Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, shame about the recipes..., 25 Nov 2011
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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