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Thanks for stopping by our Farmer Owned Online Butchery 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.

 

 

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!

@countryproducepantry

 

 

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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;

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • 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.

No matter how waterlogged the turkey is when it goes into the oven, it’ll emerge dry as can be—unless it’s been properly salted. Why? Because salt dissolves proteins in the meat to form a gel. The salt ions cause the fibrils within the muscles to repel one another, expanding into an open lattice. This new structure holds water much better, and doesn’t contract in the same way when it is heated.
 
The result is moist, tender, flavorful meat.
 

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 1 to 2 hours before you plan to roast the turkey, take it out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature.

  4. COOK YOUR TURKEY

How To Buttermilk Brine

  1. Prepare the Brine. 
  2. RECIPE FOR 4KG TURKEY 2 litres Buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of salt & 2 teaspoons of white pepper.
  3. You can add extra aromatics to the mix such as fresh thyme, mustard and fennel seeds and even garlic. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. COOK YOUR TURKEY

How to Salt Brine

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. You can add extra aromatics to the mix such as fresh thyme, mustard and fennel seeds and even garlic. 
  4. 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.
  5. Submerge the bird for 24 hours, make sure it is submerged or flip half way through. 
  6. Remove turkey from brine one hour before you're ready to roast it, and pat it dry inside and out.
  7. COOK YOUR TURKEY

Brine Bags

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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 thatsmile

* 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 #Aussiepork

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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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

To Serve:

  • 1 cup apple sauce/purée 
  • seeded mustard

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. 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.
  3. Blend the oil, garlic, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper together to form a paste,
  4. Rub each hock generously with the paste.
  5. Place the prepared vegetables and hocks into an oven proof baking dish.
  6. Pour the ale or cider, and the stock over pork in the baking dish.
  7. 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.
  8.  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

Sara

 

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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.

Remember when glazing and baking hams that they are already cooked. You are basically just rendering the fat and cooking the glaze. Cooking the ham for extended periods of time will dry it out and you don't want to do that! You can find my favourite glaze if you Country Christmas Glaze

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 or wrap in a clean sterilised tea towel and store in the fridge. MWM Ham bags are made by our good friends at Australia Pork. These ham bags detail how to use a Ham Bag effectively and hygencially. Simply follow the directions on the Ham Bag and your Ham will last for over a month. I like to make homemade Baked Beans or Soup with the final ham bone and any left over pieces. Hams have been cured, so if they are kept refrigerated and not cut into with they can last up to 6 weeks. 

 

 

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