Recipes from the Top End

The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia), April 24, 2010 | Go to article overview

Recipes from the Top End


WOMEN'S contribution to the opening up of the Northern Territory frontier has long been the stuff of legends.

Part of their role was ordering the rations and working out how to make them last through the long periods of isolation that are still a reality today.

As a result, station women have developed a flair for innovation in their cooking and for the first time, their favourite recipes have been collected for a special publication, Cows, Cooks and Casseroles Co a collection of recipes from bush women of the Northern Territory.

The book features sections including "spectacular smokos", "give beef the day off" and "sublime salads and soups".

It is filled with recipes gathered by station women over the years Co many that have been handed down from mother to daughter Co and each comes with its own "connoisseur comment" from the contributor:

Lemonade Scones: "A quick and easy recipe for when unexpected visitors stop by... yes, they even surprise us 730km from town!" Co Sarah Cook, Suplejack Downs (NT's remotest cattle station.)

Moroccan beef salad with couscous: "Good for broadening the palate of a recalcitrant stock camp." Co Georgia Underwood, Riveren Station.

Economical chocolate cake: "This came my way in 1976 from Karen Brown, the wife of resident bull catcher at Victoria River Downs Station. She was equivalent to the modern day priestess of cookery Nigella Lawson and just as vivacious." Co Royelene Hill, Katherine.

The foreword for the book was written by food and wine commentator Lyndey Milan, who praised the charm of the "tried and true" recipes.

"I can imagine them being transcribed by hand on to scraps of paper and kept together in treasured folders, to be pulled out and shared and passed down from generation to generation," she wrote.

Cows, Cooks and Casseroles was put together by cattle women Sarah-Jane McBean and Marie Muldoon.

"Bush women cook daily for family, staff members, truck drivers, stock agents and unexpected visitors," Marie said.

"We prepare four meals a day for our hungry diners... I'm always amazed at how creative bush women can be at producing delicious, nourishing and impressive meals with the simplest ingredients.

"I'm also in awe of the ability bush women have to create fine dining standards for a special occasion. …

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