Tag Archives: Cook

Lamb, Hogget & Mutton, what’s the difference?

There is the old saying Mutton dressed up as lamb. have you ever wondered where it came from and how can you tell if you are eating fresh spring lamb or mutton, never alone hogget?

We all know that in today’s language Mutton dressed up as lamb is seen as an ageing woman who is dressed or made up as if much younger.

But if you are buying meat what do these terms mean?

Lamb: “Prime lamb or Spring Lamb”which denotes a lamb at 12 months old. A young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.

Spring Lamb is exactly what it says born in spring and ready to eat, all are bred for human consumption. They will taste ‘fresh’ the meat will be pink and moist to cook and eat.

Hogget: is a term for a sheep of either sex having no more than two permanent incisors in wear, or its meat. The meat is still pink but the size is different, it has had a year to grow and roam the paddocks (especially if Grass-fed rather than grain.)

Mutton: a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear. The meat is stronger tasting and it has been kept on the farm for approx 12 to 24 months to develop and grow.

Mutton is the choice of many Middle Eastern Countries, it’s bigger in size and stronger in taste.

As we have sheep on the property, I am partial to lamb, it is my favourite cut of meat. I am always astounded at the prices in the supermarkets and the lack of taste if I am in the position to purchase one. This is the difference between grass-fed, where the sheep will eat the naturally occuring grasses to sustain their weight rather than being fed grain to gain weight for sale at a quicker than normal rate.

Some people do not like the smell of lamb, it is very distinctive, but I like nothing better on a Saturday, Sunday or any weekday to put a lamb roast into cook. many families have had lamb roasts family meals and cook to their own liking.

Lamb is easy to cook and prepare, many butchers will de-bone a shoulder or cook a roast with the shoulder in. I prepare ours with rosemary, minced garlic a bit of Virgin Olive oil drizzled over then salt.I place a cup of water in the base of the pan and put the oven on to 180 Celsius.

2016-03-18 02.02.08

Here’s some tips for Lamb Cooking:

Per 500 grams

Cuts: Eye of Loin, Backstrap, Lamb Round, Topside Roasts, Mini Roasts & Lamb Rump

Temp: 220 C or 428 F

Rare: 15 to 20 mins

Medium: 20 to 25 mins

Well Done: 25 to 30 mins


Cuts: Rack of Lamb, Four Rib Roast, Crown Roast


Temp: 200 C or 392 F

Rare: 20-25 mins

Medium: 30-35mins

Well Done: 40-45 mins


Cuts: Loin (boned and rolled) Leg or Shoulder (Bone In), Easy Carve Leg or Shoulder


Temp: 180 C or 356 F

Rare: 20-25 mins

Medium: 25-30 mins

Well Done: 30-35 mins



Meat for Meals

We are looking today for the ‘fast food’ the quick meal option to feed our families. In most households the end of the day is not welcome relief from work, it is sometimes fuller than a days work. There are children, homework, study, book work, housework to name but a few ‘work’ things ones does when they come home from ‘work’. For most people it doesn’t stop, no longer are families depicted by a male figure with his feet up, paper in hand and with a pipe in his mouth, the ‘lady’ of the house dressed in refinery, lipstick on and smiling and no sign of children those days (thankfully) are gone.

There is always something to do and food choices to make, nights are about sustenance given to families by way of the evening meal and in most cases lunches the next day. Here is where all this running around and getting home from work doesn’t mean stopping, it means someone in the house needs to make a meal decision.

What does one cook when they are busy, sometimes it is much easier to pull in and purchase ready cooked meals but are they really satisfying? Over my time being married to a farmer I have come to appreciate a good cut of meat and well cooked meal. Our meat is pasture fed so it is lean, tasty and delicious, but even with my freezer full of meat I do sometimes ask, what do you feel like for dinner? The response I get is “anything as long as I am with you” a reference back to our courting days where I made a comment that he never commented on my meals. To be honest though I did tell him “I don’t cook” which he took as “I can’t cook” so when I would arrive at the farm (300km drive) I would be greeted with a drink and a meal. Which was great he is a good chef, but then like everything else it becomes the same so I started to cook.

