Tasmanian pepper, plant with ripe fruits
www.trump.net.au © Robert Coghlan
|Flowers of T. insipida, a close relative of Tasmanian pepper|
|Flowering Tasmanian Pepper plant|
What is called bush food in Australia is a new culinary style that makes
use of tasty indigenous plants: lemon myrtle,
acacia seeds (
wattleseed), an Australian relative of tomato with tiny fruits (
Solanum centrale) and local herbs lend a typical Australian
touch to the food. Bush food is inspired both by traditional
cookery of Australian farmers and by cooking procedures used by Native
Australians (Aboriginals). It is also significantly influenced by Italian
cooking; pasta flavoured with Tasmanian pepper or
pesto made with wattle seeds instead of pine nuts (see also
basil) are typical bush food creations. On the other
side, bush food is often much more spicy than each of aboriginal, farmer and
Italian foods; there is probably some indirect influence of the many
Asian immigrants that have moved to Australia in the past decades and that have
established a general tolerance to well-spiced food.
At present, bush food is restricted to Australia, but maybe it will share the fate of cajun food, a peasant-derived cuisine from Louisiana (USA) that today enjoys wide popularity even outside of its home continent (see sassafras).
Tasmanian pepper is almost unavailable outside Australia; it is difficult
to substitute. Dried water pepper seeds,
also hard to obtain, are the best substitute I can suggest.