Native Thyme

This strongly aromatic bush is a native to south east New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania. Native Thyme was used by indigenous Australians for its medicinal properties. The bush grows up to 2 metres high, with a showy display of lilac flowers on the tips in spring. It has very small round leaves, in pairs, attached to a multitude of stemletts. This plant is related to the Westringia and naturally occurs in cool moist gullies, particularly along river banks. It is now a very popular garden plant and can even be used as a low hedge.

Native Thyme is a strong growing plant when well watered, in a sheltered, well drained position and in acid to neutral soil conditions. As a pot plant, it provides a continuous supply of ready herb and is easy to maintain with regular pruning. Commercially, the Native Thyme is grown in shade house conditions with well drained raised beds.

When used in dishes featuring chicken, turkey, pork or lamb, a small amount makes a big difference.

Dried Native Thyme can be purchased at Taste Australia Bush Food Shop

Roast Lamb served with Tanami Potatoes and Peppermint Peas

1.5 kg boned lamb leg cut into 6 large pieces
1 tbsp Macadamia Nut Oil
1 tbsp fresh Garlic minced
1 tbsp Native Thyme
1 tbsp Lemon Myrtle
1 tbspn Mountain Pepper
2 tbsp melted butter

Mix oil with Garlic, Native Thyme, Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepper and salt to taste.

Place each piece of meat in the centre of a double buttered sheet of paper, wrap each piece of lamb tightly with paper tucking the ends down to prevent them from opening during cooking.

Coat the meat parcels with more butter and place into a buttered baking dish.

Bake in an oven preheated to 170C until tender, (approx 2 hours).

Serve hot in the paper with Roasted Tanami Potatoes and Peppermint Peas.

Roast Turkey stuffed with Pork, Apple, Quandong, Native Thyme and Native Sage

50gm butter
1 desertspoon Dried Native Sage
12 strips of pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon
bulb of garlic, broken into cloves
4 medium red onions, peeled
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
a big handful of breadcrumbs
1 apple peeled
half cup of reconstituted dried quandong (cover with water and soak for an hour)
300gm minced pork
zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of grated nutmeg
1 large free-range egg
sea salt and freshly ground pepperberry
1 tablespoon Dried Native Thyme
4–4.5kg turkey, preferably free-range or organic, at room temperature
2 carrots, peeled
1 large orange
Macadamia Nut Oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.1litres chicken or vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to maximum.

The Stuffing: Heat a saucepan until medium hot and drop in the butter, Native Sage and 6 of the pancetta or bacon strips.
Peel and chop 2 garlic cloves and 1 onion.
Add the garlic, celery and onion to the saucepan and fry everything gently until soft and golden brown.
Take the pan off the heat, add the breadcrumbs and, while the mix is cooling down, chop quandong and apple roughly and stir in.
When the mixture has cooled down, add the pork, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg and lots of salt and pepper, and mix everything together well.

Slice the remaining strips of pancetta or bacon in half and slice 1 peeled garlic clove into thin slivers. Place half a teaspoon of Native Thyme and a garlic sliver on one end of a halved strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls. Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. Push a little pancetta roll into each hole until it just peeps out. (Your turkey thighs will be flavoursome and moist.)

Chop the remaining onions in half and slice the carrots thickly. Give your turkey a good wipe, inside and out, with kitchen paper, and place it on a board, with the neck end towards you. Find the edge of the skin that’s covering the turkey’s breasts and gently peel it back. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. Lift the loose skin at the neck end and spoon the stuffing between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop anything leaking out. Pop the orange in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up and stuff it into the cavity. Weigh the stuffed turkey and calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500gm).

Place the bird on a large roasting tray, rub it all over with oil and season well. Surround with the chopped carrots, onions, remaining garlic, cover with alfoil and then into the preheated oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 180°C, and roast for the calculated time, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce with it a knife or a skewer. Remove the alfoil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird.

Carefully lift the turkey out of the tray and rest on a board that’s covered loosely with foil for 20 minutes while you finish off the veg and gravy. Skim the surface fat from the roasting tray and add the flour and stock. Place the tray on the stove top and bring to the boil on a high heat. When the gravy starts to thicken, strain it into a bowl.
Carve your turkey, serve with the gravy and vegetables!

Gluten Free Ricotta and Parmesan Lasagne

80gm unsalted butter
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup rice flour
1 desertspoon each of Native Thyme, Lemon Myrtle, Mountain Pepper
1/2 desertspoon Native Sage
1 litre milk
1 fresh lemon myrtle leaf
500gm fresh ricotta
375gm pack gluten free lasagne sheets
2/3 cup grated Australian Parmesan Cheese

Warm milk and lemon myrtle leaf in a pot and leave to stand while you prepare the sauce.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, Native Thyme Saltbush, Mountain Pepper and Native Sage and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until flour and milk are blended smoothly. Cook for 8 minutes. Remove lemon myrtle leaf and then add the fresh ricotta, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
Spoon one quarter of mix into a prepared pan and then top with lasagne sheets. Repeat a couple more times. Finish with a layer of cheese sauce and then sprinkle the grated parmesan on top.
Bake 180C for 35 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

This dish can be served on its own with a salad or as an accompaniment to a meat dish.

Roasted Capsicum with Native Thyme, River Mint and Pepperleaf

3 Capsicums
1 onion
Macadamia Nut Oil
1 teaspoon Native Thyme
1 Tablespoon Bush Tomato Relish
1 Tablespoon River Mint and Pepperleaf Jelly

Place sliced capsicums in a baking dish along with a sliced onion. Sprinkle with oil and Native Thyme.
Baked 180C for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and spoon over a mixture of Bush Tomato Relish and River Mint Pepperleaf Jelly.