Now it is 85% my responsibility and he can tell when I have had enough as I won’t cook, but going back to simple easy meals for families and busy evenings has become the monotonous decisions of what to cook in the evening. I have started a program where I am cooking with the contents of the pantry and not replacing it as I go. We have a big pantry and I can never find anything in it.

Meat is a great form of protein and is gluten-free, fat-free and abides by the heart foundation requirements for low GI. These are all the things we are looking for in our diets, if we eat a 150g lean piece of meat in our main meal then we have ticked all of the boxes. I always do green things steamed, potato of some kind, gravy or a mustard condiment to add taste. This  sounds so simple doesn’t it but some days it is far from it, it is an effort to defrost, cook to the right temperature, boil without burning the bottom of the saucepan – we currently have 4 dogs with 6 saucepans dog food bowls from attempts at rice and forgotten ‘mashed potatoes’.

Rump is a good cut for a family meal, just don’t over cook it otherwise it can be too tough, fillet is the steak to eat but can expensive when looking to feed the family but nice for a romantic meal for two, blade steak is also a fantastic cut and good for BBQ, BBQ meat is only for BBQ, it may be tough upon arrival to the butcher, supermarket and needs to be grilled to make it tender and edible. But in buying for BBQ buy good meats if you can as they will taste better and be tender.

We as agriculturalists who provide meat for human consumption are highly concentrated on sustainability and nutrition. We provide our animals with natural grasses to eat and limit any exposure to unnecessary humans and grow our crops to feed the stock. Our farming practices are humane, anti-biotic and growth hormone free. Meat science can demonstrate that beef from such grass-fed systems compared to intensive feedlots production systems contain elevated concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin E, increased levels of omega-3, a more desirable omega-3:omega-6 ratio, and increased levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), all with favorable biological effects on human health.

Meals are about sustenance, togetherness, comfort and time. Eating a piece of meat will provide children and adults with energy, alertness and satisfaction for longer periods of time, over something which can be shop bought and ‘fast’. Our foods standards are arguably the ‘golden standard’ of the world and are envied and copied by others. In reaching for that chocolate bar, think of the quick fix versus a slice of ham from the deli, the hunger pains will arrive sooner if you eat the chocolate along with the additional calories. Try a small skewer of lamb with a tzatziki dressing

moroccan lamb

Snacks with 100 Calories or less

Meats & Other Protein Foods

  • 2 ounces or 56 grams of lean roast beef or boiled ham
  • 4 ounces or 113 grams or turkey breast
  • 4 ounces or 113 grams smoked salmon
  • 3 ounces or 85 grams tuna (packed in water)
  • 2 ounces or 56 grams  tuna (packed in water) with 1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise added
  • 3 sardines packed in water
  • 3 thin slices of lunch meat 50 grams
  • 7 small shrimp
  • 1 chicken or turkey hot dog without the bun
  • 2 tofu dogs without the bun
  • 1 ounce or 28 grams beef jerky
  • 1 ounce or 28 grams  turkey pepperoni
  • 1 egg (hard-cooked, scrambled or fried)
  • ¾ cup egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter – no biscuit or slice of bread
  • 4 tablespoons humus (chickpeas) – no biscuit or bread

Chocolates – check out the limitations –

  • ½ cup fat-free chocolate pudding
  • 15 chocolate covered raisins
  • 1 snack size candy bar
  • 4 Hershey® Kisses
  • 5 Ghirardelli® Milk Chocolate Drops
  • 2 Mrs. Fields® Decadent Chocolates
  • 2 slices Terry’s® Chocolate Orange
  • 4 Andes® Mints
  • 3 Nestle® After Eight Mints
  • 25 milk chocolate M&M’s®
  • 9 peanut M&M’s®
  • 1/5 Toblerone® bar
  • 9 Tootsie Roll Midgets®
  • 2 chocolate chip cookies (2-inch diameter)
  • 2 reduced-fat Oreo® cookies
  • 5 chocolate graham crackers
  • 1 Skinny Cow® Fat Free Fudge Bar
  • 1 Nestle Butterfinger® Stixx
  • 1 Whole Foods Market Two-Bite Brownie
  • 1 Healthy Choice® Mocha Fudge Swirl Bar


Cooking Pork

They say this as if cooking pork is easy, Australians love Pork we consume 22.2 kilo- per year though this may sound not like much, it is the size of an average 4-year-old toddler, most airlines will let you take this much for check-in baggage without charging you extra. Think of the bag you pack when travelling for 10 days or more and tell me if you think you can eat this? I suspect you can’t, Writing this now it seems a lot but we Australian eat more in Red Meat than in Pork.

