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Howdy, thanks for stopping by the MWM Online Store and welcome to my Blog & Country Kitchen Recipes! 

My name is Sara and I live on a farm with my family at Birregurra, Victoria, the heartland of the bountiful regional food hub of the Western District!

My husband Justin & I are the proud owners of the iconic local bespoke Butchery &  Produce store, MidWest Meats which now incorporates the Online "Country Produce Pantry".

I created MWM Online Country Produce Pantry to promote and sell legitimately locally farmed "paddock to plate" ethically & farmed produce to others that are concerned with food source and giving our local farmers credit for their amazing produce.

The produce we sell is produced by my family, my neighbours and reputable farmers in and around Birregurra. 

We have a 100km localism ethos, that keeps the food in the Country Produce Pantry local, fresh and community based.

I have been working in the Meat Industry owning and operating Bespoke Butcheries with my husband Justin, since I completed my studies at Orange Agricultural College back in the "hay" day. Studies which I furthered at Sydney University, and then Queensland University!

My areas of expertise is quite simply FOOD! Farming food, sourcing ethically farmed foods, butchering, preparing & cooking seasonal locally sourced food!

My passion is enjoying quality ingredients with family and friends and knowing others are doing the same.

I believe everyone can afford fresh wholesome food, and the more people that value local food source, the more affordable it will become. 

In order to enjoy food, we need to respect and understand it's many complexities. Once we understand where and how our food is grown, we have a greater ability to prepare amazing delicious meals for family and friends.

This BLOG is designed to give you all the tips and tricks of the trade and have y'all smiling each and every meal!

 

Have an enquiry about any of my local produce? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Each MidWest Ham on the Bone has been hand cured and hickory double smoked in our store to traditional artisan methods.

We only use local Australian Pork unlike other Hams. Did you know over 70% of all Bacon & Ham is imported? Not ours, we've been smoking hams to a traditional method for over 70 years.

Our Hams are available at Christmas & Easter and the rest of the year by special order.

Step 1

Place ham skin side up. Then run a small sharp knife under the rind around the bottom (opposite end to hock) and each side of the ham to about halfway up. Peel the rind back.

Step 1. Peel skin back 
Step 2

Run the tip of the knife around the bone, on the underside of the ham. Begin to slice on a slight angle down to the bone.

Step 3

Run your knife length-ways along the bone to remove slices. Continue to slice towards the hock.

 

Step 4

Continue slicing down to the bone, working your way around the ham until you reach about a third of the way up. Remove the bone by making a few short cuts at the joint.

 

Step 5

To keep your ham fresh, fold rind back over exposed surface, place in a Ham Bag or wrap in a clean sterilised tea towel and store in the fridge. MWM Ham bags are made by our good friends at Australia Pork. These ham bags detail how to use a Ham Bag effectively and hygencially. Simply follow the directions on the Ham Bag and your Ham will last for over a month. I like to make homemade Baked Beans or Soup with the final ham bone and any left over pieces. Hams have been cured, so if they are kept refrigerated and not cut into with they can last up to 6 weeks. 

 

 

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Let me introduce you to your new FAMILY FAVOURITE Roast; Whole Pork Scotch.

Traditional pork cuts are a great lean flavoursome meat choice for the family, however some cuts have been under-rated in Australia as we lean towards Lamb & Beef cuts as our "go to" roasts. When you think of Scotch Fillet of Beef, this is the pork equivalent. It is a boneless cut of pork that is lean and easily absorbs you families favourite flavours. 

Whilst I favour a bone in Whole Pork Shoulder for my "Pulled Pork", the Americans and many Australian Chefs use a boneless Whole Pork Scotch. The Pork Scotch also known as "Pork Collar Butt" or "Boston But" has the added benefit of a reduced cooking time than a bone in Pork Shoulder. I have always judged my Pulled Pork being ready when the blade bone of my pork shoulder can easily be removed.

Now don't get confused, "the Pork Collar Butt" does not come from the rear of the pig! The word Butt actually originates from old English and means the "the widest part". On a pig the widest part is the shoulder area, not its actual "butt". It must also be noted when referring to American recipes for "Pulled Pork" that the Americans use a larger pig than Aussies! When sourcing our local pigs for customers, our buyer uses a higher set of specifications than any other meat stockist, which is why the colour is always white and our product is always fresh, not ever being frozen.

Whole Pork Scotch is ideal for Braising, stews and casseroles, but a slow one-pot roast is how we roll in My Country Kitchen.

