Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites

Absolute Favourites is 2015 cookbook by Mary Berry. It ties in to a TV show that I haven’t seen.

One of the things that Elina always comments on is how practical Mary is, especially in comparison to Paul Hollywood. Hollywood will insists on all kinds of different kitchen implements, whereas Mary will usually find a way to re-use the same bowl. This shines through in the book. Most of the recipes have a “you can do this bit in advance” or “make this and freeze it for later” section.

I was very much amused by comments such as “teenagers will love this”. It is organised by meal time and does classic dishes: steak with peppercorn sauce, meatballs in tomato sauce, fish pie. It still feels contemporary though: chilli burgers, sticky chicken and tapas all put in an appearance. The dishes are easy to make too.

Where perhaps it falls down in our kitchen is that perhaps the quintessentially English dishes are just a little bit boring. I felt like I was going easy on myself when I picked one of these up. The food does not suffer because of it though: everything we did was reasonably tasty or better.

My two favourite dishes were the lentil shepherd’s pie, a great alternative if you want to cut down on your meat intake, and the fish pie (shown below).


This is a super recipe that uses chunks of bread as croutons that you sit on top and toast slightly, revealing a sea of fish pie underneath.

This isn’t the most adventurous cookbook I have had but it has a lot going for it: the recipes are simple, easy to get right, have scope for pre-paring many of them and produce lovely results. Well worth investing in if you want to cook some English.




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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 11:15 am and is filed under Books, Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.