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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the cooking enthusiast
Bought, Borrowed & Stolen is definitely an enthusiasts book. It's an unusual set of recipes, connected by a collection of knives and places where those knives where from. Part cookery book, part travelogue and part food appreciation guide. It's not one that you would use to plan your everyday cooking but it's one for inspiring and trying new things. I've only tried...
Published on 15 Dec. 2011 by Alison

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Will I use it?
This is certainly a very handsome book - a vibrant blue cloth binding which is a bit of a rarity these days. I also like the Leon cook books so I was hoping for great things. But, of course, you don't buy a cookery book for its cover. I liked the concept of a travel memoir with recipes, combining my two favourite pastimes. For me, though, the cover was the best bit of...
Published on 14 Nov. 2011 by Marand


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borrowed and Blue (the cover, that is!), 24 Oct. 2011
By 
Paul Lynch (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
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You may have encountered Allegra McEvedy, as I have, as the rather gruff and right on cook on any of many different TV cooking programmes. Her rather blunt, self-deprecating and often terse commentaries don't do any favours to her obvious talent - obvious from this book.

This is a book in parts: a rather peculiar "World Factbook" style introduction to a region, a narrative about buying a knife, then a set of recipes from that region. Repeat times nineteen, and all in a heavily illustrated setting, although at least the recipes are in a clear font on white paper (unlike some other cookbooks). For the reviewer who comments on the "fabric" binding, this is actually buckram, a standard material to use to bind books that you want to survive some rough treatment.

It is clear that Allegra is very much a knife nut; but then any chef is fully entitled to be, and hence the knife chosen for each destination. Her membership of the knife nut club is proven by the inclusion of a balisong (fighting knife from the Philipines), despite promising to include only knives of use in the kitchen. Apart from that, I would have liked to have heard more about her two naked knives: the exquisite Japanese eel knife (unagi-saki), and the Norwegian herring filleting knife, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

All of the recipes include a time to make estimate, which is extremely useful and rarely given in other books. As with Jamie, I suspect that these times are the optimistic figures from an expert cook! I did spot a couple of typos, and the instructions sometimes lacked clarity about exact quantities or precise methods, although nothing that an experienced cook would be worried over. Most of the ingredients should be available in any large town, which isn't always the case when dealing with recipes from more uncommon lands; the hardest to find of the commonly used ingredients I suspect will be salt cod, which crops up from several countries.

The recipes are almost entirely versions of national dishes, the food of the people, rather than haute cuisine; there are a few cases of that old faithful of travel cookbooks, the "dish that reminds me of my trip". For those countries where I am familiar with the cuisine (rather more of them than I expected), they fall into two categories: the well-known, such as France, Italy and Spain, where she selects a relatively random mix of the famous national dishes and less familiar chance encounters; and the relatively unknown, where most of the choices are common street food and diner recipes (rather than the more expensive and exclusive restaurants of international cuisine). This proves to be a sensible decision. So France has clafoutis (well known) and cheese puffs (eccentric choice, but authentic), and Japan contributes a savoury egg custard, which is very authentic and delicious; a confit salmon, which is something I have never seen there, as well and a simple steamed fish dish. All in all the selection of recipes is wise.

This isn't a book of recipes that you will instantly feature in your day to day menus, even for the most adventurous of us. However, they are all both edible and typical of the countries selected, and many deserve to at least feature on dinner party menus.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting recipes - shame about the photography, 30 Oct. 2011
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
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While the recipes predominate, this is a combination cookbook, geography book and a book about knives. Covering towns from nineteen countries or areas: Turkey, New York, Burma, USA, Brazil, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Japan, The Philippines, Cuba and the Caribbean, Malawi, Mexico, Norwegian Arctic Circle, South Africa, Lebanon, China, France and Spain, it offers a wide range of recipes from snacks through main courses to a few sweet dishes and more.

Each country is introduced with a page or two of description and a brief Fact File providing geographical and social information along with eating and drinking habits of the region. This is followed by comments on the relevant knife from this collector of knives. Then come the recipes each of which is accompanied by some helpful introductory comments, clearly presented ingredients and instructions, and usually a photograph of the finished dish. The recipes are unsurprisingly very diverse, with many interesting and some unusual offerings.

