The combined efforts of two farmers and a cheesemaker, Deli Book is more than a cookbook, rather, it’s a manual in the self-sufficiency of our grandparents' day.
By
Siobhan Scott

12 Dec 2012 - 12:42 PM  UPDATED 5 Feb 2015 - 3:12 PM

Why buy it?

With so many of us bred on supermarket dairy goods, cured meats and pantry staples, Deli Book appears like the light at the end of a fluorescent-lit supermarket aisle. The combined efforts of two farmers and a cheesemaker, Deli Book is more than a cookbook, rather, it’s a manual in the self-sufficiency of our grandparents' day. Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, along with Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara, put good old-fashioned flavour back on the plate with their recipes for everything from yoghurt to home-cured prosciutto. Sure, most of us would struggle to find the time or the means to stock a larder with homemade butter, cheeses, smoked meats and pickles. And access to fresh, unhomogenised milk is somewhat of a scavenger hunt for city-dwelling folk, however, that doesn’t make this book any less necessary or useful. Deli Book is full of considered recipes, even if you’re not ready to begin casing your own sausages or salting your own cod. Skip the primary recipe and use quality produce instead, or start in the pickling section and build your way up to sausage-making. There’s a little nostalgia and a lot of de-mystifying in the recipes of Deli Book. It’s all at once reassuring and exciting, reminding us that we don’t have to be a farmer or a chef to create honest and flavourful ingredients by hand.

 

Cookability

A level of comfort in the kitchen and a familiarity with quality produce helps for cheesemaking and curing, but there are also plenty of recipes in here that can be made with store-bought substitutions.

 

Must-cook recipe

Braised chicken with bacon, peas and tarragon. With or without your own hand-cured bacon, this is one for the canon of family recipes.

 

Most surprising dish

Mascarpone, with only two ingredients you can create a lovely product to be used in so many ways, from sweet to savoury.

 

Kitchen wisdom

While artisan produce is becoming more and more coveted for its handmade quality and superior flavour, the D-I-Y larder is still in danger of being lost to conveyer-belt produce. Deli Book helps to put handmade produce back into the realm of possibility for everyone.

 

Ideal for

Those who relish a cooking project and are eager to become more hands-on with their food.

 

Cook the book

Preserved roast tomatoes

Ross's ricotta tart

 
 
The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book by Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara, with photographs by Alan Benson (Murdoch Books, $49.99, hbk).