Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lard

I have been using lard as my main cooking fat for quite a few years now. I do use butter and coconut oil as well, and very occasionally I'll use macadamia oil. There are many reasons why I like to use Lard though,  and I thought I'd share some of them with you. I did find a few links online, so if you don't want to take my advice you can check out some other peoples thoughts as well.

1. Lard is a traditional fat. Pigs are small animals (compared to cows) and they don't need as much space or even as much land as a cow. They will eat anything, so in years gone by were fed whatever excess people had. Not much got wasted on slaughter day, and the fat especially was treasured as it would last for a very long time when it was rendered down. Just about every traditional culture uses some form of animal fat.

2. Lard is heat stable. It can be heated to very high heats without damaging the structure of the fat. I'm not into science, but there is a reason for it and you can read more here.

3. It's economical and lasts for ages. I do have the luxury of owning a free range pork business, so I get to have as much as I like. I render a big pot at one time and then store the rendered fat in glass jars in the fridge.  It will keep like this for a very long time. It is important though to use a clean utensil when getting lard out to use so that it doesn't get contaminated. This is different to keeping the fat off cooked meat - eg keeping the fat from roasting a piece of pork, or some bacon. If I keep this fat, I use it a lot quicker. This however is a good way to get lard to cook with. I keep all my excess cooking fats to re-use.

4. Lard has quite a bland flavour. Chicken or beef fat is much stronger flavoured, which is good in a lot of ways. The beauty of lard's neutral flavour, is that you can use it in pastry - both sweet and savoury. I use it when I make tortillas. In past years it was used as a butter substitute.

5. Lard is healthy! Pigs like ours, that are raised on pasture, have more Vitamin D and Vitamin E than conventional pigs and in a form that we can access.

There is a lot more detail on the following links, if you would like to read more. I've even included a link that a very good customer of mine gave me for Lard Fudge. She made it, but I haven't yet!

https://robbwolf.com/2014/10/12/recipe-primal-freezer-fudge/

If you would like to render your own lard, here's a how to: https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-how-to-render-lard/

https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/lard/

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/food-features/put-lard-back-in-your-larder/

http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/making-sense-of-healthy-cooking-oils-fats/

https://empoweredsustenance.com/lard-is-healthy/

Ask me more about it at the markets........

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Frequent Free Ranger Packs

You've probably heard about the Frequent Free Ranger Packs, and if you are sitting on the fence and wondering how they would fit in with your lifestyle, here's a few ideas.

If you want to know exactly what the packs are, please read more here.

Meal Planning is a really good way to make sure that you eat well during any given week. I don't always do it, but when I do, it makes life much easier. I don't have access to shops and takeaway, but if you find them tempting, meal planning will help to keep you on the straight and narrow. The packs have been designed to assist in meal planning. When I meal plan, I base a weeks meals around the following:

  • something on the grill or BBQ
  • a roast or joint of meat, that will feed us for an evening meal plus lunches
  • a stew that I can put on early in the afternoon or in the morning when I know I'm going to be late home
  • quick and easy meals
I don't usually meal plan breakfast, but evening meals that might give left overs are planned.

So how does the FFR pack fit into this plan:

Bacon - this can be used for breakfast, either as bacon and eggs, but to make it go a bit further, could be used in scrambled eggs, bacon/onion/tomato, bacon/onion/beans, bacon/onion/potato....if you want more detail, let me know - I am a master at including bacon in my breakfasts! Bacon is also good to use for dinner: bacon and vegetable soup, pasta cabanara, potato bake to name a few.

Ham - usually only one pack of ham is included and this is good for lunches or just to add into other meals.

Something to Grill - pork chops, lamb chops, pork or beef steaks. By swapping them around each week, you get to try something different. Change it up with either a salad or veggies done in various ways - stirfry, steamed, baked. Use the BBQ or cook in a pan so that you can make a sauce/gravy.

Roast or Corn Meat - So much variety here, whether it be pickled pork, corn beef, roast beef, roast pork, brisket. Use the slow cooker to make life a little less rushed in the afternoon if you are making it mid week. I like to put it in the slow cooker frozen so that it doesn't over cook - unless of course you are doing brisket and then it doesn't matter if it's pull apart cooked. See my recipe tab for some yummy brisket recipes.

Pulled Brisket

Stews - I love them! They can be cooked in the slow cooker, the oven or on top of the stove. I like to use the oven, as I can pop it all in a baking dish and put it on low and then go and do my afternoon chores. But you might like the ease of a slow cooker and come home to a nice home cooked meal. 

Coconut Pork

Sausages and mince are great standbys. If you forget to take them out of the freezer, they are easy enough to defrost and then cook quickly. I'm loving savoury mince lately. I often cook it on a Wednesday night so that I can take left overs with us in a thermos for lunch when we travel to Biggenden on Thursdays.

If you want to try a free ranger pack, please email me with your details.