Pepperberry Beef with Lemon Myrtle Crème, Asparagus and Pearl Barley

A few years ago now, well two years, back in 2015, though it feels a lot longer, I was in a cooking competition called the WA Signature Dish, run by the Buy West Eat Best campaign. There were four regions within the state, Peel, Gascoyne, Swan Valley and Kimberley with designated hero ingredients and you basically had to come up with a recipe that showcased that ingredient. I do like to cook so decided to give it a go, selecting The Bitter Bush essences and Edgecombe Brothers asparagus as my two Swan Valley  heros.



It was a total surprise to be selected as one of the semifinalists for the Swan Valley region. And this meant heading along to the State Reception Centre for a cook off. Now thankfully we were all teamed with a chef and Chef  Kieran Mainwaring, previously from Dear Friends and now of Co-op Dining fame was our regions chef, which meant he could lend us a hand. I was battling against Matt,  who I knew from his online persona of Inspired Food. Actually around the room for other regions there were a few other faces I knew from social media and our common love of food. Plus one of the girls was actually my boss’s sister in law because in Perth the degrees of separation are always surprisingly close.




Now it was an amazing day and if you feel so inclined you can watch this short YouTube video of all the action, but I didn’t make it to the grand final. (The amazing Jerolina from the Gascoyne went on to win. Such a star!) I had a great day though and I stumbled across this recipe the other day and thought that I would like to share it. Hope you enjoy!


Pepperberry Beef with Lemon Myrtle Crème, Asparagus and Pearl Barley


  • The Bitter Bush Pepperberry essence
  • The Bitter Bush Lemon Myrtle essence
  • 2 bunches of Edgecombe Brothers asparagus
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 250g Crème fraiche
  • 1 lemon
  • 300g eye fillet
  • Rock salt and black pepper
  • Jingilli Olive Oil
  • 2L of water


  • For best flavour either day before (ideal) or in the morning mix 3-4 tablespoons of crème fraiche and 10 drops of Lemon Myrtle Essence for each tablespoon and mix. The flavour develops when left in the fridge overnight, makes it more lovely and lemony.
  • Cut eye fillet into a fairly even strip, can then also cut into two pieces and place beef into a dish with 2 tablespoons of Jingilli Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of Pepperberry Essence and a good grind of rock salt and cracked pepper. Ensure the meat is coated and set aside.
  • Add 1 cup of pearl barley and 3 cup of chicken stock, zest and juice of 1 lemon into a pot and simmer for around 25 minutes under tender.
  • Sear the beef fillet and cook to preference. If it is a slightly thicker piece then pop into the oven for a few minutes to cook through. Allow to rest and then cut into slices (on the diagonal).
  • Cut the asparagus spears into approximately 3cm pieces on the diagonal. These only need to be very briefly blanched in hot water, so leave til the last minute. Drain and splash on a little Jingilli Olive Oil, to gloss them up.
  • Place some of the pearl barley on the plates/planks. Arrange on asparagus spears. Either scoop on spoonfuls of the crème fraiche (or if you are feeling fancy you can pipe it on) in amongst the spears. Place on some slices of the beef and get its dinner time.

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Photo Credit: Clarity Communications, c/o Peter Maloney, Department of Agriculture and Food

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