Authors: Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow & Ross O’Meara
Murdoch Books RRP $49.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book is one of those cookbooks that made me wish I had more time … I mean by giving up my day job and devoting my days to making food for my loved ones. I made pasta the other day, and the result was amazing, but the idea of curing my own ham and making my own cheese might just be pushing it. It doesn’t matter … I love the idea that I might be able to do these things, just by following the steps in this book. It’s about possibilities!

Why would you make your own sausages, cure your own ham, pickle your own fish or preserve your own vegetables? That’s the question the authors pose and their answer is: “It’s quite simple, really: because it tastes better.” I do make a lot of things from scratch so I agree with the philosophy, even if I can’t follow through on all of the authors’ methods. The book takes a two-fold approach, first celebrating the artisan process of making things you’d find in a deli (such as cheese, cream, smoked meats and pickled fish), and secondly by providing a number of tasty recipes in which to showcase those ingredients. What I like is that I know I can substitute good quality deli produce in the instances I can’t prepare them from scratch. The dishes are rustic, wholesome … the kinds of things I love to eat when relaxing on a weekend; the pictures are mouth-watering. 

Here are some things I’ll be trying:

  • Clotted cream fudge
  • Cultured butter
  • Ross’s Ricotta Tart
  • Saag paneer (though I will buy the cheese, most likely)
  • Tipsy Cake with Orange Blossom Marscapone
  • The World’s Best Hot Dog (now there’s a challenge)
  • Dill pickles
  • Preserved Roast Tomatoes

That’s the start. I doubt I’ll ever get to curing ham and bacon, and making sausages, but I still like seeing how it’s done. Another fantastic cookbook for my collection … and no doubt the family will be happy with the results.

Available from good bookstores. This copy was courtesy of Murdoch Books Australia via Allen & Unwin.