Book review – Economy Gastronomy

22 Sep

You can probably tell from the front cover above that I have used this book a lot. I once accidentally set fire to it, hence the big black mark on the front. I love cooking and would say I was a pretty good cook, but I am not particularly neat and/or careful.

I bought Economy Gastronomy about two years ago, when the TV was airing on BBC2. I enjoyed the TV’s concept – teaching people who didn’t cook very much how to construct delicious meals without spending a lot of money, and I also really loved the idea of ‘tumbledown meals’ – big meals you cook on a Sunday that you use elements from in different ways throughout the rest of the week.

Last week, I cooked two of the meals from the book – Roasted Lamb with Cannelini Beans and Interesting Turnips (except that I don’t like turnips so I cut those out – the rest of the meal is interesting enough) and Slow Cooked Moroccan Lamb with Herb Cous Cous.

Both meals took a long time to prepare in the sense that they needed to be marinated and/or cooked for a long time, but in terms of active preparation, they were very straight forward. I am still not sure about the amount of water that went into the roasting tin for the roast lamb recipe (next time I make it, I think I will halve it), but the flavours of both were incredible.

The lamb itself (a 2 kg leg) is quite pricey at £18, but for two people, these two recipes provided a surprising number of meals.

  • The initial roast lamb – 2 meals
  • Sliced lamb with salad for lunch – 2 meals
  • Moroccan lamb – eaten over 2 nights, plus one lunch (5 meals)

So that’s 9 meals from the lamb in various guises and we still have the amazing, tomatoey stock from the Moroccan lamb, which is going to make a tasty lentil soup for an additional 3-4 meals! That means 12-13 meals from £18 plus the cost of the veg (so probably around £28 altogether). For really delicious food, I think that’s pretty good value.

The othe recipes I have tried from this book have also been absolutely delicious. As well as the tumbledown meals, there are lots of standalone recipes for things like Cuban Chicken with Rice and Beans (a favourite of mine when I have people round for dinner) and yummy Quesadillas.

As well as the lamb, I also made the Thai Prawn Curry this week for a friend. I thought we might have leftovers for me to take to work for lunch, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), it was so delicious we practically scraped the pot clean. Yum!

Have you used this book at all? What’s your favourite recipe? Are there any other books that you use that have really tasty ideas for batch/leftover cooking?


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