By Chef James Barnden from Charlie’s Hotel, Nash Street Gympie

Great as a share platter, showcasing local produce.


16 green prawns, tails peeled (Tin Can Bay prawns are best, try North Queen Seafoods)

150g okra halved lengthwise (available from local producers including Petersen’s Farm and Dagun Growers Market)

500g mixed eggplant

250g polenta

2 eggs (prefer grass fed Gympie region eggs)

150ml Cooloola Milk

150g flour

20g plus extra Bacon Salt (from local producer Piggy in the Middle)

100ml good mayonnaise

2 drops lemon myrtle oil (grown locally by Purity Essential Oils)

50g macadamia, toasted, lightly chopped (from local producers such as Lindols Macadamias)

20g dried Rosella (from CC’s Kitchen)


Mint leaves to garnish

Micro Amaranth to garnish (grown locally by Pure Living Microgreens)

Sliced Chill to garnish

Olive oil

Oil for frying

Rosella Ketchup:

200g fresh Rosella fruit, seed removed (from Peterson’s Farm and CC’s Kitchen)

125g caster sugar

100ml apple cider vinegar

6 cloves

4g salt

125g glucose

120ml water


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place all the ketchup ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil, cook for five minutes then remove from heat to cool to room temperature. Place ketchup into a blender and puree until smooth. Mix the mayonnaise and the lemon myrtle oil together and set aside with the ketchup.

Cut the eggplant into thick slices, toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of bacon salt, spread onto a baking tray and cook for 10 minutes in the oven or until soft.

Heat oil for frying to 180 degrees (about 2cm in a large fry pan, or a deep fryer full if you have one). Beat the eggs and milk together into a bowl, place polenta and 20g bacon salt into another bowl, give a quick mix and place the flour in another one. Dredge the okra and prawns first into the flour, then into the egg mixture then finally into the polenta. Fry the prawns and okra in batches once the oil is hot enough (use a digital thermometer to check the temperature if you have one, or dip a wooden spoon or skewer into the oil, if it bubbles, its ready) cook until golden, remove carefully once cooked and sprinkle with extra bacon salt while still hot.

To plate up, place the eggplant randomly over your platter, then the okra and prawns, dollop the mayo and ketchup around the platter. To finish, sprinkle the dried Rosella, macadamias, mint, chili and amaranth.