Recipe: Slow Cooked Beef & Quince Tagine with Anise Myrtle, Strawberry Gum Spice and Mountain Pepper Oil »

From Australian Native Food Harvest by Julie Weatherwood

Contributed articles and stories
Subscribe to
Slow Cooked Beef  Quince Tagine, Australian Native Food Harvest

Slow Cooked Beef Quince Tagine, Australian Native Food Harvest

<i>Australian Native Food Harvest</i> by Julie Weatherwood
<i>Australian Native Food Harvest</i> Author Julie Weatherwood


It seems reasonable that we should all be growing and cooking more Australian native foods, after all they have adapted perfectly to this land. To help us along that path, Julie Weatherhead has some practical advice in her book Australian Native Food Harvest: a guide for the passionate cook and gardener.

Along with hands on advice about the types of plants, how to grow them and use them in the garden there are over 50 easy to follow recipes. If you'd like some inspiration to get you thinking native plant flavours, here's a recipe to start you off.

Slow Cooked Beef & Quince Tagine with Anise Myrtle, Strawberry Gum Spice and Mountain Pepper Oil

Julie writes:

Our quince tree always produces large quantities and this recipe is a great way to use this fragrant fruit – you can only eat so much quince paste and jelly! The Mountain Pepper oil has stunning flavour and is great used in place of any oil, especially for a dressing. An aromatic oil can be also made using the leaves of Lemon Myrtle, Anise Myrtle, Strawberry Gum, River Mint and Native Thyme. Serves 8

Make the Mountain Pepper oil, marinade the meat and roast the quinces the day before.

Mountain Pepper Oil:

  • 2 cups fresh Mountain Pepper leaves and 10 Mountain Pepper berries (optional)
  • 800ml good quality oil (Olive or Macadamia oil recommended).

Process the Mountain Pepper until finely ground and add to a large jug. Pour in the oil and stir well. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight to infuse.

Place a sieve lined with 2 layers of muslin cloth over a deep bowl and pour the oil mix into the cloth to separate the plant material from the oil. Gather up the cloth around the plant material and squeeze out all the remaining oil over the bowl.

You should now have a bright green aromatic oil, pour into a bottle, cap and store in the refrigerator and use within 2 - 3 weeks. 

Roast Quinces:

  • 2-3 quinces
  • pomegranate juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried/ground Strawberry Gum leaf

Peel, core and slice 2 – 3 quinces. Place in an oiled tray and pour over enough pomegranate juice to coat the fruit and cover the base of the pan. Sprinkle with sugar and Straberry Gum Leaf.

Cover with a layer of baking paper followed by a layer of foil and roast at 160ºC for an hour, (turning halfway through) or until the quince is soft and changed colour to a lovely deep pink.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool and infuse at room temperature overnight. 

Spice Marinade:

  • ½ tbsp dried Strawberry Gum or 6 fresh Strawberry Gum leaves – finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp Anise Myrtle spice powder or 10 fresh Anise Myrtle leaves – finely chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh Mountain Pepper leaf or ½ tbsp dried leaf
  • 1 tbsp Mountain Pepper oil
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp dried chilli
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Process the marinade into a fine powder and set aside.

Mix the marinade thoroughly with 750g of meat (beef, kangaroo or lamb work well) – cover and place in the refrigerator and leave overnight to marinate. 


  • 3 roasted quinces – see above
  • 2 tbsp Mountain Pepper oil – see above
  • 750 g marinated beef, lamb or kangaroo (pre-marinaded as above)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions – chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 800g fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 500ml beef or chicken stock
  • 500g sweet potato – chopped into 2 cm cubes
  • Zest and juice of 4 Finger limes or 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh leaves of River Mint or Anise Myrtle
  • chilli paste to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • thick plain yoghurt

To begin the tagine, add the vegetable oil to a large pot and cook onion and garlic until softened, add the marinated meat and brown on all sides.

Add the tomatoes, cinnamon sticks and stock, cover and bring to a simmer – cook slowly for an hour then add the sweet potato.

Cook until the sweet potato is tender (about 30 mins) add the quinces and chilli paste.

Simmer until quince is soft then finish with the citrus and herbs.

Serve with the honey, yoghurt and Mountain Pepper oil on the side.


Read the media release on Australian Native Food Harvest here »

See links below for other recipes from Australian Native Food Harvest

This recipe is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

Australian Native Food Harvest: A Guide for the Passionate Cook and Gardener by Julie Weatherhead is published by Peppermint Ridge Farm (Vic; Sep 2016;  pb; 192pp) and available for A$34.95 direct from  and from selected bookshops.

This book has won the 2017 National Gourmand Cookbook Award for Food Heritage and is shortlisted for the 2017 international award. 

Our Recommendations

To see our recommendations, ratings and reviews you must be a logged-in subscriber.

To subscribe please enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now - it's Free" box on the right and click the "Join" button, or fill in this form >

May 31st, 2017
Subscribe today - it's free
Subscribe Button

Subscribe now - for news and reviews, our newsletter (optional), to join our forums, and more.

Enter your email address and click the Subscribe button. We respect your privacy.

Log in

Enter your username...

Enter your password...

Log In Button

Forgotten your password?


Kerry's corner - your free benefits