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One Pot Braised Lamb Forequarter Chops and Vegetables

One Pot Braised Lamb Forequarter Chops and Vegetables

Serves 2-3 people

Easy to prepare, the lamb becomes deliciously tender and the vegetables take on all of the wonderful flavour. It's a comforting meal for colder weather and one to keep your food waste in check, as you can add in the veg of your choice based on what you have on hand, or prefer (bear in mind that they will be cooking a while so need to be relatively robust).

INGREDIENTS

1/2 onion

3 cloves garlic

2-3 small carrots

a sweet potato or 3 smaller potatoes of choice

(other winter veg as per what is in your pantry/fridge - parsnip, pumpkin)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 lamb forequarter chops

11/2 (360ml) stock or water

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 tbs lemon juice

salt and pepper

METHOD

Preheat over to 175c

Roughly dice onion and slice garlic. Cut carrots into slices. Cut other vegetables into bite size chunks. Remembering they will be cooking a while so you don't want them too small.

Warm oil in an oven proof casserole dish and add lamb and cook 2-3 mins until each side is lightly browned. Remove the lamb and set aside.

Add onions, garlic and veg and cook approx 3-5 mins. Add the stock or water, herbs, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Scrape any browning from the bottom and mix through. 

Add the lamb back to the pan, nestling the chops in amongst the veg, cover the pan and put in the over for approx 1 hour before serving.

 

 

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Classic moussaka recipe

Classic moussaka recipe

I’ve always found the idea of Moussaka a bit scary — it seems so labour intensive and I admit I cast it in the same pot as lasagna — something busy people have no time for!

However, a customer in the store recently suggested it’s a perfect Locavore meal — and so it is! It makes excellent use of the prolific eggplants in season at the moment, and along with good quality mince and some local goat cheese can be made with primarily local ingredients, and can be gluten free! It’s also a perfect dish to make and freeze into meal-size portions, so it’s worth the effort — at least during eggplant season.

I tackled the recipe in four parts. Prepping the eggplant, making the mince, the dreaded béchamel sauce then assembly and baking.  I cooked the eggplant on a sandwich press — a fabulous time saver  — and I made extra for salads. 

 

Ingredients:

4 x eggplant

1 bunch of spinach

2 tbsp olive oil

1 x onion

500 g beef mince ( lamb is traditional) 

200 ml passata (or two cups of blitzed tomatoes)

2 cloves garlic

splash of wine * optional

salt and pepper

60 g butter

5 tbsp plain flour

2 1/2 cups milk 

1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)

1/2 cup hard cheese, grated (I used Local Goat farmhouse)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Part 1 - Veggies

Slice the eggplant into 2 cm slices. I like to do it crossways so it makes circles. Lay out on the on bench and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sweat for at least half an hour — moisture droplets will form on on top and you can blot them with a paper towel.

Then grill the slices on a sandwich press or fry them in a frying pan.

When lightly brown, remove and set aside to cool. If making extra store in a container and douse with olive oil.

I also fried up a bunch of chopped spinach. Lots of traditional recipes use sliced potato too. You can easily add a layer of whatever veggies you have on hand.

Part 2 - Meat Sauce

Finely chop onion and garlic and saute  in a large frying pan with some oil. Add mince, breaking it up with a fork so it evenly cooks. Add a splash of wine then cook it out before adding the passata or blitzed tomatoes. Simmer on low until the sauce is nice and thick.

Part 3 - Béchamel sauce

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute until it forms a paste or roux, stirring constantly. I like to use a wooden spoon or spatula for this. 

Warm the milk a little in the microwave to take the chill off, then slowly add to the roux. Stir regularly for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens nicely. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese, seasoning well with salt and pepper.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk the eggs in. Cover with lid until required. *Note the egg step can be skipped although it does help to make it set and hold nicely later on.

Part 4 - Assembly

Line the baking dish you plan to use with a sheet of baking paper. I used a 25 x 25 cm casserole dish.

Arrange the eggplant slices first along the base. Squish together so it makes a solid layer. Then spoon over the meat sauce in a 1 cm layer. Layer again with eggplant and meat. Finish with the spinach layer then the bechamel sauce.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 30-40 min at 180 C or until golden brown on top. 

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Baked Stuffed Zucchini witrh Black Barley and Feta Cheese

Baked stuffed zucchini

The Locavore store is teaming with Zucchini at the moment – largely thanks to the efforts of our youngest producer, Russell Oversby.
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Locavore vegetable passata...

Locavore vegetable passata...

Passata is a traditional Italian sauce made from tomatoes — perhaps with the addition of onion, garlic or herbs for flavour. It forms the base of so many dishes — pizza, pasta, parmigana — you name it! A dollup of passata makes it a meal.

Of course you can buy ready-made tomato sauces from the supermarket— and I won’t deny they are very inexpensive. Canned tomatoes themselves are outrageously cheap, but they do come at a cost — and it’s our environment paying the price.

At the crux of the argument for a sustainable food future is the question of food miles. The distance food travels from it’s origin, to storage, to a supermarket and ultimately to your plate. Choosing food which has travelled less food miles (or kilometres) is a really easy way everyone can contribute to a sustainable food future and ease the burden food production has on our environment.

Tinned Italian tomatoes are a terrible culprit — a can which has not only travelled all the way from Italy, but which has required an unneccesary amount of energy to process and pack and creates a waste product (albeit recyclable). I know they are super cheap, but really, seriously just not cool when we have tomato growers right here in the region (Trandos Tomatoes in Neerabup and Beermullah Produce to name two), and throughout Australia!

This recipe can be made entirely using ingredients grown within our region — and is a great alternative to using imported tinned tomatoes or processed sauces, so you can rest easy in the knowledge you are supporting local farmers while providing a healthy meal for yourself and your family!

INGREDIENTS

2 onions

1 head of garlic

1/2 kilo eggplant

Generous splash of olive oil

2 kilos of tomatoes

1 kilo of squash

1 zucchini

Salt to taste

METHOD

Chop onion, garlic and eggplant and saute in a large pot with olive oil and salt for a few minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Roughly chop the rest of the vegetables and add to pot, keeping tomatoes until last. Cook down over a low heat until all the veg are cooked through.

Blend thoroughly with a stick blender until you have a smooth puree.

Decant into appropriately sized containers and freeze for later.

Use over pasta, on a pizza base or as a replacement in any recipe which requires tinned tomatoes.

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Nutty Quinoa snack bars

Nutty Quinoa snack bars

Ingredients 

1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa

1 cup (110g) whole rolled oats

½ cup (30g) shredded coconut

1 cup (140g) chopped nuts
(we used pistachios and almonds)

½ cup (130g) peanut butter

4 tablespoons (140g) honey

dark chocolate, optional

 

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees and line a 20cm square baking tray with non-stick paper

Place quinoa and oats in prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, stirring often, until lightly toasted.

Measure out coconut and nuts into a large mixing bowl.

Combine peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until just melted and mixed together.

Tip toasted quinoa and oats in with the nuts and coconut.

Pour warm peanut butter and honey over the oat mix and stir to combine.

Press mixture into a prepared tray and bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges are just slightly browned.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars or small squares. Makes 12-16.

Drizzle with a little melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut if you like.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Overloaded with eggs?

Overloaded with eggs?

If you keep your own chickens, there's certain times of the year when all of a sudden you have so many eggs you don't know what to do with them. They are always good to share with friends and neighbours, but for those times when the chooks stop laying, here are a few ideas to help reduce food waste and stock your freezer!
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