Coo-ee Cuisine: the self-published cookbook worth shouting about

Aunty Dale Chapman knew she wanted to work with food from a young age. Growing up in Dirranbandi in southwestern Queensland, Aunty Dale became engrossed in planning and preparing family meals, revealing a natural talent for blending and producing foods.

Aunty Dale’s passion for feeding the family developed into a colourful chefing career characterised by a growing interest in Australian bush foods. Since 1976, the celebrated Aboriginal chef has lived and worked on Gubbi Gubbi land, known as the Sunshine Coast as an educator, mentor and champion of bush foods.

Coo-ee Cuisine brings to life the bush food knowledge and wisdom passed down through the Traditional Custodians. The cookbook, printed by Express Print & Mail, makes it easy for everyone to integrate bush tucker into family meals.

     Table display with bush foods, herbs and Coo-ee Cuisine Cookbook

Bringing bush tucker to a broader audience

Aunty Dale has been passionate about bringing her knowledge of traditional Aboriginal bush foods to a broader audience throughout her career.

Her business My Dilly Bag proudly builds awareness of the oldest living culture in the world, bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to learn from each other through workshops, classes and events.

“I believe that sharing delicious Australian native foods, yarning and learning about traditional knowledge honours our past and builds respect and joy into our future,” Aunty Dale says.

Simple recipes with unique ingredients

After years of being asked for recipes using bush foods, Aunty Dale self-published a cookbook of simple recipes incorporating readily available ingredients to give people confidence in working with these natural treasures.

“Everyone wanted to know what things tasted like and how to use them as ingredients,” said Aunty Dale. “The world is ready for the unique and nutritious qualities of our Indigenous seeds, spices, leaves and meats.”

Coo-ee Cuisine features more than 60 carefully curated recipes across 100 pages, from Aunty Dale’s restaurants, catering and family. There’s something for everyone - Wattleseed chocolate and ginger biscotti, Lemon myrtle pikelets, Big Bush Curry made with kangaroo mince and Anise fish cakes, to name a few.

Since its first edition in 2016, the cookbook has sold like hotcakes, with more than 6,000 copies sold to date. That’s a significant achievement for a self-published book!

“It’s a cookbook designed to be used, not sit on the coffee table gathering dust. All the ingredients are readily accessible, and the methods are straightforward; you don’t need to be a Le Cordon Bleu chef to follow them,” says Aunty Dale.

Advice and suggestions from EPM

Self-publishing a book takes a considerable amount of dedication, and it helps to have an experienced team on your side. Aunty Dale has worked with Express Print & Mail since the first edition of Coo-ee Cuisine, through each update and print round.

“When it came to the content, images and design, the people at Express Print & Mail were very obliging and knowledgeable on how to go about it.

“EPM helped me perfect the design and provided suggestions such as adding an ISBN and barcode, so it was a professionally finished book suitable for retail sale. They gave me good direction,” she said.

“I have always found the turnaround from Express Print & Mail really fast. They always keep me up to speed on the progress of each project and deliver on time or earlier.”

The A5 size book is printed on 128gsm silk, with a 350gsm silk cover and dividers, and wire bound in-house at EPM.

Coo-ee Cuisine is available at mydillybag.com.au or selected retailers. Check out Aunty Dale’s workshops and classes to learn more about bush foods.

For more information about book printing or self-publishing with Express Print & Mail, contact us on 1800 626 562 or by email.