragonoides (Warrigal greens), Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain pepper) and Acacia, to name a few. This is a `little book' which you can devour in one sitting - and then return to time and again for reference.
Available through the Bushfood Bookshop Catalogue or direct from South Coast Flora, 146 Dignam's Creek Rd via Narooma, NSW 2546. $6.50 including postage and packing.Trees and Shrubs for South Australia'
Greening Australia (South Australia)
This will become a well thumbed book...
This is not just a `user friendly guide' - it's also an enjoyable read which makes you realize just how rich this state is in floral resources.
The book states that it's aimed at `small and large landhold-ers who want to diversify into tree related income' and for these it's a handy and very timely reference. It's also a fabulous cross-reference for people who want to mix their bushfood planting with other useful native species (cabinet timber, medicinal, forage, oils, salinity uptake etc.) Each of the 300 species covered in the book has details on soil and rainfall requirements, potential uses, economics and a reference chart for easy identification of species which suit particular situations.
Although the book is based on South Australia, the species listed (not surprisingly) can also be found in similar soil and rainfall districts in WA, Victoria, NT and NSW.
Neville Bonney has written many books on the vegetation of South Australia and now that I've got my hands on this one, I'll be on the lookout for his other titles.
`Economic Native Trees and Shrubs for South Australia' is available from Greening Australia, State Tree Centre, Brookway Dr, Campbelltown SA 5074. Ph: 088 207 8757.
PLANTS OF AUSTRALIA
Tim Low $24.95
With descriptions and colour photos of something over 170 species, chapters on foraging, nutrients, bush survival, poisoning and a leaf and tuber gallery, this book will prove a handy reference guide and enjoyable reading for anyone interested in bushfoods.
Available at bookstores everywhere (if it's not at your local store, ask them to order it in.)
Bushfoods hit the Fin Review
A colour double page spread in the Fin Review of April 11-12 warns that it's crunch time for the bushtucker industry. Despite growing acceptance by the food service trade, bushfoods have yet to make inroads on the supermarket shelves.
And The Courier Mail...
Wendy Phelps of Longreach Bushtucker got a guernsey in the CM of May 4th with an upbeat article which stated that demand for bushfoods was due to escalate in the lead-up to the Olympics,
Hydroponics was the topic in an article which featured University of Technology (Sydney) researcher Ms Ahmed, who is looking at mass production of bushfoods hydroponically - paying particular attention to lowering the oxalate levels in Warrigal greens.
And the Ottawa Sun!
Australian David Evans has taken bushfoods to Canada - and garnered an enthusiastic article in the Nov 5 (97) issue of the Ottawa Sun.
A Leaf from Flower Growers...
Weekly Times of Feb 25th has an article which stated that flower growers had to work together to create the volume needed for export.
Undated article from the Financial Review tells us that famous bushfood restaurant Edna's Table had problems when they moved to new premises in MLC Centre (Sydney). Their landlords, Lend Lease, were horrified to find that they wanted to call the restaurant `Narmaloo' (beautiful place in the desert) and had a pink fit when they saw kangaroo and emu on the menu. The unkindest cut of all was the insistence of architect Harry Seidler that non-native agapanthus be planted in front of the restaurant. `Narmaloo' was dropped, emu stayed on the menu - don't known about the agapanthus. he Country...
A press release for Bushfood Starter Kits gained more attention from radio stations than any other news this magazine has put out - more than a dozen interviews on air have resulted and the interest from the country areas continues...