I don’t know where to begin really. Dinner last night and breakfast today mark the end of a ridiculous chapter for me- Meat Mike Campbell.
Christmas in the air. Don’t you know?
It’s not just on the tree, in the shops, on every television advert going, everyone lips, every harbour boat cruise that goes past my house blasting carols, it’s also very much in the air. I know this because people keep telling me.
I’ve been thinking hard this week. Real hard.
What about? (I intuitively sense you asking even though I write this well before you read it, I think that’s my sixth, no maybe my seventh sense). What’s had my mind ticking over like a clock on fast forward? Puns. Good old puns. I love them, and I use them markedly week to week. I think when writing to entertain you just can’t go past a good play. (Let’s count…). Continue reading
Today I embark on a very different 52 meats journey. I plan to get this weeks meat by means of shooting it, (and killing it if necessary, if my shot is as bad as I imagine it will be), butchering it, cooking the meat and lastly of course- eating it!
This year I turned 30, yet I have somehow ticked off more firsts in the first 6 months that I had in a long time prior. This week was no exception, with another new meet cooked and eaten, and an interview on TV booked for a few weeks time. Suddenly eating lambs testicles doesn’t seem so hard…
For most of us this week involved a long weekend. I used this to take my time a bit more with the shopping and preparing of my weekly meat, as well as getting some training in. Having more time on my hands meant putting this training into a film for you all to see what a good grunt session can look like.
The style of training I did is commonly called Advanced German Body Composition training. I will touch on this briefly today. Next week I’ll touch on the next workout and wrap up some info on German Body Composition (GBC) and the advanced version.
This type of training incorporates a lot of work with short rest intervals. The idea here is that the longer and harder work paired with short rest periods stimulates an increase in the production of lactate which in turn promotes an increase in growth hormone. This leads to body fat loss, lean muscle gains and muscular endurance.
The advanced version of GBC that I did this week (see the attached videos) is not for the faint hearted or people with a young training age (relatively new to resistance training). I’ve been training since I got the Hulkamania Workout Set for Xmas when I was 8 years old, so I’m ok to go. This is a good example of how getting and staying lean, strong and fit doesn’t come easy, it requires application and hard work.
For those of you who are new to resistance training a standard GBC would perhaps suit better, and that I’ll get into more next week. This involves heavy weights, hard work and short rest times, and the resulting high level of lactate will have you sucking in the oxygen and wishing the workout was over! If you want to give it a go, contact me for more information and recommendations, but go lighter to start with and ALWAYS make sure your form is perfect!
In my workout I did a bend followed by a pull. This means I did 3 exercises involving a bend, 6 of the first, 12 of the second and 25 of the third. I had 2 minutes rest and went again for a total of 4 rounds. I then moved onto a pull and followed the same rep/rest/set protocols, which advanced GBC calls for. Check out the two videos to see an example of a round of each and more details on the exercises themselves.
Earlier this week with the Easter long weekend approaching I had decided to catch up with mates on the night I normally try and cook my meat of the week, knowing that I’d have plenty of time later to cook and write. However with Easter Friday meaning a lot of shops are closed, I got prepared and headed down to the butcher on Thursday afternoon to purchase my meat.
I was greeted by Tom with an enthusiastic “Mikey!” I waited while he served some other customers and pondered what I’d be having. The word was they had some fresh Guinea Fowl for me. Not much pondering went on in the end as I had literally had a base of nothing to go on. Just as I reached for my pocket and the use of another Google search it was confirmed that Tom indeed had a Guinea Fowl for me to crack into this week.
I began asking him about what to do with it, he offered up that he’s never cooked one, but because it’s seasonal and slightly gamey, go for similar options to accompany it. He then spoke to someone behind me and said “you’ll know about this?” I was instantly confused and instantly thought Tom might have a long dormant lazy eye, but turned to see another customer, whom I learned to be Glenda, patiently waiting her turn to purchase.
Glenda then rapidly gave a bunch of recommendations for cooking guinea fowl and what to have with it. This conversation promptly evolved to a swift description of my meat mission for 2012 and my blog. Initiated by Tom I might add, not me forcing it on every person I talk to… A series of questions from me followed, like are you a chef, then subsequent chatter about the guinea fowl and Glenda’s recommendations.
Some of the terms and dishes thrown out were another language to me and some sounded like hard work, while the main option of forming a pastry around the bird by repeatedly rolling in flour then egg until a thick crust formed just didn’t sit with me. White flour isn’t going to enter this blog if at all possible. Why? Ask in the comments box below if you’re interested.