This is quite a substantial book, but its relatively sombre cover - no dust jacket - is not reflected by its contents. I find the presentation too much 'in your face', especially the introductory pages for each of the nineteen sections: coloured background for the type, angled boxes for the facts, and garish photo-montages. The recipe pages are a little calmer, but the photography throughout I find very unappealing. The pictures are harsh and brash with very flat lighting and often high contrast with bleached out highlights. More significantly in most cases it makes the food look unappetising, some dishes look more like sludge or worse. This is a great shame for one imagines a lot of though has gone into putting this book together, yet the result is not a book that one enjoys browsing just for the pleasure of its contents.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, shame about the recipes..., 25 Nov. 2011
By 
butwhatdoiknow - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
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I lived in West London during the 90s and ate several times at Allegra's Notting Hill restaurant, The Tabernacle. I loved the food, the laid back charm and the prices. And I love the food at Leon, the London restaurant chain she has a hand in. So I'm a fan, for sure. And when it comes to this book, I love the idea, best summarised as 'Around the World in recipes and knives' - yes, as well as a culinary tour, Allegra collects knives and she illustrates and narrates her journey in the company of the knives she has collected along the way. I am a cook, a bloke, and a bit of a poncy one at that (cook, that is) so I do find the story of the lemon wood pastry slicer (Morocco) and Pig Leg Boner (Brazil) rather more interesting than I should probably admit to. (I'm not a psychopath. Promise.)

No, the trouble with this cook book is, well, the recipes. There are a good few nice looking ones, but nothing that really surprises and delights. And there are some shockers... how do I explain... You know how if you look at an old 50s or 60s cookbook now, and go 'Eugh' to half the recipes while simultaneously going 'Ewww' to the dated unappetising photos..? Well, that is the problem here. For every Reuben Salt beef sandwich (NY, of course, mmm), there is South Africa's snail and spinach quiche. The papardelle sulla Lepre (hare pasta, Italy, yum) appeals rather more than the Burmese Duck Egg curry. And while I'd take a crack at Malawian Ginger and Garlic fried fish, I don't think I'd fancy a plate of the Peanut Chicken rice with it.

There is predictable, there is exotic and there is alien, and I'm afraid, to my palate too little of this book meets the middle. Worth buying for the knives though. Watch what you are doing with that Oaxican Whacker!! Mother?!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal food journal, 9 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
Bought, Borrowed and stolen is not your usual cookery book, its the intensely personal food journey of chef "Allegra McEvedy". Allegra is well travelled and has visited a myriad of countries both as a chef and as a child following her historian Father.The book charts her journey and the life experiences she encountered on the way and where and how she experienced the recipes that are detailed in the book.

Unusually Allegra collects knives where ever she goes and these are sharply displayed in the book making a point of their importance in her life, the countries or cities each having a bio so you get a sense of the place before going on to the recipes. The recipes in the book come from such diverse locations as Malawi to New York.

I particularly liked the fact that every recipe is illustrated, the two recipes I have tried so far where easy to follow and gave good results, they did however challenge some of my culinary boundaries , this is a cook book to buy for yourself or a close friend who will appreciate the personal stories Allegra tells.The narrative is modern and chatty , I can almost Allegra making the comments in the book.

My only criticism is that the book has a fabric cover, which isn't very practical for the kitchen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely big book of recipes, travel and food talk, 25 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
This is just the sort of book I like; a lovely mix of reminiscences, photos, food talk and recipes and it gave me itchy feet, I want to go travelling again. Like me Ms. McEvedy has visited all sorts of places but, unlike me, she had the presence of mind to keep notes and also, quirkily, to collect a knife from each location. Her writing is easy, friendly and personal, her eclectic mix of recipes, taken from 19 different destinations, are interesting and inspiring (I shall definitely be trying the Leafy Green Fritters with Tamarind & Chilli Dip which she had in Burma and the Japanese Confit Salmon in Ginger Juice) and I very much like the useful information given about each destination in the Fact File at the start of each chapter.

On my preliminary flick I turned, of course, straight to the Caribbean, where I lived for many years, and whilst surprised to see a great sounding recipe for Rabbit Lasagne I realise that this is a book about food actually eaten rather than dishes typical of each country. I was also homesick to read about the islands and their rum drinks! In the Fact File she suggests that one doesn't ask directions for the nearest gay bar! So true.

