Mary Berry’s latest offering is a paperback version of her Cook Up a Feast, which caters specifically to large families, events and celebrations. The recipes are calculated to serve six or 12 and cover a whole range of occasions from informal lunches to swish dinner parties. The most I’ve ever catered for apart from kids’ parties (and I don’t think marmite sandwiches and fairy cakes count here really) is seven people – my family when growing up – and the thought of having to work out timings and courses preparing food for a crowd brings me out in a cold sweat. Timing is not really my forte as Dot would probably tell you if you asked her.
This book is full of helpful tips, advice on planning, creating an atmosphere, preparation and freezing food, as well as recipes covering starters, mains, desserts, drinks and of course baking. Whether it’s a stand-up buffet, sit-down dinner party, afternoon tea or picnic Mary and her co-author Lucy Young serve up recipes to help get you through them all.
I would say that a lot of the recipes include lots of ingredients, so if like me, you tend to be attracted towards the simpler the better, don’t be frightened. They all look doable as far as I can see and the instructions are all clearly laid out on the page.
I haven’t tried cooking any of the dishes yet, but I’ve got my eye on the coffee and walnut cupcakes (damn you sweet tooth), and I think I’ll try the Hot Mustard Spiced Beef in my slow cooker later this week.
Cook up a Feast is out today and costs £14.99 from Dorling Kindersley www.dk.com