'Koori Cook-Off' NAIDOC Week event at Cessnock Hospital

NAIDOC Week may be officially over, but that didn’t stop a crowd from gathering at Cessnock District Hospital on Wednesday for the Koori Cook-Off.

NAIDOC Week is an important celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, people, communities and recognises the valuable contributions they make to our country.

The cooking event involves three teams cooking and serving recipes developed by Hunter New England Health’s Deadly Cooking program, which incorporates traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ingredients into the recipes.

Cessnock Community Health Service dietitian Carmen Burgess helps develop and deliver the Deadly Cooking program, which promotes practical cooking skills and increased knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity.

The program partners with the Aboriginal health workers such as Cessnock local, Joshua Tory.

Mr Tory is passionate about getting the community educated about their health. His role involves encouraging Aboriginal families to participate in Aboriginal events such as the Koori Cook-Off.

“Events like the cook-off show young Aboriginal people that there are healthy options available for them,” he said.

“The health outcomes between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people are very different.

“I want to bridge the gap between everyone and put everyone on the same par.”

One team served native Dukka chicken fried rice; another cooked corn on the cob with bush spices, along with a pull-apart sweet potato bush damper with lemon myrtle margarine, and the third team prepared two dessert options of lemon myrtle flavoured raspberry and banana sundaes with yoghurt or custard.

With the audience judging the entries, the native Dukka chicken fried rice came out as the winner.

To register your interest for the next Deadly Cooking program, call Cessnock Community Healthcare on 4991 0438.


Pull Apart Sweet Potato Bush Damper with Lemon Myrtle Marg

Pull Apart Sweet Potato Bush Damper with Lemon Myrtle Marg

Pull Apart Sweet Potato Bush Damper with Lemon Myrtle Marg

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Times: 30 minutes


Equipment: Oven, microwave, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, microwave safe container, vegetable peeler, knife, chopping board, potato masher or fork, measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing spoons, large baking dish or cake pan, pastry brush

Note: bush damper is traditionally cooked in a camp fire; however it can be cooked in an oven or on the stove top.


3 cups self raising flour

1 cups wholemeal flour

1 medium, mashed cooked sweet potato

2 tsp of baking power

1/2 tsp lemon myrtle

2 cups water

3 tablespoons melted reduced fat margarine for brushing the dough balls

Lemon Myrtle Marg spread

3-4 tablespoons reduced fat margarine

1/2 tsp lemon myrtle

Native jams to serve with

NOTE: make 2 batches of this recipe


1. Pre heat oven to a medium heat. Prepare a baking tin by spraying with cooking oil spray.

2. Peel sweet potato and cut into Cubes. Place in a microwave safe container with some water, cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain liquid and mash sweet potato, set aside to cool.

3. Mix all dry ingredients together; add in cooled sweet potato and mix through...add as much water as is needed to mix into a dough consistency.

4. Flour the bench and knead the dough and press down to flatten. Cut into at least 20 even pieces, use hands to roll each piece into a ball. Brush sides of each dough ball with some melted margarine. Place the dough balls in the baking tray and push them against each other so they are all one damper but can be pulled apart in Separate pieces. Brush top of dough balls with melted margarine and bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

5. To make lemon myrtle marg, add lemon myrtle to slightly softened margarine and mix well.

6. Serve the damper fresh out of the oven with a spread of lemon myrtle marg or native jams.

Recipe adapted from: Deadly Tucker. © Public Health Unit (NMAHS). Dept. of Health, 2012

Corn on the Cob with Bush Spices

Corn on the Cob with Bush Spices

Corn on the Cob with Bush Spices

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Times: 15 minutes

Serves: 24-36

Equipment: sharp knives, chopping board, microwave safe mixing bowl x 3, measuring spoon, 2 pastry brushes, serving platter


12 sweet corn cobs

10 tablespoons reduced fat margarine spread

4 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons of bush spices


1. Remove husks from corn and cut each corn ear into 3 smaller cobs.

2. Prepare a greased BBQ plate on medium heat. Place corn cobs on BBQ and Cook for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Make sure the corn is turned regularly so it's cooked on all sides and doesn't burn.

3. Whilst corn is cooking place margarine, honey and bush spices in a bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds or until the margarine has melted. Mix well and set aside.

4. When corn is cooked, use a pastry brush to brush the melted mixture evenly over each cob. Serve and enjoy.

Serving suggestions: Serve with any main meal. This dish is great as a side with a BBQ. Kids love using the corn tongs.

Native Dukka Flavoured Chicken Fried Rice

Native Dukka Flavoured Chicken Fried Rice

Native Dukka Flavoured Chicken Fried Rice

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Times: 30 minutes

Serves: 24-36

Equipment: large mixing bowl, measuring spoons & cups, mixing spoon, chopping board, knives, vegetable peeler, frying pan, large stockpot


3 Iarge packets microwave rice, cooked and set aside

8 eggs lightly beaten

Meat of 2 BBQ chickens

Shredded 2 brown onion, thinly sliced

200g low fat ham, chopped thinly

8 shallots, thinly sliced

2 red capsicum, diced finely

1 cup small Chinese cabbage, finely shredded

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup green beans, finely diced

6 tbsp native dukka

4 tbsp Soy sauce

Cooking spray oil


1. Cook rice and set aside to cool.

2. Make omelette by heating a frying pan, spray with Cooking oil, add the beaten eggs and Swirl around to make a thin omelette. Cook until egg sets, then remove and chop in strips. Set aside.

3. Prepare the large Stock pot by heating and coating with spray oil, add the onion and cook until soft, add all the veggies and stir until heated through. When veggies have softened slightly, add remaining ingredients (dukkha, rice, ham, chicken, soy and omelette). Mix around and until all ingredients are heated through and well combined, transfer to a serving dish and serve.

Recipe adapted form www.healthy kids.nsw.gov.au/recipes/chicken-fried-rice.aspx 1.8/3/2015

Lemon Myrtle flavoured Raspberry and Banana Sundaes

Lemon Myrtle flavoured Raspberry and Banana Sundaes

Lemon Myrtle flavoured Raspberry and Banana Sundaes

Preparation: approx. 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 3 minutes

Serves: 24-36

Equipment: 2 sharp knives, 2 chopping boards, tablespoon, wooden Spoon, 2 Small mixing bowls, 36 clear plastic cups


8 tablespoons caster sugar

8 tablespoons water

4 punnets of strawberries, tops removed and cut into quarters

2 packet mixed frozen berries

2 packets sponge fingers or almond fingers, broken into 1cm thick pieces

8 medium bananas, chopped into 1cm thick pieces

1 litre tub low fat vanilla custard

1 litre tub low fat vanilla yoghurt

2 teaspoons lemon myrtle (1 tsp each for yogurt and custard)

Note: set some fresh berries aside to add to top of sundaes


1. Add caster sugar and water to saucepan. Stir over low heat until boiling. Add frozen berries and cook for 5-10 minutes or until berries break down. Use a fork to breakdown any larger berries. The mixture should be mostly liquid with some lumps for texture. Place berry mixture aside to cool until ready to serve.

2. Mix the lemon myrtle with the yoghurt in one bowl and with the custard in another bowl and set aside.

3. To make sundaes, layer the sponge fingers in bottom of serving glasses, then a layer of custard or yoghurt, (do half of the sundaes with yoghurt and half with custard) then a layer of bananas, then the berry sauce. Continue to add layers to top of glass. Add the fresh berries that were set aside to the top to serve.

Recipe adapted from www.freshforkids.com.au


Discuss "Cooking for culture and community at Koori Cook-Off | PHOTOS, VIDEO"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.