Kangaroo starter and the man who wasn’t there.

Part of the haul that he did not bring.

Part of the haul that he did not bring.

I am a big fan of the Coen Brothers. To my mind, they have never (hardly ever) made a poor movie. One of my absolute favourites is The Man Who Wasn’t There.  Billy Bob Thornton plays a barber who manages to be ‘not there’ in most of the events in the lives surrounding him. It is a wonderful production, beautifully constructed. I tell you this to set up a very strange happening (or non happening depending on how you look at it.) that took place, or didn’t take place, recently.

As is our habit, we had a family dinner here a couple of Sunday’s ago. A good friend from Australia did not arrive. He did not bring a freezer bag full of smuggled exotic fruit and vegetables with a prized pair of kangaroo fillets secreted in the bottom. That would have been something I would frown upon. He did not use his experience as a chef and all round creative genius to construct a delicious tasting starter for the assemblage. They are not used to that sort of thing and would have been spoiled by it, if it had happened. 

GIven that none of this occurred, the photographs that are in this post are not what they seem. They are cunningly constructed using local Irish winter farm produce, cleverly disguised as Antipodean delights, transported from the bottom of the globe in first class temperature controlled luxury.

He did not prepare and we did not enjoy Pan Roasted Kangaroo Fillet served on a Tomato, Coriander and Lime Salsa with Fresh Mango and Passion Fruit. If he had, he would probably have soaked the fillets in fine Australian olive oil and marinated it in fresh purple Australian garlic and ginger.

Kangaroo fillet

Two fine fillets of what looks very like kangaroo. We both know that could not be.

If he had been here, he would have mixed the chopped tomatoes, chili and coriander with lime juice, garlic and olive oil. I would imagine that something like that would be very tasty.


Imagine if these had been genuine Australian ingredients flown in overnight.

He would have regaled my mother, wife and daughters with tales of 40 degree celsius temperatures and barbecuing by the pool, if he had been here. Then he would then have pan seared and oven roasted the fillets.

Kangaroo fillets

Imagine if this all happened. It would have been wonderful.

Then he would have let them settle while frying some mixed spices to sprinkle over the meat.

The spices were not from Australia. They were from my cupboard. Not that the were used in this dish.

The spices were not from Australia. They were from my cupboard. Not that they were used in this dish that he did not make.

If he had been there, he would have made the salsa the centrepiece of the presentation.

An amazing salsa with fresh tomatoes enjoyed in an Irish kitchen in winter. Not possible. Or is it?

An amazing salsa with fresh tomatoes, enjoyed in an Irish kitchen in winter. Not possible. Or is it?

Then he would have surrounded the dish with fresh Australian mango.

Mango? Did the mango or did he arrive in the first place?

Mango? Did the mango or did he arrive in the first place?

He would then have sprinkled the meat with the dry spice and carved it into thin slices.

If he had carved it, He would have carved it like this.

If he had carved it, he would have carved it like this.

This is very much like a Coen Brothers movie, It was a wonderful production, beautifully constructed. What’s more, it was done by The Man Who Wasn’t There.

Kangaroo salad

Even if it had been made and presented at our table, there is no evidence left to prove it one way or another.

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Latest comments
  • He probably wasn’t there because he was arrested at customs 😉

  • It would have been another winner Conor. However a distinct lack of pouring shots so I’m prepared to believe it never happened. If only …

    great post

    • Apologies for the lack of pouring shots. As you so rightly point out, as it did not happen, there could not be any.

    • We tried to pour the Roo fillets but they just fell…

  • I’m so glad you didn’t share this with us as it would have taxed my credulity

  • Lovely presentation and what dark red meat … is it very gamey?

    • I believe it tastes somewhere between rabbit and venison. Though, how could I know?

  • Hahahahahahahahahaha. The man who wasn’t there would, in theory, eat an incredibly wonderful meal! Best Post EVER.

  • Awesome work Conor! I am yet to prepare the ground kangaroo I have. This post got me brainstorming on what to do with it. Good job!

    • Thanks Justice, I look forward to seeing your post.

  • Unless he was carrying a cooler marked “Organ Transplants”, would you really want to dine on kangaroo that spent 20+ hours in his carry-on bag? I think it best, Conor, that he never showed.
    By the way. This guest. His name wasn’t Keyser Soze was it? Maybe he was there all along. 😉

    • If it had occurred, he would have brought it in a checked in temperature controlled bag that would have kept it perfectly for the trip. How he would have avoided customs us potentially a worry for us all.

      Excellent cultural analog also. I must watch it again.

  • Mmhh: fancy having an Irish cook teach an Australian lass how to cook and plate one of OUR national dishes . . . damn well too I have to admit, whoever he was . . . . love the dish and love the humour, spoilsport as always: I would have had it just a tad more rare, if you’ll pas the message along please 🙂 !

    • I agree on the rare bit but I would say, having travelled for so long out of a fridge he was being cautious.

  • I most definitely have not hauled a whole ham to Brazil or a fresh turkey to France in the manner described. And the smoked pork sausage to Cairo? Never happened. What a shame he didn’t come because that meal would have been spectacular. Perhaps next time.

  • Amazing photos for a dinner that wasn’t there! The relish that wasn’t might have to be made for my table! Best to you Conor! – b

    • Thanks Barb. I’d like to say it was fun but…

  • What a creative storyteller! You make it so credible, I can almost taste it!

    • That’s right. A story. It did not happen…

  • What does the venison chap make of this kangaroo business?

    • I think he has no issues with anything as long as he can keep shooting things.

  • Delicious! As you know I happen to live here in Australia and I can tell you that not one of my dishes looks as beautiful and summery with that great Aussie flavour as your dish (or friends or person who wasn’t there!)

    I can see those gorgeous mangoes making an appearance on your table and go, yes I need to go out and start BBQ-ing before autumn hits (oh no!) it’s already here!!!

    • Hi Alice, If he had cooked it, I would pass on your congratulations. As it did not happen…

  • If this were an actual meal I would be telling you what a wonderful meal and presentation this was. Inasmuch s it’s not, I must be reading your blog too often and I must be dreaming. So I guess it’s time to wake up, if only I were asleep. 😉

    • Thanks Richard, I think I know what you mean…

  • I love whodunit’s 😉

  • if he wasn’t there because he was on his way to Chicago, let me know so I can try to rescue those lovely passion fruit from the customs produce smelling doggy…oh, and maybe the kangaroo meat as well 🙂

    • Perhaps he is. If he isn’t, send photos of what he doesn’t do.

  • Sounds like the visitor who wasn’t there didn’t go through a lot of trouble to not bring a lot of nice ingredients from far away. It also looks like he didn’t turn it into a great dish with beautiful colors (although I agree with Eha on the medium rare bit). The photographer who wasn’t there didn’t take those wonderful pictures either I suppose…

    • That’s it. That’s exactly how it didn’t happen.

  • I thoroughly understand this post as I was not there either. If I had of been there, I’m sure I would have enjoyed the fragrant tropical fruit and exotic meat. It is a real shame that I wasn’t there. I’m sure I would have praised all that were involved in this production. 🙂

    • Karen, you could not have been there as it did not occur, despite the evidence to the contrary.

  • Love those Antipodean delights! Although it’s a pity they weren’t actually there!

    • Where? Don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Cooking with a side of criminal activity – how very daring! I want to know how he might have thought it could be possible to smuggle these ingredients into the country…just hypothetically, you know

    • I have no idea how he would have done it even if he were there in the first place…

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