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Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less [Hardcover]

Allegra McEvedy , Paul Merrett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Aug 2009

The credit crunch is having a massive impact on what we eat. The average family's annual food bill went up by £1000 last year. As the approaching recession forces us to tighten our belts, are we really going to have to face months of grim news with nothing but grim food to sustain us? The answer is 'no!'

Top chefs Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett not only show us how to cut our food bills in half, but how we can eat like royalty at the same time. Economy Gastronomy is about planning ahead, shopping well, spending less and using ingredients ingeniously to create flavour-packed food every day.

The 100 delicious recipes cover breakfasts and lunches, snacks and treats, with chapters to show you how to achieve expensive-looking meals without spending a fortune so you can entertain in style and make something from nothing. Detailed recipes reveal versatile skills you can use in a range of recipes. Form meal planning to seasonal shopping, from loving leftovers to store-cupboard basics, the economy gastronomy system combines traditional skills with restaurant flair.

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Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less + How to Feed Your Family for 5 a Day + How to feed your whole family: A healthy, balanced diet with very little money
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718155726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718155728
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 19.3 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Described by The Independent as "a caterer with a conscience", Allegra McEvedy has been cooking professionally for 20 years, working her way through a clutch
of London's best restaurants as well as an eighteen month spell in the States.

She got her first Head Chef position at Tom Conran's The Cow, in Notting Hill, at the age of 24. During a spell in the USA, Allegra ran the kitchen at Robert De Niro's New York restaurant Tribeca Grill, regularly doing 500 covers a night.

In 2003, Allegra co-founded LEON, the award-winning, healthy, fast-food restaurant group, which opened its first outlet in Carnaby Street in 2004. Allegra gave up her role at LEON in early 2009 to focus on writing and broadcasting, though she remains a keen shareholder in the business.

Allegra was Chef in Residence at The Guardian for 3 years until 2009, as well as hosting a quarterly "cookalong", the internet's first live, interactive and illustrated cooking class.

Over the summer of 2009, Allegra co-presented Economy Gastronomy, a six-part BBC prime-time series about planning ahead, shopping well, spending less and using ingredients wisely.

In 2008, Allegra was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry, with the citation of promoting healthier eating and ethical sourcing in the UK.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Merrett owns and runs the Victoria Pub and Dining Rooms in Sheen. He has been awarded a Michelin star twice, and is the author of Using the Plot: Tales of an Allotment Chef (2008).He was the presenter of BBC Two's Ever Wondered About Food... series, and co-presented a BBC Two ten-part prime-time series called The Best. Paul is married with two children.

Allegra McEvedy co-founded Leon, the award-winning healthy, fast-food restaurant group. In 2008, she was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry. She is the Resident Chef of the Guardian's G2, and writes a blog column for the Observer Food Monthly. Her second book Allegra McEvedy's Colour Cookbook won the IACP 2007 Cook Book award. She was born and educated in West London, where she still lives.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waste not, want not - "let's get in the kitch!" 12 Aug 2009
By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book goes with the TV show on BBC2, which aims to create delicious meals that cost LOADS less. Paul Merrett is a chef I've seen before on TV, very accomplished and knowledgeable about food, but his co-author Allegra McEvedy is my favourite of the two. Tall, blonde, and a bit 'jolly hockey sticks', she shortens all her words, exclaiming "let's get in the kitch!" when she wants to start cooking. She just makes it all seem easy and fun.

There are a hundred recipes in the book, balanced between Merrett's, which are slightly more ambitious and restaurant-y, and McEvedy's which are tasty, tasty, tasty. (I'm not sure macaroni cheese with added artichokes is ever really going to make a truly 'cheap' meal, artichokes are just too pricey, but it tastes amazing.) She is the founding chef of London's LEON restaurant chain which specialise in really cheap delicious 'fast food', so she's great at knowing how to do things.

Most of the money-saving ideas are really good, and I'm impressed by the totting up of how much various households saved switching over to Merrett and McEvedy's system. Totally avoiding food waste is the most important element, with bits and pieces being used up to make stock, flavour soups and so on. And also they are great at sneaking illicit vegetables into dishes for kids who refuse to eat them normally.

This would be an okay book if it just put forward the system, but the recipes from these two fine chefs make it a must-have. Brilliant!

PS you can check out some of the recipes on the Guardian website, google Guardian and Economy Gastronomy and you should get four ways of cooking salmon.
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194 of 217 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book for non-cooks 16 Aug 2009
There's little to learn here for anyone but the least experienced cooks - except for a clear method that the cooks claim will save you money. Most of the recipes here are real standards that anyone with more than a handful of cookbooks will already have. Most recipes are very time consuming and not devised for people with limited time on their hands. The 'system' that McEvedy and Merrett advocate - creating a 'bedrock' meal then for days afterwards eating 'tumbledown' meals (ie leftovers) seems kind of crazy. Yes, leftovers are good, but what's on offer here is endless themes and variations on mince that you're supposed to consume across a week that would ensure that me and my family quickly gave up the will to live (or, at least, to eat). Some of the recipes just look plain ghastly. Anyone for Hot Dog Hotpot (frankfurters, egg noodles, white cabbage and a few other things)? No, I thought not.