As I said this is a big book both in scope and in physical size; a big solid hardback with well over 100 recipes and somewhat old fashioned photography by Andrew Montgomery including attractive collages at the start of each chapter.

And my favourite knife? I think it was the lemon wood pastry slicer.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect book for the adventerous home cook, 21 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
The breadth of recipes in this book suggest Allegra McEvedy is very well travelled and upon reading the introduction I find out she! Carted around countries as a child with her historian father, Allegra was encouraged to keep a diary - but her daily descriptions were not of landscapes, scenery and cultural experiences, they were of food and eating (my kind of lady!).

The book is a lovely collection of her favourite recipes that she has experienced both on her childhood expeditions and on more recent adult travels too. It is also a book that follows her quest to find a knife that reflects every country she has eaten in - a lovely little quirk.

19 places are visited in the book, all of which have interesting foodie related factfiles and details of her own personal relationships with that place - and a page that is devoted to 'the' knife.

There are chapters on Turkey, Burma, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Hong Kong, and Malawi - so not your run of the mill holiday destinations, which makes a nice change. The recipes are diverse in nature and particularly suited to more adventerous home cooks and people that like to try new things. That is not to say the recipes aren't easy - they are, but probably not going to appeal to fussy children (and adults!).

The Lemon Ice Tea lollies from Malawi are defintely going on the must try list, as is the Seafood Stew from Brazil. A lovely cookbook that makes lovely bedtime reading too.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the hasty cook - a book to savour, 25 Oct. 2011
By 
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
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How to describe this book? It is a book with recipes written by a notable chef, but I don't think it can be called a cook book. It is more a combination of travel book and autobiography with recipes. By saying this I do not want to play down the recipes - they are delicious and clearly explained, but I don't think it is a book you could thumb through to find a recipe when you are stumped for something to cook after work. Although most of the ingredients are easily obtainable, they may not be the sort of thing you have readily to hand. Some of the recipes are quick and simple to prepare. Others are more complicated. I made a lamb dish from Morocco which involved quite a few stages and I kept thinking, if I stopped at this point, this would taste excellent. But I persevered and completed all the stages. It was worth it. The results were wonderful and not quite as I expected.

How to use this book? I would suggest reading it straight through, taking a note of recipes that interest you. Then plan a menu, spend time shopping and preparing and getting everything right.

So, it is not a book for spontaneous cooks on the run. It is a book for people who are interested in food, its origins and traditions, but above all for those who really enjoy the act of cooking.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 12 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
Bought this as a xmas present. Delivery was quick since I used Amazon Prime.
I was very pleased with it. And my partner who received the book was very happy too. He likes his kitchen knives and loves cooking exotic dishes. So this book was bang on!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and entertaining book, 25 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
wound recommend this book its very different and has some great recipes, which i will enjoy making and trying out
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a cookbook, 20 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef (Hardcover)
There are some cookery books that I definitely class as bedside books. Some are just a plain old list of recipes, and that's fine, I like those ones as well, but others tell amazing stories and warrant bedside-table space along with the handcream and glass of wine (everyone does that, right?).

Take Sophie Dahl's beautiful Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. It's one of my favourite books - I think Sophie Dahl writes amazingly well, and her gorgeous prose interlinked with anecdotes, rememberings from her childhood and other snippets enhance the lovely recipes and really make the book what it is, a classic to be treasured.

Allegra McEvedy's new book, 'Bought, Borrowed & Stolen. Recipes & Knives from a Travelling Chef' is definitely a bedside book. Part recipe book, part travel tome, it's a wonderful mixture. McEvedy has travelled extensively and started to pick up knives here and there on her travels. Along the way, she lists the knives she purchased in different places, then goes on to give local recipes in a friendly, matey way that I absolutely love. She starts one Mexican recipe with 'My Spanish is crap'. I love that.

In my usual, destructive way I've turned down loads of pages to mark recipes that I really, really want to cook. They are miriad: Clafoutis aux Abricots, Szechuan Crispy Pork Ribs and Caldo Verde, temptingly subtitled: 'A Soup of Greens, Spuds and a bit of Pig'. What's not to love about that?

If you count a food lover amongst your nearest and dearest, especially one who loves to travel, lovingly wrap this book for them for Christmas. Like me, they will absolutely adore it.
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