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Bunya Nuts


Bunya Nuts

A recent visit home to Queensland would not have been complete without driving through the Bunya laden mountain areas of the Sunshine Coast via the iconic and beautiful areas of Eumundi and Yandina. Watch your head though, when it's a bumper season in the Bunya Mountains (Boobarran Ngummin), there are Bunya knobs falling from a great height all over the place! 

With a subtle flavour similar to chestnuts, the Bunya nut (or Gummingurra as it is traditionally known by the Gubi Gubi people of the SE Hinterlands) is in fact not really a nut at all, but a fantastic source of starchy carbohydrates. Aboriginal people of South east Queensland survived and thrived off Bunya nuts for many centuries and to this day still use them to prepare traditional nut cakes and breads. The Bunya mountain reserves are in fact managed by the Bunya Murri Ranger project, whose custodians continue to have a strong spiritual and cultural connection to the mountains. 

Nutritionally Bunya nuts are made up mostly of water and complex carbohydrates, with a touch of protein and magnesium. They are gluten free though, so perfect for making gluten free bread.

It is hard to get great fresh Bunya nuts in Western Australia and often the frozen product is utilised. However, keep your eyes open for the giant trees and knobs in local botanical parks and random areas throughout the City of Vincent and the City of Perth.

In the RiverMint kitchen we particularly like to roast and salt thinly sliced Bunya nuts as a garnish or ground up and used in a bunya vanilla cake, similar to using almond meal. Pureed it needs some decent roasting and seasoning to avoid losing its delicate flavour. 

Bunya nuts pair really well with mild seafood such as scallops as well as vegetarian dishes containing sweet corn or green leafy vegetables. And they are especially good in parmesan cheese biscuits!

If you are visiting Queensland's Sunshine Coast I would highly recommend learning more about these amazing trees and the historical, cultural and spiritual connections that they embody . The annual Bunya Dreaming festival, held every Australia Day, would be the perfect place to start! 


Makuru Pop Up Dinner


Makuru Pop Up Dinner

RiverMint Dining recently held its second pop-up dining experience at Riki Kaspi's The Cooking Professor, in Mt Hawthorn. Cosy, and vibrant and decorated with illustrative art by Jodie Davidson, the dining space provided an interactive environment for guests to taste and explore ingredients from the season of Makuru.  

On arrival, guests were treated to canapés and welcome drinks featuring Broome Pearl Meat, Bunya nut and truffled Emu egg. It was great to see some new faces in the mix and to connect with return guests who attended our first pop up, Celebrating Djeran. 

Following a beautiful Welcome to Country by Noongar elder and guest Aunty Neta Knapp we began the sit down meal for Moments of Makuru with a drinks list featuring Swan Valley wines from Garbin Estates and Upper Reach Wineries as well as Matilda Bay Dirty Granny cider and Feral Brewery beers. 

The interior of The Cooking Professor provided an intimate and beautifully curated space for Jodie Davidson of Nature Art to display her colourful and clever illustrations, water colours and sculptures of Australian animals, It was such a lovely collection of work and a privilege to be able to exhibit them alongside our menu.

We tried to reflect the transition from sea to land throughout the Moments of Makuru menu whilst offering comfort from the rainy, very wintery weather outside.

Moments of Makuru

    Shaved Smoked Crocodile, Confit Jerusalem artichoke, Pepperberry spiced rhubarb, cucumber, nasturtium

    Exmouth King Prawns, Native lemongrass and Gubinge glaze, Sea Rocket and Baby Pigface, Burnt Citrus, Prawn head emulsion, Blood root

    Davidson Plum Sorbet, Atherton Ginger syrup, Caraway crisp, Wild fennel

    Seared Kangaroo fillet, Kangaroo tail croquette, braised red cabbage & WA apple, Illwarra plum chutney, game jus

    Sauteed winter greens and fungi : Rapini, Ice Plant and wild mushrooms, Ruby Saltbush

    Heirloom Carrots and Braised Fennel, Creamed Omega walnuts

Wine-poached Southern Forest fruits with Native Berries (Pink berry, Munthari, Lilly Pilly, Illawarra Plum), Chestnut Cream, Chocolate Sable, Lemon Aspen

Sandalwood Nut Fudge & Davidson Plum Truffles

Lemon Myrtle Tea & Choc Wattleseed Espresso

It was a fantastic and boisterous night filled with laughter and discovery and the reward was some great feedback. Even better was the discovery of some food blogger diners whose fantastic photos and blog posts truly captured the essence of the night. Be sure to check out Sandy Lim's blog post and photography featuring Moments of Makuru  on her blog and let's not forget Perth food bloggers and fanatics @food_and_I who posted a neat video and photos. It was great to meet you and we hope to see you exploring native ingredients with us again in the future.

A special thank you to our indigenous and non-indigenous suppliers whose produce and guidance is invaluable. We hope in 2018 to start hosting pop ups not just in Perth but further afield in Fremantle and the Swan Valley. 

