Australian Coat Of Arms: 0 – Mike: 1

I started off this week wanting to push the boat out a little on the meat front and possibly ruffle a few feathers amongst some readers. I wanted to address what is considered ok to eat and what isn’t.

Can I eat Panda and get slain for it? Or will people realise that it isn’t really doing much to procreate and continue the survival of its species. Therefore is it just a glorified money grabber from generous animal lovers? Just a thought.

Anyway, what I ended up with wasn’t exactly that. I cooked some Kangaroo fillets. I think ‘Roo’ may be thought of as taboo to some people, but certainly not for me, and many people I know.

I’ll get back into this shortly, but before I do let’s get back into our basic resistance movements. So far I’ve covered the squat and the lunge. This week I’ll look at the push, and by that I mean an upper body push.

Generally this can be in two plains: horizontal (in front of the body) or vertical (above the head). To keep it simple and in line with the basic stuff so far, and for those of us that are slightly more ‘movement challenged’ (unco), or ‘strength deficient’ (weak), I’m going to cover the push up.

The attached photos have the details and key points. If you have any questions outside of my stellar descriptions, please ask in the comment box below. If not, I’ll take it that you all are doing perfect push ups and soon it won’t be you pushing yourself off the ground, but you pushing the ground down. Super strong and tough, like Batman.

Whilst the push up is predominantly known as a chest exercise, it is in fact, when done properly, a full body exercise linking your upper body- chest, upper back, shoulders and arms-, mid and lower torso- and lower body. Once again helping you become strong, lean and well shaped.

Now back to the Roo. Does anyone think this animal is not ok to eat? As a Kiwi I don’t have any emotional attachment issues with eating Skippy. I know this is an animal that is plentiful , is a fantastic source of protein, as well as being high in many important vitamins and minerals, for example iron and zinc. It’s usually very lean and when cooked well is tender, juicy and delicious.

Back to the Kiwi/Aussie thing; being the struggling little brother I find it’s always nice to get one (anything) back on the bullying big bro, even if it is in the form of eating one of the animals on their national coat of arms, (This will most definitely become two once I take down some Emu at a later date).

The same is more difficult for an Aussie though, we have a blond white chick and a Maori tribesman on ours. You can attempt a takedown in a different form than eating perhaps… Eating a Kiwi would come close I suppose, but because they are endangered and generally sneaky little buggars who only come out at night, eats roots, shoots and leaves (for the perceptive there is a nice little joke about ‘Kiwis’ in there with the simple addition of one comma…), they’re hard guys to find. Plus we seem to celebrate our national animals. I would be keen to try some of New Zealand’s long extinct Giant Moa. That would be a feed for the whole family!

This week’s Roo resulted in my early morning visit to the guys at The Butcher And The Chef in Potts Point, while they were setting up for the day to come. In terms of meats that would rock the boat, this was as far as it went. So I bought two fresh fillets, and some ingredients for a quinoa salad.

I’ve had plenty of Roo meat over the last 2+ years that I’ve been in ‘Straya’ and have discovered that it can have a bit of a strong smell when it’s cooking. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, as this didn’t. I spoke to Dave and he suggested pan searing the meat then putting into a hot oven for 10 or so minutes.

After I had let the meat air, I salted with pink Himalayan rock salt and a small amount of cracked pepper and let it come to room temperature, I followed those directions and put in a hot pan for 30 seconds each side followed by a hot oven at 180° for 9 minutes.

While this was happening I prepared some red organic quinoa. Once cooked and rested I added 6 chopped small asparagus springs to slowly heat. Then once ready I added some:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • a small amount of organic butter
  • 3 de-seeded kumatoes (green/purple looking tomatoes)
  • 1 de-seeded Lebanese cucumber
  • Half a red capsicum
  • Rock salt
  •  Cracked pepper

I also made a small mushroom sauce with:

  • 3 button mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of organic butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cream
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine

As you’ll see in the photos, I attempted to get gourmet on the serving and made a bed of quinoa salad, topped it with the rested and sliced kangaroo fillet and then added some of the delicious sauce to the meat.

