Australian beef is a valuable source of healthy unsaturated fats and is an important source of protein, essential vitamins and minerals. Red meats contain a unique combination of iron, zinc, omega 3, vitamin B12 and protein.
Tips for picking Good cuts of beef:
- Look for a creamy white layer of fat on the exterior of the cut
- A bright red coloured eye or muscle on the beef
- Good marbling throughout the cut, this adds extra tenderness and flavour.
- Eye Fillet – this is the smallest and most tender cut of beef with very minimal fat content. This is considered a premium cut and is great for marinading or adding a rub.
- Scotch/Porterhouse/Sirloin – these cuts are all very similar and come from the same area of the animal. They are usually very tender with good marbling and rich flavour. Great for cooking on the BBQ or serving up with a delicious accompaniment.
- Ribs – the ribs are a very well-marbled and tender cut which can often make it a bit pricier than other cuts; however this cut makes a beautiful and impressive standing rib roast when the rib bones are left intact.
Always rest your meat after cooking! As meat is cooked, the proteins seize up once heat is applied. When this happens the juices are pushed towards the centre of the meat.
Allowing the meat to stand away from the heat after you have finished cooking lets the meat relax and the juices to redistribute and be reabsorbed. As a result you will have a much more tender, moist and juicier piece of meat. The time taken to rest will depend on its size; a roast is best rested for 10 – 20 minutes before carving. Steaks and chops should stand for around 2-3 minutes before serving.
Chicken is one of the world’s primary sources of animal protein. One serve of chicken breast can provide more than 50% of the recommended dietary intake of protein per day. Here are some great tips to be considered when selecting cuts of chicken:
Tips for picking a good piece of chicken:
- Look for cuts that are plump in shape and have a rounded breast
- Where possible, select chicken that has been organically raised or that is “free range” they have a much better flavour and are better for your health.
- Chicken should never have an ‘off’ smell.
- Breast – probably the most popular and versatile cut of chicken, the breast is very lean and easy to cook. As this is the meatiest part of the bird it is best used in fast cooking methods such as barbequing and pan frying.
- Wing – The wings are a very small cut but extremely flavoursome. They are great to marinating and serving as finger food.
- Thigh – More flavoursome than the breast, the thigh is also suited to fast cooking methods and is great for using in curries, stir-fry’s and other Asian dishes.
Avoid freezing chicken whenever possible to eliminate the moisture loss during thawing which results in a much less tender meat. However if you must freeze your chicken, be careful in your storage methods as it is very important not to contaminate other foods, this will encourage the spread of bacteria.
Lamb is a very versatile type of meat which provides a range of cuts for any budget. Wonderfully rich in flavour, lamb can lend itself to all sorts of dishes including roasts, barbeques or salads. Here are some tips to consider when picking the best cuts of lamb:
Tips for picking good cuts of lamb:
- Avoid meat that is discoloured, looks slimy or has ‘off’ odours – try and find a nice bright coloured cut of meat.
- Always choose a piece of meat that is within its range of acceptable dates. Even though the cut may look and smell acceptable after the given dates, it is always wise to eat within the suggested time frame.
- Rack/Cutlets – this is a very tender and juicy cut of meat. A full rack is great for oven roasting, or can be cut into single cutlets and pan-fried for quick and easy meal. Racks and cutlets are great with a herb crust or marinade.
- Loin – The loin comes from the middle of the Lamb and can provide numerous cuts including sirloin and fillet steak. This cut is characteristically very tender and is ideal for grilling or panfrying.
- Leg – Traditionally used in roasts, this cut great for slow cooking at a moderate heat to allow even cooking which will retain the tenderness and juiciness of the meat.
- Rump – Typically a cheaper cut of meat, providing great value for budget shoppers, the rump steak is a very tasty cut which is ideal for adding to casseroles and curries using a slow cooking method.
Lamb works well with a variety of citrus, fruit and herbal accompaniments. Try using thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, mint, cinnamon, chilli, fennel seeds, oregano, lemon or cumin to compliment your dish.
In Australia we are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most delicious range of seafood in the world. At the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, our seafood arrives fresh in store daily at the highest quality.
Here are some great tips to consider when you are purchasing seafood at the markets:
- If you a looking to purchase a whole fish always look for clear and bright eyes, this is a true indicator of a fresh fish. Dull-eyed fish may not be safe to eat.
- Fresh fish should have a pleasant fresh ocean smell, never buy fish that has pungent aromas – it may be unsafe to eat and cooking it will not improve the quality.
- Fillets should have a consistent and vibrant colour. If the fillet still has skin, the skin should be in good condition with a bright shiny and metallic finish. The flesh should be firm and moist without any brown markings.
- When buying prawns take a good look at their shells, the exterior should be intact and lustrous for the best quality.
Popular Types of Seafood:
- Ocean Trout
Storing fish in direct contact with ice will cause it to break down. Instead remove the packaging and place fish on a plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cook and eat within two days.