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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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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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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Australian's adore a fabulous home made pie's!
In my country kitchen I regularly make both savoury & sweet pies.
They always get a big smile from family and friends.
Homemade pies are a fabulous dish especially when made with fresh wholesome MWM Country Fresh produce.
There is no need to buy pies, when they are so easy to prepare and personalise with your favourite flavour combinations.
With these tips and tricks from my country kitchen you'll be the master of the pie in no time at all!
Most cooks seem rather cautious when it comes to making their own pastry, but "FEAR NOT", there's nothing to worry about and if you take the time, the taste will pay off big time.
If I can't convince you to try your hand at pastry baking, a pie can taste just as awesome with a heap of mash potato on top, this pie is often referred to as a Cottage Pie. Infuse mash with a knob of butter and/or cheese to ensure the mash sets nice and brown.
A delicious beef, lamb, chicken or pork pie filling can be as simple as your favourite casserole.
Try my Master Casserole Recipe as featured in our MWM E~Newsletter "The Bull Sheet".
As a guide, one quantity casserole meats or poultry (using 1kg beef, lamb, pork or chicken) will make a pie to serve 4-6 friends and family!
Incoporate your own favourite casserole recipe into a delicious pie. As a casserole is predominately a slow cooked meat or poultry dish, we recommend the following meats.
Time poor? Use a more expensive meat cut that take less cooking time;
- Diced Topside
- Gravy Beef
- Chuck Steak
- Beef Cheek
- Rump Steak (100% flavour & quicker to cook)
- Beef Mince (Fabulous for savoury & cottage pies)
Why not make a double batch when you next make a casserole? Serve up half that night, and freeze the other half to make into a delicious pie!
Making your own pastry
Crisp, flaky, tender pastry can be made in the food processor:
- The butter and water must be cold before you begin - cold ingredients make flaky pastry.
- Use the metal blade and place the flour and salt in the bowl.
- Add cold, chopped butter. The butter must not be soft.
- Use the pulse button to mix the flour and butter until mixture is crumbly.
- With the processor running slowly add the cold water. Keep the processor running only until the mixture comes together and forms a soft ball.
- Put the pastry onto a lightly floured board, and gently knead for 30 seconds. Over kneading will make it tough.
- Flatten it out to a small round to make it easier to roll out.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This resting time ensures the pastry won’t shrink as it cooks.
Even if you don’t have a food processor you can make the pastry by hand. Rub the butter through the flour with your fingertips until it’s crumbly. Use a knife to fold the water in and to bring mixture together.
Like to bake a pie, but still not convinced on making your own pastry?
Tips on using Store Bought Pasty
- Puff pastry is a great choice and we sell a great frozen puff pastry in store.
- When buying puff pastry make sure butter is the top ingredient for a delicious tasting pie.
- Cook your pies at 220°C, this high temperature ensures the puff pastry rises and forms lots of yummy layers.
- Uncooked pastry is unsavoury, and will let down your whole pie.
All MidWest Meat diced & mince produce is freshly prepared to order from locally sourced paddock reared produce.
Online Customers receive all diced, minced meat and poultry produce cryovaced, unless otherwise specified.
In Store customers please request specialised produce wrapping from you friendly MWM Team Member!Add a comment
Making your meat shine is simple when using premium locally farmed produce from MidWest Meats.
My families favourite cut of meat is the Rack Of Lamb! We have a tradition in my family that we can choose whatever you want for dinner on our birthdays. I have always picked Rack Of Lamb, and now so do my gal's! Over the years I have experimented with flavours to make a Rack Of Lamb shine and keep special family meals interesting and delicious.
Transform a beautiful piece of produce into a dish that exudes flavour with my Brown Sugar & Caraway Lamb Rack sided with a delicious Irish inspired Sweet Potato Colcannon. Now, i'm sure you'll agree, thats one hellava Rack!
When purchasing a lamb rack from MWM we will fully trim the produce for you, so your preparation time will be less than 10 minutes, and you'll need 25 minutes to cook the meat to medium rare. Whilst the lamb is baking, you will have ample time to whip up a couple of wholesome winter sides, such as steamed broccolini and Colcannon.
• 2 x Lamb Racks fully trimmed
• 1 tbsp Aussie EVOO
• 2 tsp caraway seeds
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 bunches broccolini
Sweet Potato Colcannon
• 500 g sweet potato, peeled and 3cm diced
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 20 g butter
• 2 leeks, thinly sliced
• ¼ cup milk
1. Brush lamb with oil and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Combine balsamic and maple syrup in a small bowl with salt and pepper and pour over lamb.
2. Preheat oven to 200°C fan forced and cook lamb for 20 minutes for medium. Baste lamb once or twice to help glaze to coat the lamb. Rest for 10 minutes then slice between bones into portions.
3. Heat oil in a medium frying pan with a lid and cook leeks for 10-12 minutes, covered, until very soft.
4. Steam sweet potato for 20-30 minutes or until very tender. Mash with milk and gently fold through leek. Season to taste.
5. Steam broccolini for 3-4 minutes until cooked to your liking and serve with colcannon and lamb
• Don't worry if the glaze slides off the lamb at first, it will thicken on the tray as it cooks making it easier to baste.
• Try adding different whole spices to the lamb to vary the glaze such as cumin, fennel or mustard seeds.
• Use maple syrup instead of brown sugar for a richer taste sensation.
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Enjoy this winter dish one pot casserole. Its a mild take on my families favourite "Chilli Con Carne" that we serve with crunchy plain corn chips.
Simply add a teaspoon of fresh chilli to spice it up!
Preparation Time: 20 mins Cook time: 2 hours
- 1kg Diced Chuck Steak
- 1 chopped Onion
- 1 diced carrot
- 1 diced red capsicum
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- Handful of chopped fresh coriander including clean stems
- 1.5 cups Beef Stock
- 2 tablespoons of fragrant Aussie Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 400g diced tomatoes
- 400g soaked red kidney beans (drain well if using tin)
- Corn chips, Soft Tortilla's or Steamed Rice To Serve
- Sour cream to serve
- Fresh chilli to flavour if desired
- Preheat oven to 170°,
- Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil your stove top/oven proof pan over a medium heat, add chuck steak in batches to brown, remove and set aside,
- Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in pan and gently fry onion, capsicum and carrot,
- Place meat back in pan with vegetables and add garlic and paprika, bay leaves and coriander stems, stir well over heat,
- Add stock, bring to the boil,
- Cover and place in oven till meat is tender approximately 2 hours,
- Add black beans and most of coriander leaves pop back in the oven for 30 minutes,
- Season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.
My lot love to cover their casserole with lashing of fresh coriander and sour cream, then use corn chips as a spoon!
This recipe is suitable to freeze and left overs make a great Nacho base.Add a comment