We were lucky to be introduced to a series of Australian native bush spices here in Singapore, so naturally we were curious to find out more about them! Meet Hayley Blieden, founder and Managing Director at The Australian Superfood Co.
What was your first interaction with native bush spices?
I first came across native bush foods when working with the North Melbourne Football Club. I was working with Indigenous Footballers and they would talk about the foods they ate when they went home for off season. I then went on a trip to Uluru, where I first tasted these unique ingredients. I was so excited to taste them after learning how they had sustained Indigenous Australians for so long and I was really impressed with their distinctive flavours as well.
How long have you been working with Australian native bush spices?
I started researching these ingredients in 2009. Six years later, The Australian Superfood Co launched.
Which one is your favourite native spice?
Being a lover of all things citrus, I have to say that Lemon Myrtle is my go-to herb for my cooking. I love its freshness and it’s so versatile…I use it as a marinade in meat and fish dishes, as a unique flavour in desserts and simply add boiling water for a delicious tea.
How do you like to use it? Can you share your favorite recipe?
My favourite recipe is Vegan, Gluten-Free Blueberry, Coconut and Lemon Myrtle Muffins. The lemon myrtle adds a subtle citrusy flavor and you can actually add it to lots of classic muffin recipes.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 12 muffins
- 1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp Freeze Dried Lemon Myrtle Powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (plus extra for greasing muffin tin)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup warm non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large ripe, mashed banana
- 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup blueberries (if using frozen, partially thawed*)
If you’re thawing frozen blueberries, it might be a good idea to let them sit in a colander in the sink to drain any excess moisture.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Line a muffin tin with liners or generously grease the inside of each cup with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, flax seeds, lemon myrtle, salt, and xanthan gum.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the coconut oil, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk.
- In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, mashed banana, shredded coconut.
- Add the coconut oil mixture to the dry mixture stir until combined taking care not to over mix. Fold in banana mixture until incorporated. Fold in blueberries.
- Divide batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the largest muffin comes out clean.
Are you working closely with local Indigenous people?
Yes, as part of our continuing commitment to promote Indigenous culture by raising awareness and appreciation for Indigenous wisdom relating to the land. We currently support Red Dust Role Models, an organization which promotes health and wellbeing among Indigenous people. We also support and encourage Indigenous employment through our own business practices. Wherever possible, we try to source our ingredients from Indigenous communities. The more we sell, the more we can generate employment in these areas.
Where do you get all the knowledge about the spices?
My background is as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, so naturally my interests lie in the health properties on these ingredients and how they can enhance well being. I spent years scanning through literature reviews and speaking to academics studying in this field. I continue speak to these professionals as well as collating anecdotal evidence from those consuming these ingredients daily.
The global trend of being “local” has been around us for sometime now. How has the public reacted to Native Bush Spice, products?
So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, not only because of the local aspect, but also because these spices actually have nutritional benefits and amazing flavours. There is definitely a large shift towards local and sustainable produce and the public are educating themselves more as to what ingredients will be more beneficial for them to buy. People are even happier to discover that spices with high nutritional qualities can be found right here in their own backyard.
Who has more interest in your products: Bartenders or Chefs?
Right now chefs, but more and more bartenders are starting to experiment with our flavours, adding Australian twists to their cocktails. We also have a new product launching that is perfect for bartenders…watch this space ☺
Who do you like to work with more; Bartenders, chefs or the public?
Each one has their own distinct advantage to working with them. We love to work with people that are passionate about native Australian produce. Those willing to try something new and produce something different. You will find the most innovative, celebrated chefs using these ingredients and the dishes are next level.
How many products do you current have in the range?
19 products and growing. There are thousands of Australian native ingredients, all with a unique flavour and nutritional profile. We aim to work with indigenous communities to commercialise more of these species and be able to offer them to trade.
Tell us more about extending your range.
We are constantly coming up with ideas for new products and new ways to increase awareness and accessibility of Australian natives. This year we have new ranges launching targeting both retail and foodservice. We want to help educate fellow Australians on the unique flavour profiles and how to incorporate these into their diets. We view our product ranges including raw bars and granolas as a simple avenue to do so.
Thank you Hayley for your time! We look forward to experimenting with more of your spices as time goes on! For those wanting to read more click here!