Meat Part 1 – You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!

You Can Afford Grass Fed Meat

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video, ‘Meat Part 1 – You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!’

Bex:
Hi, we are here with Andrew Lupton at Brookvale meats in Sydney, where we have been buying our meat for quite some time and recommending to everyone we can. The main reason that we buy and we recommend the meat here, is that it is grass-fed, sourced from local farms, antibiotic and hormone-free. The meat is coming from animals that are raised well. Animals that are healthy, and that’s going to make us healthy. However, Andrew, lots of people are concerned that they can’t afford grass-fed, free-range meat. What would you say to customers about this concern?

You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!

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Andrew: I’d recommend they all come down here and have a look at the prices!

Bex: That will do it!!

Andrew: As simple as that.

Brookvale Meats - Free Range Grass Fed Meat

Andrew:
They’ll find the difference here. One lady customer was told by her husband not to shop here, because we’re very expensive. So, she went out and compared like for like in one of our well-known supermarkets around the corner, and we were 50 percent cheaper. So, let’s dismiss that myth, there’s no penalty for buying grass-fed meat. No, on the contrary, you can buy grass-fed rump meat, a whole grass-fed rump for $12/kg. That’s cheap meat. So, no it’s not more expensive and you don’t have to pay that.

Bex:
Do you think a lot of that might come  from the fact that people are used to only a few popular cuts of meat, and that those cuts might be the most expensive cuts?

Andrew:
It certainly could be possible, that could be a reason. I think perhaps more likely is that people are used to markets, where they buy similar meat, free-range meat from boutique producers, who because of the size of their operations, they have to charge a lot  more than we do (Brookvale Meats), and so here comes the perception, from perhaps buying free-range meat from markets and boutique suppliers, that it’s very expensive. It’s entirely a bit more expensive but it’s a very, very small price to pay at this point.

Bex:
Absolutely, and another thing that  might be able to help consumers in budgeting their meat purchases, is buying in bulk. How does that work and what are the best cuts for bulk purchase?

Andrew:
Well, I suppose the best cut for a bulk purchase, is to buy a whole cow! Indeed, it’s something that we do. We cut it up for them and they come in their ute (pick-up truck), and they take it away. So, people do buy whole pigs, they buy whole lambs, they do buy half cows. So, there are some people out there that buy in bulk.

Bex: Smaller families?

Andrew:
Smaller families, smaller freezers. Buying in bulk it is important but it’s not necessary, you just need to buy the cheaper cuts. If you want to reduce the expenses, then talk to your butcher. What do I do with a beef blade, how can I cut it? How can I cook it?

Bex: Exactly.

Andrew:
These are the things that you should be asking the butcher to try to reduce  the weekly spend. A lot of that is on our website, there’s a whole section of cheaper cuts and loads of recipes involved within the website on cheaper cuts. To me, it’s not necessary to fill your deep freezer to save a few bucks.

Bex: So, can you list off a few of these cheaper, less popular, lesser known cuts that you recommend?

Andrew:
Gosh, where to start? Okay, pigs trotters! They cost next to nothing. We give them away! They’re not for the faint-hearted indeed. You have to like your dose of fat, but it’s extremely cheap. The cheaper cuts would be anything that is a little bit tougher to cook that doesn’t cook quickly. Lamb shanks, lamb neck… lamb neck makes the best stew, it has the most flavour and when you cook it right it is a tender meat. I love it! I prefer it to loin chops which are three times the price. On beef, we’re talking about Osso Bucco, we’re talking about the shoulder, and the leg; these are the cheaper cuts. They do indeed involve longer cooking periods , most of the time, although we can tenderise it for you. We can get you a shoulder or leg and cut it nice and thin, bash it and tenderise it, and still be treated like a steak.

Bex:
Beautiful, and as you mentioned you have a wonderful page. A couple of pages on the website talking about cheaper cuts. Where they are all listed out with pictures and everything.

Andrew: There’s a few recipes too, I try to encourage people…

Bex:
Great recipes, and your website is, www.brookvalemeats.com.au. Have a look there and learn about the cheaper cuts, and realise that you’re going to get a lot of bang for your buck and you’re not going to have to spend more than you want to. It’s really about choosing quality food. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks for your time!

 

Do you cook with cheaper cuts of meat? What are your favourites?

 

How to use Herbs & Spices + 6 Herb & Spice Blend Recipes

How to Use Herbs & Spices, Plus 6 Herb & Spice Blend Recipes

There’s no denying that eating healthy food is much easier and more enticing when you feel confident cooking it. Before I got more confident in the kitchen, cooking simply meant making food hot, and our healthy meals often consisted of dry bland chicken with dry bland vegetables. No wonder it was more enticing to buy ready-made meals, processed sauces, and packaged foods that were artificially-flavored to be nice and tasty.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a great cook to make healthy dishes taste great.

All you need are nature’s flavours – herbs and spices! Not only do herbs and spices add wonderful aroma and flavour, they also are full of immune-boosting nutrients. It can take a while to get confident with using various flavours in your cooking, so here is a cheat sheet to start you off.

