Spag Bol – Recipe

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of spag bol in the winter.

Make it with pork mince for a moist and moreish sauce

 

Download recipe PDF below

McIvor Farm Foods_Spag Bol_2019

Troubles of a Farmer in Drought

It’s in times of drought when we feel like we’re drowning

Photo:  You probably see beautiful blue skies – we see no clouds, no sign of rain, dry paddocks getting barer by the day!

We’re coming up to the middle of the year, and we can say from all of us on McIvor Farm, the year has seen a lot of challenges.

As the drought continues, we’ve seen the price of feed increase and more recently with less feed in the paddocks the pig eat more of the grain mix  – a double whammy!  Each day we still have to feed our animals, so for now, there is no other option – we must pay the higher price for the lowering yields of grain across the country. Our beautiful green, luscious farm now seems like a barren dustbowl.

As the photo above shows the paddocks are dry and bare so the clear days bring wind which blows across the paddocks as dust.

From personal perspective (or, as personal as you can separate business and life on a working family farm), we’re not feeling as positive as we did a few months back. We’re struggling to feel motivated to interact with those outside our gate, including all of our supporters here, online. We feel your love, and thank each and every one of you who has reached out, liked, shared or commented on our social media – every little bit of support counts.

We don’t want to sound like ‘whinging farmers’, we know that this is the lifestyle we’ve chosen. Though we must say, any lifestyle that relies on weather is inherently stressful, as it’s outside of our control.

Jason and I are working hard, but seeing it all become dust before our eyes is chipping away at our morale. Our eyes well up with tears and we think “stop it, toughen up and get back to work! There’s no time to feel so sad.” So we put on our boots and walk back outside.

A close girlfriend of ours who is also a small business operator said to me yesterday “business can be hard at times, but I shut the door and go home”. For us, there is no shutting the door to keep the problems locked ‘over there’, our business is where we live, it’s our home. I look out the window while eating breakfast and see the dry paddocks and the dust, then like a bath with the plug pulled out, my morning energy and optimism for the new day is drained from me.

 

The pressure of being a farmer is at times, overwhelming. Like many jobs choices and sacrifices have been made. I’m sure most can relate to being proud of what you do, not showing weakness – but gosh, are we doing it tough!

 

What can you do to help a farmer in drought?

Keep turning up at the farmers markets, farm gates and produce shops. Your continued support keeps us in business. We’re not sitting on huge piles on gold coins, each pack of sausages or roast you buy from us goes into buying feed for our pigs, putting fuel in our vehicles, running coolrooms, processing animals and paying all the standard operating bills.

We want all of our customers who love locally grown food and want to continue to see food produced in Australian to feel like they’ve got skin in the game. We’re coming to a time of ‘use it or lose it’, once small producers go out of business there will be less competition in the market and fewer options for consumers to eat locally and sustainably.

What are we doing?

We’re in survival mode.

Some days we’re treading water doing the priority of feeding and caring for the pigs, other days we dip below and feel like we’re drowning.

We’re trying to put strategies in place to take out the emotion from decision making.

Turning up to the Farmers Markets – farmers markets really have a mental health aspect to us.  Being able to get off the farm, talk about the delicious pork we produce and most of all interacting with people that really appreciate our efforts.  We sometimes put on a brave face when you ask ‘how are you going’ – but that’s ok; sometimes best to talk about something us besides the weather and the farm!

 

Lastly, every day we pray for rain. The forecast this week is promising so after jotting down this blog post we’re all going to lift our chins to the sky in hopes of seeing the clouds roll through and finally getting the soaking we need to make us feel like we’re not drowning.

 

**Friday 3rd May – It RAINED!!  Yes a beautiful 30mm has fallen from the skies onto McIvor Farm this week and it has certainly lifted our spirits.  We don’t think that one rain of 30mm is going to fix the season – we will all be still praying for follow up rains for the rest of Autumn and then into Winter.  Keep praying with us!

Pork Stroganoff

 

We’ve had a few people ask us for the recipe for the Pork Stroganoff we made last week. It’s a variant on the more common Beef Stroganoff and we find that it’s a richer and certainly delicious dish that our family (kids and all) love. You can even get away with smuggling a few more greens into the recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup Olive Oil (good quality like Salute)

600g McIvor Farm Pork Scotch Steaks, thinly sliced

1 Onion (or Leek), thinly sliced (from Spring Creek Organics)

2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped

500g Swiss brown Mushrooms, thinly sliced (preferably Ballarat Mushrooms)

60g butter

100g Spinach, Kale, thinly sliced (from Spring Creek Organics)

2 tbs Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped (or thyme)

¼ tsp Nutmeg (I like more!)

