Sunday, October 4, 2009

Outback Game Meat

I have been away on holidays again. It is so hard to keep up with the blog when you are on holidays. I have been ambitious, planning to keep up with the posting with my Netbook, in reality you just cannot focus on the blog while on holidays.

My holidays took me to the Red Centre of Australia. This place is also known as the outback of Australia. We stayed the town called Alice Springs, a remote city surviving on activities from the gas fields, cattle farming, and a major stopover for trucks and trains from Adelaide to Darwin (northern end of Australia).

We camped in the caravan and National parks. While at Alice Springs we get to eat out at Red Ochre Cafe , a local restaurant on one cold and rainy afternoon. Here we get to sample some local fare. We had a camel pie, and a plate of assorted items ('antipasto') which include Emu and Kangaroo meat served with turkish bread and some dips.

Camel is considered a pest or unwanted species of animals, or ferals. They have been imported during the mid 19th to early 20th century to transport goods in the harsh and arid land. During that time, the Afghans were hired as the camel drivers. The camel population has grown steadily and is believe to have reached a million, the government recently allocated $17 million to get rid of this animals. Some of these has been captured and slaughtered in abattoir. So the meat are readily available. Similarly kangaroos has been culled to control the population. These animals ended up on the dining table as game meat. Not too common in Melbourne, but more so in the bush country.
I find the Emu and roo meat a bit tough and chewy. They are usually cooked rare, or alternatively they should be stewed for many hours to tennderise them.

The camel meat pie is excellent. Juicy and mildly flavoured with dried kumquat or orange peel.

At Kings Canyon (National Park) grocery/fuel station store, we came across frozen Kangaroo tails about one and half foot long. I wish they sell these in Melbourne. I would love to cook a delicious stew out of these. At the store, we picked up some camel steaks (and together with some crocodile meat which we bought at the butcher in Alice Springs), we cooked them camp. I must say I like the flavour and texture of the camel meat.

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