Alana Lowes has been onboard as the Meat at Billy’s recipe contributor for some time now. If you’ve cooked a recipe from our website lately, chances are it would lovingly created by Alana.
We decided it was time to learn more about the talented person behind our tasty recipes…
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Since my time on MasterChef Australia over 10 years ago I have worked as a food and travel writer, partnering my words with gorgeous images. When I wasn’t tripping around as The Flying Foodie, an exciting food and travel portal I developed for Virgin Australia, I worked as a magazine editor and as an ambassador for a number of brands, products and organisations.
Following my time on MasterChef, I created the Alana’s Pantry food brand, launching a range of spicy chilli sauces from around the globe which sold nationally in 750 Coles Supermarkets and I co-hosted the food and travel program ‘A Taste of Travel’ on Channel Ten for 3 series.
Right now I am a mum of two, Florence and Walter and I get to work closely with incredible small businesses like Meat at Billy’s to bring their products to life with recipe development, food styling and photography and currently have a few food ideas in development myself – watch this space!
How long have you been a Meat at Billy’s customer?
I have been shopping at Meat at Billy’s for almost as long as it has been open. I started going there just before I competed on MasterChef so it would have been in 2009 or 2010 – 11 years!
What’s been your food highlight or best food memory?
Oh gosh, that is such a tough one to answer. My time on MasterChef cooked up so many incredible food memories, like the time I ran around New York collecting clues before cooking a Michelin Star recipe and winning the challenge, or something as simple as firing up the BBQ and cooking a Billy’s wagyu steak (always a repeated request) for all the family, sharing red wine and laughs.
What is it you love most about cooking and food?
The making and sharing of food brings people together. It’s how we celebrate, make friends, understand different cultures – food is the global language. Cooking brings me peace, it is my time of “meditation”, time to de-stress and I cherish people’s reactions when they eat a delicious feast I have cooked for them. I’ve cooked and delivered food to friends who have become new mums, those who have lost a loved one or just because I wanted to share a super tasty cookie I just baked. Every time I cook, I put as much love into as I can!
What is your favourite cut of meat and/or recipe from Meat at Billy’s?
I would have to say my recipe of Pomegranate Molasses Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder is an all time favourite! What’s best about it is that you can then use the left over meat for so many more delicious recipes – mini pies, tossed through a cous cous salad or a simple lamb and cheese toastie with cheese that bubbles and oozes out the sides…..hmmm but then there is the chargrilled rib on the bone with crispy capers and chilli fries recipe….how does one choose!
Do you have any “must know” cooking tips?
Touch your food – use your fingers to test the doneness of your meat. Get to know what it should feel like when it is ready to take off the heat.
Let it rest – the longer you let your meat rest, the more it is going to relax and allow all those amazing juices to settle back into the meat.
Season – always always season your steak with salt before you pop it on the BBQ. This not only packs in flavour but it also helps with getting that envious crust on your steak.
Tell us 3 ingredients that you must always have in your kitchen.
Murray River Pink Salt Flakes – the perfect sized salt flake which crushes easily between your fingers as your sprinkle onto your food. Also looks beautiful when presented on the table.
Pomegranate Molasses – Tangy and sweet and goes with every meat from Quail, chicken to a marinade for Lamb.
Thyme – Thyme can be used in sweet or savoury dishes and when added at the end of cooking delivers such a fresh heady note to your dish.
What do you think the next trend in food will be?
Cooking over fire will continue as a hot trend on the rise. Take Agnes restaurant as an example of how to cook literally everything over fire, from meat to veg, to desserts. The layering of flavours from cooking over different types of wood to different grilling techniques will all feature heavily this year and beyond.
Spices will also feature heavily for people cooking at home. There are many of us who will have to resort to living our global travel plans vicariously through the spices we use on the plate and experimenting with exotic flavours and ingredients.
A big thanks to Alana for answering our questions. Below are more of her great recipes and we’re always adding more to our recipe section.
If you’re keen to follow Alana’s food adventures or get in touch with her, find her on instagram @alanalowes.