Jess Rowe AKA Crap Housewife, stresses she’s a dreadful cook and needs all the help she can get. While I beg to differ, I can also understand why she’s partnered with Meat and Livestock Australia for the third year in a row.
You see, Jess has a heart that’s larger than her laugh and wider than her smile, and she basically just loves to help people. So in this instance, she’s trying to get word to the average Aussie about getting more balance in their diet.
The collaboration also includes The Greatest Butcher On Your Block. With the help of leading dietician Veronique Droulez, and top butcher Trevor Hill, it aims to offer handy, unique tips for cooking meat and yes, even sneaking veggies onto your kid’s dinner plates!
When I mention the tricks we pull to get kids to eat their greens, Jess lets out her infamously endearing snort laugh: “Mums have been doing that since the dawn of time! When I’m cooking for the kids, I’m always grating in zucchini or carrot, or slicing veggies so they never know they’re there!
“But you also don’t have to sweat it,” she continues. “They will eventually eat it. Don’t beat yourself up. When I’m cooking dinner, I always have a tasting plate out on the bench for the girls to nibble on. My mum used to do it for me, too. It has avocado, carrot, celery, a few cubes of cheese … they pick at it while I am cooking and it means I don’t tie myself in knots over their intake of veggies. I also stick to cooking the things that I know they really like. For instance, when I cook an Aussie beef stir-fry, I’ll use snow peas, because I know the girls love them and will eat them.”
Jess Rowe X Meat And Livestock Australia
“By now everyone knows from my website Crap Housewife that I’ve always struggled with cooking,” says Jess, with another endearing snort laugh. “However, since I’ve been working with the Greatest Butchers on Your Block, Veronique and Trevor, I’m proud to say I’ve come a long way. I have learnt from my own local butcher. I can cook a steak and roast a lamb, neither of which I could do before! We need to talk to our local butcher about how to cook our food and get great variety. They will even slice your meat for stir-fries.
“Veronique has been teaching me some great nutritional tips, which have come in handy when I’ve been trying out winter warmer recipes. I’m actually enjoying cooking so much more, as I cook more efficiently and have more variety in my meals.”
Hats Off To Jess’s Culinary Achievements
It’s hard to imagine Jess Rowe enjoying cooking more than she already does. After all, we’re talking about a woman who makes hats to match the meal she’s making!
“Yes, I make them all,” she says enthusiastically. “At first, I purchased a chicken hat, a pizza hat and a burger hat, because basically, I just like to be silly! These days though, I try to make them myself. I have a nachos hat, a Spaghetti Bolognese hat and also a fun sausages in the frypan hat, which took some tinkering.
“The sausages are made out of stockings stuffed with newspaper, which I then painted. The handle of the saucepan keeps falling off though, so I need to work on finding a glue that will help it stick better. I just love it. I think I spend more time making the hats than I do the meals.”
Talking Teen Spirit
Listening to Jessica Rowe talk about her cooking for her family, one thing is crystal clear – she relishes being a wife to husband, newsreader Peter Overton and a mum to daughters Allegra (14) and Giselle (12).
“You have teenagers!” I exclaim, reminding her that the last time we caught up, her now 14 year old daughter Allegra, was in a stroller.
“Yeah, it’s extraordinary how time flies,” she marvels in reply. “Allegra is my height now!”
I quiz Jess … how are the teen tantrums? Are they as real as everyone says they are?
Back comes that fabulous snort laugh.
“They’re beautiful girls and I really am very, very lucky, but of course we have the odd teen tantrum. I mean that just comes with the territory. I had tantrums as a teen, so now it’s my turn. There is no secret to dealing with it. Some days are just better than others. Some days the wheels will fall off for no apparent reason. I just say, ‘don’t put the pressure on.’ “
Taking on a more sombre tone, Jess adds, “I also think it’s harder for teenagers and young people today. I just remember life being a lot easier when I was their age. There’s so much pressure now on our kids, so much more that they have to deal with that we didn’t have to even contemplate!
“I marvel at the their resilience and courage. They speak up far more than I ever did growing up. We recently went to the Women’s March together. It’s wonderful to be able to share those things with girls and I love that they actually want to do it!
“My youngest daughter, Gisele, well she is like an environmental warrior! She’s got us all composting and implementing all sorts of eco-conscious things around the house. I really needed a kick up the bum with that stuff. She’s so passionate and it’s amazing. Too often, we give young people a hard time, when I actually I think they are far more passionate and engaged than we ever were when we were teenagers.”
Making a Meal Of It
But back to why we are chatting … food! Jess reveals to me that one of her favourite meals is Mexican Mince (recipe below), and the family love it too!
“For me, food has to be simple. I think mince is fab. You can’t overcook it, it’s inexpensive, it’s nutritious and most kids will eat it. There are a few easy go-to recipes. Tacos are a winner, as is Spaghetti Bolognese. I don’t want to spend heaps of time in the kitchen, so mince is really a go-to for me.”
How To Make Jess Rowe’s Mexican Mince Bowl
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp Mexican spice blend
- 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
- 1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef stock
- 250g packet 2-minute brown rice + quinoa
- 400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 avocado, flesh diced
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 150g plain Greek yoghurt
- ½ bunch fresh coriander
- 1 whole lime, quartered.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
- Add onions, capsicum strips and spice mix, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add mince and cook, stirring for 6-8 minutes or until brown.
- Add tomato paste, stock and ½ a cup of water, then bring to a low simmer.
- Add the rice and beans and reduce heat, cooking uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
- Place in a bowl and top with avocado, Greek yoghurt, fresh herbs and lime.
Hot Tip: Make your own spice blend with 1 tsp paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and red pepper flakes.