A Journey into Mbabaram Country: Exploring Bush Foods with Dear Friends

During the last set of holidays, I had the pleasure of venturing back to Mbabaram Country to reunite with my dear friend Gerry Turpin and his lovely family.

This time, I had the company of another friend, Billie Cornwaith, hailing from Adelaide and running a bush foods catering business.

Our accommodation was nestled in the heart of nature, surrounded by bush and flowing water. The community center we stayed in provided excellent facilities, and Billie and I set up camp in the shed, braving the company of nocturnal creatures.

Eager to explore the bounties of the land, we wasted no time and embarked on an adventurous journey on our first day. Our mission was to discover what was in season and enjoy the sight of blooming flowers. Among the treasures we stumbled upon was the honey suckle sucking on its flowers revealed a delightful release of honey, making it a refreshingly delicious treat. With the flowers I didn't indulge in, I decided to craft a golden bottlebrush and rosella sauce to accompany the macadamia crusted kangaroo – a combination that proved to be a sweet revelation.

Later that day, we hosted Gerry's family for a delightful feast. Billie, Gerry, and I became a culinary trio, bustling in the camp kitchen. Despite the challenges with the oven, we ingeniously lit a fire and found a camp oven vessel to prepare the Wattleseed bread.

Gerry contributed freshly picked Taro from his sister's garden, leading to mouthwatering Taro chips and coconut Taro dishes. The memory of their flavor took me back to the times we used to make taro chips in Tully FNQ – oh, how I miss those moments.

As Billie skillfully cooked up a storm, the camp kitchen filled with tantalizing aromas. Saltbush, braised lemon myrtle chicken, Saltbush potatoes, cauliflower and strawberry gum white sauce, honey and wattleseed carrots – all exquisitely prepared by Billie's deft hands.

For the kangaroo, I followed my instinctive cooking style, tossing in various herbs and spices like crushed macadamias, saltbush, wattleseed, and lemon myrtle. I added a dash of salt and oil, creating a delectable marinade. After searing in a pan,  and finished with the sauce, the kangaroo turned out to be a simple yet divine dish.

Now, let's talk about the rice! There are countless methods to cook rice, each one cherished by mothers, grandmothers, and aunties alike. Have you heard of the water to the knuckle method? Well, in our limited kitchen setup, I opted for a small cheat and found a rice cooker, which proved to be the perfect solution, yielding fluffy rice without a hitch.

Our time on Mbabaram Country was a delightful journey filled with nature's bounty and the warm camaraderie of friends. I returned home with cherished memories, newfound culinary delights, and a deeper connection to this beautiful land and its people. Until our next adventure!


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