English-import and Michelin-trained chef Josh Raine is one half of Underground Food Project and head chef of Urbane Restaurant. He loves to artistically cook outside the box rather than always in the kitchen.
This year, I’m taking inspiration from the remarkable ingredients available growing wild in my local, urban environment. A quick forage in the City can provide more than you’d first imagine.
One of the ingredients I’m experimenting with at the moment is lemon myrtle. With a very aromatic and citrus leaf, this native Queensland plant is easy to find in the City. It’s great for infusing teas, syrups and oils, and I’m currently using it in Urbane for desserts and at home for teas and gin infusions.
One of my favourite desserts, and one that’s really simple to do, is a fragrant lemon posset with lemon myrtle – this guy is all about twisting a classic. We make and use a lemon myrtle oil in the restaurant, but it’s actually really nice to use this herb to infuse the cream before setting. Infusion provides a more aromatic hit and enhances this great little palate cleanser, perfect after any heavy winter meal.
Lemon myrtle and honey used in tea is a brilliant drink for a chilled Sunday evening. For those colder Brisbane winter nights, it’s always a great ingredient to pop into a nice pot of tea. If tea’s not your tipple, it’s also an amazing way to infuse liquor. Bruise a handful of the leaves in the palm of your hand and pop them in the bottle. Give it a few days – you’ll taste such a difference.
JOSH RAINE’S LEMON MYRTLE POSSET RECIPE
Find lemon myrtle scattered around the city and most suburbs.
450ml pure double cream
130g caster sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of two lemons
4 leaves of lemon myrtle
* Mix the cream and sugar together in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
* Turn the heat down to a simmer ready to add your lemon myrtle leaves.
* Crush them up, throw them in and stir for one or two minutes until the bubbles are quite large.
* Add the lemon juice and whisk thoroughly.
* Pass this mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and then pour the posset into individual serving pots.
* Leave to cool completely, then place the bowls in the fridge for at least two hours.
Photographer: Carole Margand.