What did Australia's early settlers eat?

Kangaroo Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Early Australian settlers adapted traditional British dishes with local meats

Kangaroo brains, roast wombat or emu - these are some of the dishes to be found in the first cook book from Australia that includes native ingredients.

The English and Australian Cookery Book, written by a local landowner and published in 1864, has gone on display at the Tasmanian state library in Hobart to mark 150 years since it was published, ABC News reports. It's one of the earliest examples of how British settlers adapted their cooking to local ingredients.

To make a Slippery Bob, coat kangaroo brains in a batter of flour and water and fry in emu fat, the book suggests. But it warns the dish is "bush fare" that needs a good appetite and excellent digestion. For a plate of Pan Jam, author Edward Abbott says kangaroo tails should be placed in the ashes of a fire - with the skin on - and then scraped and cut at the joints when they're nearly done. To finish them off, fry gently with fat bacon, mushrooms and peppers.

Curator Ian Morris says early accounts, such as the 1831 journal of Tasmanian Mary Allport, show people substituting the strange flora and fauna of the new continent into dishes they already knew. "She's faced with an echidna for dinner and she adapts the recipe for suckling pig," Morris says, adding she also used stuffed wallaby as a substitute for Scottish hare.

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