I did like the idea of using seasonal vegetables to match the guinea fowl. So once I’d bought the bird (and used my best poker face talking to Glenda, pretending I picked up everything she mentioned) I wandered the supermarket whilst simultaneously searching on my phone how to make some of these ideas. I was excited and nervous about cooking a new meat and the random fervent conversation that had just taken place involving my blog and meat in general.
I had to rule out cavolo nero, due to it being unavailable. However I did have to search for what this was first, so Glenda if you’re reading: that was me faking that I had any idea what you’d just said… Nevertheless I did buy some Beetroots to make a puree and some Swiss Brown and Chestnut mushrooms. I figured this would substitute for the actual Chestnuts Glenda had suggested, for the obvious reason…
I took my purchases home and let them chill for the day. The next day I settled on a recipe for the bird and accompaniments from a combination of an online search and Glenda’s suggestions with my own twist on things. I was set to make a Middle Eastern Roast Guinea Fowl with Saffron Quinoa, Beetroot and Sweet Potato Puree with Sautéed Mushrooms and a Small Garden Salad.
There was a fair bit to get through, but since it was a holiday and I had not much else to do that day apart from run around a park in Vaucluse with 3 others (a random mix of weights and babysitting), a feast was to be made! It was quite a success in the end, the babysitting/workout that is. The dinner was a mixed bag…
Dealing with the bird was a first as not only had I never done guinea fowl before but I had never come face to face with, ah, the face of an animal I am about to eat. Well apart from fish I suppose.
This little guy had its head attached, and it was a strange site, but to the words of “off with his head!” I used the knife in a guillotine like action, crunched through the spine and just like that- off came its head. Glenda suggested using it to make a jus, however once I’d had to remove what appeared to be its last meal before it was killed, I decided maybe it’s best to just remove this whole area and get on with cooking the bird, before I vomit.
My assistant (not an actual paid job, more for the love I believe) went to making the mix that would baste the bird while I got the bird chopped, washed, dried and ready to be basted.
Once this was done, the quinoa was prepared with vegetable stock and a few chopped dates and a handful of smashed pistachios were added with salt and pepper before some of this was used to stuff the bird (those last 3 words usually place together in that order down the pub on a Friday night I believe…) and the rest sat waiting to be added to the roasting dish in the last 20 minutes of the cooking.
The bird went in the oven and the other things were put into action. The beetroot and kumara were boiled and when ready added to the kitchen wiz with some butter, a dollop of natural organic yoghurt and salt and pepper.
As this was happening slight disaster struck. The recipe for the bird called for an hour of cooking then adding the rest of the quinoa and cooking for a further 20 minutes. However at the 45 minute mark I checked the bird and discovered an alarming amount of black colour when there should ideally not be! I removed the bird and hurriedly tried to figure out what had gone wrong. Then it hit me: it’s a 1.5kg bird in the recipe. Not knowing the exact weight I was still sure mine was less than 1kg.
School boy error from me! Still, it was only 45 minutes and there was at least juice still running out when I put a knife into the flesh. I covered it in foil and we went about trying not to panic that I’d f*cked this up completely.
At this point the quinoa needed to be finished off as it was now not going into the oven with the bird. The mushrooms were added to the pan with some fresh garlic and butter and sautéed lightly. Instantly the smell in the kitchen was overrun by the mushrooms, my brain recognised this and calmed me immediately, mmmm… garlicky, buttery mushrooms…
Once all the extras were ready, I carved the bird and we sat to eat. The plate looked busy and was chocker with food. Luckily I was starving and ready to crack into my first guinea fowl! The flavours of the baste were beautiful on the meat. However much like an over made-up, high maintenance bird of the human variety, the meat itself was a touch overdone.
This was a massive disappointment, especially as it was just a stupid oversight on my part. Still, I liked it, but judging on that, knew it could be so much better. The beetroot puree topped with the mushrooms was divine and the slightly sweet quinoa was easily the champion of the whole dish. In fact there was enough of this left over that it made for a delicious breakfast the following day with some yoghurt, walnuts, a chopped feijoa and some cinnamon.
So overall I was happy with the meal, but the meat is what this is about right, so on that front- I liked it but a bit on the dry side which was my fault alone and added immense frustration to this as a first time meat. Just like my brother in law getting inappropriately drunk, at my sisters 21st birthday in front of the family, (enough to have to leave) I know that this first impression will last.
