Monday, 5 May 2014

Please re-think the way you buy your food for the sake of our Planet.

During the cooking class I gave last week I spent quite a lot of time talking about why I buy our meat direct from the Farmers.

Eating ethically is very important to me and this is a major reason I choose to buy direct from the producers. I know the people I buy meat from treat their animals with the utmost care & love.

Just because we choose to eat meat does not mean that the life of the animal we will eat does not deserve to live a quality one. Conversely it is all the more important to treat it with love and care. That animal is giving up it's life for the sustenance of my family. Not only does the way it is raised affect the flavour and quality (and I care about that) but it is also a recognition that we are taking the life of something for our sustenance.

It is important we think about that & acknowledge where our food comes from.
One of the things I focussed on in the class was that we have a responsibility to our environment and to each other as a community and that our food choices directly affect these things & each other.  We should feel a little uncomfortable about this.  It means we are thinking about it.  It is a big thing. And we NEED to not only think but ACT.

Rather than shy away from these topics, I talk about it with my children a LOT.  I encourage you to do the same. We owe it to all of the world to think and act with integrity in terms of our food choices just as we should in everything we do. Our planet is dying as a result of the choices we are making. It is well and truly time we re-think the way we have been behaving.

I asked people at my class the other night to re-think the way they buy their food.  Instead of buying 1kg of chicken legs- which equates to the killing of 4-5 chickens, why not change the dish you had in mind and buy just one chook- you end up having the same amount of meat to eat but you have made a much more ethical choice in the way you created that meal.  We have become both selfish  & lazy in our food buying.  Mixed with a lack of skill sets that would have once given us the knowledge to make different choices.  My hope is that my classes will help give these skills back to people.  I hope that I can enable people again by teaching and encouraging you with these skills to help you change your buying behaviour.

One of the things I talked about was how many new cuts of meat I have discovered since buying direct from the producer. There are so many cuts that never make it to supermarket shelves and are disappearing from local butchers too as the skills in how to cook them slowly disappear & the demand is not there to have them available.  So much unnecessary waste. The producers are armed with the most incredible knowledge. What a font of knowledge, right there in front of you, ready to talk to you about it! Go grab that knowledge and make it your friend.

These people are not the hard Aussie Farmer stereotype a lot of us have invented in our minds & that we see on Television, but instead they are smart, kind, sensitive and thoughtful people just like you & me. They have children they are trying to feed and put through school, they have mortgages to pay and (ENORMOUS) petrol and car costs to cover, some of them working other jobs to keep afloat.  They have exactly the same kinds of daily stresses and worries that we all do.

Buying from them helps us remember that our food chain is real.  We CAN make a difference, a very REAL difference to our world and to our local communities by supporting these people.  And we can make an enormous difference to our own lives by eating the quality food they produce.

To my amazement the people at the class heard how rarely I buy meat- we don't eat a huge amount of meat compared to most Australian families.  I make things last.  The class last week was all about how I can make ONE chicken last our family of seven for FOUR family meals.  I only buy meat every few months & when I do I buy it form people I know. We have a large freezer and fill it to last a few months.  And we use what is in it and our cooking and eating is determined by what is in it, not by a list I write each week.

Added to that we probably only eat meat 3-4 times a week at most.  We LOVE meat but  I think as a nation we eat far too much of it. Our family eats a lot more vegetables than we do meat.  But when we eat meat we choose to eat really great quality produce.

Below is a list of links to some of the meat producers I support.
This is not an exhaustive list - there are more out there but these are some of the Victorian meat farmers I buy from.
Many of them home deliver. If not, their produce is available at Farmers Markets.  
If you order from them let them know I sent you.  They are all ace people. And you will be pleasantly surprised by how affordable it is. Please see the costing of the recipe below to give you an idea.......

I encourage you to change the way you buy. Visit a Farmers Market and ask questions!
We did and we are never going back.

Please have a look at buying from these ace peeps:

Plains Paddock Lamb

Warialda Belted Galloway Beef 

Bundarra Berkshires Pork

Jonai Farms (Pork & Beef) 

Isola Chianina Beef

Greenvale Farm (Pork & Lamb)

NB: this is not a sponsored post but just something I feel really strongly about. It is not the first time I have talked about it and it most certainly won't be the last.....

Braised Intercostal Burgers & Buttermilk Burger Buns:
We bought a pack of Intercostals from Warialda Beef some time ago.
One of my children in particular makes it his business to choose things he has never heard of (I let my children choose things- it is important to give them this opportunity with food buying to encourage their knowledge and understanding). He had chosen these.
I had never heard of this cut before. Lizette (the producer) explained to me where it is from- the meat between the ribs.
Delicious and PERFECT for slow cooking.

