My Life in Food: Mary Berry


Berry, a judge on The Great British Bake Off, has written 70 books, which have sold some 6 million copies worldwide. Her latest, which she will be signing in London's Selfridges today, is Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

The thing I use more than anything else is a knife; a jolly sharp Victorinox. I'm often to be found sharpening them myself with my Chantry sharpener, which does a very good job. The thing I use least? An ice-cream machine. I've had several of them over the years, but with my latest recipe you make a meringue mix and add things straight to that, rather than remixing it in a machine. So I've made my own piece of kit redundant.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I'd go where I usually take my grandchildren: Pizza Express. They do very good food for comparatively little money. Their pizzas are really quite good and it's all very efficient and comfortable.

What do you eat for comfort?

I really like boiled eggs or toast and marmalade. I've made loads of marmalade this year, so I'd have that. I save all my clementine and satsuma peelings and put them in the freezer and use them to bulk out my preserve – it gives it its own identity. If I have a choice of bread to have it on I always like Paul Hollywood's seeded variety.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I think I'd choose bread. There are just so many varieties: I love seeded, sourdough, and olive bread is very nice, too. It's such a skilled activity, baking bread – I deliberately don't tutor it on The Great British Bake Off as I'm not sure I'm quite up to standard. It would be a shame to live without potatoes, though; I do love them baked.

What's your desert island recipe?

It would be a simple pasta recipe. First boil some pasta in salted water. Then cook some broccoli or, if in season, asparagus. Now take dry cured ham, snip it into chunks and fry in a pan. Add some cream (it has to be proper dairy) and mix it all together. Drain your pasta, then add the sauce. I could live off that for quite a while.

What's your favourite restaurant?

We don't get up to town that much, so I'm no connoisseur of posh London food. But near us in Penn, High Wycombe, there's a lovely pub that does lots of traditional food like hot pot and slow-roasted pork; I enjoy that sort of relaxed pub eating, so I'd say that's my favourite.

What's your favourite cookbook?

At the moment I like Lucy Young's Secrets from a Country Kitchen. Lucy works with me, but she never tests out her recipes in my kitchen, so it was lovely getting the book and having a look at all her creations. It's a book packed with young, fun ideas and I like it very much.

Who taught you to cook?

Well, the first person was Ms Date at school. Then came Mrs Viley at college, who taught me lots of the basics. But I've learnt from lots of chefs and cooks I've worked with. Michelle Roux Jr and Raymond Blanc, in particular, have both been influential in passing me new ideas. You never stop learning, really.

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam