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!
Stay in touch ~ find out about super deals, cooking tricks & tips & whats been cooking in #mycountrykitchen
Sign up to my E~Newsletter "The Bull Sheet", it has tips, tricks & heaps of savings to make your country produce taste even better!
Nothing beats a wholesome Sunday Roast Chook for family and friends!
Being a farmer and a butcher, in my country kitchen we embrace the extremely Australian tradition of the Sunday Roast. The Sunday Roast brings family and friends together for a relaxing wholesome meal, best served with giggles and followed by a sneaky doze in the nearest comfy chair.
"Sunday Roast" is a term generally applied to a meat and/or vegies placed on a rack, or in a dish and cooked in the oven. It does not have to be on a "Sunday", but it seems to always taste better on a Sunday, kind of like the old saying "red cars are faster"!
A perfect example of the traditional Sunday roast is a joint of lamb; piece of pork, or a lump of beef when lovingly cooked and served with a huge pile of vegetables featuring crispy roast potatoes, pumpkin, steamed beans, carrots and peas. All of which should have rich pan juice gravy steaming on the side.
However, the PERFECT Sunday Roast can be none other than Roast Whole Chook stuffed with the families favourite flavoured bread stuffing.
How do you roast a chook? Its not tricky, however there is a few tips and tricks to achieving a perfect Roast Chook.
There are many variations of stuffing’s, and I always pop a lemon in the end of the cavity to hold in the stuffing’s and keep it moist. If my skin was not crispy and delish I would be very disappointed.
It’s probably safe to say that every family has their own traditional or preferred approach to roasting their chook.
In my country kitchen, here’s how I roll!
Sunday Roast Chook
Serves 5 Prep + Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
- 2 kg Whole Fresh Chicken
- 1 small lemon
- 1 small brown onion
- A few sprigs of thyme
- Sprig of fresh Rosemary
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 5 slices day old bread crust removed
- 50g butter
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 60cm Butchers string (free with your chook by request)
- Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Select a large baking dish and place a roasting rack in the dish.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place peeled onion, bread, ½ the butter, ½ the thyme, fresh rosemary and garlic in a food processor and process into desired stuffing consistency. I use the pulse feature a few times to make sure the texture is a stuffing and not a paste.
- Stuff the chook and pop your whole lemon at the end. Tie the chooks legs together with a bit of butcher’s string, which will hold everything together throughout the cooking process.
- Halve the remainder of the butter. Place each knob of butter under each side of the chicken skin over the breast to keep it moist. To do this, gently lift the top of the skin over the chicken breast, so not to tear it and slide the butter under.
- Sprinkle the Olive Oil over the chicken, and then sprinkle the remainder of the thyme over the breast.
- Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 20 minutes whilst you prepare any roasting vegetables then place them into the pan.
- Roast chicken for another 60 minutes and test for ‘doneness’. Once done remove chicken and place on a warmed plate. Pour pan juices into a small pot. Place pot immediately into freezer to separate pan juices from fat.
- Cover chook and allow meat to rest for 15 minutes. You can use this time wisely to crisp up potatoes, steam vegetables and make gravy.
Serve roast chicken with roast vegetables with steamed beans, carrots, peas and pan juice gravy.
- Check out my tips for testing for ‘doneness’ with a thermometer or make sure internal temp after resting is 74oC and meats juices run clear when skewered.
- Check out my tips for making pan juice gravy
- Baste your chook every 25 minutes with pan juices for an even tastier crispy skin'
- Free Range Chooks available. Adjust cooking time by reducing by 20 minutes.
Such a family favourite in my country kitchen. I serve it with a simple salad and crispy potatoes, not to mention a glass of lovely local Pinot Noir, now thats perfection!
Judging by the demand for this wonderful local grass fed cut of beef in our little country butcher shop and the Online Country Produce Pantry, its also a favourite in your kitchen too.
If your going to cook with the best local produce, its always good to have the tricks of the trade. Wonderful produce deserves respect in my kitchen and in yours.
Follow my simple roasting instructions to make sure your Scotch Fillet Beef is roasted to perfection each and every time.
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cup of fresh mixed herbs Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are awesome
2 Cloves Garlic Smashed with back of knife
Whole garlic for roasting if desired
Good drizzle of excellent Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 200ºC
Season the beef with the salt flakes and pepper. Let stand, covered on oven tray for ¼ hour so meat is not too cold when placing in oven
Roughly chop herbs and garlic, and then sprinkle over meat. Throw a bit under the roast beef as well, this will flavor underside of meat.
Use an extra whole garlic simple roasted with the beef for a whole other dimension when serving your beef.
Drizzle with olive oil
Roast according to your preference on the chart below.
Remove beef from oven; allow to rest on a warm plate for 10-15 minutes before carving. See my Resting Article for more tips and tricks.
