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triple b biodynamic grass fed shabu shabu

(march 2011)

The Willunga Farmers Market celebrated its birthday on Saturday 26 February. William the Rooster (the market mascot from the original "old" market location) was ceremoniously instated at his new home in the town square by Zannie Flanagan. No doubt he'll be keeping an eye on things for many years to come.

Zannie was instrumental in the implementation of South Australia's first and oldest farmers market which began in the pub car park nine years ago. Apart from offering an array of goods from one of the states finest food producing regions, the market is dog friendly! What more could you want ?

I got to run around to the vendors and grab bits and pieces for a cook off. I ended up with vegies from Starlight Springs, Barry Beach's Organic Salt, a bit of Mt Compass Venison, Fresh Fields Mushrooms and some amazing Triple B Biodynamic Angus, which is the real deal, pasture fed stuff. All of it went in a Japanese style hotpot or steamboat, known as Shabu Shabu.

Happy Birthday and keep the amazing produce coming our way for years to come!

shabu shabu

serves 6 to 8

stock
2 free range chicken carcasses
1 thumb-size piece of ginger
2 spring onions
9-10 cm piece dried kombu (seaweed)
pinch Beach Organics organic sea salt

Remove excess skin and the "parson's nose" from the chicken carcasses. Chop chooks into walnut sized pieces. Bruise ginger and tie spring onions in a knot, add to a 2 litre pot and cover with about 1.5 litres of water. Simmer for 1.5 hours.

Add kombu and simmer a further 30 mins. Srain and season VERY lightly with sea salt, so that it still tastes under seasoned. Reserve the liquid which will be used for your soup base.

garnishes
500 g finely sliced Triple B organic grass fed beef *(see below)
¼ Chinese cabbage
2 carrots
200 g block firm tofu
2 large field mushrooms
8 spring onions
plus whatever other vegies (and mushrooms) you fancy (e.g. zucchini, squash etc)

*The best cuts for this dish in my opinion ...... topside, knuckle, D rump, striploin, brisket, oyster blade and chuck. Contrary to popular belief you do not need a prime cut like fillet so long as you follow the preparation instructions below. Go and have a chat to Madeline or Liam from Burns' Biodynamic Beef (Triple B) at the Willunga Farmers Market (who breed organic beef from real pasture with absolutely no grain feeding). They will explain which cuts work best.

Denude (remove all sinew and cap fat) from your chosen cut. Portion roughly into candy bar-size pieces (i.e. 80 mm by 30 mm). Roll tightly in plastic film and chuck in the freezer for 30 mins. This will enable you to slice the required 2 mm thick slices with ease. Look at which way the grain runs and ensure you slice across the grain (i.e. your knife needs to be cutting 90 degrees to the angle of the grain). This will ensure that the beef will be tender after only the briefest swirl around in the hot stock. Lay out on a serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Shave all veggies (i.e. carrots and mushrooms plus anything else you fancy) very finely. Slice spring onions into 30 cm batons. Slice the tofu into bite size chunks and finally, cut the heart out of the cabbage and slice it into 4 sections. Lay all the vegies and tofu out on another serving plate.

dipping sauce
6 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
2½ tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated garlic
4 cups cooked short grain rice to serve

Pound the sesame seeds in mortal and pestle with the garlic to form a smooth paste, mix all other ingredients in and add a smidge of water if you feel it's too strong.

serving
Fill the chimney of the steam boat cooker with small pieces of preheated charcoal (I usually put them on a rack over an open gas flame). If you don't have a steam boat, just use a cast iron pot and a table burner. Add the stock. Place onto the table with bowls, chopsticks, cooked rice (in individual bowls), the meat, vegetables and the dipping sauce.

Swish the beef and vegies around in the stock using chopsticks, until lightly cooked, then dunk into the dipping sauce and eat with rice. Once all the garnishes have been swished and eaten, portion the stock into the bowls and drink.