I am delighted to share my favourite way to cook a Whole Pork Scotch for a family of 5. Once you try this simple recipe with a prep time of only 10 minutes  you'll be convinced that this new cut of pork on your fork is the way "to go".

Wholesome with loads of flavour, you cannot beat this cut of meat when cooking a delicious, economical family meal. This simple Pot Roast will also dazzle your guests and is so simple, that with so little prep, the cook can also enjoy the festivities. Serve with a lovely salad and a freshly baked crusty loaf of bread, this dish will be a winner every time.

Italian Pot Roasted Pork Scotch

10 minute prep time      45 minute cook time 
Serves 5 people
Ingredients
  • 2kg Whole Pork Scotch 
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 cloves garlic halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 400g diced tomatoes (a tin is perfect)
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 3 bulbs fennel washed and halved
  • 6 shallots
  • 10 chat potatoes halved
  • Chopped Parsley and/or basil to serve (optional finely chop tender stalks for dish)

 Method

  • Season Pork Roast with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat oven to 180o
  • Heat EVOO in a large deep pan on stove top, add shallots to pan and brown,
  • add pork to the pot and brown.
  • Remove pork to a wam plate and deglaze pan with white wine.
  • Add garlic, stir to soften. Optional (finely chopped parley and/or basil stems)
  • Pop the Pork back in pan, add tomatoes and fresh herbs.
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • Remove lid and turn roast, add fennel bulbs and potatoes to the pot. Pop the lid back on and place in oven at 180o and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  • Remove roast from oven and allow to rest in pan for 8 minutes to settle juices prior to slicing.
  • Serve with fennel, potatoes and a few pan juices.
  • Garnish with finely chopped parsley and/or basil leaves.

 COOKS NOTES:

My butchers roll and net certain cuts of meat such as the above on some occasions. Pork Scotch is often netted so it does not come apart when cooking.

When roasting without so many flavour additions this is a great option.

When I cook this dish I remove netting prior to cooking, however that is completely up to you. The netting can also be removed after cooking.

 

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You've seen the advertisements, you've considered the healthy facts but have you tasted how delish Pork Steak is cooked to perfection?

Using the 6-2-2 method, in just 10 minutes you can prepare a wonderful tender, healthy meal for family and friends.

Season & rub a little Olive Oil on your pork steak and follow the simple 6-2-2 cooking method for the perfect pork steak!

  • Into a hot pan sear pork steak on one side for 6 minutes
  • Turn pork steak once and sear for another 2 minutes
  • On a warm plate, without turning rest pork steak for 2 minutes

 

 Top 5 Porky Facts 

  • Lean trimmed pork is a source of protein, thiamin, niacin, B6, B12, selenium, riboflavin, size & omega-3. 
  • There are plenty of cuts that are lean and trimmed and that we can also trim if required;
    1. Pork Steak
    2. Pork strips
    3. Diced Pork
    4. Loin Chop
    5. Fillet
  • Trimmed lean pork can easily be substituted for other meats and poultry in your recipes to make them tastier and healthier
  • The leanest pork cuts come from the loin, fillet and the leg, trimmed of external fat.
  • It is a myth that lean pork is dry and tough. There's no need to over cook especially if you refer the the 6-2-2 information video above. This cooking method can be applied to any 2cm thick boneless pork steak, including scotch, loin, leg & trimmed pork cutlets that are 2cm thick. This method will cook the chop to white which is the best way to eat pork unless your on MKR where everything is under cooked!

 Now you know the secret to the perfect pork steak try my feature recipe: Pork Steak with Lentil & Pumpkin Salad

Ingredients

4 X pork sirloin steaks 2cm thick approximately 1kg

Salad

1 cup of cooked and strained french lentils

180g pumpkin peeled & thinly sliced and baked in the oven 10 minutes

1 red onion thinly sliced

1/2 cup of chopped continental parsley washed and sliced

1 cup rocket

120g Meredith Goat Feta

Dressing

1 lemon zested & juiced

2 Tbsp malt vinegar

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

seasoning 

Cooking Instructions

  • Pre-heat your pan or BBQ just like you would do for any other steak 
  • Brush the pork steaks with a little oil and season
  • Place pork steaks in pan or on BBQ char-grill and use the 6-2-2 method
  • Whilst steaks are resting prepare the salad by placing all the ingredients into a large bowl and gently tossing to combine.
  • To prepare the dressing put all ingredients except the sunflower seeds into a jar and shake well to combine, then pour over salad tossing well.
  • Serve the pork steak with tossed salad and garnish with sunflower seeds. 

* Source ~ Australian Pork Top 5 Facts 2006

 

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Keep em' healthy and ready to achieve greatness!