Use pan juices to make a wonderful gravy
|60 minuets||75 minutes||90 minutes|
|Internal temp: 55-600C||Internal temp: 65-700C||Internal temp: 750C|
To Make A Quick Wholesome Pan Juice Gravy
• Take the meat from the roasting dish and set it aside to rest. Refrigerate of pop pan or juices into the freezer to separate fat from juices. When fat solidifies scrape of fat and discard.
• Place the roasting dish on the cook top, over a medium heat. Bring the juices in the roasting dish to the boil. Add 2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir constantly until the flour is well combined.
• Reduce the heat a little and cook, stirring often until the flour mixture is well browned. Take care that it does not burn.
• Slowly pour in 1 cups stock, stirring constantly until well combined.
• Bring mixture to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes, stir occasionally.
• Season well with pepper and salt. When making Roast Beef Gravy a good dash Worcestershire adds flavor and color.
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I'm not going to mince my words, "mince meats" make life a whole lot merrier!
Minced meats are tasty, convenient and provide delicious inspiration to the most weary of cooks and we literally sell buckets of fresh mince each and every day at MidWest Meats (MWM).
However, there's a little more to mince than meets the eye!
We also prepare burgers, rissoles, Meatloaves and lasagne from our freshly minced products, as we know you do!
Mince falls into three categories;
- Low Fat
- Medium Fat
- High Fat
The lower the fat content will effect the price. Fat content is visible in the mince by the amount of white flecks.
When you purchase our minces, you can be guaranteed of freshness, and product traceability as we process all our locally sourced produce in store.
However, it is well worth your while having the "heads up" on ensuring that your minced meats are always wholesome.
When you select a MWM beef mince, you can be assured it is always premium quality, meaning that it is "Heart Smart" with an extremely low percentage of fat, normally around 2% or less.
Different types of mince will vary, Beef Sausage Mince has a greater percentage of fat which is what allows it to bind with the other ingredients when making meat loaf and sausage rolls.
Chicken Mince that contains NO fat, so flavour and binding ingredients must be added to achieve a well balanced meal.
Mince needs a small amount of fat to be tasty, if it is 100% fat free it will also be 100% flavour free, with the exception being chicken mince. We fully trim lean white chicken, as chicken has a greater ability to break down and absorb added flavours.
Mince also needs a little fat to bind the meat in the pan, without a little fat the mince would be dry and crumbly and would require the addition of external fats such as butter of oil to make the meal desirable.
We keep all our minces in our large chiller, not our store cabinet as it is super important that mince is well chilled.
Minces undergo a greater processing technique than regular cuts of meat and poultry, it also does not have any preservatives added so it best eaten or frozen within 24 hours.
Our minces are super lean, well balanced and healthy, they are perfect for any mince meat recipe including meatballs and kofta.
When you get your mince home, it is very important to maintain good food safety habits to also avoid contaminations.
Most contamination occurs on the surface of meat. The greater the surface area exposed the more chances of bacteria on the outside which if left unattended can penetrate the whole
batch. Now don't worry, your probably employing safe meat handling techniques with plain common sense.
How to keep your minced meats wholesome
- Make sure your fresh mince is always chilled.
- Use your fresh mince straight from the fridge, do not allow to sit on work benches.
- Only put fresh mince on hygienic services, or preferably take from our purchase wrapping and place directly into the cooking pan.
- Use or freeze within 24 hours.
- Mince can be frozen safely between 2 to 3 months.
- Do not store mince that has been thawed, cook straight away.
- Do not re freeze minced meats.
I often get asked why minced red meats can sometimes be varying in colour, such as a little brownish reddish colour on the outer parts of the package, and if the mince is safe to eat? Yes, it is, the mince is perfectly fine to eat and 100% wholesome. This oxyinisation occurrence will be greater in frozen red meat minces. If meat is spoiling, the colour will be a pale gray brown colour and omit an odour. The brownish change of pigment colour simply occurs due to a reaction to a change in oxygen levels. Oxygen from the air reacts with the meat pigments to form a bright red colour which is usually seen on the top of the mince in a display or packet. The pigment responsible for the red colour in meat is "oxymyoblobin".
This occurrence would also be seen in our cabinets when we layer steaks, if we did not place "slap sheet", which is a plastic barrier in-between the red meats.
WOW if you've read to here you can be can be now named a "Mince Meat" specialists! As a reward I have put my traditional Italian Spaghetti Bolognese recipe in my Country Kitchen Recipe Collection. My Bolognese recipe is tried and tested and loved by all the good folk of "Birregurra", but especially my big family. I also adapt the bolognese sauce into lasagne sauce, by simmering a little longer to make a richer, less juicy sauce that is awesome for preparing homemade lasagne.
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Winter is my favorite month of the year; slow wholesome cooking that is bursting with flavour, open fires and of course the local red wines!
I went for a walk this morning to check on all things farm life, and noticed that spring is waiting for no man this year.
