Friday, 17 February 2012

Tasting: Kangaroo and Quinoa

Mr 2 with kangaroo by @7mrsjames
Kangaroo with Joey in pouch @7mrsjames

I guess you have all heard of Kangaroo.  They are one of Australia's native animals, along with the Koala, Kookaburra, Possum and the wallaby.  They are also used as a food source, just the same as other animals such as the cow, sheep and chicken.  Indigenous Australians knew the value of this sustainable source of meat.  Kangaroos were readily available and a brilliant source of iron, protein and zinc. Today, kangaroos are farmed and harvested to produce a variety of kangaroo products.

There are so many nutritional advantages, I am surprised it is not as widely accepted as other meats. True, kangaroos are cute and we have grown up with TV shows like "Skippy the bush Kangaroo"!

Kangaroo meat is:

  • extremely lean (therefore cook quickly on high heat, serve medium rare otherwise it overcooks=very tough)
  • contains less than 2% fat (low in saturated fat)
  • contains the richest source of CLA (Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • high in protein, iron and zinc
  • low in cholesterol
  • good source of omega 3 fats
  • contributes B group vitamins to the diet

This week my Year 11 Food Technology class tried kangaroo rissoles and kangaroo steak (one marinated in plum sauce and the other we seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon myrtle).   We all had a taste of both styles and I was pleasantly surprised (and proud) that the students gave it a go. Only 2 students had tried Kangaroo before.  There were a few legitimate questions and conversation surrounding eating kangaroo prior to the tasting.  I enjoyed sharing this experience with the students.

Comments included:

"It was tender", "It was fairly rich",  "I could tell the difference between beef and kangaroo" "It tastes the same as ordinary meat", "I actually like it!".

The majority preferred the kangaroo rissoles. They were pre-made and fairly tasty, a bit too much salt for my liking :) My family enjoy the plum marinated kangaroo steaks with salad, vegetable mash, egg and cous cous.  However, after recalling how good Quinoa tastes I will certainly remember to make this versatile seed a regular dish. I am used to serving Quinoa as a cold summer salad. It was delicious served warm with thyme and lemon, as an accompaniment to the kangaroo.

The following You tube/pronounce by   allows you to hear the correct pronunciation: QUINOA  "KEEN-WA"

Quinoa is:
  • a gluten free grain-like staple (it is actually a seed)
  • high in protein (great for vegetarians) a complete protein!
  • rich in fibre
  • low cholesterol
  • contains more iron than any other grain
  • can be used as a savoury or sweet dish, adaptable seed.

Quinoa growing by Emily Barney under the attribution-non commercial license
Quinoa by edibleoffice under the attribution-noncommercial-sharealike license

Click here for a recipe presented on Better homes and gardens (quinoa with chicken kebabs)

The kangaroo was the most popular tasting.  Comments regarding the quinoa included: "tastes good" "not as bad as I thought" "was sort of crunchy, like the texture of caviar-a pop sensation in your mouth"
"I could eat this".

We are now studying the effects of Multicultural immigration to the Australian cuisine- this could prove extra tasty!  Stay tuned...

If you are stopping by, the students would love to hear some of your own experiences and thoughts re the topics presented on our blog.  Student guest blogging should occur next week. Are you a student or educator? Say G'DAY!  We are enjoying watching visitors from New York, Philadelphia, Sliema Malta, Sweden, France, Germany, Malaysia, Canada and India.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Staple foods

 "Potato production" photo by soilscience available under the attribution licence
This week we will be exploring staple foods.  What is the prime importance of Staple foods?  Do staple foods change over time, culture and access to technologies?  What are the staple foods in your area? If you could comment below and state your global location and top 3-5 staple foods.
Steamed rice with spicey chicken and vege mix by HasinHayder under the attribution licence

I started this Collaborative google map also if you prefer to contribute that way. All you need to do is:

  1. Follow link
  2. Sign into google account (sign in top RHS screen)
  3. Select edit (it is a public link) and then you will see a coloured drop pin on the top of the google map. Drag that pin to your country and a comment box will appear. Easy!
Click here to see our collaborative google map in greater detail.

Thanks @arjana from Croatia for the being the first contributor and Mr Gosselin  (from Texas) our second!  Please help our Australian students understanding of Staple foods by responding with a comment on this blog post or drop pin on map!

View Staple foods of our world in a larger map

If you click on the drop pins you can view the country selected and staple foods of that region. 

Thanks muchly!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Aboriginal food-our native cuisine

30 second video on Aboriginal food by Ourdreamings

The video below is of Chef Mark Olive, the first ever Aboriginal TV chef.

Click here to read: German crew filming chef Mark Olive in Australia (article)

The term "aborigine" refers to the original inhabitants or natives of the land.  Aborigines are also based in Canada, Taiwan, Philippines and America. 

Australian Aboriginals have lived on this land for over 50,000 years. They have a deep spiritual connection to their country.

"The Aboriginal occupation of Australia exceeds 1200 human generations compared with a maximum of 8 generations of European occupation."  
Government of South Australia 2000 - 2012

Prior to European colonisation of Australia, Aboriginal people were hunters and gathers. They were nomadic (moving from place to place to forage for food). The indigenous used shells, bone and rock to make tools to source food. String, cord and hair were woven into nets, baskets, mats and fishing lines. Nets were also used to trap animals. Throwing sticks (or boomerangs) would mame prey in order to make it easier to catch. Not all throwing sticks were designed to return. Grinding stones would grind seeds or grains into flour.

As foods were gathered according to their availability and what was in season, the native diet was varied and nutritionally balanced.  Exercise was at a high!  Excessive foods were not eaten except for feasts.

Fruit, manna, honey, lizards, snakes, kangaroo, witchetty grubs, roots, yams, grass seeds were all sourced for food.
A range of Kangaroo products currently sold in national supermarkets
Kangaroo burgers are sold in supermarkets nationally in 2012
The indigenous did not farm the land, plant or harvest crops or herd animals.  Food was selected purely for nutritional purposes so as to sustain energy and life.  Preservation was very limited.  Local knowledge of which plants were edible, palatable, or delicious, harvest and preparation methods were passed down by word of mouth to the next generation. They did not boil water or make jams and preserves. They didn't trade. Foods eaten were dependant on the season.  The skills of the hunter were VITAL to the survival of the tribe. Men hunted in groups. A 'walkabout" implies aimless wandering but it was anything but! It has been estimated the Aboriginal people would spend between 1/4 to 1/3 of their day gathering food. Everything was done for the group.

Even though Gov Macquarie tried to teach the natives to farm, they were not used to this a way of life. 

It has been reported that 90% of Aboriginal people perished during 1788 and 1900 due to introduced disease, violence and fights with new settlers and loss of land, which was their main source of food.

Native Australian herbs currently sold at supermarkets within Australia
Below are two videos presented by  Brenda McBride, an Aboriginal lady from the Kamilaroi language group.  These short videos are apart of a group of documentaries called "Through our eyes". On location, Brenda shares stories of how the Aboriginal people sourced their food.

Let's crowd source. What additional information about Aboriginal food prior to British colonisation, can you share?


Sunday, 5 February 2012

You are what you eat

Have you ever heard this saying?  You are what you eat.  What do you think it is alluding to?  Being a senior student in your final year/s of traditional schooling has the potential to be the best years of your learning journey, as you form great relationships, learn life long skills and make the transition from teenager to young adult. This time is a busy one so it is integral to set positive eating habits.
Check out the article below by clicking on the link. It was published on 5th February 2012 in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Click here to read the newspaper article
 "Low GI diet bears fruit in classroom"