We have branched out to get some pork from neighbours, free range and organic, it has a beautiful taste and I noted that the ‘crackling wasn’t the perfect colour pink we all see in supermarkets. This is because it is free range and organic not kept in piggeries and fed one type of diet without naturally occurring grasses. Pigs – are not necessarily pink either so their skin colour can reflect on the meat. Ours has black patches, this make absolutely no difference to the beautiful fresh taste of the meat.

But being a meat cooker, I didn’t account for the skin and meat to cook unevenly. I based my cooking of a rolled roast on our meat weights, 2 kilos cooks for 2 hours at 180 degree Celsius, not the same for pork I discovered. Here are some tips that may be helpful:

Pork is always best cooked over medium heat. Too hot and the meat will have a tendency to dry out

Pork doesn’t need to be overcooked to be safe

Pork (like all meat) continues to cook after removal from heat. For best results, let your dish rest uncovered for 1-2 minutes in a warm environment prior to serving (except for sausages and mince)

Always cut meat across the grain to keep tender

With crackling – the secret for perfect crackling is oil, salt and heat.  Score the rind at about 1cm intervals.  Rub a little oil and salt well into the scored rind and place into a preheated 220°C oven.  Cook for 20 minutes at 220°C then turn oven down to 180°C (medium heat) and cook roast for 45 minutes per kilogram.  Rest under foil for 5-10 minutes.

Without crackling – sear first in a pan.  Place in a preheated 180°C oven and cook for 40 minutes per kilogram.  Rest under foil for 5-10 minutes.  To aid even cooking, place roast on an elevated rack in the oven or onto halved carrots or potatoes to elevate.

If in doubt ask your supplier or butcher, next time I will know – these tricks would have been handy before I started cooking it and we didn’t eat till late

for more handy tips go to http://www.pork.com.au

pork roast




The benefits of eating Pork

This week we have had the pleasure of getting organic pork from the farm gate, but delivered to our door. It is fresh and ready to go into our freezer, but not before I planned and cooked ribs that night for dinner. I have avoided pork for many reasons, not that I didn’t like it I do, there is nothing better at Christmas than the fresh ham off the bone is there?

I am just not use to eating it, there is the tried and tested ‘sweet & sour pork’ which as a ‘Chinese food‘ is a stable take away, I have even attempted to make it but wasn’t successful. But it got me thinking about other pork dishes and now we have our own, I am going to be a bit more experimental. After having done some research on it pork met is as healthy as red meat. I also avoided it as watching my husband order and eat it in restaurants use to make his face go red. This never happened with any other meat but then no other meat is cured with salt and having high blood pressure, he use to react almost instantly. This is did not occur with the organic pork we had the other night.

It is important to have a balanced diet so white meats are recommended, and pork is considered the ‘other’ white meat, along with chicken and fish. Should you want to order some pork,  try to find a local grower, free range and organic. I can safely say there is nothing nicer than that taste.

Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast. The downside to this is that fat is what makes pork taste so good—which explains  why ham and bacon are far more popular than leaner cuts. Bacon and other cured meats often contain sodium and other preservatives, such  as nitrates, that may raise blood pressure or increase your risk for cancer. To  limit your risk, choose fresh meats or packaged products that contain no  preservatives—typically labeled “all-natural”—whenever possible.

Read more about interesting facts on eating pork: http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/saturated_fat/Pork.php#ixzz2frYkubwd

Sunday night is Spag night

Well it is either seen as the end of the week, the beginning of the week or the middle depending upon the job you do and the way you see the world this is called a Sunday. Some religions use the Sunday to encourage rest and prayer where others use a Saturday. It doesn’t really matter, what matters is how you see it, enjoy it and spend your time.

When children were younger it was the end of a busy sport, family and friend filled weekend and the day where washing, homework, church and generally preparing for the working week was enjoyed. It was the ‘slack day’ where in winter ironing was done with relish, the only other person I know who enjoys ironing is my friend Kate Swaffer, we share this love, I as a farm girl miss it, farmer in the house does not need his work clothes ironed and as I never ironed sheets or anything like that I now don’t have the need.

