Several years after the BBC ditched the likes of Delia Smith from their schedule, in a seemingly ageist move that instead sought after bright young TV chefs, this approach has been reversed in recognition of the burgeoning popularity of Mary Berry and her legion of fans. Queen of baking and puddings, flourishing style-icon; Mary Berry is back with a whole host of simple yet delicious recipes that branch out from the cakes of Bake-Off to a wider repertoire of dishes suitable for all events.
The afternoon tea theme certainly was a feast for the eyes. Chocolate tray bake, orange butterfly cupcakes, mini scones and a whole host of sandwiches (without crusts, of course), combined with sunny shots of tea and cake in the garden was enough to make anyone crave some spring al fresco dining. Full of simple tips and tricks, from feathered icing to making your own jam, Mary’s no-nonsense approach oozed ease and simplicity that even the clumsiest home cook can attempt. To add to the welcoming, familial tone, Mary’s personal and amusing anecdotes were abundant, including the confession that she hides a secret stash of chocolate in her tights drawer to keep away from prying hands.
The afternoon tea introduction was enjoyable but perhaps a little safe; undoubtedly aimed at drawing in the crowds of Bake-Off fans. Future weeks will see Mary branching out to cover canapés, mains and desserts for a decadent dinner party – something that will certainly prove a treat to all those wanting to see Mary’s easy, reliable recipes in the form of savoury delights perfect for cooking for friends.
Mary Berry’s afternoon tea treats are truly fool proof, and not all that expensive either. A batch of her tea-time scones can be ready and baked in less than half an hour, and a dozen dainty orange butterfly cakes will be ready for consumption in the same time. These two recipes, although fairly simple, can be dressed up or down, depending on time, money and whether or not the Queen is popping along to your party. If looking to impressive, Mary’s whole lemon cake is worth the effort, packing a perfect citrus punch, complemented by mascarpone cheesecake icing.
You can catch Mary Berry on BBC2, Mondays at 8.30pm
Can’t wait until then? Read our LSi review of her Cookery Course book online now
Amy Upton & Katie Dawtry