Friday, May 21, 2010


Beef cheeks. I wonder if cows look at themselves in the mirror and think they need collagen injections or cheek implants. Do cows get boob jobs? Whilst I think about deep stuff like that, I'll write about beef cheeks. When we first moved here, the only place I could get beef cheeks was Woolworths supermarket. Yes, they were in the meat section - but over with the pet meat, along with hearts and other bits that mustn't have been considered fit for human consumption. I asked at a couple of butchers and was told that they couldn't get them. The truth is they were too lazy to get them. Or they didn't want to buy a whole carton of them because they weren't sure they'd sell them. There's a fair bit of waste with cheeks. They have to be denuded, which removes sinew and other stuff. It also reduces the cheek to about half its original weight. Anyway, a proper butcher opened here a year ago. Jack Sprats. Paul knows his meat. And he cares about quality. I bought a dozen cheeks, which he trimmed for me. Braised for hours at a really low heat with red wine, beef stock, star anise, garlic, bay leaves and other goodies. Polenta a bit thicker this time around - with more parmesan. And bok choy. We (well I mean I) seem to compartmentalise food so bok choy only gets considered in the context of Asian food. But since it's related to cabbage and lots of other not-so-Asian greens, there's no reason it can't work with something more European. And it does. A treat.

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