Beef Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Coriander (cilantro), Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Cumin, Fennel Seed, Chilli, Peppercorns, Paprika, Cayenne, Mustard
Lamb Thyme, Rosemary, Parsely, Coriander (cilantro), Mint, Curry Leaf, Garlic, Cumin, Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Chilli, Fennel Seed, Turmeric, Peppercorns, Lemon, Paprika, Cayenne, Oregano
Pork Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Coriander (cilantro), Bay Leaf, Sage, Dill, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Cumin, Chilli, Paprika, Fennel Seed, Star Anise, Cloves, Peppercorns, Cayenne, Lime, Orange, Honey, Apple
Chicken Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Coriander (cilantro), Bay Leaf, Basil, Sage, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Oregano, Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Cumin, Fennel Seed, Paprika, Cayenne, Chilli, Turmeric, Lime, Lemon, Orange, Honey
Fish Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Coriander (cilantro), Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Basil, Sage, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Chilli, Pepper, Paprika, Fennel Seed, Curry, Allspice, Chervil, Mustard, Nutmeg, Lime, Lemon

You will notice that several herbs work well for all the meats, so those herbs and spices are the ones you’ll want to keep on hand all the time. You will also soon discover your own personal tastes, and so you may just want to use your favourite flavours as often as possible.

To know how much to add, it’s best to start with recipes, or use a recipe as a guide, until you become more familiar with appropriate amounts for each type of herb and spice. When no recipe is available, try starting with 1/4 teaspoon for about 4 servings; half that for cayenne.

Tips for cooking with herbs and spices:

– Dried herbs are best added early in the cooking process (especially good for longer cooking times), while fresh herbs have best flavour when added at the end of, or after cooking. Bay leaf and whole spices like cloves are best for dishes with long cooking times.

– For cold food like salad dressings, add spices and herbs several hours before serving (when possible) to allow flavors to blend or “marry” well.

– Dried herbs and spices are stronger than fresh. Use this guide when following a recipe: ¼ teaspoon powder = ¾ teaspoon dried = 2 teaspoons fresh.

– Crush dried and fresh leaf herbs, like oregano, thyme or basil, in your hand before use for a more immediate release of flavor.

– A mortar and pestle is handy for pounding herbs and spices to release the aromas and flavours before rubbing on meat or adding to dishes.

– If doubling a recipe, you may not need to double the herbs. Use just 50% more.

Tips for storing herbs and spices:

– Dried herbs and spices should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place (like a cupboard not directly near the stove) in airtight containers to retain flavour and nutrients.

– Try to use dried herbs and spices within one year. If you can’t smell the aroma of a herb when you rub it between your fingers, it’s too old.

– Treat fresh herbs like a bouquet of flowers: Snip the stems, stand the herbs in a glass of water, and refrigerate. OR put them in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer, leaving some air in the bag so the herbs can get oxygen.

– Fresh herbs only last about a week at the very most, so to keep them for longer, you can freeze them. Simply wash and pat dry, pick the leaves off the stems and store the leaves in a freezer bag.

Which herbs and spices go well together?

Herb and spice mixtures in the store are often full of salt, additives and MSG, so it’s best to buy your herbs and spices individually and learn which go well together. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, so just be sure to read the ingredients to ensure that all your mixture contains are the actual herbs and spices. Moroccan spice mixes and Italian herb mixes, for example, are easy and delicious and you can learn from reading the ingredients how to make those mixtures yourself. Reading recipes is also a great place to learn combinations. Here are a few mixture recipes you can use often. Just put in a jar and shake well!

Italian Dried Herb Mix: 1 tsp of each: basil, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme

Middle Eastern Mix: 4 tsp black pepper, 3 tsp coriander seeds, 3 tsp cinnamon, 3 tsp cloves, 4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp cardamom pods, 3 tsp nutmeg, 6 tsp paprika

Moroccan Seasoning: 5 tsp ground nutmeg, 5 tsp ground cumin, 5 tsp ground coriander, 2 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Bouquet Garni (classic mix for stews/soups): 1/4 cup dried parsley, 2 Tbsp dried thyme, 2 Tbsp dried bay leaf + Optional: 2 Tbsp dried rosemary. Fresh version: 3 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf tied together with kitchen string and left in the stew while cooking.

Chicken Seasoning Blend: 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 Tbsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper + Optional: 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder (if not using fresh garlic and onion in the dish)

Mexican Mixture: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper + Optional: 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp chili / red pepper flakes (or you can use fresh garlic, onion and chili in the dish). Great on mince (ground beef).

Do you use lots of herbs and spices in your cooking? What are your favourite flavours or flavour combinations?

Same Food, New Dish: Recipes Using Leftovers

Same Food New Dish: Recipes Using Leftovers

One of my favourite tips for eating well when time poor is cooking a lot of food at once, and making the most of the leftover food for several more meals. However, most of us don’t want to eat the same meal three times in a row, as it just gets boring! The family starts complaining “Are we having leftovers…again?”, and the pressure is on to cook something new. There are several ways of getting around this though. My favourite tips for creating new meals with leftover food in just minutes are featured in this series ‘Loving Leftovers’, starting with The Basics of Lovin’ Leftovers. This is one I like to call Same Food, New Dish.