With my youngest children about to enter Year 12 its a great time to revisit the research I put into practice when my first child was a Year 12 student. It must have been okay as she is now in her final year of tertiary study, completing her second degree.

With exams comes stress. Stress can be a huge dietary trigger, with comfort food and bad meal choices being made by the children to help them through the huge amount of study time. It is too easy to sit down to a tedious study session and make it feel better with a big bag of lollies. A huge sugar intact before bed will guarantee a bad nights sleep and the start to a gradual decline in health and the ability for your student to concentrate. Bad food choices can become a 'crutch' that also develops 'bad habits' for the future. 

I have always insisted my children play team sport with regular training sessions up until third term. Then I let them decide if they'd like to carry on in a team sport or switch to a couple of sessions of fun and/or relaxing activity such as a swim, yoga or even an hour long walk. After a long day at school a break is well deserved, but this break should not be lying around on social media or watching TV whilst eating. 

Eating well at exam time right can be the first step to aid in study success. My ‘‘Exam Preparation Dietary Tips’ can get your student eating well so that they can study efficiently and perform better when exam time hits. Hey! It can't hurt to take a little or a lot of this article on board!

A good Study Eating Plan provides a guide to healthy meals and snacks packed with nutrient-rich foods that are recommended in The Australian Dietary Guidelines. A Study Food Plan should incorporate red meat, such as beef and lamb 3 to 4 times a week, this helps keep students iron and zinc levels in check and keep them focused and full of energy.

Including 3 to 4 serves of beef and lamb per week provides iron to support brain function and zinc for a healthy immune system. Red meat is especially important at exam time and the study time in the lead up as low iron can contribute to fatigue which will defiantley make effective study harder. Three balanced meals a day with snacks that high in nutrients and low in fat such as wholegrain breads, fruit and energy bars will keep the body and mind fit and avoid fatigue. Vegetables high in iron such as silverbeet and beans are also a "go to' to serve with meats. I prefer to stir fry my vegetables with a little garlic for an extra immune boost.

A Study Eating Plan includes meal plans should be tailored to suit the needs of teenage girls and boys and should be easy for the family to fit into daily life at same time. Choose a meal plan that is varied and also cost effective. Do not include meals that you have not cooked before as this may lead to deterring from the plan. With detailed choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and numerous healthy snacking options, a Study Eating Plan will show that eating right can help fuel the mind and body for PEAK exam performance.

Pin your menu on your fridge so the student knows what to do it you are at work. 

Sample Study Plan Menu

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast Toasted breakfast wrap – ham, avocado and tomato
Fruit salad
Wholegrain breakfast cereal with reduced fat milk and chopped banana

Wholegrain toast with tomato and poached or boiled eggs

Brekkie toastie – baked beans, tomato and egg Wholegrain cereal with reduced fat milk and chopped banana Big brekkie (eggs, bacon, tomato) and wholegrain toast

Porridge and stewed fruit

 

Morning Tea Wholegrain English muffin with reduced fat cheese and vegemite Milo Drink and piece of fruit

Wholegrain crackers, veggies sticks and reduced fat cheese

 

Wholegrain fruit toast with reduced fat cream cheese Sushi roll or Tuna with Rice & corn and a little mayo to combine Wholegrain muffin with avocado Wholegrain toast with peanut butter
Lunch Pesto chicken, sun-dried tomato and salad wholegrain roll Chickpea, sweet potato and rocket pasta salad Beef, spinach and pumpkin wholegrain sandwich Smoked salmon, avocado and mixed leaf wholegrain wrap Egg and lettuce wholegrain sandwich Leftover bolognaise toasty

Chicken, avocado and salad on a wholegrain roll

Afternoon Tea Reduced fat yoghurt Piece of fruit Wholegrain English muffin with peanut butter Wholegrain English muffin with reduced fat cream cheese and chopped banana Nut Museli Bar Wholegrain fruit muffin Wholemeal crumpet + vegemite
Fun size chocolate
Berry smoothie – reduced fat milk, frozen berries, honey
Dinner  200g Scotch Steak with steamed greens or salad Spicy Spring Lamb BBQ Chops with charred Zucchini a mixed green salad

Pork Fillet and mixed vegetable stir-fry with egg noodles

Spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread and a mixed green salad

Baked barramundi with pumpkin mash and rocket salad

Greek BBQ Lamb with salad

Supper

Wholegrain fruit toast with ricotta

Reduced fat custard and stewed fruit

Berry smoothie – reduced fat milk, reduced fat yoghurt, frozen berries

Reduced fat milk and wholegrain crackers with peanut butter

Wholemeal crumpet + vegemite
Fun size chocolate

Vanilla ice- cream and frozen berries

Fun size chocolate Air-popped popcorn

Here are some useful tips for study and exam success. 

