It was a lovely Saturday evening in SE London so we began our Aussie tucker supperclub with drinks in the garden. Most of our guests were new to the supperclub experience and some were new to this part of London, which made for some interesting discussions over drinks and later at the table.
Once our guests were seated, chef Trace explained the inspiration for the meal and how we’d sourced particular products and ingredients. Some elements of the meal had travelled from our back garden, others had made the long journey from Australia – from specialist suppliers or carried carefully by friends and family.
One family member who visited Australia recently even found napkins decorated with the wattleseed flower, which you can just see peeking out from beneath the menu cards, kindly provided by Codorniu.
The starter was kangaroo cigars with a native yoghurt sauce. Only one of our guests had tasted kangaroo before so there was much anticipation around the table as the plates were set down, and plenty of discussion about texture and flavour compared with other meats. For the vegetarian at the table we served spinach and feta cigars, using many of the herbs and spices used for the kangaroo cigars.
Our choice of kangaroo cigars was inspired by Mark Olive, a renowned and popular chef in Australia. Mark is a Bundjalung man, and his family originated from the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales. He’s been a chef for more than 25 years and is passionate about fusing native food and culture with contemporary lifestyle cooking, which has led to the creation of Black Olive Catering, an indigenous catering company and function space in North Melbourne, Victoria.
Everyone knows how much Australians love their barbecues. And this meal wouldn’t have been complete unless we’d used one of our four, yes four, barbies. The shoulders of lamb had been marinaded for a few hours to allow the meat to absorb the flavours, before we fired up the barbie and got busy with the tongs.
For our vegetarian guest, we served round courgettes, stuffed with leeks and mushrooms then baked. You can also use small squash and it’s a popular dish in our home because it looks lovely on the plate, served with the lids of the courgette or squash perched on top of the stuffing.
To accompany both mains we served honey and pistachio couscous (a glorious combination of flavours and colours to enhance the lamb) and two salad dishes, from which our guests helped themselves. When the salads were set on the table, one guest commented ‘that’s a s*** load of slaw!’, an appropriately Australian remark from a non-Australian.
Our guests tucked into both salads (a seasonal slaw and a refreshing pea, cucumber and broad bean mix) with spirit, some guests backed up for second and third helpings and played that well-known party game: what’s in my slaw. Most elements were identified but the inclusion of slivers of orange surprised everyone.
A brief respite, and it was on to dessert, again inspired by Mark Olive.
The individual pavlovas and quandong sauce were prepared in advance, leaving us plenty of time to infuse the cream with the wattleseed, and assemble the plates while our guests continued their lively discussions. The flavours of the quandong and the wattleseed, both sourced from Vic Cherikoff (another proponent of indigneous food and flavour), were a big hit and an excellent demonstration of the fusion between indigneous and contemporary flavours and cuisine.
If our guests thought it was all over, they hadn’t been following our Twitter feed during the week… To accompany tea and coffee, we served a platter of Koori macaroons: in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. We complement the vibrant colours we used lemon, black cherry and raspberry to fill the macaroons – and everyone seemed to have a particular favourite.
Carriages were eventually called and our guests left happy and sated. Our next supperclub dates are: 25 June and 30 July (a vegetarian feast). Details of both menus will be posted here and you can follow us on Twitter @wattleseed1