One of the fringe benefits of writing a food blog is not so much the invitations and opportunities that arise from it, but occasionally finding one that similarly resonates with your identity. Bonne Maman, unapologetically French in its pitch and style, yet quirky enough to create a conserve using the unique qualities of a native Australian bush fruit, instantly appealed to me. Sourcing the Lilly Pilly in sufficient quantity and quality was one challenge, but finding the right balance to showcase it was another. Enter Jude Mayall, renowned Outback Chef, who was engaged to embrace the possibilities of this brave foray into incorporating local bush tucker into traditional French jam.
The launch held in The Potting Shed at The Grounds of Alexandria as part of its popular Mother’s Day Breakfast, featured a demonstration by the talented Jude Mayall making and finishing off a freshly made batch of Blueberry and Lilly Pilly Conserve. The Chef also fielding many questions from the audience curious about this native bush fruit and its unique flavour profile. What stuck me, not only from tasting the demonstration batch, and the production batch later, was how well-balanced it was. The tartness offset the sweetness of the blueberries beautifully, offering a jam that also had potential to be used a savoury accompaniment for the more daring amongst us.
The first course showcasing the conserve, was the stunning blueberry and lilly pilly clafoutis. The pastry was particularly noteworthy, and the Bonne Maman jam was used to good effect as a garnish, along with edible flora and vanilla chantilly. The second course, a grilled gourmet sausage with caramelised onions, blueberry and lilly pilly sauce, potato rosti, and native Australian greens offered a fascinating savoury context.
The lovely French faceted jar with white gingham lid is synonymous with Bonne Maman and its French origins, but on this occasion, it is proudly stamped with Australian Limited Edition, which hopefully will inspire this renowned jam maker to further explore the synergy between its traditional recipe and our native bush ingredients. The jam can be purchased at independent retailers nationally, so try some and let me know what you think!