Discover Australia through her food – Lamb with Native Thyme, Desert Lime and Peppermint Gum

Discover Australia through her food – Lamb with Native Thyme, Desert Lime and Peppermint Gum

We’ve teamed up again for the third in a series of blogs celebrating amazing Australian ingredients in conjunction with Malynka Williams at The Taste Australia Bush Food Shop. Each month we will feature a different herb/bush tucker food, I will provide some interesting background information about it, as normal for our blog, Malynka will provide the pictures and the herb/bush food itself, one or other of us will make the recipe. Today we are exploring  Native Thyme and have a delicious lamb recipe for you to try.

As we have begun to appreciate, unlike culinary herbs from other cultures, Australian herbs are generally trees or shrubs from rainforests, open forests and woodlands. Australian herbs and spices are generally dried and ground to produce a powdered or flaked spice, either used as a single ingredient or in blends. They were used to a limited extent by early colonists in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some extracts were used as flavouring during the 20th century. Australian native spices have become more widely recognised and used by non-indigenous people since the early 1980s as part of the bushfood industry, with increasing professional use and export.

Prostanthera rotundifolia, otherwise known as Native Australian Thyme or the round leaved mint bush, is a highly aromatic plant that can grow to a 2m evergreen shrub with small round leaves and profuse lilac flowers from September to October and is related to the Indian Sacred Basil, Ocimum Sanctum.

 

This strongly aromatic bush is a native to south east New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania. In the wild, it occurs naturally in cool moist gullies, particularly along the  banks of rivers. However, it is now a very popular garden plant and can even be used as a low hedge. As a pot plant, it provides a continuous supply of herbs for the kitchen and it  is easy to maintain with regular pruning.

native-thyme

You can grow your own native thyme. This perennial plant grows easily from seed and leaves can be picked throughout the year for garnishing or as a native tea. Once established this plant is very tough and will provide you with year round food. The plant grows in the same way as basil or mint and can be used in tomato dishes, soups, salsas or salads. The German explorer Ludwig Leichardt called the plant “wild marjoram” and used the leaves to make a tea.

Native Thyme was used by indigenous Australians for its medicinal properties. Native Thyme acts as a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial and an excellent anti-oxidant. You use it as you would Mediterranean Thyme but unlike traditional thyme, it has a complex flavour based on mint. It is particularly good when mixed with Artesian Salt, Minced Garlic, Macadamia Nut Oil and Breadcrumbs as a crust, as a baked potato spice, a red meat rub or BBQ marinade.  Or add  1/4 tspn dried Native Thyme to Lemon Curd!

 

Lamb with Native Thyme, Desert Lime and Peppermint Gum

Ingredients 

  • 1  deboned lamb leg
  • 1 desertspoon dried Native Thyme
  • 1 desertspoon dried Peppermint Gum
  • 6 fresh Desert Limes sliced or juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 tablespoons Macadamia oil
  • Pinch each of Artesian salt, Pèpperberry and garlic

Method 

Using a small bowl mix the macadamia oil, Native Thyme, Peppermint Gum, Desert Limes, garlic, Artesian salt and Pepperberry. Place the lamb in a ceramic dish and coat thoroughly with the herb mix. Cover and marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours, before roasting. Place in the oven for 1.5 hours, remove and allow to rest before serving.

native-thyme-desert-lime-peppermint-lamb

 

 

 

More about Malynka 

 

 

 Malynka is a third generation Australian who was raised on the edge of the South Australian desert. Her ancestors migrated from England as free settlers around 1852. The area in which she grew up was home to a large population of first Australians as well as immigrants from Greece, Italy, Poland, Lebanon and Germany. Malynka’s interest in bush food began in the mid 1990’s but it was not until early 2008 that she could see what a positive step the Bush Food Industry could be in helping the traditional land owners. Many foods are either grown or wild harvested by Aboriginal people and the reward for their efforts gives them purpose, pride and encourages the young ones to learn about their culture.
 The aim of Taste Australia Bush Food Shop  is to assemble as many different bush foods as possible and experiment by using them in various cuisines. With her work with the Aborigines, Malynka has discovered tastes which are now indispensable in her kitchen, numerous kitchens of her fellow Australians and now, thanks to their blogs, introducing us to Australian Bush Food, ours!  You can follow Taste Australia Bush Food Shop on Facebook too.

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