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The Takeaway Secret, written by Kenny McGovern and published in 2010
Available online - Amazon and Ebay and various online and high street stores. My copy was bought from Amazon as a present around eighteen months ago.
Kenny McGovern, the author, is a guy who suffers from social anxiety issues - and frankly, he missed takeaways! Kenny dedicated five years to experimenting with foods in a bid to replicate his favourite foods - and quite honestly, on the whole he has succeeded.
My book is in paperbook format and is divided into different chapters:
The Chip Shop
Indian Main Meals
Chinese Main Meals
Pizza and Pasta
Sides, Salads and Sauces
Breakfast and Lunch
Drinks and Desserts
If you are a bit of a takeaway/fast food addict, this book could save you a small fortune over a period of time.
I did find that the initial costs were quite expensive - but that is only because my herb and spice collection in my own kitchen was somewhat lacking. Once you have read through the book and worked out what essential items are required, then the cost soon comes down as your bottles of herbs and spices will last for a very long time.
Do you like MacDonalds breakfast burgers? My son does, and to follow the recipe to make these from the Takeaway Secret really couldn't be easier and in my opinion, this burger does not taste 100% authentic, but to say 95% would probably be a fair comment.
I have also tried making the Lamb Donner Kebab, I would give this 100%
I have read that Kenny McGovern has said that he does not wish his recipes to be posted online anywhere, if this is true then fair enough - the book is cheap enough, in fact the book at around £4.50 on Amazon at present is probably cheaper than any takeaway so I will not insult him by posting a recipe on here.. Buy the book!! It is worth it.
Great recipes in the book, for Chicken Kebabs, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Chicken Khorma, Kebab sauces and sticky chicken wings... all dishes that are designed to replicate large takeaway chains.
I would recommend this book 100% - weekend takeaways are most certainly considerably cheaper these days for our family.
It is hard to admit, but The Takeaway Secret by Kenny McGovern is the most regularly used cookery book in our house - for preparing meals at any rate, so goodbye Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver because Kenny's arrived with a selection of recipes that he's spent god knows how long on experimenting until they seem similar to his local takeaway.
There are recipes ranging from kebabs to American style burgers, Indian and Chinese dishes, salads, past, drinks and ice cream.
We originally bought the book for £4 a couple of years ago from Amazon where it now sells for anything from £1.57 + shipping dependant on condition and supplier. It is a small paperback of some 176 pages with absolutely no photographs but whether you agree that the taste of the food produced is close enough to the authentic item or not they are certainly close enough. The only critism we have is the amount of mess they create!
The book is split into sections:
Burgers (American style hamburgers and 1/4 pounders, kebab syle burgers and chicken, lamb and fish)
Kebabs (donner, shish, kofta, seekh and shashlik)
Chip Shop (fish, chips, potato fritters)
Indian Main Meals (Tandoori chicken, tikka, tikka masala, dansak, korma, chasni, jalfrezi and dal)
Chinese Main Meals (chow mein, szechuan, satay, char siu (Chinese roast prk), chicken balls with sweet and sour sauce and giddled sirloin steak)
Pizza and Pasta (Margherita, Texas style barbecue, macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognese and fettuccine)
Sides, Salads and Sauces (prawn cocktail, pakora, breaded chicken strips, southern fried chicken, various chicken wings and ribs, pancake rolls, prawn toast, chicken noodle soup, onion rings, garlic mushrooms, potato products, rice, garlic bread, salad, humus, raita, sauces, wraps, nan bread, chapatti, pitta bread and poppadums)
Breakfast and Lunch (muffins, pancakes, wraps, subs and sandwiches)
Drinks and Desserts (milkshakes, hot chocolate, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake and muffins)
Recipes we have used most include beef chow mein, donner kebabs, American style burgers, char siu and, chicken balls with sweet and sour pork.
This is certainly a book that gives you the opportunity to make your own takeaway at home. In addition to this book there are now a range of Rightway Books including More Takeaway Secrets that include dishes that extend Chinese or Indian menus in to an at home banquet. You will however have quite a large outlay for ingredients - many of which will be sparingly used, so over the long term will be worth it.
We try to limit our take aways to once or twice a week, but this still adds up over the month. We decided just before christmas that we were going to cut down on our orders.
I came across the book The TakeAway Secret on the Martin Lewis money saving website, I am a great believer in what Uncle Martin says. It had a few small reviews but I wanted to give it a go myself.
I decided it would be a great stocking filler for my other half, however I hunted high and low and could not find a copy any where it was totally out of stock, I managed to drop on a copy early in January it cost me a little over £3, I wrapped it up and gave it to my other half as a late christmas gift.
The paperback book is a little plain and boring at first red and white stripy cover and no pictures, but we all know what our favourite takeaways look like any way don't we!
The author Kenny Mcgovern found himself housebound but still wanted to eat takeaways so he spent five years looking into the tastes flavours and ingredients of all his favourites. He tells his story through the book.
