Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frugal Foods tips and recipe May 28

Consider exploring the second choice cuts of meat; these were once common on our ancestors dinner table but we've been pampered and spoilt to only think of the prime (more expensive) cuts of meat.
Google or ask around or hunt down a butcher who stocks a wider range of meats.
Don't be scared to ask your butcher how to cut it, cook it, serve it, etc, they're only going to tell you the right way to keep your custom so you've nothing to lose.
Rabbits are a nice meat but the gamey flavour can be a shock to some people's taste buds, croc is apparently quite nice and tastes of whatever they've been fed, emu is another that's supposed to cook nicely. And we all know kangaroo is available for the hot plate.
Mutton...! I find it amazing that mutton (two year old sheep) and hogget (1-2 year old sheep) have suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. There must be mighty mature lambkins out there...
Mutton has a sweet taste when cooked slowly.
Lamb shanks (averaging about $1 each near me) are another slow cooking cut, lamb necks (don't pull that cat's bum face) are great for simmering and making into casseroles, pigs trotters are tender and tasty when the cook is patient.
Don't skim past these cheaper cuts when you do find them - talk to the butcher about what needs to be done to prepare them and think of how much these could stretch your budget while being tasty alternatives.
 Lamb Shanks.
  • This can be done in the oven or on the stove top in a large pot.
  • Allow 1 shank per person.
  • In a large heavy-bottom pot, that's over a medium flame, slurp a little olive oil and toss the shanks in to brown (you'll need to turn them to brown them all over).
  • Once they're brown dump in a 450gm tin of diced tomatoes (or fresh toms), stock of choice, herbs and spices of choice, onions, sliced green beans, diced carrots, diced celery, diced spuds, whatever other vegies take your fancy and enough water so that the shanks are just covered.
  • Leave to simmer, with lid on, for at least 2 hours. Check every now and then in case you need to add a little water to keep the meat covered.
  • The meat will be ready when you can pick some off with a fork.
  • The spuds should have dissolved to thicken the sauce.
  • Serve on a bed of rice with a little (and I mean LITTLE) low fat sour cream/yoghurt drizzled on top.
Busy Day Pudding.
  • This is such a dead easy quick recipe you can even use the saucepan/bowl to mix it up in.
  • Using a double boiler or one saucepan sitting inside another (water in the lower pot) steam 2 tablespoons of golden syrup with 2 tablespoons of butter/low fat margarine until melted.
  • Stir 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb of soda into 3/4 cup of milk (soy/rice/dairy) and add to the pot.
  • Slowly mix in 1 1/2 cups S/R flour until batter is smooth.
  • Whack a lid on and let it burble away on a low flame for 1 - 1 1/2 hours while you run around madly listening to the kids read or do homework or paint their bedroom in black acrylic gloss paint...
  • Then serve with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream or on its own.
Click for larger image.


  1. Singing (with apologies to Woody Guthrie):You can get all the cheapest cuts, at the Feral House Restaurant.
    There's rabbit and croc and scag end butts, at the Feral House Restaurant.
    Step right in, it's around the back,
    Just behind the hole beneath the chicken shack.
    Just make sure you don't order fat,
    At the Feral House Restaurant.

  2. Rabbit does taste nice, but it's so very dry no matter how it's cooked. Even gravy doesn't cover the dryness. I have a nice lamb shank recipe similar to yours that I haven't done in yonks. Now I know what I'm doing for Sunday dinner.

  3. I paid $3 a pop for lamb shanks at Bertie's Budget Meat in Richmond last weekend. Budget smudget!!

  4. LMAO
    You cheeky begger, Brian!
    No pudding for you , ner ner ner :P

    I always thought rabbit was dry, River, tis best in stews/casseroles with plenty of juices, although Dad and his mates say it depends on the breed of the rabbit and the way it's been killed.

    Hunt around for some wholesale butchers, Jayne F.L, there's some bargains to be had from them.

  5. I knew a lady who made Kentucky Fried Rabbit - her secret was to soak the rabbit in milk for 24 hours first to overcome some dryness.

    Neck makes my favourite casserole.

    We occasionally buy a side of lamb (no, mutton is long dead it seems) and the "mystery meats" often turn in to the most delicious things.

  6. I always soaked rabbit in salt water to whiten the meat and take away some of the game flavour but most rabbits sold in the burbs now are farmed rabbits.

  7. Ahhh, thanks for that, Jeanie and J ! :)