RiverMint Dining caters for corporate and private events and functions from a discovery canapés party at a private residence to native-inspired executive grazing tables. Our pop up dinners are a unique dining event featuring foraged, wild harvested and plot grown ingredients usually only available in limited amounts. They are very special to the Rivermint Dining team and we always look forward to holding the next one with a new season in mind

Photo credit: Sandy Lim



Celebrating NAIDOC Week


Celebrating NAIDOC Week

It has been a pretty busy week here in the Rivermint Dining kitchen with catering and tasting events taking place throughout Perth. Today marks the end of NAIDOC week, an exceptional celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, arts, dance, food and history.

For those who are unfamiliar with NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week, now is a great time to learn more. It is held during the first week of July and celebrated in aboriginal communities as well as government organisations, schools and numerous work places. The first Sunday in July, the beginning of NAIDOC week, is a day of remembrance for the hardship experienced by the aboriginal and islander people followed by a full week of cultural celebration and recognition of aboriginal achievements.

As part of their NAIDOC week celebrations, Westfield Whitford City invited RiverMint Dining to chat with customers about some lesser known native Australian ingredients and to introduce them to new flavours. Over the course of the week we prepared tastings for upwards of 600 people, focusing on various ingredients in keeping with the season of Makuru including Geraldton Wax, Fingerlime, Kangaroo, Illawarra Plum and Old Man Saltbush. Our mini tasters were appreciated by all and met with lots of questions. Tastings such as Davidson Plum meringues and seared tiger prawns with fingerlime proved popular and it was great to see members of the general public exploring and discovering the real food of Australia and learning more about the importance of NAIDOC week.

We were also especially honoured and privileged to work alongside the Mark and Kerri-Ann and their team at Binjareb Park in Pinjarra, as we shared in their NAIDOC day celebrations on Saturday 1st July. RiverMint Dining prepared a simple three-course family style dinner for 18 guests featuring truffled emu egg, quick seared crocodile and braised kangaroo. It was lovely to meet new people and to further develop relationships within the aboriginal community as well as to see some of the artwork that makes the artists of Pinjarra so well-known throughout Australia. 

Throughout the week we catered and delivered platters of native inspired nibbles, canapés parties and gourmet grazing tables to many businesses and corporate bodies celebrating NAIDOC week. It was a privilege to be able to share such special foods with new clients and we look forward to working with them all in the future. Thank you to all our suppliers and wild harvesting communities, without whom we wouldn't have such amazing ingredients to work with during busy and exciting weeks such as NAIDOC week.




Winter Events with RiverMint Dining


Winter Events with RiverMint Dining

The weather is getting chilly here in Western Australia and that means there is no better time to immerse ourselves in cooking, red wine, cosy dinners and winter fruits.

RiverMint Dining has a number of events coming up over the winter months. To kick off NAIDOC week we will be catering a 30-seat ticketed dinner called the Mungah Festival Dinner as part of the Binjareb Park NAIDOC celebrations on Saturday the 1st July. There will be tours, an outdoor cinema experience and some great live music throughout the day culminating in the dinner. Join the Pinjarra community in celebrating this special occasion. To find out more about Binjareb Park and the event visit the Binjareb Park Facebook page. Tickets can be purchased directly through here

We are excited to be collaborating with Westfield Whitford City in Hillarys as part their NAIDOC week celebrations. Customers will get the opportunity to try various tastings featuring native Australian ingredients and to chat with RiverMint Dining about using these ingredients in your own home. We will be located in the fresh food market section from 11am - 2pm on Monday 3rd July - Saturday 8th July. So pop on down when you are doing your shopping and try some delicious morsels.

We are also gearing up for the second of our pop up events to celebrate the season of Makuru. Local produce, north coast seafood and indigenous game will be featured on the menu and guests will be treated to a 5-course tasting menu with canapés and drink on arrival. Held at Riki Kaspi's The Cooking Professor, in Mt Hawthorn, the cosy location will provide an intimate and warm experience complete with drinks menu featuring some of the best Swan Valley beers, ciders and wines. We are very privileged to have Noongar Elder Auntie Neta from Urban Indigenous attending who will open the evening with a unique Welcome to Country. Local children's illustrator Jodie Davidson will also be showcasing some of her work highlighting the Australian landscape. Tickets available on eventbrite or click here.

Winter is looking busy for RiverMint Dining with some exciting collaborations, tastings and corporate catering functions in the works. Be sure to keep your eye on the Rivermint Dining Facebook page for updates on dinners and events or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the know.

We look forward to seeing you all and to enjoying a chilly but beautiful Makuru season.


