Category Archives: Kangeroo

Coke Tails. A Journey from Roux to ‘roo.

OK, let’s start with a post-modern ironic recipe alert. There can’t be many of these, but like our best jokes*, and loudest eructations, we appreciate our own more than most, and it tickled me. It all started with a bottle of Victorian Bannockburn Pinot Noir, 2000. What to have with this? Well, I like a good long cooked gelatinous meat or game fest with a big pinot. So we’re talking beef shin, ox tail, magpie goose etc. I had some roo tail in the freezer, which I think I’ve written about previously. It is like oxtail on game ‘roids. Amazing. So how to prepare? Hold on, HOLD THE F### ON, there’s a bottle of coke in the fridge, acquired for the purposes of coin sparklage investigation (though 2 litres was a little excessive, Shona). The buxom  (still?) Nigella has a recipe for a ham cooked in coke, so why not?

IMG_5138[1]*(3/4/14 addendum- I should explain my slightly dark internal mirth- kangaroo is a most revered delicacy by Australian Aboriginals. Unfortunately, sugary soft drinks are now a major calorific contributor in local diets, to the appalling detriment of dental hygiene, amongst many others).

The tail came complete as shown, though without skin and actually must have had a bit of fat removed, a shame. It’s worth remembering that the tail bones are a damn site longer than Oxtail, about 10cm near the base, so don’t go hacking blindly with your best Shun knife, it’ll end in tears.

Tail pieces upended, with 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots an onion, and, a bit left field, an inch of root ginger, and enough coke to almost cover this compact assemblage. This was simmered until the meat is falling off the bones (about 6-7hrs), and then the veg removed and juices strained (would have been easier to keep separate from the meat, see below), and all kept overnight.

I’m not sure when the next phase of the dsh hit, but I was thinking what carbs to have with this, and since I had some time with the beasties I thought making pasta would be fun, yes, some homemade tagliatelle. But then wait, how about lasagne? BINGO. The journey continues……

The roux recipe is recalled vaguely on a M. Michel Roux cutting, appropriately. The quantities are easy to recall. (Actually a roux is a sauce thickened with a butter/ flour mixture, so Bechamel is a type of roux, but doesn’t rhyme with ‘roo).

  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour

Melted and allowed to cool a little

  • 1litre milk, gently simmered with
  • 1 choppped onion
  • 2-3 celery sticks (I like a strong celery flavour and the boys are less keen on a strong bay leaf/ pepper flavour- hey ho).



The milk strained through a conical sieve and added initially slowly (i.e. similar vol to butter/ flour), whisked in, double volume, whisked, double etc, taking care to scrape the corners of the saucepan. Then simmered until thickened. I invariably end up f##king up my Bechamel by either boiling the milk over or burning the supposedly simmering sauce. PAY ATTENTION.






Meanwhile, the boys are ripping the meat from the bones with deft little fingers and getting to gnaw at the bones. Good job beasts.


So then onto the pasta. Another easy quantity to remember is 1 egg to 100g flour. For this I used,

  • 3 eggs
  • 150g pasta plain flour
  • 150g semolina

Topped up (probably unnecessarily) with some water.

I use half plain and half semolina to get the gluten level up for a pasta that will won’t fall apart. However, it needs an enormous amount of work. At this point I ditched the otherwise super helpful boys, but I had to put the rough mass through the biggest setting on the pasta machine, perhaps 15-20 times?



And you just keep going until it becomes smooth, (not knobbly as show). The sheets need adusting of flour between rolls, and once smooth you can start thinning them out gradually from notch 1 to notch 5 (of 7 on my machine).



OK, we are nearly there. The veg (except ginger), I (well, Felix) put through a mouli legumes as shown, and added this to the meat and juice to make a fantastic sauce. I think this is a similar approach to that used for Hare Royale by Simon Hopkinson (God I miss hare….).

So, finally the construction. In retrospect, I put too much pasta to sauce here (ended up a bit dry), but hey, next time I’ll up the roo, and do 2 tails and go large. After spooning sauce betwen layes of pasta, I finished off with about 2/3 of the Bechamel on top of a final layer of pasta and a shit load of grated Parmesan. Ooh yeah baby.