What I do have is still the need to eat, we would make Sunday night if not with family having a beef or lamb roast would have spaghetti Bolognaise. When children were younger I would put vegetables in so finely chopped up that it was denied that they were in-fact eaten, along with other things such as cracked pepper, paprika and onion. I would always use good beef mince, it is relatively cheap and can be purchased anywhere in the quantity amount that you want. Sometimes to mix it up we would use thin spaghetti pasta, but the favourite when she was little was thick, then we moved on to fettuccine. We would also make home-made garlic bread, where we would buy a bread stick, cut it butter it and wrap in AL foil and cook it.

Now days when I do it, I put red wine, olives and anything else that take my fancy. The good thing about home-made spag bol is that kids love their own parents, we all seem to have a different way of cooking it, adding ingredients but one thing that unites kids all over the world is that when taking them out they will at least eat a restaurant bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. I shall post my recipe in recipes, what’s your favourite ingredient? It is a family secret or something you developed to add taste or to get the children to eat it. I make enough now that I make lasagna for the next night or lasagna cups for single serves.


cooking at home versus fast food

It this really busy world where women and men are out working, being parents, playing sports, being on committees and numerous other roles unmentioned in this blog. There is always that nagging feeling when coming to the end of the working day, even if you do not work in paid employment after a day working, it comes to about 4pm and your mind starts thinking about the dreaded chore of preparing the evening meal. Remember the ‘frustrated Chef‘ from ‘Sesame Street’ well cooking daily makes me feel like this

There is no speech by your parents when you grow up about how laborious this chore is, yes they talk about sex, making babies, financial responsibilities and school and growing up but my mother never told me how this could be the worst chore ever invented and how necessary it is to daily functions. My mother also never told me how frustrating it is when you ask people in the house what do they want to dinner and have responses like “anything as long as I’m with you” as nice as it sounds it’s a cop-out. In Australian language that means I have no idea and I’m not prepared to offer any suggestions, this is frustrating to say the least, or what would be nice occasionally is to have someone say, “I know” and get up and prepare it and present it themselves.

We sit and watch shows like ‘Masterchef‘, ‘My Restaurant Rules‘, Huey’s kitchen and every other ‘lifestyle’ program has a cooking segment on it and we (pardon the pun) devour these shows, in my case I love some of the dishes and want to see who wins, that’s the competitive nature in me coming out there. But sometimes these dishes they don’t relate to normal life do they? Who really has the time (other than paid contestants) to spend 5 hours preparing meals? Not me I could not think of anything more boring. Preparing and presenting a perfectly cooked meal, consuming it and then CLEANING up.

There are some days when I think, can’t I just go and buy dinner? I live where there is no identifiable (no golden arches) fast food places within 150kms or in American terms 93.20 miles so when I do feel like this I rely on the trusty freezer, to have meat, oven fires and frozen vegetables and normally use this opportunity to do a mixed grill, rump, fillet or lamb chops which I will crumb, eggs from our chooks, sausages either our beef or lamb, then bread cooked in our bread maker and frozen oven fries cooked in the oven. This really is our choice, I don’t keep frozen ‘fast foods‘ like hash browns or others, these can be high in fat and salt.

But sometimes just sometimes I would love someone to come in and cook and clean. The last time farmer was out for dinner I cooked a microwave bag of popcorn and ate that, nothing else but white wine with it. When we travel to the city to see family and friends it normally is for a celebration so food is part of this shared experience, I have a family of cookers, they bring salads, hot vegetables, desserts and we cook either a leg of lamb or roast some of our beef. There is nothing nicer, but if we dine out, I note farmer goes for the seafood or steak, I normally go the steak option, it is just nice to have food prepared and presented to you. We also like Asian foods which I also cook when I feel I have time, but overall home cooking is always much more flavor some and healthy for you than ‘fast foods’ but for the convenience fast foods will win this mental trauma every time and this is back by the statistics, people would rather drive through than shop in.

My advice, find a great fresh home delivery company that will bring fresh fruit, produce and meat to your door, plan your meals so that you only order what you know you are going to eat. This will help reduce the high calories intake and save you from opening your purse. Put that money towards a long desired holiday where, when you get it you can PAY someone to cook what you want and clean up.

frustrated chef