Hopefully I can redeem if given the chance to cook guinea fowl again. I say that (somewhat safely) as these birds don’t seem incredibly common or easy to come by. They are seasonal and having read up on them, it sounds like they make for an amazingly helpful farm animal, some claims even stating that they keep out and will kill snakes! That’s a pretty nasty bird. I certainly didn’t see any evidence of that with my bird, just some grass and other half digested vegetation-like stuff, definitely no snake!
This is nevertheless, another week done! 14 weeks of different meats over with. I already look forward to next week. I have no idea what that will be, but I’ll get thinking and see what I come up with.
As always, please keep the feedback coming as well as suggestions for meats or recipes, and requests for subjects to be covered. Next week I’ll also continue on with this short exercise series and there’ll be the next workout to go with it.
Please continue to help me grow this community. For a small business like mine social media is the best way to grow, and even though I do this for the love of it, it obviously links into my training business. So if you haven’t done so, please get to my Facebook page and ‘Like’.
And share this post with your friends, family and colleagues. Every little bit helps me build and keeps me going with this week in and week out. I want to improve and make each post better than the previous, and your help, yes you, makes that so much easier!
Much love and gratitude,
This week involved a few more phone calls than normal and searching for my, so far elusive, more risqué meat. That led to some deflation and nerves about the reality of getting my hands on many of the meats on my list, and therefore the scale of writing 52 weeks worth of material. At least I’ve got 8 (boomers…) behind me, right? Hmm…
Continuing on with the resistance movements basics, this week I’ll attack the pull. As with the push last week this is referring to an upper body pull, which can also be vertical or horizontal.
I am tempted to do the king of all upper body exercises: the pull up or chin up, however I am fully aware that this is just plain too hard for a lot of people to manage.
So I’ll go for something more ‘challenge friendly’: a horizontal supine body row (or inverted row), in the assumption that people trying this have either a half decent element of strength or at least strive to do get there, in which case practice makes perfect.
Before I go right ahead and generalise, as I’ve stated before, everyone is different and has different needs and specific requirements and this is an important consideration when training someone and designing programs.
We all need anatomical balance and that very much means balancing the big operators in the upper body. So if we push, i.e. push ups, we must pull in order to maintain or gain balance (and ensure we don’t look like the kind of round shouldered, hunched over muppet that can be seen at many Sydney Eastern Suburbs beaches, and gyms worldwide) as well as incorrectly load and imbalance the structures of the upper body, in particular the thoracic spine and shoulder girdles.
We will primarily be working the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back, but like all other integrated primal movements we will also be engaging through the core and lower body in order to stabilize and produce more drive through the lift.
The attached photos have full details and key points. Please ask any questions in the comments box below, alternatively I’d love to hear some impressive chin up feats, maybe a one arm chin up..??
Now for this week’s specific meat exploits…
Once again I had intentions to get a bit outrageous this week, or at least do something completely outside my comfort zone. The more radical options that are on order from the butcher seem to be harder to come by than first thought. Shipping in a series of random meats for one bloke seems to be more cost inefficient than anything. So I turned to offal, and decided to get some of the intensely nutrient dense parts of the lamb and have a fry up, of some proportion, specifics to be figured out with research.
Big fail again.
After numerous phone calls and hearing ‘ahh… not so sure’ I ventured down to pick up some liver and kidney only to soon be deflated at the reality of none being there until the morning. Frustration set in and I aimlessly wandered the supermarket, picking up random ingredients and reflexly eyeing up and subsequently judging other shoppers baskets. Bad habit.
I then decided the only option was the tucked safely up my sleeve plan B, which I was hoping would be months away. But I figured making up a recipe, which this involved, could lead to anything, so why not? Still gotta eat right…
So I bought some free range chicken mince and a few additions to the growing basket of eclectic cooking accessories with the intention of making, what I’m calling Mike’s Grilled Mushroom and Chicken Burger Stack with Mixed Kumara Chips.
I like making healthy and very tasty meatballs/patties, but I usually use lamb or beef, so my sneaky plan B was to do this with chicken for my chicken dish this year. My aim was to make a healthy and very delicious alternative to a greasy, full of rubbish, burger.
I like to create things in the kitchen at times, so decided to get stuck in and create a recipe. I say create, everything’s been done before though really, hasn’t it… Still, I will often use my imagination and ingredients I have and see what I can come up with.