There are plenty of other books anyone with a real interest in food will find far more useful: for ecomomy meals try Delia Smith's Frugal Food, Jocasta Innes's classic The Pauper's Cookbook or 101 One-Pot Dishes or even Fay's Family Food; for seasonal approaches try Delia's Summer and Winter, Jeremy Round's The Independent Cook, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall's The River Cottage Year or Valentine Warner's new offerings. I'd recommend this book only to people who intend to rigorously stick to the 'system,'. It's not a recipe book to dip into if you already have the odd copy of Delia, Nigella or Jamie on your bookshelf.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great... 17 Sep 2009
I watched Economy Gastronomy on TV and eagerly awaited the arrival of the cook book. I was a little dissapointed as a lot of the recipes seemed a little strange and many seemed time consuming. However, having given the book a good shot and cooked many of the recipes, I found the following recipes to be the highlights...

Coronation Chicken - sublime just fab served with warm naans and mango chutney as suggested
Pumpkin cannelloni - quite unusual but a great use for a pumpkin and delicious!
Onion bahjees - easily the best recipe I have found for them, light and not oily
Garganelli pasta

The absolute highlight though is the poached salmon with 'never-fail' hollandaise...just superb, the salmon was moist and succulent and this was the only hollandaise I have ever made that wouldn't split!

In short - when this book is good (i.e. that salmon), it's really good. However, there are large number of duds that I would never ever cook (hot dog hot pot? lambs' kidneys? rabbit casserole? baked potato with lamb?). Plus you can find all the good recipes for free on the BBC food website or by googling 'economy gastronomy' (loads of the recipes are on the guardian website).
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book for frugal cooks. 11 Aug 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received mine this morning by post and have read it cover to cover. I am now making the hummous recipe for a picnic tomorrow.
I can see me doing the "bedrock" recipes time and time again, saving both money and time in the kitchen.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book will chain you to the kitchen 26 Sep 2009
By Miller
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some good ideas in this book, which I have tried out, and will continue to try. However, the idea of bedrocks that take literally hours to prepare, both in terms of the bedrock, and then many of the tumble-downs - some of which aren't what you would describe as a "meal", eg.coronation chicken - does not appeal. If, like many busy families, you unfortunately don't have time to all sit down to a meal every night of the week, or plans sometimes change, then the bedrock and tumbledowns are also likely to go off.

Unless you have plenty of time to cook, you sit down every night to a meal (which I know we all should), and you don't mind eating the same thing for a few nights on the trot, then I would avoid this book and stick with your Jamie or Gordon quick and easy's.

And since when was it more cost effective to buy, peel and cook kilos of fresh tomatoes, rather than just buy them in a tin?!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as economical as the title implies...
Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett's book is full of useful and tasty-looking recipes. There is a chapter called "Bedrocks" in which they explain how to cook one large main... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Drum
4.0 out of 5 stars good one
I like it, but there are more receipes for carnivores then vegetarians, still it's a nice guide to inexpensive cooking
Published 6 months ago by midgaard
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent we'll considered book
This book makes you think and review your store cupboard and how you approach your meal planning.
I have used this book nearly daily the recipes are very good and easy to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Yvonne Manning
4.0 out of 5 stars TASTY RECIPES
I go along with both the good and less good reviews for this book. Yes, it can chain you to the kitchen - eg, if you order a whole salmon, you can't suddenly decide you're too... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Music Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved loads of money with this book.
This book teaches you how to save money on your food shopping and eat well. It does work but because you batch cook some items and use them as a base, it can get a little boring. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Carol Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Very good. Very quick, Very reliable. Very pleased . Super quick . No fuss. Very competitive price wise. Informed when it was available straight away.
Published 14 months ago by Mr. Alan W. Beckley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, totally changed they way I cook
Fabulous! This book has completely revolutionised the way I approach cooking, I eat better and waste far less without spending any more money. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Neil
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
This was an ideal book for a friend as a present they liked it very much
and are using it most days !
Published 17 months ago by Keith
5.0 out of 5 stars cookery
This item was bought for a friend who thoroughly enjoyes cooking and, having seen the series myself is an ideal gift
Published 18 months ago by Mrs. S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought a few of these books to give to my young family to help them learn how to use left overs and make their money go further
Published 19 months ago by michelle sharp
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