Tag Archives: roo

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.







Whistle-stop Tour

Prawns and hollandaise

Bit of a rapid review tour here, having been too busy to write, but not too busy to cook.

I was trying to come up with a breakfast dish that would befit Christmas morning. Not for any religious reasons, but one that would go rather well with Champagne; smoked salmon and scrambled eggs being the common break of the fast on this day. So, the prawns here are mighty fine, and go very very well with a bit of the old fizz. I’ve often made prawn butter from the leftover shells, as you would lobster butter, but why not just cook the buggers in butter in the first place. See below- a pack of butter and that many prawns.

prawns swimming in butter

Prawns de-shelled, butter and debris sieved, and made into hollandaise. A poached egg, some Bok Choi and away we go. Perrier Jouet NV, hello.

Cherry and chocolate pizza

I don’t think I’ve ever made a sweet pizza, but I was heckled by the boys, and maybe Shona, so here we are. Sliced peeled pear and cherries with some sugar, butter, and grated white and black chocolate. Ooh yeah, baby, as Felix would say.

BBQ beef ribs

Nor have I barbecued beef ribs. A mighty fine cut of meat this is too, if unexpectedly pricey considering the amount of bone. There was a suggestion to stew these first, and I do remember my neighbours serving up some that required big cat like gnashers. So, I stewed these in a soy stock, and when just about to fall of the bone, covered them in a sweet soy glaze- reduced soy, honey, garlic and ginger, and then barbecued as above. Need to be more careful with barbecuing a sweet glaze next time, easy to burn……


Roo tail- wow, what a revalation. This one I got whole from meat direct and had to remove the skin with pliers as shown. Of course I should have chucked it in a ground oven, skin and all, and pulled it off after. Next time….This time I stewed it with my leftover smoked turkey. Towards the end I added butter beans, cherries and balsamic vinegar. Not really wet season food, well, wet season Scotland. Fascinating that they are really quite fatty, clearly this is where M. Roo keeps his fat, and maybe why they are considered special by Indigenous Australians. Watch this space.

roo and turkey with cherries


I cooked a whole roo haunch for Anna G’s birthday, and was inspired by a pal Anthony who posted some roo with chocolate sauce. Well, roo, like venison, needs fat (unless the tail of course as above), and what has more fat than our good friend from Holland, yes, chocolate Hollandaise.

  • 100g 70% green and blacks
  • 250g butter

Melted slowly together and whisked gradually into 2 egg yolks. Some Balsamic vinegar et voila. I had some leftover Hollandaise and served with some roo fillets below. For a tropical spin, some greenish mango to garnish, and mash (OK, not so tropical).

roo fillet and chocolate hollandaise


A colourful bbq platter for Australia day- gotta love blue cheese burgers- King Island Blue has a pretty intense hit.

Australia day