Mary Berry Cooks

Mary Berry: still the queen

I was all set to watch ‘celebrities’ making complete asses of themselves as they attempted to resurrect ailing careers by empathising with real people who had hit hard times (Famous, Rich and Hungry for Sport Relief, 9pm, BBC1, 12 March), when I happened upon a scandalous story in the Daily Mail relating to Mary Berry.

In the second instalment of her new TV show (Mary Berry Cooks, BBC2, 10 March, 8.30pm), the ‘national treasure’ had quite simply overstepped the mark, frothed the Wail reporter. The nature of her heinous crime? No, she hadn’t recorded a pilot episode of ‘Baking Bad’ mixing store cupboard staples and class A drugs.

No. Berry had, it transpired, upset huge swathes of Middle England (or three people on Twitter, in fact) by serving cheese before pudding at a dinner party - the harlot!

Cheesy faux pas aside, this dinner party sounded great. I would have had to munch my own bodyweight of canapés, terrine, rib-eye steak and guinea fowl, before contemplating whether or not to eschew her convention-breaking British cheeseboard to make space for the warm fondant chocolate tart, but it would have been worth it.

Even though the ‘queen of cakes’ takes a surprisingly high number of culinary short cuts in this series, such as using pre-made dough balls and filo pastry, she drew the line at shop-bought shortcrust pastry for her tart, and whipped up a selection of dishes to die for. On current form we may have to rename her the ‘queen of cooks’.