Thanks for stopping by our Farmer Owned Online Butchery and welcome to my Meat Blog & Country Kitchen Featured 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 Online Butchery in 2014 to promote locally farmed "paddock to plate" ethically farmed 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 when sourcing produce, 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!
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Who doesn't love braised Lamb Shoulder?
A wonderful cut of meat at it's best when slow cooked.
I love cooking with my own produce and creating a new family favourite.
If you prefer a more traditional braised Lamb, the recipe works perfectly by seasoning with sea salt and white pepper, add a few fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme. You can refer to my Traditional Lamb Shoulder Recipe or follow the method below.
I wanted to create a simple recipe that elevated flavours and put a twist on the traditional recipe. My Braised Coconut Lamb Shoulder incorporates delicate Indian Spice flavours. You can create your own spice mix, however Screaming Seeds, a local Geelong family company have created the perfect blend with the Butter Chicken Spice Blend. For those of you that love a bit more heat, add a fresh red birds eye chilli or two. I prefer to let the Lamb shine with a hint of curry which is why I've chosen this spice blend. It marries perfectly with coconut and does not overpower the lamb.
With Winter on its way, this dish will compliment any family dinner or get together.
This recipe is best started the day prior to cooking. This recipe will take 3.5 hours to cook in a slow oven.
A Bone In Lamb Shoulder you will give the perfect flavour and texture. A good trick when braising Lamb Shoulder Bone In, is to check your lamb and when the bone is visible and coming away from the meat, the the lamb is well on its way to perfection. I start checking after about 2 hours and also use this time to give the meat a quick baste with pan juices. You can take the lamb further by cooking longer if you like a shredded texture. We prefer our lamb tender, juicy and just holding together. I find if you take the lamb to a shredded texture it can become stringy and dry.
Lamb Shoulder Bone Visible
1 large Onion
400g Tin Diced Tomatos
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
Few sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Curry Leaves
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
Option: Fresh Chilli
You can use a roasting pan with a double foil cover, or a good heavy based casserole pot. If using a heavy based pot it is always a good idea to also pop a foil cover underneath the lid.
Heat oven to 160°C
- Fresh Shoulder Of Lamb ~ use 2 tablespoons of the Butcher Curry Spice Blend as a rub to fully coat the lamb.
- Place it back in its freezer bag or a container, and let marinade over night in the fridge.
- Shoulder Of Lamb ~ Brown & Render the Lamb on the stop top in your pan.
- Push the lamb to the side of the pan and create a bed of Onion, fresh chopped chilli, tomato and fresh herbs in the pan
- Place the lamb on top of the bed of fresh ingredients and toss some salt and pepper on top of the lamb
- Place the foil on your pan
- Place in oven for 2.5 hours
- Remove from oven and carefully remove foil as there will be a lot of steam
- Check that the bone has come away from the lamb
- Stir in coconut milk and baste the lamb
- Cook for 1 more hour basting every 15 minutes
- Check that the bones have surfaced from the lamb meat and use two forks to gently see if the lamb is soft and tender. If not cook another 1/2 hour.
Brown & Render Lamb
Add Coconut Milk to Pan & Season Lamb
- Shoulder and leg are both great cuts of lamb for this slow-cooked method.
- If the bone has not come away from the meat after 2.5 hours you should check that the seal on your pot is secure.
- Let the lamb shoulder rest covered with a lid or foil so it does not steam dry.
- It would be extremely difficult to overcook this dish, but very easy to undercook, so don't be in a hurry.
- Strain the juices from the pan after the lamb is cooked and reduce down on the stovetop to use as a sauce.
Enjoy your cooking
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I have created this wonderful recipe showcasing our artisan Ham Hocks
We cure and smoke delicious ham hocks in our little Country Butcher Shop seasonally just for you!
Using traditional curing methods highlighting hickory with a double smoke cook, we produce a beautiful range of bacon products, such as Bacon, Ham Hocks & Bacon Chops.
Using local grass fed pigs that are RSPCA approved, our artisan butchers produce a Ham Hock that is not only wonderful for soups and stocks, you can only make it the delicious hero of your dish as featured in my recipe.
Celebrate Bacon Week with us and help reduce imported pigs from causing havoc with our local farming industry.
