Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A very impromptu trip away

Sometimes you just need a holiday and if you can't get one, maybe a change will have to do. Kim and I were due to go away for a few days but it didn't look like it was going to happen. However, Edmund was going to buy a tray to put on his dual cab ute and he found one down near Brisbane, so we decided to pick it up for him. This was a decision made at the last minute without thinking about all the things I had to do at home this week. Not least, recovering from the Food and Wine Festival.  A days driving down to a quaint caravan park in the Mary valley, overnight stop, drive to Brisbane outskirts, and then back to the caravan park for the night and then a days driving home. 

The cabin we stayed in was a little plain, but had the best view.  Waking up during the night and looking out the window was just a delight! The moon was out after a drizzly day and there were misty clouds below us. It was just magical! The daytime view is pretty good, but not the same as night. And it was green - well greener than here anyway!

It is also so peaceful. Beautiful bird noises to meditate with, which is what I did on waking. And no mine noise! We have a very loud coal mine next to us at home!

The Capricorn Food and Wine Festival went well - it was a huge amount of work, but I think we can call it a success. It was certainly an experience to be part of and to work out how to do it all - the whole cooking for lots of people was a challenge!

But, now we are back home and I need to get a very much overdue notice out! I had hoped to do this while we were away but sadly we had no phone service and the place we stayed didn't have wifi. 

We will be delivering to emerald this weekend. We will be parked up near the roundabout near Coles and on the way to the Botanic Gardens. If you haven't ordered, that will be no problem as we will have plenty of meat available - beef, goat and of course all our porkie products - fresh pork, ham and bacon and salami. This is the best salami that we've made yet! Well (we) haven't made it, our butcher has. 

Then we'll be back in Yeppoon and Rocky on the first weekend in October. Wow October already no I haven't even thought about hams for Christmas! I will try and sort that out over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Cheers for now, and hoping that the storms that are floating about will build up to give us a good drop of rain.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pork and ways to cook it.

Pork is our main business. We started out with a few free range pigs and we now have hundreds. Over the years we've gone through various stages - sometimes we don't have enough pigs and then, like now, we have too many pigs! Pork in the shops appears to be very cheap and this is due to the fact that there has been a glut in the commercial market for a while. It has filtered down to us. So when you see really cheap pork, maybe think about how that pig was raised. It was most likely raised in a shed and never saw daylight until the day it was put on a truck to go to the abattoir.

Our pigs are happy pigs that get to live out side all their lives. They get to dig in the dirt, wallow in the mud and generally play around and explore.  We think that this improves the flavour - many people tell us that it has a clean fresh taste.

If you compare our prices with conventional pork, yes we are more expensive, but if you compare our pork with the price of meat in general, it's not so bad. So please consider that when you are next shopping.

Our free ranger packs have been quite popular with some of our customers and many say that they enjoy getting different cuts of meat that they don't normally cook with. Someone said the other day that they aren't sure what to do with diced pork. This blog to day is to mostly talk about different ways of cooking our pork.

Diced Pork  - I use this in a stirfry, casserole, curry or a soup. If you have a favourite chicken or pork recipe, think about swapping it out for pork. I do this all the time and there's quite a few recipes on the Recipe Tab that have pork - shanks or osso bucco - just use diced pork instead. I have even been known to make a Moroccan spiced pork dish - someone reminded me that that wasn't very traditional. I don't really care I'm a multicultural cook and love trying different flavours.  Please don't be scared to try something new.

Mince - If I have both beef and pork mince, I'll use a bag of each in spagetti bolognaise or lasagne, but if I only have pork (like now) I just use pork on it's own. You can use pork mince in any recipe that you would use beef or chicken mince. It makes excellent meatballs because it tends to stick together better than beef. I've also got plenty of recipes for pork mince. My favourite on the recipe tab of the blog is the Asian Style Meatballs, but just recently I made Low Tox Life Meatballs and they were really good. This is the recipe here. I basically followed the recipe but reduced the sweetener to one tablespoon honey and increased the broth because I like gravy/sauce.

And you can't go past a good lasagne. I like to use a grain free fresh pasta, but I have also made it with roasted, sliced pumpkin instead of the regular lasagne sheets.  You can also make tacos, nachos, savoury mince, pastry pie, shepherds pie (which Edmund cooked last night for us), or any mince dish really.

Pork Steaks - these can be cooked in any way you would cook a regular steak. The best part is that pork steaks are always tender! Don't overcook them, cook them about medium - you want them a little juicy still. They work exceptionally well, with a cream sauce (think Diane Sauce) or a mustard sauce, or just plain old onion gravy. We have collar, butterfly and sometimes leg steaks. The leg steaks are what you would use if you want to make schnitzel.

The other really important note to make with our pork, is that sometimes it does smell a bit stronger when you first take it out of the cryovac bag. The best thing to do, is to take the meat out and just leave it on a plate or in a bowl for a few minutes before actually cooking it. For some reason the cryovac smell seems to be stronger with pork than with any other meat.

If you have any doubts about how to cook our pork, please ask. I love cooking and should be able to give you multiple ideas!