May 2009

There are 10 per cent fewer cattle being lot-fed than in the previous quarter, which is good news for the cattle and for the environment. I’d like to report the decline is due to growing consumer demand for grass-fed beef, but it’s actually because overseas markets under financial stress are buying less of our lot-fed product. With more beef staying onshore, it continues to be good value, but slow-braising cuts are set to climb as winter approaches. Beef’s a fast mover at beloved Balmain institution, Circle Café, where it’s braised with Guinness and made into a pie. A lunchtime favourite is the sliced scotch fillet served on a baguette with tomato, red onion and housemade mayo, or there’s always the burger option using lean minced beef and served with beetroot.

Lamb’s still pretty pricey, a situation not helped by a peak in demand at Greek Easter, but its appeal remains undiminished. Try it at Pink Peppercorn, a Modern Lao restaurant that grills the tenderloin, serving it with mint and tamarind. It’s smoky and delicious, though an odd dish as lamb’s not eaten in Laos.

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