1 cup Sour Cream

METHOD

  1. Heat 2tbsp of Olive Oil in frying pan over a high heat. Season pork with salt & pepper, then cook in batches for a few minutes or until brown, set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining Olive Oil in pan, reduce heat to medium. Add Onion (or leek), garlic, mushrooms cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are golden.
  3. Add spinach and parsley and toss until spinach is wilted.
  4.  Add nutmeg, season with salt & pepper (I like lots of black pepper!)
  5. Add Sour Cream and ½ cup of water (or cream if you like it rich & creamy) and bring to the simmer. Add the cooked pork and warmed through.
  6. Serve with Rice

Chinese New Year of the Pig – Sticky Asian Pork Neck

STICKY ASIAN PORK NECK

For those playing along at home, Chinese New Year of the Pig comes around every 12 years, and 2019 is the year since the mid-2000’s. Jason and I feel connected to Year of The Pig because Jason was born in the Year of the Pig, we were married in the Year of the Pig and our farm…well, we’re obviously pretty crazy about pigs!

In celebration for 2019 as the Year of the Pig we’ve roasted up pork neck in a deliciously sticky Asian Pork Neck recipe (original recipe by Donna Hay).

STICKY ASIAN PORK NECK RECIPE

This will feed around 4-5 people 

 

INGREDIENTS

500-600gm Pork Neck (this is a half serve if using a full neck double the below ingredients)

20g ginger, sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 star anise

1 red chilli, halved

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  2. In a jug mix sugar, Shaoxing, oyster sauce and five spice until sugar is dissolved
  3. Place pork, ginger, garlic, chilli and star anise in a deep, heavy based pan with a lid
  4. Pour sauce mixture over the meat and put lid on.
  5. Cook for 2 hours, turning halfway through
  6. Increase heat to 200 degrees and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the pork is sticky and tender

 

 

Pork Ribs Recipe

This recipe for pork ribs is a family favourite in the Hagans house.

The kids love it, and Jason and I love the easy of making it.

INGREDIENTS

700g US (American) Pork Ribs

250ml of Stock

A couple of Garlic Cloves – squashed

Handful of Bay leaves

Peppercorns

 

METHOD

In the summer we use a bench-top slow cooker. This stops the house from heating up from the oven. If using a slow-cooker simply place all ingredients in the base of the cooker, use enough stock to cover the ribs – then we cook for 4-6 hours.

OVEN METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 150-170 degrees

1. Place the ribs in a baking dish and cover with the stock. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns.

2. Wrap the dish with a sheet of baking paper then cover with foil. Place in a moderate oven.

3. Cook for 3 or so hours.

4. Remove ribs from the pan and place onto the BBQ or into a hot pan. Cook until the outside start to brown and get a nice golden coating.

5. Serve with veggies or a summer salad.

Leftover Christmas Ham Recipes

What’s the best part of Christmas eating? Waking up the day after all the family has been around and knowing you’ve got leftover ham in the fridge.

Plan ingredients you’ll need ahead of time. This is desirable with shops having adjusted service hours during the festive season. It also reduces waste – if you have what you need you won’t throw out unmatched leftovers.
  1. Fry it in the pan for breakfast with your eggs (pasture raised, of course). Delicious in an omelet and include other fridge treasures like cherry tomatoes, onions, cheeses and some of the leftover pouring cream
  2. Antipasto grilled cheese – that’s right, add everything from your fridge, cheese and slices of ham, put it in the jaffle maker or fry in either side in a pan with a little butter.
  3. Thinly sliced ham wrapped around asparagus – if you’re feeling a bit full from the meal the day before but still after a delicious snack we can definitely recommend this one. Grab a couple of blanched stalks of asparagus, wrap with finely sliced ham and use a toothpick to secure. Pop in the oven until just starting to brown. Serve with cranberry sauce, aioli or a squeeze of lemon.
  4. Pizza! Lay the ham down on top of a pizza base, Turkish bread or pita bread, add your favourite toppings and bake until the cheese starts to melt
  5. The bone – don’t throw it away. Make a delicious stock with it as a great base for your next soup

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