23 December 2020

Join the Australian Native Food Revolution

Damien Coulthard

Damien Coulthard

Co-Founder of Warndu, Teacher & Artist
Director of South Australian Native Title Services
Master of Bachelor of Education (Primary and Middle)

Bachelor of Education alum, Damien Coulthard, is a man of many talents. Not only is he an educator, sports coordinator and a leader at the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy (SAASTA), he is an important part of the South Australian Native Title Services (SANTS) Board as a Director where he advocates for local Aboriginal communities and their land rights.

In his spare time, Damien is also a celebrated artist, with his signature dot paintings appearing in a number of publications and was featured in the Rebecca Hossack Gallery’s prestigious Songlines exhibition in the UK in 2018.

Damien is from Adnyamathanha country – spending his childhood in Quorn and Nepabunna in regional South Australia – and grew up intrinsically connected to his heritage and culture. This is evident in his artwork, inspired by creation stories of his country in the Flinders Ranges, where a love and celebration of country exudes from each piece.

A natural leader, his innate entrepreneurship and passion for sharing and honouring this rich culture culminated in the establishment of Warndu which he founded in 2016 with the equally inspiring Rebecca Sullivan and Siobhan O'Toole.

Warndu means good in the native Flinders Ranges Adnyamathanha language.

The local food business aims to regenerate culture, community, tradition, heath and our soils with Native Australian ingredients. Damien's plays a vital role building relationship with communities and wild harvesters to promote these native foods, anyone can use in their daily recipes.

Table laid with roast meats, vegetables and salad

Below are two recipes from their book Warndu Mai (Good Food) just in time for Christmas and perfect for the upcoming festive season.

The team have everything you need to give your Pavlova an Aussie Native twist with their Strawberry Gum and Wattle seed ground powders or reinvigorate a classic summer dish with their easy Aussie Prawn cocktail.

Before you begin cooking, check out Warndu’s resources guide for some useful places to buy from, forage, grow, or ask your local supermarket to stock. Whether it’s on a balcony or in a backyard, Warndu says growing herbs and greens is easier than you think.

Strawberry Gum Pavlova with Wattle Seed Cream

Strawberry Gum Pavlova with Wattle seed cream

Ingredients –

9 free range egg whites
3 tsp boiling water
1 tbs strawberry gum powder
300g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
2-3 tsp strawberry gum powder

Wattle seed cream:
300ml cream
60g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp wattleseed extract

100g wild strawberries, riberries or muntries
Edible flowers

Method –
Use a large bowl about 20-25cm and trace it with a pencil on some baking paper. Turn it upside down on a baking tray so you can see the circle outline. Start by making the meringue. Place all of the ingredients into your stand mix with the whisk attachment and beat on high (9-10) for ten minutes. Pile the meringue into the circle on your baking paper and use the spatula to spread evenly to the edges. You can use an upward motion with a palette knife to decorate the edges and try to get a smooth top to make piling the cream easier. Rough and rustic is also fine.

Preheat the oven to 100ºC. Bake for 1½ hours. Turn the tray halfway through. When cooked turn off the oven and let it cool completely in the oven before removing. If not serving within a few hours, wrap in cling wrap or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Whip the cream with the icing sugar and wattle seed. Pile on the pavlova and decorate with the berries and flowers.

Quandong and Finger Lime Prawn Cocktail

Quandong and Finger Lime Prawn Cocktail

Serves 4-6

Ingredients –

500-600g cooked prawns with tail on
1 baby cos lettuce, washed, dried and pulled into leaves
1 mini radicchio, washed, dried and pulled into leaves
4 tablespoons of aioli
3 tablespoons of quandong chutney
1 teaspoon bush tomato, ground
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of creamy horseradish
tabasco to taste
3 finger limes, the caviar pearls
salt and pepper to taste
a small handful of chives, chopped
a sprinkle of Davidson plum or bush tomato powder to garnish

Method –
Make the sauce by combining the aioli, chutney, Worcestershire, Tabasco, horseradish, bush tomato and lime in a medium-sized bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Layer a few leaves of the cos and radicchio in your serving glasses. Holding the shell of the tail, dip the prawns into the sauce and heavily coat. Place onto your lettuce garnish. Sprinkle a pinch of bush tomato or Davidson plum and some chives over the prawns to garnish. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is an edited extract from Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard (Hachette Australia, $45). Available here. For more ideas for the perfect last minute Christmas presents featuring Australian Native ingredients visit their website here.

Book cover:n Warndu Mai (Good Food) by Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard

Back to story index