It’s been a super cold, but a super quick winter and sure signs of spring are everywhere. Daffodils are preening and young happy lambs are bouncing in my paddocks with plenty of fodder from such a wonderful winter season.
HOLD UP Mother Nature, I’ve got a couple of winter warmers still to share with My Country Kitchen friends!
Here’s a great one pot, economical Casserole to warm y’all up as you wave off the chilly days. Enjoy the last of the winter sport and inside days! This wholesome and hearty dish will work as a great meal for any season and freezes well!
One Pot Beef Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 2.5 hours
- · 1kg Diced Chuck, Diced Gravy Beef or Diced Topside
- · 1 medium brown onion diced
- · 2 celery sticks finely diced
- · 2 carrots peeled and diced
- · 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1Tbsp Keens Curry Power
- · 3 cups beef or vegetable stock
- · Small tub 140g tomato paste
- · 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into a large dice
- · 2 fresh bay leaves
- · 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- · 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- · ¼ cup fresh parsley diced (garnish)
- Select stove and ovenproof pot with lid.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Season beef with salt and pepper, add 2 tbsp oil, and mix well.
- Heat a large fry pan over a medium-high heat.
- Brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches. Remove each batch and place in a separate dish.
- Reduce heat in the pan, add a little oil, add onion, celery, carrots and curry powder, simmer for 1–2 minutes occasionally stirring.
- Sprinkle flour on vegetables and stir until the vegetables are coated.
- Gradually pour in stock and add the tomato paste, stirring well.
- Add the potato and herbs to the vegetables and stir until mixture boils.
- Place beef back into the casserole dish and stir to combine.
- Cover the casserole dish, place in oven, and cook until the beef is very tender. Stir every 40 minutes or so, add water if needed to keep the ingredients just covered
If you do not enjoy the subtle curry flavour, you can substitute a tsp of coriander & cumin spice to boost the flavour!
If you are time poor and still wish to cook this delish one-pot casserole, simply use alternate diced beef rump to reduce your cooking time. You will not loose out on flavor or tenderness:
- · Topside, round or blade will require 1.5 to 2 hours cooking time
- · Rump will require 1 to 1.5 hours cooking time
- For more tips and tricks to cooking sensational winter warmers click Tips & Tricks Winter Warmers
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Don't bow to family pressure and make the mistake of rushing your delicious meat to the table!
I'm sure you've felt the pressure of your hungry friends and family when serving meats, I know I have!
Why do I insist on taking the time to rest cooked meats in my country kitchen? I’d bet the front paddock that you are going to get a far tastier and tender piece of meat if you employ my simple resting process to your next meat cook!
Being a farmer, we are in the frontline to appreciate the huge effort, and hard work involved in producing excellent quality food!
If you’re going to pay for good locally produced food, it is imperative that the produce is treated with respect and allowed to shine on your plate.
We are very fortunate in Australia to have wonderful, wholesome produce to feed our families, so by waiting a couple of minutes prior to eating to allow a fabulous cut of meat to rest, it should be no great hardship.
Resting your roast or steaks after cooking will give it an opportunity to be moist, tender and delicious!
When meats are cooked the proteins heat up and “set”! The more you cook your meat the harder the “set”, as the proteins push the meat juices towards the centre of the meat.
I always rest my cooked meats on a warm plate so the meat does not cool too much. However, the resting process is about allowing the meat to cool a little, in order to redistribute the juices. By redistributing the juices, they will remain within the meats when cutting. If you have not rested your meat for an appropriate amount of time, the juices will simply run out on the plate leaving your meat tough due to lack of juice, not to mention your plate will be a mess!
When you signed up to “The Bull Sheet” our E~newsletter you would have received a guide to cooking the perfect steak. It shows how you can judge the “type of cook” you have achieved by touch, for example rare, medium or well done. The reverse is applicable with the rest; you will be looking for the meat to relax a little prior to serving.
When cooking your meat, test for your preference of “doneness” and when resting your meat also test after the applicable rest time for “relaxation” to gauge when your meat is “well rested”.
How To Rest Your Meat
- · After you have cooked your meat, place it on a warm plate or serving platter for the desired resting time prior to carving.
- · I place the platter near the oven or a warm area when possible.
- · You can cover loosely in foil but do not wrap tightly as meat will sweat the valuable moisture your are trying to retain.
How Long To Rest Your Meat
- · The time taken to rest will depend on its size.
- · A roast is best rested for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.
- · Steaks or chops should stand for 5 minutes (but no less than 3) before serving.
- · A rule of thumb used by some chefs is 1 minute resting time for every 100g of meat.
When you start with great MidWest Meats produce, we want you to finish with great premium local produce that it is worth staying in for!
Have more questions, or just want to say “Hi”…leave a comment below!
Have a wonderful week and keep cooking.
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