Stress-free cooking as Mary Makes it Easy

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Thursday: Mary Makes it Easy (BBC2, 7.30pm)

There’s little doubt that Mary Berry knows her way around a kitchen.

She trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and Bath School of Home Economics, before becoming the cookery editor of Housewife magazine in the 1960s.

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She made her TV debut in the early 1970s with Afternoon Plus with Judith Chalmers and went on to write numerous recipe books and launch her own cookery school.

Mary BerryMary Berry
Mary Berry

Her role as a judge on The Great British Bake Off brought her to a whole new audience, and although she chose not to follow it when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4, she’s gone on to front her own series, including Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts and Mary Berry Love to Cook.

In 2021, she was made a Dame Commander for services to cooking, writing and baking.

So, if you were facing a culinary dilemma, who else would you want to call?

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In her new series, Mary Makes It Easy, the expert and all-round national treasure will be coming to the rescue of some well-known friends, both old and new, who need some assistance.

She’ll help them with their problems, and in the process, she’ll also hopefully inspire the viewers to try something new as she shares easy-to-follow recipes that will take some of the stress out of cooking without sacrificing flavour.

In the first episode, Mary is joined by a particularly dear pal, comedian and fellow Great British Bake Off veteran Mel Giedroyc.

If that didn’t bring back enough memories, it seems they’ll once again be sharing a tent – only instead of the huge Bake Off marquee, they are going on a camping trip. It turns out that the friends share a love of spending time with their families in the great outdoors, but Mel admits that when it comes to cooking for her loved ones, she’s stuck in a bit of a rut and needs some inspiration.

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Fortunately, Mary has plenty of ideas for delicious weekend wonders. Once they’ve had a chance to catch up during a country drive, Mary shares her first recipe – a rich, creamy mushroom soup.

Mary also takes charge when it comes to setting up camp – Mel grapples with the poles, while her mate reads out the instructions. Fortunately, the teamwork pays off and the pair have time to enjoy a game of croquet before they get out the hot chocolate and head torches and slip into their sleeping bags.

And while for some people, camping food means heating up a pan of water of the fire for instant noodles or trying to find a pizza place that delivers to the site, Mary will be giving Mel a masterclass in making veg ragù, inspires with her hearty and wholesome chicken tartaflete, and shows us how to whip up a tasty Ciabatta tricolore.

There’s even dessert, as Mel has a go at making Mary’s simple, creamy raspberry parfaits.

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