Book Reviews

Review – Mary Berry’s Cookery Course

Mary Berry’s Cookery Course – A Step-by-Step Masterclass in Home Cooking – is the latest one, penned by Ms. Berry, a woman with over 80 cookbooks to her name, and over 6 million sales worldwide. Mary Berry's Cookery Course

Photograph courtesy of Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London.

I have been a fan of Mary Berry, CBE, for as long as I can remember.  Her no-nonsense, but gentle approach, whether it be on TV or in her writing,  is all that is needed to teach and guide. She is, simply put, The Queen of Cooking and Baking!

She is one of the U.K’s best-known and respected cookery writers and television presenters.  In a survey conducted by The Cake Awards 2013, Mary Berry was voted as Britain’s favourite baking companion, beating the likes of other celebrity chefs.

Her philosophy regarding food is simple;  buy the very best you can afford, and as locally produced as possible. Read through every recipe to make sure you either have the ingredients, or know what to shop for.  Always have some store-cupboard essentials, such as tinned tomatoes, rice, pasta, and baking ingredients such as flour, sugar, baking powder.  These are items which keep well and are used most often.

Mary Berry's Tandoori Chicken

The premise of this book is to show her readers exactly how to cook her recipes, by carefully guiding them through each one. She begins each chapter with a master-recipe which can be carried through and used as the basis for many other dishes. The book is aimed at those with all levels of cooking and baking skills, from beginners, right through to the experienced home cook.

Mary Berry's Lemon and Lime Cheesecake

She lists the basic equipment to get you started on your cooking journey, such as ovenware, bowls and utensils, processing tools, and provides an “at a glance” technique-finder for skills used, some of which are basic, others are more specific. The recipes are laid out in a very user-friendly manner.  A clear list of ingredients, numbered steps in the methods, and a large whole-page photograph to go with each one, showing what you are aiming for.  I was particularly impressed with the recipe photography (by Tony Briscoe, a London-based food and drink photographer), and the styling, as a minimal number of “props” were used so as not to detract from the finished item.

I am looking forward to trying quite a few of the recipes from this delightful book over the coming weeks.

Verdict: Far be it from me to pass judgement on Ms. Mary Berry!  However, as an experienced home baker and cook, I was struck by the simplicity of the recipe layouts.  She has found a middle ground to appeal to those with all levels of skills, without compromising or patronising anyone’s culinary ability.

Would I buy this book?:  Absolutely YES!  I would wholeheartedly recommend it , as it has over 100 recipes, starters, mains, desserts, breads and cakes to supplement your own repertoire and would make the perfect gift (to self) or for the budding cook in your life.  It is easy to follow with useful hints and tips dotted throughout.

 Besides, who doesn’t love a cookbook with a pretty ribbon bookmark….. not me!

Mary Berry’s Cookery Course, published by DK, £25, dk.com. Also available as an eBook to download from the iBookstore and Amazon Kindle Store.

Disclaimer:  I received a review copy of this book from Dorling Kindersley.  A review was not requested, and written at my discretion.  My photographs of extracts from the book are reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley.

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7 thoughts on “Review – Mary Berry’s Cookery Course

  1. Enjoyable review Colette that would encourage me to look out for the book and the photos look lovely too from the image you’ve captured, I wanted to pick up that fork laden with rice.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Dee. I’m glad you liked it. It really is a lovely book, and if you think my photo was good, wait until you see the ones in the book, they are stunning. 🙂

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  2. Great review and if it’s anything like her other books, I’ll be adding it to my bookshelf. Love your blog too – I’ve just set up my own, so I’ve been doing the rounds and discovering the fab world that is Irish food blogs!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Clare. It is a lovely book, so do buy it if you see it. Thanks for your kind words re. my blog, and I look forward to reading yours too 🙂

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  3. We’re a little late to this party but just to say thank you for this review, it’s always nice to read such complimentary reviews of our books.

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