There was a bit of preparation for this dish, so I’ll spell it out. This is what I made-
Chicken burger pattie: (this was enough for 2 large and one small pattie)
- 500g free range chicken mince
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- I large garlic clove
- Small piece of parmesan cheese (size of 50cent coin, or for those outside Australia- a milk bottle lid. That’s pretty standard I think…)
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 organic free range egg
- (roughly) 2 tablespoons LSA (Linseed, sunflower and almond meal)
- Good sized pinch of rock salt
- Pinch of cracked black pepper
- Small gold kumara
- Small purple kumara
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Rock salt
- Cracked pepper
- Sweet paprika
Grilled mushrooms stuffed with homemade basil pesto:
- Large flat field mushrooms
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/8 cup raw pine nuts
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 garlic clove
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 4 large vine ripened cherry tomatoes
- Juice of ¼ large lemon
- Rock salt
- Cracked pepper
To make the burger patties add all ingredients and mix it all together. Be prepared to get messy, as you will. Plus it looks pretty gross. The amount of LSA will depend on the moistness of the mix, for example having not made patties with chicken before the first thing I did on mushing together was spurt out “oh shit, this is vury (pronounced like that) moist!” So I ended up using quite a bit more LSA to bind, which probably equated to about 2 tablespoons in the end. I had already smashed the garlic, basil and parmesan together in the wizz.
I got slightly, ah, precise on the chip cutting and made them look the part. Once cut, throw in a plastic bag, and add oil and seasoning.
I’ve made this pesto plenty of times before, it’s very simple and quick, and to be honest I don’t use measurements, it’s a bit of a guessing game each time, but I’ve basically got it down now, and this is seriously luscious. Get the ingredients and make it, you’ll think twice about buying pesto again. Mix all ingredients apart from the oil first, then add enough oil as you see fit, probably about 1 tablespoon. It should take less than 5 minutes. You won’t need all of this for the mushrooms but that’s even better as it will infuse and taste even better the next day and beyond. Do it.
For the mushrooms, gently scoop out as much of the inside ‘flesh’ as you can and put in a bowl, then mix in with the pesto and stuff back into the mushroom.
I put the chips in the oven at 180°C for about 25 minutes. I also put the stuffed mushies in the oven for about 20 minutes. While this was going I made a simple guacamole by finely chopping the tomatoes with one of my new super sharp knives and adding the mashed avocado, lemon juice and seasoning and mixing.
I then got the pan hot and added the patties, let them cook until they were, ah, cooked. The aroma of basil and garlic started to permeate throughout the kitchen. It turns out I may have used a very large clove of garlic in the pesto. That will result in a pretty strong garlic taste tomorrow once it’s infused some more… Maybe I haven’t quite got it down yet.
Once all ready to go I made a stack- chicken pattie, then baby spinach, then mushroom and topped with guacamole and a couple of small basil leaves to garnish.
Chicken is one of the more common and run of the mill meats, but the way in which you eat it, besides shoving it in your mouth of course, doesn’t have to be.
This quasi burger was absolutely delicious. Not greasy and filling, but tasty, light and full of flavour and something I will be making again for sure! Of course you could do this exact thing with another meat, however you’ll find chicken to be a lot lighter and much less fatty than beef or lamb and because of that just plain easier to cook.
Again I feel disappointed that I haven’t gone outside the comfort zone this week and possibly cooked and eaten something to shock some people, but I did have an awesome meal, one that I made up and have now added to my, albeit imaginary, recipe book.
Plus, it is a long year, plenty of time to get controversial, for example I’m eyeing up a trip to Bali next month as a great chance to go left (or very well left) of centre. Anyone got any suggestions/challenges for when I’m there?
Tune in next week when I’ll wrap up this series on the basic resistance movement patterns with the bend, and undoubtedly share a bunch of witty anecdotes, wise tips and hilariously chronicle my week of eating including one lucky meat… Note: the above claims are just that, claims… I will however certainly try my best.
Again, please keep the feedback coming and if you like what you read here each week then please continue to share this with people who like to either:
- Eat meat and other appetizing and healthy foods
- Read things
- Go to the toilet
That should cover everyone I think! Much appreciated.
I’m on facebook, have a look. There are a few other things on there as well as the odd link, random thought and time wasting interruption:
Thanks again for another week,
Since starting this blog I have been fielding many questions, on a range of topics, from a range of people. Just yesterday I spoke to the butcher about sheep’s testicles. Standard conversation as you can imagine…