Fennel, Lime & Tatsoi Risotto with Backstrap of Lamb

Fennel, Lime & Tatsoi Risotto with Rare Spiced Lamb

I think learning to make my first risotto was one of the steps that launched me into the world of real cooking. I’d seen so many TV chefs making fancy looking dishes and thought they sounded so involved and elaborate as to be out of reach to the common home cook. So when I first decided to throw caution to the wind and have a go myself, It was with great delight and virtual high fives that I managed to make something actually come out the way it looked in the books.

These days though, I’m almost reaching risotto overkill. It’s still my goto dish when I can’t think of anything else to cook, but it doesn’t hold the same interest as it used to, to the point where it’s almost getting a little passe. I whip out my usual set of ingredients, follow the standard mantra of onions, garlic, leek, butter, rice, wine, and stock, and away we go. Add a bit of this, a bit of that… more stock, and it’s all done.

So I won’t bore you with the details of how I made this dish, other than to say check out any of my other risotto recipes for a more indepth explanation of the process. I think the name says it all really…

Fennel, Lime & Tatsoi Risotto with Rare Spiced Backstrap of Lamb

Points of interest are that I used backstrap of lamb, which is one of the tenderest, juiciest, most deliciousousest (I just wrote that you make you all sound like freaks while you’re reading this) cuts of lamb you will find. It’s not cheap mind… It comes in long thin pieces and was $35/kg from Mondo’s in Inglewood… I have yet to find a cheap Chinese butcher equivalent because apparently they aren’t so keen on lamb.

I basically seasoned the lamb strips with my normal quasi-middle eastern spice profile of olive oil, cumin, fennel, coriander seeds, and lots of salt and pepper. Then seared it quickly in a hot pan with a little butter on both sides… Not for too long as it’s quite a lean piece of meat, and should be served towards rare (in my carnivorous opinion).

Other notes were the lime and fennel in the risotto. I added quite a bit of lime zest and then the juice of a whole lime to lighten the risotto up. I didn’t want it to be too heavy as the lamb would be there for that. The fennel was added later on so it didn’t break down entirely, just got quite soft, and then some Tatsoi was stirred through right at the last minute. You might be familiar with Tatsoi as a salad ingredient. It’s a leafy asian green related to bok choy somehow (I think she married his uncles second cousin)… and it has a real peppery kick to it. Something a bit different anyway.

It all turned out so nicely that I made it twice in the same week :) When food tastes this nice, you can call me passe anyday…

Kipfler Potato Salad with Saffron & Kaffir Lime

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

This was a really easy salad to make. Well actually, the only reason I ever make salads is because I think they’ll be easy, and quick to throw together, and this was a perfect example.

Sister B was coming over for a look at the new place and a quick bbq (and to once again avail me of my technical expertise in all things internet).

I remembered I had some nice Queensland Kipfler potatoes slowly growing sprouts in the cupboard, and so the choice was simple. Kipfler potatoes are excellent in potato salads, they have a really lovely waxy texture that can stand up to all the other flavours in the salad and still hold its own. Not crumbling into little pieces like your pansy Nadines, or wussy Ruby Lous.

So a bit of a twist to the normal preparation. Sprinkle a few strands of grade A saffron into the pot while the nicely sliced chunks of kipfler potato are boiling away (with a little salt). When they are cooked to your desired level of softness (and nice and yellow coloured from the saffron), drain the water off and stir through a couple of tablespoons of nice whole egg mayonnaise. At this point you can go any direction you like with this. I was lucky enough to have procured a Kaffir Lime (apparently, and not suprisingly, the product of the Kaffir Lime tree, perhaps more famous for it’s leaves than anything else). So to my potatoes and mayonnaise I added, a few handfuls of shredded leek, the zest of a Kaffir lime, some cracked pepper, and handful of baby spinach. The end result was a lovely tangy creamy mixture, that went just nicely with a quickly seared minute steak and some garlic butter mushrooms.

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

If you’re looking for a list of ingredients and instructions you won’t find one, but read between the lines and all will be revealed.


Chilli Coriander Kangaroo

From the side
This is my first recipe post, so please be nice :)


  • Kangaroo Fillets – If you’re in Australia, these should be available in most supermarkets or butchers, i have no idea how readily available Kangaroo steak is anywhere else in the world, but ask your local gourmet butcher
  • Fresh Coriander – As much as you like
  • Dried Chilli (or fresh if you prefer)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Kifler Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Baby Spinach

This isnt really a recipe, more a way of preparing Kangaroo that i think enhances the flavours of the meat. Kangaroo is quite a gamey meat, with strong flavours, and they tie in very nicely with the lime and coriander. The chilli is there just to give it a bit of a kick.

So firstly season your Kangaroo with good extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper… Then chop your coriander roughly, combine it with your chilli and as much lime juice as you… (Say 30ml if you like numbers), and rub the mixture all over the Kangaroo, massaging it into the meat. You can also use this mixture (along with a good dose of olive oil) as a marinade for more intense flavours.

Then once the meat is properly seasoned, drop it onto your hot place and cook to your desired level of completion… ( Which should always be medium rare :) )

While you’re doing all that, you will have cut your potato and sweet potato into thin slices and laid them on a roasting tray.
Cover them with olive oil (and optionally some crushed dried herbs like coriander seeds, fennel seeds) and salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until nice and crispy.

Once the vegetables are cooked and the kangaroo done (and has been left to rest), serve the mixture up, placing your vegetables in a stack on top of a small bed of baby spinach (or roquette).

Slice the kangaroo fillets into elegant little portions and lay them on top. Pour the delicious limey/chilli pan juices over the meat.

Now sit down and enjoy with a nice glass of full bodied red wine. I’d suggest an Australian Shiraz.

Bon Appétit !