Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Australia, the Great Southern Land, home! I took my time to really think about this dish, as I felt the pressure of a nation weighing on my shoulders. I can sympathise with Ricky Ponting as to what such pressure can do to a man. It is test of character to accept the challenge laid forth, and deliver for Australia, a dish that we all can be proud of. I dared to dream beyond the four'n'twenty pie or vegemite on toast; the lamington, the anzac biscuit or the pavalova. I now stand before you, and raise my bat in triumph, as the Australian Girls and Boys Choir sing 'I Still Call Australia Home,' and Matt the Cravat tearingly pronounces me as the new Master Chef Australia...and then the words of the great Darryl Kerrigan come to mind: "tell him his dreaming". 

All the honour should actually go to the source of this recipe: celebrity chef Benjamin Christie ( My triumphal moment is more the raising of a Hahn Super Dry, while JJJ plays through my hand held radio, and my wife pronounces the meal to be not as bad as she thought. Still, I'll take what I can get.

Australia, as most people know, is a relatively new nation, being recognised as the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. In contrast, Australia the continent is extremely old. Indigenous Australians have inhabited this land for somwhere between 40,000 to 100,000 years, however Europeans didn't settle here until a British penal colony was established at Sydney Cove in Januray 1788. When the British arrived, they brought with them all their rich culinary traditions - meat and three veg. That is pretty much how it stayed until the mid 20th Century. In my little corner or Australia, like many other country towns, the only deviation from the norm was the local Chinese takeaway (often sharing a space with the local golf club or service station). However taking the lead from Melbourne and Sydney, the rest of Australia began to develop a taste for multicultural fare. Now most towns can add such culinary selections as Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, French, Lebanese and many others in some variant or the other, although these are often bastardised beyond recognition. This has led to a style known as 'Modern Australian' which, true to our convict heritage, basically means the theft of everyone elses good ideas.

Before the arrival of Europeans the people of Australia lived on the island continent with no outside contact, and arguably the worlds most unique flora and fauna. They respected the land, and knew how to utilise the bounty that was not always plentiful in the oftentimes extreme environments: as ayone who has watched the Crocodile Hunter will know, most things in Australia can kill you (except Irukandji). For most of the current generation, we are only just beginning to embrace the native foods that sustained the indigenous people for thousands of years. Utilising this knowledge rewards us with novel and exciting flavours, and I for one am proud that we are discovering a culinary identity that is uniquely Australian.  This dish seeks to combine the best of both worlds. It includes readily available native ingredients: kangaroo, macadamia nut, and mountain pepper, and presents them in a very modern Australian way. I humbly suggest, "move over meat pie", lets embrace the Kangaroo Salad as our new national dish.

Kangaroo Salad


120g Kangaroo fillet
Mountain Pepper Sauce (although this is a key ingredient, I unfortunately didn't have any so instead I made a marinade using olive oil and black peppercorns - you can find it here though:
1 cup English spinach
¼ Granny smith apple
½ Fresh fig
6 Springs of coriander
20g Goats cheese
¼ Cup macadamia nuts, roasted and crushed
5ml Macadamia nut oil


Trim the fat from the kangaroo fillet and marinate in half the mountain pepper sauce for at least 45 minutes, but preferrably overnight.

Cut the figs and apples into slices and place in a salad bowl with coriander and spinach. Crumble goats cheese over the top.

Season kangaroo with a little salt, then on a hot BBQ or frying pan, sear the fillets until medium rare – usually 3-4 minutes on each side. Allow to rest for a few minutes and then thinly slice the fillet across the grain, for maximum tenderness.

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining Mountain Pepper Sauce and macadamia nut oil together. Dress the salad, toss well and serve. Top each serve with the sliced kangaroo and garnish with toasted, crushed macadamia nuts.


  1. Oh no you didn't! I was just telling a bunch of people here in Switzerland last week how Australians would NEVER go so low as to eat KANGAROO!

    Love the blog. Although, when you were giving the historical background of Australia, just a little mention of Indigenous Australians wouldn't have gone astray, right?! :)

  2. Better have another look sweet heart!

    "Indigenous Australians have inhabited this land for somwhere between 40,000 to 100,000 years, however Europeans didn't settle here until a British penal colony was established at Sydney Cove in Januray 1788."

  3. Oh yes we do! Roo hops right on into supermarkets prepackaged and out again and onto your fry pan!! That is of course if you didn't run into it on the way to the supermarket! Then you get it fresh!

    The meat is a uni-students substitute for 'real' meat - 'beef'. It is cheap, rugby players love it for its lean but high protein attributes, and the bonus is that you have plenty of leftovers after dinner because your friends and guest won't eat much of it!
    Roo is overbearingly earthy and gamey in flavour.....and you might find the occasional worm! No, thats an exaggeration.

    Tip: I have been told that if you marinate it in salty water in the fridge for a day or two it reduces its rich gaminess and its more palatable.

    I think I will pass on the roo salad.

    Thanks Nick.