Portrait of a recipe

Holly Ringland’s novel The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is an ode to Australia’s flora, so it seemed fitting to use an Australian herb – lemon myrtle – to dress these delicious local Balmain bugs for our interview. Accompanied by a pineapple and mint salsa, it was the perfect al-fresco meal for this unseasonally hot Autumn day.

Lemon myrtle is a beautiful Australian shrub with graceful weeping branches, soft green leaves and clusters of creamy feathery flowers in Autumn. It is a native of northern New South Wales and sourthern Queensland. This fragrant herb is wonderful as a fresh accompaniment to fish, chicken, ice cream and sorbet but can also be dried and powdered.

For this recipe, Kate mixed powdered lemon myrtle into the oil in which she marinated the bugs and then mixed it into the mayonnaise that accompanied it. Simple and delicious. Check out our recipes for the pineapple and mint salsa and the tomato and basil salad.

  • 2-4 Balmain bugs per person

  • Olive oil

  • Powdered lemon myrtle

  • Jar of good quality store-bought mayonnaise


Mix powdered lemon myrtle into olive oil to taste.

Pour over bugs, toss and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

Cook bugs on the barbecue and turn regularly until warmed through.

Mix powdered lemon myrtle into appropriate amount of mayonnaise for the number of guests (to taste).

Serve bugs warm with mayonnaise on the side.

Image credit: Claire Absolum