Embrace Aussie Made Pork, by getting MWM's bacon on your fork. We only stock 100% Australian farmed meats and poultry.
You wil find our wonderful range of artisan house smoked products in our SMALLGOODS section of the online store or just ask in store.
I have also used a raw non smoked Ham Hock for this recipe, if you would like a Ham Hock that has not been smoked "Just Ask", we are bespoke butchers and can cater to all requirements. If purchasing online, simply put your requirements in the Special Requirements Box at check out and BOOM it will happen!
- 2 Pork Forequarter Ham Hocks
- 4 tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 tblsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp salt
- cracked black pepper
- 2 onions diced
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 carrots finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 500mL dark ale or apple cider
- 400mL chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup apple sauce/purée
- seeded mustard
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Score the pork hock rind into 3 sections across the width of the hock with a sharp Stanley knife or simply ask your MWM Butcher to preform this task for you.
- Blend the oil, garlic, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper together to form a paste,
- Rub each hock generously with the paste.
- Place the prepared vegetables and hocks into an oven proof baking dish.
- Pour the ale or cider, and the stock over pork in the baking dish.
- Place the baking dish into the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C for 4.5 hours. If the liquid needs topping up, use a little water when necessary.
- Serve crsipy roasted German style pork hock with apple sauce and seeded mustard on a platter for a "Family Style" meal with seasonal vegetables & mash potato.
When I refer to "family style" meals, I am simply referring to meals that you can put on platters and share around the table. This is a wonderful way to enhance time spent with family.
Enjoy & STAY SAFE
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Why Brine? Because Science tells us it's the way to go!
When we talk about Brine, we are most often referring to Turkey. Turkey is a fickle poultry to cook, often dry when served. Yet, most of us go to Turkey town during Christmas festivities. Our friends in the US crazy about this meal at Thanksgiving and probably have the "heads up" on Turkey preparation.
Brining is the process prior to cooking. Brining is a great way to keep your Turkey perishable before the big day, as it also acts as a preserving agent. It is a great way to ensuring your meat has a better chance of being served succulent.
Turkey is a relatively lean bird, and the breast-to-leg ratio isn't ideal (i.e., by the time the dark meat is cooked through, the breast meat may have overcooked).
Brine & Pickling liquids are one in the same. Artisan Butchers such as our team, still use the traditional techniques of brining for our many of our produce. Adding "sugar & spice" to our Brines to make it our own.
My favourite meats to work with brining are;
- Some Pork cuts
Fatter birds such as goose and duck are best glazed not brined.
Brining involves bathing ingredients in salted liquid. On a microscopic scale, muscle fibers in the meat absorb water through some combination of capillary action and diffusion. As meat cooks, the proteins denature and contract, squeezing water out of the muscle.
Common Brines, it's EASY don't stop reading
- DRY BRINE ~ Instead of immersing turkey in a bath of salted water, the dry-brine disciple smothers their bird in salt alone.
- BUTTERMILK BRINE ~ Immerse the turkey in a bath of fresh buttermilk
- SALT BRINE ~ Add aromatics to give your salt brine flavour and added flavour dimension when brining your Turkey overnight.
How To Dry-Brine
Two days before Turkey Day, pat the bird dry. (If it’s frozen, give it an extra couple days to thaw in the fridge first.) Remove the giblets, neck, and any other oddments from the cavity, and set up a clean work station to salt your bird.
Salt the bird on all sides and inside the cavity. Remember, you’re salting the entire bird, not just the surface, so season liberally. To allow air to circulate around the bird, which will lead to crisper skin, place the turkey on a wire rack set in a sheet tray, and place uncovered in the refrigerator. Cover loosely with plastic wrap if salting more than two days in advance.
1 to 2 hours before you plan to roast the turkey, take it out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature.
- COOK YOUR TURKEY
How To Buttermilk Brine
- Prepare the Brine.
- RECIPE FOR 4KG TURKEY 2 litres Buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of salt & 2 teaspoons of white pepper.
- You can add extra aromatics to the mix such as fresh thyme, mustard and fennel seeds and even garlic.
- Two days before Turkey Day, pat the bird dry. (If it’s frozen, give it an extra couple days to thaw in the fridge first.) Remove the giblets, neck, and any other oddments from the cavity, and set up a clean work station to prepare your bird.