Celebrating Djeran - An Urban Pop up

Celebrating Djeran - An Urban Pop up

It was with gusto that we all readied the beautiful space at Salt and Company Cooking school in West Perth for the very first RiverMint Dining pop up.  The menu and the evening were inspired by the Noongar season of Djeran, and the images presented by Salty Wings complimented the colours of the orange berries and banksias in season which were displayed around the room. The season of Djeran is also known as the Season of Adulthood and falls in what the western world regards as Autumn. A change in the wind can be felt, and hot nights are replaced with cool evenings and dewy mornings. Here we see the Marri blossom in full flower and Banksia flowers line areas such as the Roe highway and Herdsman Lake in abundance.

Djeran is also the time when the emus are fat, so an emu flat rump was featured on the menu. This cut was marinated for 48 hours, cooked sous vide and then seared for service and served with a warrigal greens dumpling, fresh charred corn, rosella flower, pink berries and a game jus. Djeran is also the season of the salmon run, so it seemed only fitting to serve herring, after which the salmon run, as part of the canapés service. Combined with a native spice mix and potato, the herring potato bites were served with black garlic and ruby salt bush. We also featured crocodile which was served at room temperature with a spiced rhubarb puree and gwarl berries from the Kimberley region (also known as White Berry Bush).

Many greens were foraged for this pop up and included succulent pig face leaves, WA Samphire, dune spinach (also known as Crystal Ice plant) and sea rocket. These paired well with the seafood dish of smoked Kingfish, seared bush grapes and pepper berry and the zing of a favourite ingredient from Marvick Native Farms, fingerlime, cut through the smokiness.

It was with pleasure that the River mint from our garden became a sorbet in between courses. The evening ended with a bavarois made using Pandanus nut, with Davidson Plum and Northcliffe Blood Plum. This was paired with Garbin Estate's Muscat. A tea made using Marri blossom flowers and Southern Forests Honey alongside WA Sandalwood nut bites completed the evening.

We received plenty of feedback with regards to our first pop up and will endeavour to take all comments onboard when preparing for our Makuru pop up. Most importantly we learned a ton about the ins and outs of running a pop up restaurant and had fun in the process. If anything I would have liked to have spent more time outside of the kitchen and inside the dining room chatting about the ingredients that we should be celebrating as Australians.

Thank you to all our suppliers for some great produce and to those that attended. We look forward to cooking for you all again soon and will announce our next pop up in the weeks ahead.



Collaboration Dinner and Cooking classes at The Mantle

Collaboration Dinner and Cooking classes at The Mantle

RiverMint Dining are excited to announce our participation in Indigenous month in collaboration with Stuart Laws of Don Tapa and The Mantle, Fremantle. The month kicks off with a long table six-course dinner on the 7th March 2017, with courses featuring produce from the Kimberley region and specialised native ingredients.  Each course will be prepared by some awesome WA chefs including Kiren Mainwaring (Co-Op Dining), Sam Ward (Mas), Melissa Palinkas (Young George) Stuart Laws (Don Tapa) and Sue Lewis (Sue Lewis Chocolatier). Tickets are limited to 25, so get your ticket quick on Eventbrite. There will also be art exhibitions by local aboriginal artists including Naomi Grant and Philip Narkle and a cultural talk with Dale Tilbrook of Maalinup gallery. 

Robyne will also be holding a cooking class and demonstration on Sunday the 12th March featuring native ingredients from the season of Bunuru. If you fancy learning more about native ingredients and how you can use them in your kitchen, visit our recently posted event on Eventbrite for tickets or click here.

We here at Rivermint Dining would like to recognise the traditional owners of our land, elders past and present, and would in particular like to pay our respects to members of the Kimberley communities whose ingredients, including Kakadu Plum and Boab, will be featured at the long table dinner.

Pretty Pigface

Pretty Pigface

With a common name like Pig face, it doesn't sound very appetising does it?! And it most definitely does not taste like pork.  Pigface (Carpobrotus Virescens), can be spotted all along the WA coast and inland cliff dunes.

The succulent banana shaped leaves of Pigface taste similar to salted zucchini and cucumber and are delicious steamed, roasted or sautéed served alongside fish or meat dishes. It was eaten for centuries by the traditional owners of this land who have a deep spiritual connection to these foods. Later, European settlers adopted it to starve off scurvy. It is also good for easing constipation and stomach cramps due to its laxative properties. 

The beautiful pink flowers first start appearing in the season of Djilba and are a perfect garnish to brighten up any dish.Following flowering comes the ever-popular fruit, squeezed out of its bulbous skin and eaten. The white pulp tastes similar to sweet but salty kiwi fruit and has a texture not dissimilar to dragonfruit. There is also a non-native Pigface dotted around Perth,introduced from South Africa, with larger succulent leaves and yellow flowers. This too is edible.

Many people wander the paths leading through the dunes to the beach not even noticing the edible plants around them. It is important to remember however, that removal of plants from protected areas and private land is strictly prohibited. All foraging requires a license and should always be done with respect for the season and the land that it is on. Also, be mindful of any possible contaminants, such as dog deposits and insecticides, as well as ensuring that the plant has been correctly identified. Popular in the RiverMint kitchen, all parts of the Pigface plant are utilised and sustainable collection practices are paramount.