Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making the Connection

We have been enjoying the beautiful chemical free, sustainable produce from Food Connect over the last few weeks. These guys source produce direct from the farmers and it is picked only a day or so before it is delivered to you. The food is all local and seasonal, so you are not only getting the best quality, you are also getting the best nutrition and ensuring that the farmers are paid a fair price for their product. Everybody wins. We have been really impressed by the quality of the fruit and vegetables we have been receiving - and it has been so inspiring to plan menus around what we get in our box each week.

There is something very special about actually knowing the farmers who are growing our food via regular newsletters and updates on the Food Connect website. You know their stories, what they are up to that week, even what they look like! The farmers receive between 40 and 45 cents in the dollar for their produce - to give you an idea, the big supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths can pay their producers as little as 5 cents in the dollar, while they pocket the profits. I know where I would rather my money went....

One of the goals of Food Connect is also to minimise how far the food travels, both to ensure quality and to aim for a lower carbon footprint. On average, the furthest any of the food we have received so far has travelled is between 50 and 80 kilometers.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out their website and see if they operate where you live. As well as fruit and veges, they also do a range of dry goods, bakery items and fresh free range eggs that you can also order as part of your delivery. They operate in Queensland as well as New South Wales and you will find all the info about them here:

This week when our Food Connect box arrived I saw we had some lovely fresh eggplant, pumpkin and zucchini, so this became the basis for a yummy Summery BBQ meal with a bit of a mediterranean flavour. I added fresh herbs from our garden, a rack of lamb and a tangy Tzatziki sauce to create today's recipe. It is very easy to make, and the fresh flavours are wonderful - a great way to showcase those super fresh, chemical free vegetables.

Herbed BBQ Lamb
with char grilled vegetables and Tzatziki

You will need: 1 frenched rack of lamb (I used an 8 point/cutlet rack), 1 cup continental parsley, handful each of fresh oregano and basil, 2 large cloves garlic, salt & pepper, squeeze of lemon, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

For the vegetables: 1 red capsicum seeded and sliced into thick strips, 1 eggplant cut into strips, 2 zucchini cut into strips, 6 slices pumpkin cut into strips. (the strips should be about 1cm thick) olive oil, salt.

For the Tzatziki:1 cup thick Greek style yoghurt, 1 large clove garlic, 1/2 cup finely diced continental cucumber, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped continental parsley, pinch cayenne pepper, squeeze of lemon, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint, salt and pepper.

Method: Combine the parsley, basil, oregano, garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper and either blend in a good processor or pound in a mortar and pestle until it makes a paste/marinade. Brush all over the lamb rack and allow it to marinate for an hour or so (overnight would be fine too)

Brush all of the veges with a little olive oil and season well. Set Aside.

Combine the tzatziki ingredients, mix well and refrigerate until needed.

Before cooking the lamb, remove it from the fridge about 40mins before cooking it. For best results, meat should not be too cold when you place it on the heat. Taking it out a little before you are ready to cook it will result in a more succulent and tender result.

Heat a Weber or covered BBQ. Cook the lamb for about 30 minutes, basting with any extra marinade as you go. Remove the lamb and allow it to rest while you cook the vegetables.

Add the vegetables to the BBQ and cook until lightly charred and tender.

To serve, pile a serving plate with the veges and drizzle with tzatziki. Carve the lamb and arrange on top of the veges.


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