Although I’m not the world’s biggest fan of television I do watch the occasional TV program (especially Masterchef, I’m waiting for the day they have Gordon Ramsay on as a “guest chef” to assess the contestant’s dishes, “call that a piece of beef it’s so f**king raw all you did was rip its horns off and wipe its ar*e”.) I watch other stuff such as River Cottage and Raymond Blanc, but the ones I don’t tend to watch are the very basic ones such as Delia Smith or Mary Berry (although that may be more due to the fact I can’t abide the Great British Bake Off with that smarmy baker bloke on it.) Anyhow, Mary Berry‘s been on a fair bit lately with “Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites” and my wife decided to get the book as well, ergo: this review.
To be fair to Mary Berry she is, in my opinion, a pretty good cook and her recipes are a level above Delia Smith but not so elaborate that anyone couldn’t have a reasonably good go at them. The book features all the recipes from the show and they are well written, clear and accessible for any but the most basic novices in cooking out there. Her ways of doing things are labour saving as well and she shows the more “homely” ways to make certain things without going to the elaborate methods used by many of today’s leading chefs. Virtually every recipe in the book has of course an accompanying photograph so that A) If you saw it on the TV series you’ll remember it and B) You get to see what maybe it should look like when completed! Also the ingredients are, on the whole conventional and won’t have you scrabbling at the shelves in Sainsbury’s looking for weird ingredients you may never have heard of.
The book is well laid out in “course order” and also includes an “afternoon tea” section (inevitable really given she loves baking cakes etc) plus conversion tables and extremely helpful cook’s notes. Some people (on Amazon) have criticised the book for having too many pictures of Mary Berry and her family (you know the sort of thing, round the table with plates and bowls etc) but I didn’t find them distracting and in a sense they emphasise the fact that eating should be a family affair, something we should remember in this day and age. Realistically, if you’re after good but not pretentious food, something maybe a little “higher” than Delia Smith than you can’t go too wrong with this book. For the record we have the hardback version (kind of essential for cook books in my opinion.)
I give it 8 out of 10.
You can get the book on Amazon: