Monday, 4 June 2012
When Ryan chose Australia, I wasn’t exactly sure what we could cook – the food there and here is pretty much the same, they even try to claim some of our food as theirs (Pavlova, pineapple lumps…). But then a couple of ideas came to mind, unlike New Zealand, Australia has quite a few poisonous/dangerous animals – Spiders, snakes, crocodiles… no, no we won’t eat spiders… Crocodiles!
Crocodile meat is a bit of a delicacy, one you’ll find in restaurants over there, but not here – so that lead me to thinking of other meat that they eat there but we don’t have here. Kangaroo and ostrich are other meats that we don’t really have here all that much – so although they are not ‘everyday’ Australian foods, they are specialities that are peculiar to Australia.
The boys are either going to get a kick out of this one or run for the hills… I better start the mental preparations early!
Mango Crocodile Kebabs with Lime
When I told Ryan we would be having crocodile for dinner, has asked “Really? Real crocodile?”
It wasn’t until we went to the “Aussie Butcher” and I showed him the meat pack with a picture of a crocodile on it that he believed we were really going to eat Croc!
And Sam, even when I had it on the bench getting read to prepare, “Dad is that the crocodile meat”
“Where are the scales?”
I had to smile, but without going into crocodiles not having scales, I just asked him whether our chicken had feathers on them or our fish had scales when we cooked it (actually sometimes there are some stray scales!)
“They remove the skin before we buy it Sammy…”
That has to be the most interested both boys were in the ingredients before we started cooking. So it really sparked their imagination.
Preparation was pretty simple, diced and skewered with a ginger, mango, basil, parsley marinade, then quickly seared for a couple of minutes. Crocodile is a lot lie squid in terms of cooking technique, too long and you have a car tyre. I’d describe its texture as something between fish and chicken, with a very mild flavor, hence the use of herbs and mango as a marinade/coating.
But here comes the real test, I served it up on the plate with a slice or two of lime, I could have served on a bed of rice, but I thought Ryan had, had enough rice the last two dinners – so kept it simply. It was role reversal time tonight, Ryan tentatively took a bite … paused… “I like it!” Finished the whole kebab and a couple more pieces! I was in shock… Sam on the other hand tried it, and had a few pieces, but wasn’t too keen, he didn’t like the flavor.
I’ve had crocodile before so I was fine to finish of the rest of Sam’s kebab as I quite like seafood – if you can call Croc seafood.
For the adults we paired a Coopers Pale Ale with the kebabs.
Ryan’s rating: 100/100
Sam’s rating: 7/10
Kangaroo Steak in a basalmic red wine marinade
Mango Mesculin Salad
Our second course was another strange meat, kangaroo steaks.
Being Australian night I thought we’d best cook these on the Barbie (I don’t actually know any Australians that cook shrimp on the barbie – Prawns or Moreton Bay Bugs maybe… but not shrimps.)
Sam and Ryan were keen for me to cook on the bbq, but they weren’t keen to brave the cold night air, so I was out there by myself with my authentic Aussie Coopers Pale Ale. BBQ and beer – very Australian…
I carefully read the kangaroo packaging careful to make sure I was cooking this correctly… and it specifically stated that it had to be cooked throughly, not even a little raw, and I like my steaks rare /medium-rare – So I had to make sure there were reasonably well done – don’t want to kill the family.
These steaks were massive, I’d marinated them in a red wine (Australian wine), balsamic and Dijon marinade beforehand, but they were very thick, and took a while to cook through, but eventually we were done, and ready for the kids to try.
I’d heard from other people that kangaroo was a tough meat, and I recall either the kangaroo or ostrich I’d had in Australia years ago was a little tough, but I couldn’t recall which it was. I sliced up the ‘Roo thinly as I always do with steak for the kids to make it easier for them to eat, the meat did look a little stronger than the normal Angus steaks we have which are ‘melt in your mouth’. I wouldn’t call it tough=tough, it was okay, but I wouldn’t rave over it like I do over croc.
As for the boys, Ryan ate all of his and seemed to enjoy it, Sam again wasn’t as keen, he had a few pieces, but did say it was a little too chewy.
The adults washed down the ‘Roo with an Australian Jacobs Creek Merlot.
Ryan’s rating: 10/10
Sam’s rating: 7/10
When I was making them Ryan was not keen on the big bowl of dessicated coconut I had prepared.
He didn’t want to try the sponge cake mixture or lick a beater or spoon, did not want to try the chocolate or pink icon either. To put it simply I though he may not even eat this dessert at all…
Lamingtons are a simple sponge cake, cut into cuboids, dipped in a runny icing and rolled in coconut and left to dry. The icing soaks into the sponge, and dries on the outside leaving a lovely sweet transition layer of gooey iced sponge.
You used to see these a bit in the eighties at parties when I was growing up, but they seem to have gone out of fashion now, which is just as well, as it’s something new for the boys to try out.
I made 12 – 6 chocolate and 6 pink – traditional laming ton colors I did toy with the idea of making them Australian Green and Gold – but for authenticity’s sake stuck with the tried and true.
Well… for a kid that wasn’t interested in the individual ingredients, Ryan polished off one of each color. And Sam, well he ate until he could eat no more…
Ryan’s rating: Infinity out of infinity
Sam’s rating: 10/10
Our meals were a little simpler for Australia night, but that’s because we share a very similar history with Australia and all our food is pretty much the same – so this was more about the exotic single ingredients than a totally different way of preparing something. The kid’s enjoyed themselves and I know that they’ll have some pressing questions for their cousin about his food when he comes across the “ditch” from Australia to New Zealand in the school holidays…