Leftover Roast Chicken, Potato and Veggies mixed with Green Onions, Bacon & Homemade Dressing

Start with Transforming Leftover Vegetables to New Dishes

Last night you made baked potatoes or sweet potatoes in the oven, but you are not a big fan of eating cold baked potato in your packed lunch.

So you take Same Food: baked potato or sweet potato, and make a New Dish: potato salad

HOW:
– Simply chop up the leftover baked potato and put into a big bowl.
– Then do the same with things like red onions, green onions, fresh herbs, dried herbs, and even any raw or leftover cooked veggies you may have on hand like chopped capsicum (bell pepper), green beans, or peas. Avocado is delicious here too!
– If you have leftover bacon, chicken, ham, or hard-boiled eggs, simply chop and add to the bowl to make a complete meal of your potato salad.
– Lastly, simply toss with a homemade dressing of olive oil, choice of vinegar, and mustard if you like, plus sea salt, pepper and fresh herbs if you have some on hand.

Like most leftover creations, this dish comes out different every time you make it, depending on what leftovers you have to throw in and how much time you have to add more ingredients. Thus you keep your taste buds and your family happy with variety, without the time-consuming venture of a new recipe and new ingredients.

Other leftover vegetable ideas:

Same Food: baked sweet potato/potato/pumpkin. New Dish: mashed potato or pumpkin

HOW:
– Chop up leftover sweet potato, potato or pumpkin and put into a pot on the stove.
– Over warm to medium heat, add in things like butter, raw milk or cream, homemade stock, green onions, smashed garlic, spices, herbs. Mash up and stir together.

Again, you can make this different every time. One night you can add heaps of ingredients and gourmet it up, and another night if you’re shorter on time, just mash with butter and salt.

Same Food: roasted or steamed cauliflower. New Dish: cauliflower mash or cauliflower rice.

HOW:
– Same as mash potato but mash cauliflower is especially good with butter, ground cumin and caraway seeds plus a sprinkle of fresh parsley or coriander.
– The only difference between cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice is how smooth the texture is. Use a hand masher or food processor for desired consistency.

Try also:
– Easy Leftovers Omelette Recipe
– Egg Muffins Recipe
Immune Boosting Soup in Less Than 10 Minutes

 

Leftover Meats are Quickly Changed to a Different Dish

Apple & Red Onion Chutney on Leftover Pork with Mashed Leftover PumpkinJust like with vegetables, the easiest way to transform your leftover meats is to add something to it and maybe chop it differently.

Same Food: leftover chicken fillets
New Dish: chicken parmigiana

HOW:
– Put leftover chicken breasts or thighs on oven tray.
– Top with a layer of tomato paste or homemade pasta sauce, then herbs and spices, then grated Raw Parmesan cheese.
– Heat in a toaster oven or under oven grill until the meat is warm and the cheese is melted.

Leftover meats simply need a new paste or sauce.

*Yesterday’s grilled pork cutlets are transformed by topping with a simple apple and red onion chutney made by sauteeing the two ingredients in a fry-pan with water and cinnamon for about 10 minutes until apples and onion are soft.

*Yesterday’s grilled rump steak is made anew when topped with a herb and vinaigrette (oil and vinegar) sauce bashed up in your mortar and pestle in 4 minutes.

*Other easy sauces to throw in a pan with leftover meat are tomato based sauces and curry or asian sauces.

HOW:
– If you’re pressed for time, simply dice the leftover meat and toss in a fry pan with a spoonful of tomato paste, some tomato puree, plus garlic, onion, herbs and spices as you like.
– For an Asian flavour, simply saute diced meat with a good quality curry paste (or asian spices and fresh grated ginger) and maybe some coconut cream.
– If you have time and are feeling creative, Google an easy sauce recipe.

Try also:
Roll Your Own Sushi…with Leftovers

 

Transforming Leftover One-Pot Meals

Same Food: one-pot bolognaise or meat chilli.
New Dish: bolognaise or meat chilli stuffed capsicum (bell peppers) or tomatoes

HOW:
– Cut tops off capsicum (bell peppers) or tomatoes and clean out seeds and membranes, fill with bolognaise and heat in oven.
– When almost done, melt grated raw parmesan cheese on top (optional).

Capsicum works best if lightly grilled or blanched in boiling water before filling. This New Dish works for most types of one-pot meal like curries and stews, and it looks impressive.

Leftover Bolognaise Stuffed into Capsicum (Bell Pepper)

By using my Loving Leftovers trick of Same Food, New Dish, you will spend less time cooking but still have the same amount of high-quality meals. With just a bit of fore-thought, you can plan your bigger cooking days around your personal schedule, so that on quieter days you are cooking and on busy days, you are eating leftovers. Just ensure that you always cook large quantities the first day, so you have leftovers to manipulate into your new dish creations tomorrow. When anticipating a very hectic day, you can whip up your new dishes the night before so you have a nutritious and delicious breakfast, packed lunch and easy dinner on hand. The rest of the family will think you were cooking all day instead of serving leftover food!

What is one of your favourite same food, new dish creations to serve in your home?