16 January 2008

Homemade deli delicacies

There's a forum thread going at the moment about cheap deli meats and it made me stop and think about what I buy from the deli. Not much really: olives, feta, occasionally cocktail franks but not much else really because I can make most of our deli desires. Yes, I know it's unbelievable but I can and do and for the most part it doesn't take any longer than it does to take a number and stand in the crowd!
Most of you know that I had to learn to cook when Disaster Struck. I could cook a steak or sausages and veg of course but I wasn't a great cake, jam, pickle, pastry type of cook. I had to learn how to make these things and believe me I was blown away when I realised just how easy it was to put a piece of corned beef in the crockpot for a few hours and have sliced silverside for sandwiches for less than half the price of the deli silverside. Ditto with roast beef.
I buy a piece of beef or a largish chicken and roast it and then slice it with the electric knife once it's cold and use this for lunches, ditto with corned beef, especially if I can get it on sale.
You can smoke your own fish and chicken too and save a fortune on what you pay at the deli. It's another one of those things that is so easy I don't know why I haven't always been doing it.
You can make your own seasoned chicken loaf for about half the price/kg of the bought one and it's so much nicer and you know you've used real chicken in it. For ham lovers buy a leg or half leg and slice it yourself. Even taking into account the weight of the bone you are still paying about half the price of the pre-sliced or shaved stuff you can buy.
Make a brawn with your leftover meats and you can have it with salads or on sandwiches. It's another old fashioned meat but it's really easy to make. Trust me, homemade brawn is so much nicer than the stuff you buy from the deli, there really is no comparison.
The thing I've found with preparing these foods myself is that it doesn't take a long time and you don’t need to be a gourmet genius and it doesn't cost a fortune. I think that the last 40 years or so homemakers have been brainwashed into believing that cooking, baking and preserving are really hard and time consuming and require extra special skills and that it is easier and better for them to just buy what they need ready made. It's not.
If I can do it anyone can. I'll add the recipes and instructions to the Recipe File so you can try them out. I bet you'll be a convert too.
And as soon as I perfect homemade cocktail franks I'll let you know. That will be one less thing I will be buying from the deli and one more thing I can cross off my shopping list.

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