I was pretty excited with what I’d created. It was definitely tasty and very well cooked (if I do say so myself, although this was backed up heavily by my fellow diner. Honest) It was rare in the middle, tender and full of kangaroo flavour, which is kind of gamey and rich but not really up to par with a beautiful fillet of beef. Still, I really enjoyed the meal, and I think the sauce was a perfect accompaniment. Apparently the quinoa needs to be boiled in stock. Lesson learned there. I liked the salad but can see how stock would improve it.

Is it ok to eat kangaroo? Umm… yes, of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be? This meat is great for you and adds a nice red meat variation to beef and lamb in the diet. Not easy for those out of Australia to get, unless you want to get incredibly ballsy, and illegal, and attempt to make more than just a visit to your local zoo (note: I do not currently recommend or condone taking kangaroos from any zoo).

Who thinks not? I will definitely get more into the concept of what is deemed ok to eat in our society and what isn’t. I have some strong opinions about this and if I didn’t this Twenty12 task would be a mighty difficult and boring one (eg: this week I ate blue cod, next week snapper, then whiting…), apart from my talented writing and extensive knowledge on most subjects of course…

I visited New Zealand briefly this week (in fact I’m currently posting this from Auckland airport while waiting for a new flight to Sydney after mine was cancelled early this morning. Always fun, but has enabled me to waste time reading pointless sports articles from people I generally disagree with…) but I didn’t have much opportunity to take down something limited to Aoteoroa. I have had an interesting and exciting conversation with Kristy, the owner at The Butcher and the Chef this week, so there may be some fun things in store in the coming weeks!

Please continue to send the feedback my way, and if you like this blog then encourage your mates to join in and follow my weekly challenge.

Check me out on Facebook: 236677696419727


A fishy tale

This week brought about a new experience for me. I’ll delve into that shortly, but first off I’ll continue on briefly where I left off last week on the exercise front.

Last week I went over the squat in the first of a series of tips for resistance movements. This week I’ll touch on the lunge. The main idea with the lunge is loading through the muscles of the leg and gluts, much the same as the squat, with the obvious difference of this being (mostly) one leg at a time. For arguments sake we’ll call this a lunge, but slight variation is the split squat.

We’ll do this as a moving and alternating walking lunge, but can be altered simply to repetitively step forwards or backwards. Click on the first photo shown here, at the bottom of this post for full description.


Robert’s your father’s brother and you’re now getting stronger and better legs! Done.
This week I decided it was time I ate something from the ocean, an area of meat eating that I’m not entirely familiar with. I’ve mentioned before that I was fussy as a kid and this definitely included seafood. I think I just decided I didn’t like it, without even tasting it, and stayed stubborn to that until the last few years.

The idea of shellfish was not enticing at all. I’ve since tried a variety and nothing has really grabbed me. Fish on the other hand I do like, but also as a kid I it found too fiddly. However as an adult I’m slowly breaking through some of that childhood nonsensical resistance.

So, on Wednesday morning when I normally have a more leisurely start at the gym so I can do some reading, I headed off for what would be an adventure, for me, to the Sydney Fish Market.

Holy shit! I had no idea what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is simple and self-explanatory but the idea of choosing which fish to buy, filleting and/or cooking a whole fish was completely foreign and daunting to me.

I watched dad do this enough times as a kid, I always loved fishing with him, that part was a game. Reeling my catch into the boat was great fun! Doing the rest, between line and plate, that was dads job and one he always endeavoured to show me. I was usually too busy eying up the next activity, namely anything that didn’t involve fish guts and that aroma that tends to make its way into your pores.

As I wandered through the market, most shops and stalls were still packing fish into ice and setting up for the day. So many eyes staring back at me. I felt like I was in some weird dream with those massive vacant eyes everywhere just following me around the room, taunting me with looks of, ‘you seem as clueless as we clearly were when we thought we were about to eat real food, but instead got tricked onto a boat and subsequently killed. Don’t get tricked Mike, this could end badly…’

I wanted to get something a bit different, something that might entertain or intrigue all of you. I asked a few people for jellyfish, and found some but it was nothing like what (I’m calling the best cabbie in Sydney) had described to me, so thought best for another time.

