Elevate your dishes with lemon myrtle

Strawberry and Lemon Myrtle and syrup cake.

Lemon myrtle is fast becoming a must-have ingredient in the spice racks of chefs and home cooks around the country. Have you tried it? Distinctly Australian, it’s known as the queen of lemon herbs, a native botanical that’s renowned for its unique and vibrant flavour. It’s sweet, yet spicy, intense, but also refreshing and cooling on the palate.

Lemon myrtle is the perfect ingredient for elevating sweet and savoury cooking alike, adding an extra depth of flavour that is more versatile and more ‘lemony’ than lemon.

When cooking, lemon myrtle leaves can be used fresh or dried, cut or ground into a fine powder. From lemon myrtle chocolate to lemon myrtle olive oils, spice rubs and salt mixes, it can be the hero flavour of a dish or used in the same way that you would a bay leaf.

Keen foodies can get a sample from Australian Native Products, the world’s largest growers and suppliers of lemon myrtle.

To celebrate this versatile Australian native ingredient, chef Tom Walton has developed three showstopping recipes that are elevated with lemon myrtle. Packed with fresh, zesty flavour and an antioxidant boost thanks to the fragrant native botanical, these mouth-watering dishes are sure to impress.

Beef and Lemon Myrtle Pho

Feel free to replace the beef with cooked chicken, tofu, seafood or more vegies.

The lemon myrtle adds a delicious fragrance to the pho that works perfectly, replacing where you would usually add lemongrass.

Lemon myrtle salt makes more than you need, but it’s perfect on anything from sandwiches, raw or barbecue seafood, meats, vegies and as a general seasoning to fresh cheeses like ricotta or mozzarella.

Serves two

Ingredients:

1L beef broth

2 tbsp 6mm cut dried lemon myrtle

2cm piece ginger, thinly sliced

2 tbsp soy or fish sauce

1-2 tbsp palm sugar, optional

Sea salt, to taste

150g beef sirloin, frozen for at least two hours

100g dried rice noodles

½ bunch broccolini, trimmed

2 tsp 1.6mm cut dried lemon myrtle

2 tbsp flake sea salt

1 cup bean sprouts

1 large red chili, finely sliced

1/3 cup sliced shallots

1 cup each picked coriander & mint

1 lemon

Method:

• Place the broth into a pot and add the lemon myrtle, ginger, soy, palm sugar and bring to just under a simmer for 10-15 minutes, to infuse the lemon myrtle and ginger then strain into another pot and keep hot, covered over a low heat so it doesn’t reduce.

• Thinly slice the sirloin while partially frozen then lay out on a plate. Freezing makes it easier to thinly slice.

• Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, season with a pinch of salt and add the broccolini for 20 seconds then remove with tongs into ice water to refresh, drain and set aside.

• Cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions in the same boiling water then refresh in cold water and drain well. Set aside.

• Keep a pot of water boiling to reheat the noodles.

• Gently mix together the lemon myrtle and salt and keep in a small airtight container. You will need just a little for this recipe.

• Reheat the noodles in the boiling water, drain and add to the bottom of two bowls then add the beans sprouts, sliced raw sliced beef and broccolini.

• Spoon the very hot broth and the veggies over the beef and top with the sliced chili, shallots and coriander. Serve with lemon myrtle salt sprinkled over, extra herbs, chili and lemon.

Strawberry, Almond & Lemon Myrtle Syrup Cake

Makes one 24cm cake

Ingredients:

2/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup caster or coconut sugar

3 eggs, room temp

1 ½ tsp 1mm ground lemon myrtle leaves

1 ¼ cup coconut yoghurt

1 ½ cups plain flour, sifted

2/3 cup (almond meal)

2 punnets of strawberries, green stem removed

1 tbsp 6mm cut dried lemon myrtle leaves

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup caster sugar

Extra coconut yoghurt to serve

Method:

• Preheat an oven to 180C and grease and line the base of a 24cm springform cake tin with baking paper.

• Cut half the strawberries in half for the cake and set aside.

• Cut the other half of the strawberries into quarters for the topping and syrup. Set aside.

• In a mixing bowl whisk together the coconut oil, sugar and 1 tsp of the ground lemon myrtle, until the sugar is dissolved then whisk through the yoghurt.

• Add the flour, almond meal, baking powder and eggs, and mix to just combine.

• Spoon half the cake batter into the cake tin and push half of the halved strawberries into the cake mix, spoon over the remaining batter to cover and press the remaining halved strawberries over the top.

• Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

• For the syrup, in a small pot combine the ingredients with 4 of the quartered strawberries and place over a low heat to infuse and cook for 10 minutes then let sit for 10 more minutes and strain off and keep warm.

• When the cake comes from the oven, spoon half the syrup over the hot cake and let it soak in then allow the cake to cool to room temp in the tin before removing the tin carefully and placing the cake onto a serving plate.

• To serve, mix the quartered strawberries with the 2 tbsp of syrup and the remaining ½ tsp ground lemon myrtle.

• Spoon these over the cake and serve with yoghurt if desired.

Recipe created by Tom Walton for Australian Native Products

Potato & Lemon Myrtle Gratin

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tsp 1mm ground Lemon Myrtle

400ml cream

3 clove garlic, crushed flake salt & fresh ground black pepper

6 Desiree potato, peeled

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Method:

• Preheat oven to 200C.

• Combine the lemon myrtle, cream and garlic into a small saucepan.

• Season generously with salt (as this will season the potato) and black pepper.

• Bring the cream to a simmer, remove from the heat and keep warm.

• Using a mandolin, slice the potato 3mm thick and place into a large mixing bowl. Pour over the cream infusion and mix well through the potato slices.

• Make a few layers of the sliced potato into a baking dish then a 1/3 of the cheese scattered over followed by more potato, another 1/3 cheese, more potato and then pour over all the cream.

• Cover with circle of baking paper onto the surface of the potato and then foil.

• Bake for 1 ½ hours then remove the foil and baking paper, scatter with remaining cheese and return to the oven for 15 minutes to caramelise the cheese.

• Serve straight away or cool and store in the fridge for up to two days, reheating in the oven to serve.

Recipe created by Tom Walton for Australian Native Products