A woman by the name of Dale Tilbrook has a presence that commands attention and a look about her that hints at many stories that could be told. She visited us at Salone del Gusto from the southwest part of Western Australia, having joined the Slow Food movement because its views are parallel with the Aborigine way of life.
I always thought eating kangaroo in Australia would be some form of blasphemy. I quickly learned that it is considered to be bush food, also known as bush tucker. This term refers to native plants and animals the aborigines of Australia ate and still eat today. Most of the ingredients used in this type of cuisine grow wild and are collected by hand.
On the menu, kangaroo loin seasoned with pepperberry, lemon myrtle and saltbush; paired with a drizzle of 3 different Australian olive oils. Each oil, infused with a different native lime, picked up a different nuance in the meat. This was accompanied by dukkah. a primarily Egyptian condiment made with herbs, nuts and spices. This one combined sesame seeds, almonds, coriander seed, sandalwood nut, lemon myrtle and soft macadamia nuts (less fatty than their USA counterpart).
We were also served a terrine and chutney duo made with a long list of ingredients I had never heard of….saltbush, sea parsley, aniseed myrtle, emu plum, lillipilli….all my mouth understood was, delicious. To finish the culinary encounter, we sampled a red quandong jam and a peach schnapps poached quandong that there just will never be enough of to satisfy this chef’s palate.
The workshop was chock full of information, however the simplest facts are what caught my attention. Kangaroos are fondly referred to as skippies. One of the peculiarities of kangaroo meat is that the fat does not marble throughout, rather it gathers around the organs and is considered a natural trans fat. The tail meat is the sweetest and it is best cooked the old-fashioned Australian way, in smoldering ashes. Boomerangs don’t always come back. MIND BLOWN. There are some that are designed not to return and these are used to “whack a skippie”, scrape their hide clean or even start a fire.
Although the flavors were exotic, I loved the simplicity behind the dishes. The meal was wonderful. The menu featured many ingredients almost inaccessible outside of Australia. Rather than be discouraged by this fact, I view it as a reason to visit.
Until next time…