For future reference the jellyfish were in small packs by the sashimi and were $3.50/pack. I asked a few people things but most of it was lost in translation so I put the jellyfish in too hard basket and moved on.

Stingray? “No sorry.” I was silently pleased about this one as I knew it would only result in me either writing inappropriate jokes, or wanting to but not having the balls to do so.

A bit more walking around, avoiding a film crew whilst I clearly looked lost, and even though I had confidence in my ‘just looking’ front I decided that for me most things here were pretty out of the ordinary. So I bought a couple of yellow fin tuna steaks and sat down with a coffee to ponder my virginal experience.

In the cab on the way home the story stormed its way out of my mouth (as my friends are familiar with) to the cabbie. He just laughed, out loud, and spurted out, “TUNA?! That’s just chicken mate!” I say (inside my head) “I see where you’re coming from, I’ve taken the lame option, but it’s not f*cken chicken is it! Mate! It’s tuna”. Back in the cab, not my head, I laugh awkwardly.

A friend of mine, Cath Leach, is a big lover all animals, in particular those from the water. She has created an app called Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide in association with Australian Marine Conservation Society. Check it out if you’re in Australasia or just interested:

I have the app on my phone and have perused through it and knew that this tuna was not ideal on the scale. It’s a red- no. (I feel I may cop Cath’s wrath next time I see her!) However, I’m sure if I hadn’t tried the tuna and written about it many wouldn’t have known about the Sustainable Seafood Guide. So Cath, I am claiming that for the greater good, I am taking down these steaks in order to help raise awareness that the Yellowfin Tuna is close to being over fished and there are potential negative effects to the ecosystem of depleted tuna populations… There, I think that works…

I was going to cook up mid morning before setting off for work then decided to wait until later that night. Then a light bulb: do both, in different ways. Perfect!

First time round I look through all of my cook books and come up pretty empty. The internet answers the call again and I decide to marinate briefly in a mix of:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Fresh garlic
  • Chilli flakes
  • Rock salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried basil

I dried the steak with paper towels, got the pan hot and added a little bit of the marinade to the pan before adding the steak to the delightful sizzle of fresh meat to heat, ahhh… Two and a half minutes on one side and one and a half on the other and it’s done. I sautéed some asparagus, mushrooms and snow peas in some lime juice and garlic to accompany and enjoyed the fruits of my mornings efforts.

Even though I had really taken the easy option on the seafood front, (that which is probably most like cooking red meat) the mornings efforts left me satisfied and very happy with the taste of this particular meal. I ate on my balcony in the sun overlooking Sydney content with my ‘big boy’ adventure all by myself to the new world of the Sydney Fish Markets. It was delectable.

Next time round, that night, I decided to fry even quicker on a hot heat for 1 minute each side, with just some rock salt to season before cooking.

This time I accompanied with a simple salad of:

  • Baby spinach
  • Baby truss tomatoes
  • Red capsicum
  • Avocado
  • Roasted pine nuts
  • Red grapes

This with some avocado oil and fresh lime juice, some paprika roast kumara and I enjoyed another very tasty and nutritious meal, and my second ever Tuna steak. That’s right; I’d never eaten one before. I think my morning fish market mission was justified. Well to me anyway.

So I couldn’t really ‘man up’ and get something more out there at the fish market, but I enjoyed a new experience and some delicious meat, albeit from a source that is facing overfishing in the waters off Australia.

This is perhaps one for me to shelve for now, or ask Cath for more sustainable sources. It wouldn’t be great for the next few generations to miss out on this tasty privilege from time to time would it?

Next week: I have no idea right now, but I’m determined to get a bit more out there. Please feel free to throw me suggestions, or challenges, or recipe ideas. And also get onto Facebook and join in the ‘Meat Mike Campbell’ page, where I’ll update with more regular short tips about training, health and of course meat, and other foods. I hope you enjoy the new domain name too, gotta love a good pun…

Yours in all things meat,