Baked in the oven at 180C until, well, until it’s ready. Which is obvious to see.


And here we are.




The Pinot was utterly divine, one of the best I’ve ever had. Lovely pinot gamey, cheesey mushroom flavours but also very full bodied, enough tannins to throw a deposit. Amazing.







Kangeroo Ragoo

It is so easy to make a very brilliant ragu that to make a greasy cow pat spag bol is criminally insane. Let the ranting commence.

In my efforts to reduce the water footprint of my carnivorous urges, the ‘roo must really be No. 1 contender for all things minced. It’s a pretty intense flavour, like venison. But then, if you don’t like flavour, well, you’re dead. It itrritates me intensely when people try and tone down the ‘roo because of this, often by drenching or marinading it in all manner of salty, vinegary shit. Just let it be, man. It’s wild, it’s got flavour. If you like you meat bland, eat tofu.

The key to the ragu is taking the time to chop the vegetables finely and cooking it for ever to get a concentrated, dense sauce. Oh yes, and chicken livers.

In the hostel from hell in Freemantle, I remember passing through the kitchen and getting a waft of the usual SpagBol abomination- garlic almost burnt, a pack of mince dumped in to absorb this nauseating cremation, and tinned tomatoes, all ready to serve in 10 mins. Foul.

So, roughly tripling up Simon Hopkinson’s non-family recipe,

  • 100g butter
  • 50ml olive oil
  • a few garlic cloves
  • 3-4 onions
  • 4-6 carrots
  • 4-6 celery sticks,

All finely diced and fried to pallor,

You could add a good slug of white wine (yes white, not red)
Then add
  • 1kg roo mince
  • 500g chicken livers, chopped (we like a lot of chicken liver)
And stir till broken up. Then,
  • 600ml passata
  • 2bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 500ml milk, yep, a bit weird
And then slowly cook, and occasionally stir until you can just see the bottom of the pan when you do so. I think this outing took 4-5 hours. To serve, clearly boil up some decent pasta, though dried is probably better. Add cream or more butter to make richer and rain on the parmesan. You don’t need to drench the pasta with sauce, just enough to have a morsel with each piece of pasta.
This is one of those dishes that can be washed down with some plonk or something top end. In the absence of some fine Italian wine, a very good pinot is rather good. Current tipple is Bogong Estate, made by a dedicated pinotphile. Christ, watch the typo there.
Oh yes, three large plastic containers are now in the freezer, enough for six meals. Instant gastronomic heaven, result.


Chili con Skippy and Bush Fusion Adventures

Not sure what the water footprint of ‘roo is, but I’m sure as hell (so, not very?), that it is less than our bovine fleisch. Looking into chili con carne, it seems to be a Tex Mex creation, not Mexican, which is maybe why cheddar seems to go so well with it. Just one of those crazy food marriage things. In fact cheddar goes with a few weird things, fruit cake, ginger cake and stout. And stout goes with…….

Anyway, on this child friendly achilic outing,

  • 2 finely shopped onions, browned in olive oil with
  • 2 big teaspoons cocoa
  • 1 cinammon stick
  • 1tsp ground cumin and corriander

Into the slow cooker with,

  • 1kg roo mince, browned in wee batches with lots of olive oil
  • 400g  red kidney beans, dry weight (mass actually), soaked overnight
  • 200ml Hungarian red pepper paste
  • 100ml passata

Topped up with water, and cooked for 8rs or so.

Served with chili flakes for the adults, some not so great homemade tortillas, lovely biodynamic polenta, tomato and cucumbers and cheddar on top. Coopers stout too.

Nothing to do with Skippy Carnage

Having bought a 2kg chunk of roo leg to play with, I portioned some up into chunks for kebabs. A rapid marinade of lemon myrtle and olive oil, then skewered with delicious green/ going red slender peppers and slowly grilled over gumtree embers. Couscous, with cucumber, spring onion, mint, and Rosella jelly with apple vinegar. Mild dysphoria lifted with this fine supper. Not bad for getting home at 5pm to on the table at 6. God I’m good.