For years I've thought to myself I'd rather eat higher quality meat less often than cheaper meats regularly. I'd like to know that the animals I'm eating have been raised with their welfare in mind. I'm not sure when these urges started, but I know that I haven't really done much about them. I do buy free range eggs, RSPCA certified meat when in the UK and Lilydale free range chicken here in Australia. But my decisions are quite often still dictated by price and, if I'm honest, I probably buy most of my meat in supermarkets.
So I recently read with interest on my friend Brydie's blog about Feather and Bone in my old suburb of Rozelle. They are a small butcher / retailer which sell meat with 'guaranteed provenance'. What does that actually mean? Well in summary:
- They only buy whole animals direct from producers.
- They do all the butchery themselves.
- They support producers of traditional / rare breeds, who allow the animals freedom to express instinctive behaviour.
- All of the farms they buy from are in New South Wales reducing food miles.
Sounds good. I signed up for their weekly newsletter and after a few weeks decided to order some meat from them. Being honest, my new moral vigour couldn't stop me still balking at the price so decided to order some cheaper options as I dipped my toe in the water. I bought:
Premium beef mince, 500g, $9.75
Minute steaks, 500g, $9.75
Skirt steak, 500g, $10.25
Pork, veal and sage sausages, 500g, $12.50
Feather and Bone is run out of a warehouse and for the first time visiter it wasn't 100% obvious where you go, but have no fear and rock straight into the cool room! One of the friendly sales assistantes looked after me and introduced me to the owner (who seemed quite non-plused!). It was re-assuring to see some top Sydney restaurants on their order board. Hopefully a sign they know what they are doing.
The first thing I cooked was a lasagna using the beef mince. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe that I've cooked before. It's pretty simple and results in a very tasty lasagna. Great recipe this one. When I first cooked it for my French friend he declared the best lasagna he'd ever eaten. The French don't pull any punches when it comes to food, so I was quite pleased! Provided six hearty lunches.
I combined the minute steaks with some of my homemade sourdough and some aubergine chutney that I bought in Tasmania. A tasty quick lunch on the go.
The sausages were a bit of a disappointment. I decided to simply BBQ them. They turned out a bit dry and don't have the same quality of flavour that I'd expect in good sausages. I think they need a higher fat content to make them more moist and a bit more seasoning.
I've been experiment with the skirt steak and that is going to appear in a separate blog post (hopefully).
Overall a positive experience. I think I'll go back again when I've used up the supplies in my freezer. I'm not sure if I'll ever by buying $70 per kg steaks from them, but it will be a good excuse to get inventive with some cheaper cuts.
Feather and Bone
2-8 Parsons Street