kangaroo.jpgI’ve never been to Australia, the 6th largest country and the only island that is also a continent. The most I knew about the land down under was that they have koalas and kangaroos. I never dreamed I would eat one of them. I had gone to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, a market in the center of historic Old Town and considered by food lovers everywhere, as one of the best markets in the world.  It was there that I found kangaroo burgers.

Even though kangaroos are endemic to Australia and the country’s national symbol, only a small percentage of Australians eat kangaroo on a regular basis.  However, it was an important part of the traditional Aboriginal diet, and Australian supermarkets provide an assortment of kangaroo meat cuts, including steaks, fillets, roo tail, and “kanga bangas” or otherwise known as kangaroo sausages. 

Kangaroos are not farmed, but rather hunted in the wild by commercial hunters.  Even though there is controversy surrounding the harvesting of kangaroo meat, there are many environmental and health benefits.  Kangaroos require less food and do not destroy the root systems of native grasses.  Kangaroo meat is also high in protein, low in fat, and has a high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). 

Kangaroo meat is tender with a strong gamy taste.  It’s been compared to venison.  I found that grilling kangaroo burgers is not easy.  The meat has little fat, and therefore, is crumbly and falls apart when you flip it. 

I didn’t particularly care for the meat, but my husband Kevin, and my kids, John and Julia, liked it and gobbled their burgers down.  We had leftovers and when I tried to throw it out Kevin insisted he would finish it later, and did. 

For dessert, Julia and I made Pavlova, a traditional Australian sweet dish that is frequently served at holiday meals.  It’s a meringue named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer.  In the 1920s the dessert was created to honor the dancer while she was on tour in Australia and New Zealand.  Apparently there is a hot dispute about where this dessert originated; Australians think Australia and New Zealanders think New Zealand. 

The Pavlova was easy to make, and if I can make it anyone can.  The dessert was beautiful; it would be a stunning centerpiece for any table.  But we all agreed it was too sweet.  I asked Julia, the biggest sweet tooth of all of us, what she thought of it.  She said, “let’s just say it’s different.” 

So there you have it, folks.  My daughter had gobbled up her kangaroo burger, but had left half her dessert on her plate.  

pavlova.jpgPavlova

4 egg whites
1 cup fine sugar
2 tsp vinegar
1 TBSP corn starch
half-pint whipped cream
Fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi

Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until frothy, then increase speed and beat until stiff.  Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.  When the sugar has been added the mixture should stand in peaks.  Fold in the vinegar and corn starch. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it.  Pile the meringue mixture on it so it’s in the shape of a cylinder.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Bake the Pavlova for about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes.  When cooked, leave oven door ajar to let Pavlova cool.  When cooled, top with whipped cream and fruit. 

Read about the best and weirdest world cuisines on my eatpplanettravelingmom blog. Join me on my journey to taste the planet!