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Cooking your own goose

OUTBACK's nomadic chef Adrian Millman travels to the Cobourg Peninsula where local Aborigines hunt down magpie geese for the main course of a Top End meal.

Cooking your own gooseIt would be hard to imagine a more romantic but authentic setting for a bush tucker meal than the ancient tribal lands of the Iwaidja people who, live in the wetlands among the might snake-like rivers of the Gurig National Park.

The Iwaidja have retained the most important parts of their dreaming and even many aspects of their traditional food.

Here on the northernmost tip of the Cobourg Peninsula at the very top of the Northern Territory, young boys still learn how to spear fish and hunt sea turtles and girls accompany women across the tidal flats to collect mud mussels, Oysters and cockles.

Children also learn to excavate prized Ldungun (long yams) which are often two metres deep in the ground and grow in clumps up to 70 centimetres long.

We visited in September during the Wibabiya season, the hottest of seven seasons when the Djunggara (cicada) singing rings through the sun-drenched stringybark, woollybutt and bloodwood forests.

Jim Dalton led this food assignment, which took us through Arnhem Land with its rich diversity of landscapes, ranging from monsoon vine forest to casuarina woodlands, mangroves and sweeping grassy flood plains.

Cooking your own gooseAdrian's Top End Recipe

Although the Top End ingredients we used are not available ,to southern non-Aboriginals, Sydney rock oysters and quail eggs can be substituted for the entree and a teal or black tuck for the main course.


Cook oysters over coals or on a barbecue plate. When the shells open douse with Worcestershire sauce and eat from the shell.

Main Course

Pluck and clean a good sized duck and brown it with oil on the base of a camp oven. Pour over 250 ml of red wine and 250 ml of stock, add a bay leaf and two sprigs of thyme, a tablespoon of red currant jelly and simmer slowly for 45 minutes.

Thicken with corn flour and season with salt and pepper. Add tubers and greens in season. Story end

Full story Issue 8, December 1999-January 2000

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