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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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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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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, pillowcase or wrap in a tea towel and store in the fridge.

 

 

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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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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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Back to school, Back to work & Back to a busy schedule

Planning is your key to "Back To School" success.  Healthy bodies need healthy "fuel" three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

A balanced diet of three meals a day and a little exercise sounds conceptually simple, however add school, homework, sport and WORK into the mix, and we have a recipe for health and budget "melt down".

 

Providing healthy meals five days a week can be challenging, especially when some of those meals are not even in the home. However, I believe it is super 'doable' with planning.

Look at proteins first, they are packed full of nutrients. Beef, pork or lamb 3-4 times a week turn your evening meal into a balanced meal. Other protein options include poultry, eggs and legumes.

But how do you know if a meal is healthy and nutritious and where can you get recipe inspiration? Don’t complicate it! Use wholesome family favorites and employ healthy cooking techniques such as less butter and oil, and try char grilling rather than pan frying.

Check out my 10 easy tips and tricks for success

  1. Plan weekly dinners around healthy family favourites so everyone looks forward to the meal.
  2. Plan school and work lunch boxes around weekly dinners. Cook a little more at dinner and put aside for lunch boxes.
  3. Use wholesome leftovers for the lunch box. Having a yummy meal for lunch will prevent overspending and overeating during the day.
  4. BALANCE; look at incorporating local nutrient rich seasonal produce and portion size. When produce is abundant and in season it is less expensive.
  5. Halve the amount of oil and butter when preparing meals, healthy can be far from boring.
  6. Once you have your plan buy in bulk at the start of the week. This will prevent you running in and out of stores for one item or being tempted to grab an unhealthy expensive frozen meals or take away.
  7. AVOID takeaway during the week, this adds an unnecessary weight to your weekly budget and waste line.
  8. FRESH is best! Shop once or twice a week or use local weekly fresh home delivery so you can spend more time preparing meals with the family and not out at the shops whilst the kids lay around at home waiting for food. When kids are waiting for food they are more prone to eat snacks and not eat the wholesome meal you prepare. When the family does not eat the meal you’ve prepared, that’s simply money down the drain.
  9. AVOID overly complicated recipes during the week. You are tied therefore prone to throw in the towel and order pizza! Simple fresh easy meals are the way to go.
  10. AVOID dining out during the week; this disrupts your whole routine. If you need to get together with friends, go to each others home and contribute a healthy component of the meal. This way everyone enjoys the evening with minimal fuss. We all need a healthy balanced routine to function at 100% at work and school. Late nights with unhealthy food are not the way to achieve this outcome. Dining out is great on the weekends when its time to relax and have fun.  

Healthy is far from boring

The days of believing that healthy food has to be boring and bland have thankfully long since passed.

Meals will be naturally healthy and enjoyable when you use:

                 Mainly fresh, unprocessed ingredients

                 Flavour with fresh herbs and spices

                 Fruits and vegetables that are in season

                 High fibre, wholegrain or lower GI carbohydrate foods (such as whole grains, pasta, basmati rice, brown rice, noodles and sweet potato)

The key to a healthy, wholesome meal is BALANCE!

There is a simple rule to apply to any meal to ensure it is balanced, healthy and delivering you and your family the vital nutrients we all require.

When plated or combined (as in a stir fry) aim for your meal to have:

                 ¼ beef or lamb (trimmed of fat, unless already purchased lean)

                 ¼ carbohydrate (e.g. sweet potato, brown rice)

                 ½ vegetables (at least 3 different types of vegetables)

You don't need to change a lot to have a proper dinner

Using the principles of balance outlined above, you may find that with little or no change, your current dinner repertoire is brimming full of healthy and delicious recipes.

A little help – what to buy, what to cook and how to turn it into a healthy dinner success

Using our Seasonal Butcher Boxes you will find a minimum of 6 meals that can be for lunch or dinner or can be used to get you through to your next delivery.

Having healthy fresh local produce in your fridge automatically saves you time, money and improves your chances on making a healthy meal choice each and every time.

If you prefer to drop into the store, these same items are available each and every day. We also have a changing selection of meal ideas if your planning went a little “hay wire” and you simply see a better alternative. All our ready-made meals are wholesome and made daily with fresh local seasonal produce. 

 One of my family’s favourite healthy meals in #MyCountryKitchen is Vietnamese Beef Salad. Why not check it out and put it in next weeks Meal Plan? Makes a wonderful dinner and a fabulous Lunch Box treat. This is just the recipe to set you up for a healthy "Back To School" journey.

 

 

 

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