Posts Tagged ‘mary berry’

Mary Berry Cooks

Monday, November 21st, 2016 | Books, Food


This is the second Mary Berry cookbook I have worked my way through, the other being Absolute Favourites.

I have eight recipes that are “keepers” from this book. That is two more than Absolute Favourites, and only beaten by two of the River Cottage cookbooks. It is useful for basics like roasting potatoes and vegetables, as well as some really nice starters, mains and desserts. I highly recommend this cookbook.


Which cookbooks are the most useful?

Saturday, September 24th, 2016 | Books, Food


We don’t often repeat recipes in the Worfolk household. There are so many amazing cuisines, cookbooks and ideas out there that we try something new almost every night. However, there are some recipes that are tasty enough, quick enough or reliable enough that they are reused on a semi-regular basis.

As you might imagine from knowing me, I keep them on a spreadsheet. I thought it would be interesting to analysis how many recipes from each cookbook made it onto the spreadsheet and therefore which cookbooks have stood the test of time.

I have linked through to the review, where one exists.

Recipe Count Cookbooks
13 River Cottage: Veg Every Day
11 River Cottage Every Day
6 Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites
4 Paul Hollywood’s Bread, Cakes & Slices, 30 Minute One Pot, Nordic Cookbook
3 River Cottage Bread*, The Fish Market, Curry Bible, Thug Kitchen
2 Baking: 100 Everyday Recipes, Soups, The Accidental Vegetarian, Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds, River Cottage: Light & Easy, Chocolate
1 River Cottage Fish Book, Kenwood, Moomin’s Cookbook, Linda’s Kitchen, Easy One Pot, Nordic Bakery
0 500 Ways To Cook Vegetarian, River Cottage Cookbook, Hugh’s Three Good Things

* indicates I am still working my way through this book.

This isn’t an exact science. I re-use some recipes more than others. If anything, Veg Every Day deserves to be higher because I use that a lot, whereas although I have marked Easy One Pot as having a recipe I would re-use, I certainly don’t go for it anywhere near as much.

It is also unfair on some of the books. A lot of the baking books for example are full of amazing recipes that I have yet to try, but one might day and find they are definitely keepers.

Based on these figures, it seems sensible for me to recommend River Cottage and Mary Berry cookbooks. River Cottage consistently does well. The original River Cottage Cookbook isn’t really a cookbook, it’s more of a book about self-sufficiency, so it is not surprisingly it did not do well. The River Cottage Fish Book did not score so well either, but it was fun read. At the other end of the table, both of my favourite River Cottage cookbooks are storming ahead.

Mary Berry is also on the recommendation list because I am working through my second cookbook of hers at the moment and that is also going to score well. Plus they’e excellent for easy meals and dinner parties as they almost always contain instructions for making in advance.

UPDATE: Since writing this, I have finished working my way through Mary Berry Cooks that added 8 new recipes onto my spreadsheet. That puts it in third place behind the two River Cottage books.

Creamy celeriac soup

Thursday, September 1st, 2016 | Food


This recipe is a real winner from Mary Berry. It’s just so simple to do. Fry some fennel in butter, throw in a celeriac, a potato and a litre of stock then simmer for 20 minutes. After that, blend (it blends really easily after you have cooked the vetagables), mix in some creme fraiche and you’re done.

Haven’t got everything perfectly blended? It makes the soup look even more interesting!

Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 | Books, Food

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.