- Combine buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag, large deep dish, preserving pan or clean bucket. Add chicken | Turkey and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain before using.
- COOK YOUR TURKEY
How to Salt Brine
- Prepare the Brine at least one day prior to adding Turkey, you will require a tub, stock pot or large container. I use one large stock pot for whole process, just make sure it fits in the fridge.
- RECIPE FOR 4KG TURKEY In a stock pot (28 cups) water, 1 1/2 cups coarse salt, 6 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries, 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, 2 medium onions sliced. Simmer for 10 minutes and allow too cool.
- You can add extra aromatics to the mix such as fresh thyme, mustard and fennel seeds and even garlic.
- One day before Turkey Day, pat the bird dry. (If it’s frozen, give it an extra couple days to thaw in the fridge first.) Remove the giblets, neck, and any other oddments from the cavity, and set up a clean work station to prepare your bird.
- Submerge the bird for 24 hours, make sure it is submerged or flip half way through.
- Remove turkey from brine one hour before you're ready to roast it, and pat it dry inside and out.
- COOK YOUR TURKEY
Let me very clear. I have not used a Brine Bag. I have a big Coolroom on the farm so don't face the challenges of keeping large Turkeys refrigerated.
I often recommend to customers that are space challenged, use an iced up esky, that way the fridge remains in action when the Turkey or Whole Ham arrives.
However, Brine Bags are a great solution for Chicken and Turkey. Whilst I prefer a stock pot, this method does have its advantages.
Using a large stockpot covered with plastic wrap is a common method for brining a turkey, but using a bag offers at least one improvement: "Brining in a bag enables you to ensure the turkey is fully submerged and that the brine reaches every part of the turkey," says chef Waldy Malouf, senior director of food and beverage operations at The Culinary Institute of America. A bag also makes it easier to keep your turkey fully covered in brine during its soaking time, he says: "Halfway through the brining process, roll the turkey over in the bag to mix up the liquid a bit and make sure it's fully submerged."
Where to buy a Brine Bag? That my friends is something you'll have to tell me!
My Christmas Hamper Produce selection is available in store & online for Home Delivery VIC Wide whilst stocks last.
CREDIT: JOHN KERNICK
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Most Aussie Bacon Lovers are unaware that 70% of all bacon sold in Australia is imported. Shocker! This questions freshness, origin ~ including farming and storage practices and consumers dedication to supporting local Aussie produce.
In Australia we have many amazing Aussie Pork Farmers which need our support, and it's not hard folks, they are the best, producing amazing produce year round. As artisan butchers we are continually striving to create a traditional perfect piece of bacon each and every week.
At MidWest Meats, we only sell 100% locally farmed pork and did you know? Our branded bacon, bacon hocks, bacon chops and bacon bones are all smoked in the MidWest Meats SmokeHouse fresh each week. Now, I won't diverse to HAMS, because what is there really to say? for 70 years we have proven they are the best. Let's keep the focus on our favourite breakfast mate, BACON. Afterall we are dedicating a whole day to it.
l am excited to highlight what a versatile ingredient Aussie Bacon is with a simple delicious recipe that is a little outside the box.
This recipe is so simple the kids can prepare it and you'll all be supporting local artisan farmed and produced BACON.
Candied Bacon Rocky Road
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
175g MidWest Meats bacon rashers (remove rind)
400g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
280g white and pink marshmallows, roughly chopped
200g glace cherries
150g Turkish Delight chocolate bar, roughly chopped
½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine maple syrup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place bacon onto prepared tray and brush generously with maple syrup glaze. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn bacon and brush with maple syrup mixture. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Stand and cool. When cold and crisp, finely chop the bacon.
Grease and line a 26cm x 16cm x 3cm deep baking pan with baking paper. Place chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second bursts, stirring with a metal spoon after each burst, until just melted. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes.
Stir through marshmallows, cherries, Turkish Delight, peanuts and half of the bacon through the chocolate. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Stand at room temperature to set (or refrigerate in hot weather). Cut into squares and serve.
Tip – Place any leftover rocky road into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Personally, i've never had to do that
* photo credit and collaboration with our friends working hard for Aussie Farmers "Australian Pork Limited"
MidWest Meats proudly holds a PorkMark Licence allowing us to sell #AussieporkAdd a comment