Mary Berry’s keeping her delights simple

Wednesday: Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts; (BBC Two, 8pm)
Mary takes a journey along the Thames in London to discover culinary hidden gemsMary takes a journey along the Thames in London to discover culinary hidden gems
Mary takes a journey along the Thames in London to discover culinary hidden gems

A decade ago, Mary Berry would not have been blamed for taking things easier.

Decades of writing lipsmacking books and honing her skills as a cookery expert had ensured she was rather comfortable.

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However, occasionally little TV shows come along, capture the imagination of millions, and transform jobbing experts into national treasures.

In Mary’s case, that show was of course The Great British Bake Off, the ace up BBC Two’s sleeve in 2010 which became a UK obsession. When Channel 4 eventually decided to take over screening the series, many fans were beside themselves. In retrospect it probably wasn’t a bad thing that Mary decided to go off and do something else.

These days she’s busier than ever, and TV companies are falling over themselves to work with the Bake Off veteran; chances are she could pitch an idea about ingredients on cereal packets and she’d get a green light on the spot.

It’s a wonder Mary hasn’t made a show about all of the books she has penned over the years. That first one, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, was released 50 years ago, and since then her tomes have sold in their thousands. The book which ties in to this series also looks set to keep fans happy as they fumble with ingredients in the kitchen and wonder why their cooked offerings don’t look as good as Mary’s.

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For newcomers, her latest strand sees Ms Berry explore the world of simple comfort food. She demonstrates how to make heartwarming, fuss-free dishes that can warm the cockles and lift the spirits.

In the second episode, Mary takes a journey along the Thames in London to discover culinary hidden gems that inspire her to make some deliciously comforting offerings. Her journey starts with the Henley Rowing Club, where she rustles up mixed bean and butternut squash wraps for the team, before heading to The Waterside Inn, the famous three Michelin Star restaurant run by the Roux family. Later, Mary discovers an oasis floating on the Thames, and meets an established river community who have turned their barges into gardens teaming with fruit and vegetables.

Taking inspiration from the people she meets and the food she tastes along the way, Mary continues to bring us simple to cook dishes that will brighten up even the dullest of days.

Catherine Catton, BBC Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment, says: “Now, more than ever, home cooking is central to daily life, and Mary Berry’s take on comfort food is exactly what we all need.”

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Executive Producer Karen Ross says: “Mary Berry is still the Queen of home cooking. There is no one else we want to turn to when we are looking for something comforting to cook at the end of a very long day. This series is a celebration of all those wonderful just-sink-into dishes, all brought alive by Mary’s incredible skill, humour and her joy of cooking.”

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