I went home and did a bit more research.
I stumbled upon the following recipe from Guy Grossi's OMBRA (published on Gourmet Traveller) and decided to give it a go.  Below is my slightly changed recipe.
I am not a fan of the latest fad of Brioche burger buns- I don't like sugary buns with my Burgers. I was so happy to read this article this week and didn't feel so alone! Phew!
I encourage you to seek out this amazing cut of meat and cook this dish- if not at least cook the buns - they are AMAZING!
And so easy.

(And to give you an idea of the cost of this AMAZING meal - this meal cost me $20.  And we ate it two nights in a row as it was so darn GOOD! Each of us had two sliders each time. So that works out to be 28 Gourmet burgers for a grand total of $20.)


  • 60ml olive oil
  • 300g beef intercostals
  • 2 golden shallots
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 5 tblspns Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 1/2 bunch italian parsley
For the Buttermilk Rolls:

  • 5gm yeast
  • 290g bread flour
  • 190ml warmed buttermilk
  • 60ml rice bran oil
  • 1 1/2 tblspn sugar
  • 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg and a little milk for eggwash
For the Coleslaw:

  • 60gm each of purple and white cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch of Italian parlsey
  • 1 tblspn white wine vinegar
  • 1 tspn horseradish
  • 70ml extra virgin olive oil
Place 40ml oil in a large heavy based pan on medium-high heat, fry the intercostal in small batches till nicely brown (3-5minutes). Do not overcrowd the pan. Remove and set aside.

Add shallots, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary and parsley with the remaining oil and fry on a medium heat  till tender.  This will take about 10 minutes. 

Add the Balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute or so. Now add the stock and the beef that you have set aside.

Lower the temperature and cook for 4-5 hours.  Add more stock/water if necessary. 

Once meat is tender enough to shred easily, remove beef and increase heat to medium high to allow the sauce to thicken.

Shred beef and return to pan. Season and set aside.

Buttermilk Buns:

Stir yeast & sugar into 35ml of warm water. Let sit till foaming (about 5 minutes).

Add flour to a large bowl along with yeast mixture, buttermilk, oil, baking powder and 1 tsp salt flakes and mix to a dough.

On a floured surface, knead the dough till nice and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place in a lightly greased large bowl and cover.  Allow to sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until it doubles in size. 

Knock back (punch) the dough, divide and roll into 12 evenly sized balls.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Place balls of dough onto baking paper about 4cm apart. Top with a few sesame seeds if you like.  Let rest till doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

Brush rolls with eggwash and place in oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and set aside to cool.

Combine cabbage, parsley, horseradish and other ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.  Season to taste. 

Once buns are cool, assemble burgers and enjoy!


  1. Disquis ate my comment as usual, It was about eating more offal.

  2. Yes!! I wholeheartedly agree Cintia!!

  3. I love and agree with everything you have said here. Meat is an assumed part of every meal, but it's not actually necessary. I try to have 2 nights a week that are meat free, maybe I need to increase that to 3. I have never heard of this cut of meat before, but your burgers look delicious x

  4. Whitney N Ray Kingston6 May 2014 at 12:27

    Now lovely lady....i am a huge fan of you and everything you subscribe to here....I am curious to know however, what a hard aussie farmer stereotype is though? As a farmer, who lives in Australia, and who raises sheep for both wool and food, cattle, and grows a significant amount of wheat, oats, beans, canola, barley, etc., I fear I may be just this stereotype? We are primary producers, not a hobby farm. Our meat is raised under this amazing expanse of sky in the Wimmera of Victoria. Our animals free range in paddocks of green, supplemented only with grains when food is scarce. Like most farmers practice here, our animals feed and drink what is provided naturally. I think what the education needs to be is that farming, be it on a small scale or a large scale, is how people eat. We grow food. Food for everyone. Our meat goes into butchers and into supermarkets. Sadly supermarkets have the entire supply chain curtailing to them, both as suppliers and customers. We are continually lobbying for this to change. I want my meat branded free range. I want people to know how great farmed meat is. But it hurts my feelings that bigger farms are seen as the bad guys. We are a third generation family of farmers. We have children too. We have mortgages as well, big ones. 12 years of drought will do that to you. But we are not bad people. We are not greedy people. We just want to grow food. We practice permaculture principals in our paddocks, just on a 3000 acre scale. Our animal practices don't allow our animals to travel the distances to the city to be slaughtered. They are slaughtered close to where we farm as this is best practice. Just because this meat is from a faceless farmer, doesn't mean that it is inferior in anyway. I am a farmer. I think I'm pretty ace. I love my animals and the lifestyle farming allows my big family of boys to live. We are part of this food chain too. Sad face inserted here for now...but not for long....I'm off outside to check on my new mums and baby lambs!

  5. I totally agree Ruth and have never heard of this cut of meat but will be on the lookout for it,thank you!

  6. If I lived close I'd do your class for sure.
    I'd love to hear more about how you stretch your meat to feed your family..please?
    cheers Kate


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