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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 January 2016
Many of the recipies are not what I would call "budget" but theres a lot fo good tasty recipies there. One issue I have is some of the writing is not easy to read being printed in less than black on coloured backgrounds. And the book whilst being good quality paper and fairly large, is not easy to keep open at the page you are on for cooking. Its also not an easy size to read in bed either.
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on 15 August 2009
Highly recommend this sensible, practical, economicals and most of all TASTY cookbook.

It accompanies the BBC2 series (check out iplayer) and is a breath of fresh air in the 'economise and cook' genre of cookbooks. It is so refreshing to have the 'gastronomy' side of things - really tasty and 'proper' food, but done with an eye on the frugal.

Favourites so far include the Biriyani, the Brownie cookies (gone in 10 minutes though!) and the Macaroni cheese.

Easy to follow recipes, explained and illustrated well. No nonsense and realistic too.

A really worthwhile cookbook. 5*.
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on 2 September 2009
Economy gastronomy does not disappoint. I have cooked the mince and beef bedrock recipes and the chicken with quick biryani and all were easy and very tasty. Although some of the recipes require a lot of time, they can be frozen and then used the following week so you can have a day off from cooking. Once you get into it I'm sure this is a good way of saving money at the supermarket.
The bakewell in a bag is really tasty and very quick to put together. Admittedly some of the budgets on the tv programme are crazy but if you're looking for a useful cook book with some good tips and brilliant recipes then buy this book.
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on 18 August 2009
I have collected cookbooks for years. I have 100s but this is one of the best for good honest everyday food. I have made many of the recipes, I have never followed a recipe for spag bog but after following the bedrock recipe it was the best I have ever tasted and the coronation chicken was fantastic. This is a book I will use every day - if I had to pick a fault I would say that the recipes are not for the cook who is looking for food to be cooked in 15 minutes, every recipe takes time and love, which is what makes them so good.
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on 15 September 2009
I was disappointed with this book after watching the tv series I found the book a let down the recieps were too expensive with wine etc included in a lot of them also wanted to learn what to have in store cupboard which was not there . I found the recipes more to southern tastes than to northern where we tend to go for cheaper cuts of meat and more stews etc. On the plus side the idea of making one basic batch of food that does 3/4 meals at a time is great.
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on 12 September 2009
I wish I had watched the programme before ordering this book. This is not my idea of economy! I only spend £140 on groceries per month for 3 people/2 cats so the recipes in here are a little 'rich' for me,although it is a nice book and the recipes appear clear etc.
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on 6 April 2010
1. I really appreciate the authors' realistic attitude towards slightly past-it fruit and veg. It's refreshing to be given great ideas for dealing with stuff which is on its way out. Most TV chefs and TV nutritionists bang on constantly about the importance of freshness. Old, wobbly carrots used to make me feel guilty whether I was throwing them out or feeding them to my family. No more guilt since reading this book! Now I make stock.

2. I love stock, for reasons stated above. Allegra has great advice on how to make stock. Frozen parsley stalks! Genius.

3. The tumbledown recipes are presented as three or four in succession - you start with the bedrock and then use the leftovers in various ways. I like the fact that the concept is something that you can take as a principle and apply it to anything you want. I haven't actually followed a whole set of tumbledown recipes exactly as the book lays out. However, the day before yesterday we had a leg of lamb for lunch. Yesterday I fried up all the potatoes and veg for bubble and squeak which we ate with ham and eggs. At the same time I chopped up the rest of the lamb and made a stew, which we've just eaten today. I feel indescribably smug about this.

4. Sometimes at the weekend I make bread. This makes my family very happy (thank you Paul for the recipe).

5. Something-out-of-nothing puds to whip up on a whim at 10pm. Try the bakewell in a bag, and the lemon cream. You must.

6. Other reviewers have talked about Economy Gastronomy as a 'system' which seems to suggest that you must follow every rule to the letter, otherwise it won't work. I don't agree with this. For example, I would never plan every meal for the whole week because invariably something will happen to wreck my plans: either nobody's feeling particularly hungry that evening, or I'll need to stay late at work, and then I'll have a whole load of food going off and I'll be behind my strict meal planning schedule and stressed out. So I only buy a few days' worth of fresh produce and rely on the storecupboard and freezer for the rest of the week. Also, Allegra and Paul suggest you should only cook one dish so that everyone in the house eats the same thing. This would never work in my household which is half vegetarian, half strict carnivore. Never mind. I think this book allows you to pick and choose the rules that will make a difference for you.

7. I agree with other people who have said that this book is for people who like cooking. It's about getting knockout results from a reasonably-priced set of ingredients. There are other cookbooks out there for kitchen-haters.

8. Finally - Allegra's recipe for macaroni cheese. My all-time favourite recipe just got a million times better...
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on 14 October 2009
This book is truly a revelation. I think we will be talking about it for years to come, and I am deeply grateful to Allegra and Paul for changing my life. (Slightly melodramatic? Well yes maybe....but I really think its true!!)

I have shelves upon shelves of cookery books, which I have cooked from for years. I would count myself as being quite a proficient cook, and love nothing more than a whole day in the kitchen preparing a sumptuous feast. But, as I have two young children (3 and 1) this is happening less and less and I found myself doing the same 4 or 5 recipes every week, with a few ready meals thrown in too. I was at the supermarket at least 5 times a week spending a small fortune.

But now I spend a few hours each weekend cooking my 'bedrock' recipe, and then perhaps a few more turning it into a few 'tumbledowns' - stick them in the freezer and then in the week I can just pull out a truly fabulous homemade chicken pie (TO DIE FOR), or pork lasange (AMAZING), or beef pappardelle (INCREDIBLE).....the list goes on.

Its kind of like making your own ready meals, that are incredibly tasty, plus you know whats in them, plus they save you tonnes of cash.

Plus, I actually enjoy cooking for my family again - this has turned it from a chore into something very enjoyable.......and to be honest I love the nice warm, slightly smug and domesticated feeling I have knowing that I have 2 weeks meals squirreled away in my freezer..........

So, to those reviewers who said this book is 'only for those with limited cookery experience' and is 'basic' and 'unappetising' - you are all, quite simply, BONKERS. You obviously didn't actually make any of the recipes.
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on 1 September 2009
I bought this book with high expectations after watching the first few episodes on BBC. I liked the idea of saving time and money on family meals and using up leftovers, however some of the bedrock recipes are very time consuming. If you don't have a large freezer you'll end up eating mince or beef or salmon for at least 3 days of the week whether you fancy it or not. I also found the preparation times were much greater than stated on some recipes and I ended up quite fed up about standing in the kitchen for hours. I made the pork and ginger noodle stir fry recipe and burnt my face badly as the cold belly of pork cubes literally exploded as the fat heated up in the wok (despite this it was delicious). I wrote to Penguin to question the clarity of the instructions bearing in mind this is a family cookbook encouraging you to make stuff with your kids and they have so far ignored me. I like cooking but have to say I prefer the speediness and simplicity of Nigella or Jamie for everyday meals.
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on 13 September 2009
Good for someone who wasn't brought up in the old days of stretching meals and planning ahead.
This will give you pause for thought and if you only cut down on waste thats money saved!
Even if you missed the series this book is great on its own and you can easily adapt and change ingredients or scale down if there's only 2 of you.
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