Thai Salad with Native Pepper Crusted Kangaroo

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Thai beef salad flavours with native-pepper crusted kangaroo. Super simple but heaps tasty. Native pepper has the most incredible flavour, but way smokier and spicier than regular pepper, and goes so perfectly with the gamey-ness of kangaroo. 


2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 Lebanese cucumbers¸ chopped into long thin slices
Couple of handfuls of beansprouts
1 bunch coriander
1 sprig native mint
1\2 bunch Thai basil
Handful of crushed peanuts or crispy fried shallots OR both. Salty crunchy stuff is good.


½ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar (chopped up if you get it in the little blocks)
Juice of one large lime
1 long red chili
1\4 cup coriander stems, finely chopped up


500g kangaroo fillet
2 Tablespoons of native pepper
½ Tablespoon black peppe

Toss the ingredients for the salad together loosely (it looks nicer if you have a lot of herbs on top but do your own thing). 

Mix the sauce ingredients together, tasting for the flavour balance - if it's too sweet add fish sauce, too salty add sugar, too fish-sauce-y add lime, etc. 

Grind the pepper up together either with a regular pepper grinder or mortar and pestle. Coat the kangaroo fillet with pepper on both sides. Heat up a non-stick pan until it's extremely hot (if you flick some water in it it should sizzle). Put the kangaroo in the pan and put something heavy on top of it to weigh it down (another big pan or something like that). Cook for 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the same way for two minutes. Take out of the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes. 

Scatter the peanuts / crispy shallots over the top of the salad. 

Cut the kangaroo into thin slices on an angle. It should be medium-rare, so pretty bloody but not totally raw inside. Lay on top of the salad. Pour dressing over the top. 

Photo by Josh Watson

Photo by Josh Watson

Davidson Plum Sauce Chicken

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Davidson Plums fresh are too sour to eat - but this sourness seemed to me like a perfect fit for a kind of sweet, sticky Chinese sauce cause it could hold up to the strong spices. The flavour comes through strongly in this recipe - they taste nothing like actual plums. The type we used are Queensland Davidson plums, or Ooray.

Obviously you can use regular plums in this if you like (and a bit less sugar), or just Davidson plums (Veronica very kindly gave us some frozen plum pine when we visited so I used them too. You can order frozen Davidson Plums from Dreamtime Kullilla Art in Redcliffe if you're in Brisbane, from Taste Australia Bushfood Shop and from plenty of other bushfood suppliers on the internet.

It’s best to make this a couple of days before you’re serving it – it gets better with time.  


Plum Sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups Davidson plums (defrosted)
1 cup plum pine (defrosted)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
White pepper
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

Basting mixture

1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil


1 cup brown rice
1 sweet potato cut into small (1cm) squares
½ cup roughly chopped saltbush
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
Zest of a lemon

1 whole chicken

Fry garlic, fresh ginger and onion in a splash of vegetable oil (olive oil is fine it’s just better if it doesn’t have much flavor) until soft, then add cayenne pepper, cloves, five spice and ground ginger until the spices have cooked (around 2-3 mins).

Add the Davidson plums and native riberries, and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and vinegar and one cup of water. Taste the mixture regularly – you may need to add more sugar if the mixture is too bitter/acidic.

Play around with the flavours – you want it to be fairly sweet and spiced but still pretty tangy. Simmer the sauce until it’s thick and shiny. Put into a jar or Tupperware container and store at room temperature for at least a day, then you can put it in the fridge.  

For the stuffing, cook the rice, then fry the sweet potato in some olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until it’s cooked through. Add the ginger and saltbush and cook until ginger is starting to brown. Add the zest, then take off the heat and add to the cooked rice, with a splash more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If you’re roasting a whole chicken, take it out of the plastic and pat it down with some paper towel (including inside apparently, yucky!), then leave it to dry out in the fridge for about a day (I didn’t do this because I started too late – that’s just what the internet says to get a really crispy skin).

Then baste the chicken with a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and olive oil, and some chopped saltbush. Fill with the stuffing and cook at 180 degrees for one hour, basting with more honey and oil mixture every twenty minutes. 5 minutes before you take the chicken out, baste it with a light covering of the Davidson Plum sauce. After it's cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. It should be, but if you’re a bit iffy pop it back in the oven for covered in foil for 15 minutes. The sauce and basting should stop it from drying out, so better to be a bit over cooked than serve raw chicken. Serve with the sauce.




Total Fluke Roast Chicken

I don’t know how it happened, but this chicken was, as any judge on any cooking show might say ‘cooked to perfection’. Which is weird cause I (aka dumb chicken cooking rookie) bought the wrong part for roasting (Nigella says to ALWAYS use chicken thigh. I hope one day she’ll forgive me) so I was expecting it to be very dry. Brining it definitely helped, and resting it for 5 minutes before serving. Really though, it was just a total fluke that I checked it at the exact right minute (I was gonna leave it in for another 10!) when it was just done and tasty as hell. I sure took all the praise like I deserved it though

Serves 12-15.


1 kg Chicken Breast (you want to have at least half a breast for each person)
2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Ground Tumeric
2 tablespoons of Ground Coriander
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, roasted
500g Greek Yoghurt
1/4 cup Tahini

Make a brine for the chicken by covering the peices water, then adding about 1/4 cup salt. Leave to sit in the fridge for 30 mins - 3 hours

When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take the chicken out of the brine and rub it with the ground spices, garlic. and olive oil so every piece is covered. Cook for 10-15 minutes until just cooked (try not to open the oven too much during this time). Cut the biggest piece in half to make sure it's cooked through. Leave to rest out of the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Mix the yoghurt and tahini together. To serve, scatter the chicken with almonds and drizzle the tahini yoghurt sauce over if you want, otherwise just serve the sauce in a bowl. 

Spiced Chicken & Rice

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

There’s a Lebanese place in Red Hill that does the most insane vegetarian savoury rice and lentils, with charred bits of eggplant and chewy fried onion. I’ve never been able to cook eggplant right, but this is my attempt at something close to what they do. But also with chicken. 


750g Basmati rice
200g Lentils
200g Raisins
5 Cloves of garlic
2 Large onions
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
½ bunch fresh coriander
200g Pine nuts
Olive oil
1 Lemon

1.5 kilos chicken breast.
1.5 tablespoons turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 preserved lemons
(from a jar)

Boil the rice and the lentils separately – the rice for 10-15 mins and the lentils for 25-30 – until they’re tender. Combine the two, then fry the garlic, raisins, pine nuts and spices together in a seperate bowl. Mix through the rice and lentils, adding more spices and salt if it’s a bit bland.

Slice the onion into circles, separate the individual rings, then deep fry them in about 1 cup of olive oil until light brown and crispy. You don’t have to do this – you could dice them and fry with the garlic instead – but I think the long bits of fried onion through the rice give it a different texture and more interesting flavour. When you’re ready to serve, toss through a bunch of fresh coriander and squeeze some lemon over it.

Cut the chicken into strips (try and make them roughly the same size so they cook in the same time). Coat the chicken in the spices and preserved lemon and leave to marinate for about an hour. Shallow fry it in a pan (you might have to cook it in batches to make sure it’s cooked – don’t give your friends the raw chicken voms), then serve on top of the spiced rice.