Saturday, July 10, 2021

Weekend Cooking: Scones with Lemon Myrtle

This week it has been NAIDOC week here in Australia. NAIDOC week is a week when " celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community" (from the website)

It was a bit of coincidence that my post last week featured my cooking class which focussed on lots of native ingredients, so in order to bookend both ends of NAIDOC week, I decided to share a foodie quote from a book I read earlier this year called Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss which I reviewed here. The title of this book is in Wiradyuri translates to River of Dreams

This book is written from the perspective of a young Wiradjuri woman by the name of Wagadhaany (pronounced wogga-dine) who works for a Quaker woman named Louise, who wants to find out more about the Aboriginal culture and so asks Wagadhaany to introduce her to the local women

My favourite part of this quote is actually the part where it ends with "Sharing food was just the Wiradyuri way." It made me think about how food is so integral to cultures all around the world and yet can be viewed differently as well

The women are looking to Wagadhaany for some sign, some surety that the waadyin before them can be trusted. For her part, Wagadhaany wants to make the women feel at ease, for them to understand that she has the trust and friendship of a good White person, because surely they can't all be bad. She decides there is pride to be had in having a good White friend, and so she introduces Louisa again, touching her arm.

"Louisa is my friend, she has been taking care of me. Well, we take care of each other, I guess. And she doesn't make me do all the chores in the house myself, we do them together.

This is the first time Wagadhaany has seen Louisa appear nervous and uncomfortable. As she stands holding a basket of baked goods, small beads of perspiration form on her brow. Wagadhaany urges her forward gently because someone else needs to speak and right now the women are just glaring at them both.

"F...f...for you," Louisa stammers. " We baked them together," she adds, motioning to Wagadhaany. Louisa considers it an important act of friendship, a token gesture of kindness, as a way of demonstrating her generosity. For Wagadhaany, food has always been shared among her people, not as a gesture of anything. Sharing came from understanding that another was hungry. Sharing food was just the Wiradyuri way.

"Yes, we did." Wagadhaany endorses.

She's hoping one of the women will smile, even slightly, and soften the mood, making them both feel welcome, because at this moment she knows that her presence is tainted simply by being there with Louisa. She starts to feel that this may have been an incredibly bad idea, bad judgement, disrespectful even. The bamali-galang had warned her about trusting White people, so why did she bring Louisa here? She is cranky with herself for not listening, for not understanding and practising yindyamarra.

While the bamali-galang demonstrate no interest in Louisa at all, it's hard not to notice their eyes focusing on the basket in her hands. She is sure the aroma of baked scones is making their mouths water. Their eyes all look in the same direction of the basket and Louise lifts the calico cloth to reveal some pumpkin scones, freshly baked, and bright orange in colour. Their eyes widen at the sight of this new food. They have only had white damper before.

"Scones are a bit like damper," Wagadhaany explains, "but these are made from pumpkins. We grow them ourselves. The pumpkins, not the scones."

Wagadhaany panics when she sees an entire row of raised eyebrows in front of her, but then half laughs because they are exacty the same faces her mother and aunties pull back home. But she doesn't know why they are looking that way. Then it hits her. She remembers hearing stories back home about White people lacing damper with a poison, something called arsenic, and leaving it out for the Aboriginal people to eat. Many had died. She feels sick to the stomach because she knows this is why they are probably wary.

She reaches into the basket and takes a scone. Actually, Louisa, I think I need one right now," she says, taking a bite, then handing it to Louisa to take a bite too.

Louisa and the women are all shocked. Blacks and Whites don't share food, especially if it is poisoned.

Wagadhaany frowns at Louisa and whispers, "I'll explain later, take a bite."

Louisa breaks a small piece off the scone and puts it in her mouth, watching the women the whole time. Once she has swallowed, the women relax their brows and all reach into the basket and take a scone. They relish every bite, making sounds of pleasure as they devour them within seconds. Wagadhanny breathes a sigh of relief.

I went looking for a recipe for pumpkin scones, maybe with some native ingredients,  to share as well as this quote. I am not sure if they are a particularly Australian thing but if I see pumpkin scones on a menu they just aren't something that I am likely to choose. I know that there are things like pumpkin pie but to me pumpkin is a savoury thing not a sweet thing. This is something that I have posted about before over the years 

I did find a recipe for pumpkin and lemon myrtle scones, but given that I don't recall ever trying pumpkin scones before, I decided against sharing that one. So, instead, here is a recipe for plain scones with lemon myrtle which I found here

this recipe uses the cream and lemonade method for making the scones  which is my go to method for making scones. You can find my normal recipe here.  It is worth mentioning that the lemonade called for is your Sprite style clear lemonade rather that the real lemony style of lemonade

Scones with lemon myrtle

3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade
2 teaspoons lemon myrtle

Heat the oven to 200C.

Sift flour and lemon myrtle into bowl.

Add lemonade, cream and mix to soft dough. Be sure to mix it only enough to bring the dough together. It is often recommended that you use the back of a knife to do this. If you mix too much then your scones will be tough instead of light and fluffy.

Place on floured surface.

Cut into shape (I use a glass as a scone cutter most of the time) and place on warm scone tray.

Bake for 10-15 min.

I did just see a delicious looking recipe for roast chicken with lemon myrtle, so I am thinking that I am going to have to buy some soon and give that a try too.

Weekly menu

Saturday - Pork ribs

Sunday- Leftovers

Monday-Beef stir fry


Wednesday  - Butter chicken pizza

Thursday  Pulled Pork with baked potato

Friday -Spanish tuna bake

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. That's a very interesting quotation, highlighting the terrible history of colonization. I hope the celebrations go well this year, and that injustices can be at least acknowledged. The history of abuses of native people is certainly important to understanding the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Central and South American countries.

    best...mae at

    1. And Africa!Heck, let's just say pretty much everywhere there was colonisation!

  2. Sounds like a good book -- and love the sound of those scones. I remember the first time I was in the UK and ordered lemonade; I was surprised at what the waiter brought. Fortunately I really liked it.

    1. Hence why I thought I should be very specific!

  3. What a thought provoking book. I'm glad you wrote about this author as its one I would like to read.

    I'm glad we can share food via a common interest and have a look at different cultures ound the world thanks to the internet

    1. There are definitely many advantages to the internet right!

  4. I am catching up on MC AU this weekend, no spoilers please!
    I LOVED the episode at Uluru and even saved it for John to watch. We laughed as we watched the contestants brushing away the flies in the intro, brought back great memories of a fabulous evening.

  5. Love that quote as well. It's interesting to think about food as a path to traditional cultures, when we all consume it every day! Love that you're celebrating NAIDOC week through food, too!

    1. Eating traditional flavours is something that is a bit new to me this year.

  6. We watched a sad documentary about the Aboriginals, and their plight. It was heart wrenching as well as educational. I agree with Tina, I am also glad we can share food as a common interest and learn about other cultures around the world. The more we know, the more we will grow as a loving planet.

    1. There are definitely some terrible stories out there, and not all in the past unfortunately Melynda.

  7. I don't think I"ve ever heard of lemon myrtle. I'll have to look it up and see what kind of substitute I can find. They sound delicious!

    1. Maybe lemon? That would be nice anyway even if it isn't really a substitute.