Is it me, or has 2013 seen some amazing books hit our shelves, especially with Australian fiction? Half way through the year and they’re still coming. July has some beauties, one of them from my Friday Feast guest today.
It’s my great pleasure to once again host Jennifer Scoullar, whose debut novel Brumby’s Run was a *ahem* runaway success. As in Brumby’s Run, Jennifer’s love for the natural environment is explored deeply in her new release Currawong Creek. I have this book loaded on my e-reader already and I’m looking forward to diving into its pages. I know that not only will I have a cracking story to entertain me, I’ll also learn about a wonderful new part of the Australian landscape. Double bonus!
Take a look at Currawong Creek…
When Brisbane lawyer Clare Mitchell finds herself the unlikely guardian of a small troubled boy, her ordered life is turned upside down. In desperation, she takes Jack to stay at Currawong Creek, her grandfather’s horse stud in the foothills of the beautiful Bunya Mountains.
Being at Currawong takes some getting used to, but it also feels like coming home. Her grandad adores having them there. Jack falls in love with the animals, his misery banished and Clare finds herself falling hard for the kind, handsome local vet.
But trouble is coming, in the form of the Pyramid Mining Company. Trouble that threatens to destroy not only Clare’s newfound happiness, but also the livelihoods of her new neighbours, and the peace and beauty of the land she loves.
Tempted? Of course you are! Currawong Creek is available now from from your local book or chain store. You can also purchase online from most excellent 2013 Australian Romance Readers Convention Platinum Sponsor, Booktopia. For ebook lovers, try Kobo, JB Hi-Fi Books, Google Play, Amazon (for Kindle) or iTunes.
And now here’s Jennifer.
Eat Your Greens!
Thanks so much for having me on Friday Feast again, Cathryn. Your new posts each Friday are a terrible distraction to my writing routine. They always make me feel hungry and I wind up in the kitchen!
Continuing the bush food theme of my last visit, I’d like to talk about a wonderful native spinach substitute. Warrigal Greens. (Botanical Name: Tetragonia tetragonoides) It occurs right along the east coast of Australia and is ridiculously easy to grow, either from seed or cuttings. Just imagine, a delicious drought-proof vegetable that’s high in vitamin C. Once you plant it, you’ll always have it in the garden, and it lives without watering or any other care, except for pruning when it escapes its bed. Slugs and snails don’t touch it, and it doesn’t seem to suffer from disease or frost. It’s also a pioneer of bare ground, works well as a ground cover and can be dug in as a green manure. Talk about versatile! You can’t eat it raw though, because of oxalates in the leaves. Blanch the leaves first by immersing them in boiling water for a few minutes and then refresh in cold water. They’re tasty when steamed lightly and chopped with a little butter, or used in salad. It can be substituted for spinach in all dishes, added to casseroles for example, and vegetable slices.
Captain Cook was the first European to realise the value of Warrigal Greens. He used it as a protection against scurvy in his crew, even pickling the leaves to preserve them for long sea voyages. His famous botanist Joseph Banks took the plant to England where it became briefly popular as a vegetable. Strangely, I can’t find any reports that Warrigal Greens was used as bush tucker by indigenous communities. I’d love to know whether it was ever used as a traditional food. Maybe one of your readers might hold the answer?
Warrigal Greens seeds are available for purchase from Rangeview Seeds.
Recipe for a simple Warrigal Greens and Fetta Filo Pie, that only takes ten minutes to prepare.
Warrigal Greens and Fetta Filo Pie
- 2 cups of cooked and drained Warragul Greens
- 3-4 spring onions, chopped
- 4 free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 120 g cottage cheese
- 120 g feta cheese, crumbled or chopped
- Shake of salt, pepper and nutmeg
- A little fresh or dried dill
- Sesame seeds
- 10 sheets of thawed filo
- Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Spray a baking dish with the cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together everything except the filo.
3. Lay one sheet of filo in the baking dish, allowing the edges to hang over the sides of the dish. Spray with cooking spray. Repeat with 4 more sheets of filo, spraying and alternating the direction of each sheet.
4. Spoon mixture on top of the prepared phyllo in the pan.
5. Spray and layer remaining 5 sheets just the same as you did before.
6. Roll edges of dough to form a rim.
7. Spray the top and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Let stand 5-15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Why eat English spinach when you can eat Aussie?
Why indeed! And you can bet we taste a whole lot better too.
Thanks, Jennifer, for another fascinating post and delicious sounding recipe. I think the futherest I’ve come with using Australian native ingredients in my cooking, besides macadamia nuts, is using lemon myrtle and wattle seeds. It seems such a shame to not use more when we have such wonderful foods to choose from.
What about all you clever Feasters? Have you used or eaten any of our native ingredients? Crocodile pie, perhaps with bush tomato chutney? Quondong jelly? Wallaby stew? (the mention of which always makes me think of Spur, from the film The Man From Snowy River, and his infamous wallaby stew). For overseas visitors to the blog, do you have your own favourite native food?