The recipes are so simple and easy to make you will never need to order again, they use pretty basic ingredients and are mostly really simple to cook. The ingredients are pretty basic herbs spices onion powder garlic powder mayo ketchup etc so are not expensive and in most cupboards already. Kenny Mcgovern even recommends which brands ie Heinz French's Helmans etc which meats ie cheaper mince for burgers as this has a higher fat content so they do not dry out. The donor kebab is as good as any I have had from the local takeaways and because you have made it yourself you know exactly what is in it and it is not as greasy as bought ones. He explains how to make the various accompaniments ie sauces breads etc and they are spot on!
The recipes include Indian curries pakora various indian breads. Kebab shop chicken wings burgers pizzas donorkebabs chicken kebabs salads pitta breads sauces. Southern Fried Chicken. Big macs quarter pounders chicken burgers. Chinese meals, Pizzas, Right down to good old fish and chips!!
My other half raves about this book I have already had to order a replacement as ours is pretty well thumbed already, I have ordered 2 for people he works with 1 for a family friend and 1 for my sister in law.
Definately a recommended buy for any takaway fan. FIVE STARS ALL ROUND
After moving house and tightening the purse strings I sceptically purchased this book. I love take aways and im not ashamed to admit that 3 out of 7 nights we would order in. Let me take you through my 'take away secret story'.
Purchased the book. Three pound something, bargain.
Received the book. Looked through the book. There aren't any pictures but lets be honest, I know what a big mac, kebab and curry should look like.
Compiled a shopping list. Lets be honest, most cook books entail recipes that require a vast number of fiddly ingredients. Various herbs and spices which aren't usually found in my store cupboard (and sometimes not even in the shops!) and expensive meats. Not this book. Nice and cheap, dried herbs and spices, all available in the local supermarket. The book had already partly won me over when a shop for 4 different meals from the book came to less than one order placed to our local curry house would have.
Meal 1 - Lamb Donner. I actually can not put into words how simply amazing this meal was. I'm not a huge fan of Donner as I find it terribly greasy but the OH loves it so this was the first meal requested. So so easy to make and better than any donner I've experienced from a kebab shop. And yes this includes the ones after a few too many vino's on a Saturday night! Roaring success, quick, simple and cheap. Win, win, win!
Meal 2 - Garlic Chicken Curry. I will say one thing and one thing only about this meal; Bye bye Curry House, you will no longer have my custom. Once again simple, quick, cheap, easy (OH who is not au fait with the kitchen has made it, successfully I may add :D) tasty and authentic. 10/10.
Meal 3 - Mega Burger. Try it. You have to try it to believe it.
So in short, this is actually the best cook book I have ever got. Both of us are fussy eaters so we're usually hard pushed to find more than 2 or 3 meals in a cook book that we would use but I can't wait for the weekend to try even more of these! The book is a god send if you find yourself over spending on take out and it's in plain, simple easy to do step by step English. Simply a must have!!
The Takeaway Secret is a book that I found through a thread on moneysavingexpert.com - there's a whole thread on this and practically everyone recommends it.
The author, Kenny McGovern, was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, followed by mild depression and agoraphobia, which meant that he was unable to go out and get his favourite sandwich from Subway. He decided to try to create the same sandwich at home but it never quite tasted the same. It took him a few weeks, but finally, after asking the advice of everyone he knew, he finally got his sandwich to taste the same as if he'd gone to Subway and bought it. Then he turned to recreating other takeaway food and so the book came about. It took him about five years to create all the recipes that are in the book.
So I tootled off to Amazon to buy it at the amazing price of £3.75 and when it arrived, I had a quick look through to see what recipes there are in there. It's split up into sections: burgers, kebabs, the chip shop, Indian main meals, Chinese main meals, pizza and pasta, sides salads and sauces, breakfast and lunch, and drinks and desserts.
Within each section, there are numerous recipes. As an example, in the Indian meals chapter, there's an initial recipe for the base curry sauce, which can they be frozen in portions and used as the base ingredient for the other meals in that section. Doing it this way means that each meal, once the base sauce is prepared, only takes ten minutes to make.
The recipes are written in plain English and are very easy to follow, although some recipes call for parts to be chilled in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, so it pays to read ahead before blindly starting a recipe. Following the recipe exactly usually works, although there are some little tweaks to be made, to adapt the meals to your specific taste.
The dishes that I have made from the book have turned out, on the whole, to be fantastic (although I made the mistake of not reading ahead and therefore didn't chill the rice for my egg fried rice, which turned it into a disaster!). The dishes I would recommend are the crispy chilli chicken, the bacon and egg McMuffins, the sausage and egg McMuffins (taste just like the real thing) and the cookies.
One recipe that everyone on MSE absolutely raves about is the lamb donner kebab. The book gives details of how to make the kebab, the sauces and even the pitta bread. People have bought this book just for this recipe and everyone does say that the lamb donner kebab is just the same as it is in the takeaway. As I don't like lamb, I'm unable to comment on the recipe, but if you like donner kebabs, apparently you'll love this.