1. Don't skip meals  - In the lead up and during exam time it's easy for your student to say that they don't have time to eat. However, skipping meals can lead to fatigue and loss of concentration pretty quickly. Quick and healthy dishes such as steak sandwiches on wholegrain bread, wholegrain lamb wraps or tuna salads are great options during this busy time. Healthy snacks are also important, so make sure there are plenty of fresh fruit, nuts, nut bars or reduced fat yoghurt in the pantry and fridge. 

2. Provide iron and zinc-rich protein foods  - Iron and zinc are required for brain function and immunity, and low levels can lead to tiredness, lack of energy and poor concentration. Red meat, such as beef and lamb are good sources of iron and zinc and are recommended 3 to 4 times a week as per The Australian Dietary Guidelines. 

3. Keep hydrated  - Encourage the student to drink plenty of water as dehydration can affect both their physical and mental performance. Provide a water bottle during exams and limit sugary soft drinks, juices and energy drinks. My girls both have favoured herbal teas as a relaxant as well as a source of hydration. 

4. Exercise is vital - Encourage the student to be active. Exercise will reduce stress, improve mood, re-energise the brain and provide a much needed study break. Get them to walk the dog, walk to the park or play a team sport with friends. A simple hit of tennis with a friend will do wonders for 'overall balance'. 

5. Sleep is key - We all know that a good eight hours of sleep helps us to perform at our best. To help sleep, encourage tea or a glass of milk over caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks which can make sleep difficult. Explain to your child that phones and laptops are not to be used in bed during exam time as the light can trick the brain into thinking its still day time as well as this being a mighty big distraction to restful sleep.  

 

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Life is busy, stressful and full of tempting unhealthy easy meal options. Taking this path can lead to long term health issues for you and your family.

Kids sport, work and lack of time to get to the right store for wholesome fresh produce can all effect our health. Easy options such as preservative filled pre prepared meals and takeaway are not the right choice for keeping the family healthy

Nutritious food such as beef, lamb or pork with salad or vegetables 4-5 times a week will boost energy and productivity. 

Dinner should be a time to catch up, relax and enjoy a wonderful family meal together. Preparation of the meal should not fall to only one member of the household, everyone has had a busy day and if everyone contributes to one component of the meal, then everyone will be smiling at the end of a delicious meal. Simply making a rule the family eats at the kitchen or dining table 4-5 nights a week will enhance family relationships as well as provide an opportunity to make sure everyone is okay.

At the end of a long hard, stressful day it is easy to look to high fat comfort foods that are going to give 'short term' relief. It is possible to get the same enjoyment from a wholesome, healthy meal. Healthy does not have to be boring.

Meals will be healthy and delicious if you incorporate;

  • fresh ingredients
  • fresh herbs and spices
  • local seasonal produce 
  • high fibre, low GI carbohydrate foods

I have banged on about "seasonal produce" in most of my BLOGS. Quite simply, seasonal produce has more nutrients and tastes better as it has not been stored or traveled from far off lands for long periods of time. 

To make sure you are providing a well balanced nutritional meal aim for the following 'rule of thumb';

  • 1/4 lean protein (beef, lamb, pork or chicken)
  • 1/4 carbohydrate (try substituting brown rice for white rice and sweet potato for normal potato) 
  • 1/2 vegetables or salad with a good mix of local seasonal produce

Thinking about your 'cooking methods' will also keep you on the healthy path;

  • Grill on a BBQ or in a dish on a rack instead of pan frying, this will separate the fat from your food
  • Roasting of a Rack will also separate the fats, simply retain liquid from pan, pop in the fridge while you finish roasting to separate delicious pan juices from fats
  • Stir Frying will reduce the amount of fat needed to cook meat and vegetables and lock in nutrients
  • Incorporate "dry-hea" cooking technique where you brush the protein in oil instead of adding to the pan. This will significantly lower your fat intake.

At MidWest Meats we only use local, seasonal produce that is prepared in store fresh each and every day.

By choosing reputable fresh food specialists you have a head start in the battle to prepare wholesome, nutritional family meals. 

Want some wholesome family meat inspiration? Look no further than my country Recipe archive collection featuring wonderful hearty cooking such as my take on Irish Stew.

  

Traditional Lamb Chump Chop Irish Stew

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