The main thing about this book is that it tells you how to make meals that you would usually get from the takeaway. The difference here is that they're cheaper, more healthy and made at home.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to cook but finds themselves getting takeaway food more often than they'd like. And for £3.75, it's not expensive, although the price on Amazon does fluctuate, so if it's more expensive, wait until it's on at the lower price.
I first came across this book following a conversation at work about Macdonalds. (We have very varied topics of conversation!) I'd mentioned how much I enjoyed Macdonalds relish although I never could abide their burgers, even when I was eating meat. A colleague then brought in this book to show me which includes instructions on how to make an excellent approximation of the relish, as well as lots of other recipes. I was so impressed by the book that I ordered my own copy from Amazon.
Price and availability:
This is currently for sale on Amazon at £3.76, although the price seems to fluctuate from day to day. There are also used copies for sale from 99p.
About the author
The recipes in this book were created by Kenny McGovern in his attempt to recreate the takeaways he loved but because of a debilitating condition was unable to get out and buy himself. Kenny had Social Anxiety Disorder and this, coupled with mild depression and agoraphobia meant he was housebound. The blurb on the back of the book claims that Kenny "tested and tweaked many recipes, his hobby building into an obsession. He wasn't happy until his burger tasted like the real thing. Pitta bread and salad were pointless unless he mastered the lamb doner meat and, of course, the chilli sauce." This book is the result of all his years of experimentation to replicate his favourite takeaways and ranges from burgers, pizzas and fish 'n chips to Chinese and Indian takeaway dishes, with many other international takeaway cuisines in between.
Although I no longer eat meat, other members of the family do and, in fact, there are quite a few recipes in the book which are either fish (which I still do eat) or vegetarian, so vegetarians would also get plenty of use from this book and many of the other recipes can easily be adapted to suit a meat free diet, too.
Following his introduction in which Kenny McGovern explains his medical condition and the whys and wherefores of his reason for coming up with these recipes, there is a rather unnecessary, though blessedly short, chapter suggesting putting your food into foil containers to make it look more authentic!
After that it's on to the food which is allotted a chapter per takeaway type. Obviously, because of the litigious nature of American fast food conglomerates, there is no mention anywhere of Macdonalds, Burger King or KFC but it's pretty clear from the recipe names which establishment is represented by each dish. The first food covered is burgers and I have, so far, only made the Mega Burger with Special Burger Sauce and one other dish from this chapter. This was so simple to make and tasted exactly like a Big Mac, I'm told, although I had a Quorn burger whilst the rest of the family tucked in to this first attempt from the book. Although I only have my family's word for the authenticity of taste for the burger, I can personally attest to the Special Burger Sauce which tastes exactly as it would at Macdonalds. Other recipes in the burger chapter include Chicken Fillet Sandwich and Fish Fillet Burger. I've also tried out this recipe and, again, it's as close as it needs to be to replicate a Fillet o' Fish.
I haven't tried any of the recipes in the kebab section as nobody in my family is keen on these but this section includes recipes for Lamb Doner Kebab and Shish Kebabs plus several others.
So moving swiftly on, we reach the Chip Shop chapter. Now anyone who enjoys their fish and chips and mushy peas will be delighted with this section which perfectly details how to produce proper battered fish. My first attempt at the battered fish was nothing like any cod and chips I've ever bought in a chippy but my second go was more successful. This chapter is then followed by Indian and Chinese cuisine and there is a great recipe for a basic curry sauce which can be adapted for either meat, fish or vegetable curries. These chapters have recipes for all the old Indian and Chinese favourites including tikka, korma and dansak curries as well as chow mein, seschuan and sweet and sour recipes, to name but a few.
The other chapters in the book cover:
- Pizza and Pasta: including Macaroni Cheese and Spaghetti Bolognaise
- Sides, Salads and Sauces: covering Pancake Rolls, Guacamole, Garlic Bread, Potato Skins, as well as various rices such as pilau, egg fried rice and the like
- Breakfast and Lunch: giving recipes for variations on the Egg (Mac)Muffin, Meatball Sub and Fajitas
- Drinks and Desserts: this section includes American fast food style milkshakes and hot chocolate as well as ice cream and cheesecake.
Each of the chapters covers at least six or seven recipes and some of them even more. The method for each recipe is meticulously described making it almost impossible to go wrong and of the dishes I've cooked so far, the results have been really good (I won't say spectacular because I'm only an average cook at the best of times) and I'm looking forward to producing lots more takeaways from this book. This weekend I'll be attempting the Vegetarian Stuffed Crust Pizza!
So, what are the negatives? Well, some of the recipes in the book, especially the Indian and Chinese ones, require quite a long list of ingredients because of all the herbs and spices used in their particular cuisines, and some of the processes are a little bit fiddly, but none of the methods are difficult to execute and the results are as close to the real thing as it's possible to get. I would also have been nice to have at least a couple of photographs, other than those on the front cover, by which to judge ones own efforts against how they they should look.
There's no denying the country is going through some tough times right now and in these days of financial constraint, giving up fast food is probably one of the first economies many of us will have to make but with the help of this book, it might not be quite as difficult to give up the weekly takeaway, especially if the means to make our own is within reach on the bookshelf.