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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 October 2006
If you have Mary Berry's Real Food Fast and Cook Now, Eat Later books do not bother to buy this cookery book. Nearly all the recipes in Mary Berry's Christmas Collection are in these previous books.
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on 24 October 2013
Once again Mary Berry doesn't let you down. Her recipes are very simple and very easy to understand. I have other Christmas books from other "celebrity "chefs and Mary's ideas for Xmas are on par with Delia's. Would recommend this book to anyone catering for the family for Christmas for the first time. Brilliant!!
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on 9 November 2013
Very clear instructions, lots of tips for freezing/preparing in advance and very helpful shopping list. I have always been a fan of Mary Berry and even after many years of cooking for Christmas still found some new ideas in this book.
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on 25 November 2013
I had never heard of British food writer & television presenter Mary Berry until about a year ago when I visited my daughter in the UK, but after seeing her on UK television, watching her in The Great British Bake Off and trying a few of her recipes I knew that Mary Berry was someone whose recipes I wanted to add to my collection. I almost ordered her latest, Mary Berry's Christmas Collection, from Amazon UK, but since that involves jumping through hoops with my bank I decided to preorder here. Was I ever delighted when the book showed up a couple of days ago, a full two weeks earlier than the predicted date!

Normally I would wait until I was "done" with a book to write a review, but on the grounds that a Christmas cookbook is of little value in January, I am going to break all of my own "rules" and post my review as a work in progress.

A little bit smaller volume than cookbooks from US-based authors tend to be these days, I love the layout! Printed on good paper made from wood grown in sustainable forests, there is at least one full color, full page photo for every recipe in the book. You are guaranteed to drool! Mary presents three different Christmas Lunch (what we call Christmas Dinner over here) menus - Roast Turkey, Roast Goose and Prime Rib, recipes for every dish in all of the menus, plus many extras. Her minute-by-minute countdown to Roast Turkey dinner is invaluable and spot on. (I'm sure of this because I roast a turkey quite nearly the way that she does and serve dinner at just about the same time.) For every recipe you will find notes on how to prepare the recipe ahead of time, whether it can be frozen and so forth. Unlike many holiday cookbooks, Mary Berry's Christmas Collection is very well balanced. Yes, there are sweets but there are also casseroles, starters, unusual soups,and a generous number of interesting ways to use up leftovers.

Clearly a good hostess, one who enjoys having time to enjoy her own gatherings, Mary does not hesitate to recommend shortcuts like frozen phyllo & puff paste or shop-bought trifle sponges, though nearly everything is quick, easy and "from scratch."

I'm having a Baking Day today (though I suppose I should really call it a Cooking Day, since much of what I'm testing today is not sweet) so I will update you on the recipes I'm testing in a bit. There are, however, two I can tell you about right off the bat.

TEST RECIPE 1 - SPECIAL MINCEMEAT

My Dad adored mincemeat. It simply was not Thanksgiving or Christmas to him without a Mincemeat Pie. Most years I've carried on the tradition, using the same dehydrated block of mincemeat that Dad always used. Mince pies are BIG in the UK at Christmas time (You've seen the famous scene in Harry Potter I'm sure!) and they are everywhere. Every little corner shop has boxes of little mince pies in the same way that every little corner store in the US has Twinkies or Little Debbies and boy are they good. Mary Berry's Special Mincemeat recipe seemed a whole lot simpler to me than the ones I mucked around with years ago. Mostly dried fruit with a bit of muscovado sugar (I used the Dark Muscovado I brought back from the UK last year, but you could use regular brown sugar), some fat and the juice/rind of a lemon, topped off with a liberal dose of brandy, my first batch (went out and bought the ingredients yesterday to make more!) took just about 20 minutes to produce and OMG! I will NEVER bother with bought mincemeat again.

This is dead easy, keeps for months and is simply stunning. Once made, Mary includes a half-dozen recipes for using it up in ways that will be both different and spectacular. You'll find not only those ubiquitous bite-sized Mincemeat Pies, but also Frangipane Mince Pies, a Christmas Tarte Amandine, Ice Cream Christmas Pudding (Mincemeat and vanilla ice cream is to-die-for good!), Mincemeat Bread and Butter Pudding and a Mincemeat and Apple Caramel. My dad would be clean over the moon!

TEST RECIPE 2 - THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE ROULADE

One of Mary Berry's signature bakes, her Ultimate Chocolate Roulade also appears in another book that I've very recently reviewed, The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets. It's been a bare two weeks since I produced this as a Test Recipe from that book. (The kids haven't even sent the dishes back yet!) You'll find my notes on my review of The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets. Let me just say this - If you never in your life learn to bake anything at all except Chocolate Roulade, this should be the one recipe in your arsenal. Easy to make, easy to dress up, this is a glorious dessert. Done correctly it is a real show stopper. If you accidentally overbake it so that it cracks too much when you roll it, chunk it up and pile the chunks of alternating cake and cream into pretty glasses, then drizzle with a dab of fudge sauce. It will still be a show stopper.

I'm off to the kitchen! Coming up - a dead easy glamorous dessert, a couple of appetizers and a special Turkey Korma that Mary notes is great year-round made with chicken, right on time for those Thanksgiving leftovers!

MORE TO COME

Grandma's $0.02 - Mary Berry's Christmas Collection is a real gem! Highly recommended
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on 4 January 2010
A friend introduced me to this book; she had been introduced to it by another friend who again said you simply must have ... It contains simple, uncomplicated and absolutely delicious recipes which I made throughout Christmas. The ingredients were easy to purchase and I liked the fact one could make most of them in advance which is essential when cooking for a houseparty of 16 over 4 days! I strongly recommend this book.
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on 22 January 2013
Lovely book, up to Marys usual standard. I know other reviewers say her recipes are duplicated in other books, but as I don't have those books this one is fantastic for me with some wonderful recipes and nice pictures.
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on 19 December 2013
I got this book from the Kindle store as it was so cheap. It is a choice of sit down menus with all the trimmings, set out just like you get in a restaurant. It gives you step by step guides to shopping, count down preparation and cooking. I did the cranberry sauce today, but have to say I found the quantity of cider vinegar used is far too much for my taste, I would use half the amount, if any at all! I would recommend it for a new cook, as it saves you wondering what to cook and buy for a Christmas dinner. Of course one doesn't have to do everything on the menu. I have other Mary Berry cookbooks and her recipes are great, so don't be put off by my comment on the cranberry sauce.
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on 13 October 2013
I bought it for my Kindle. It is nicely laid out and easy to read instructions. Recipes for new foods that are quick to make when time is short over Christmas. I like it very much.
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This was delivered today so I sat and had a browse. It has all the tradional recipes and more.(100)
Mary gives you menus, shopping lists,freezer tips,timings for Xmas day lunch,,dishes for boxing day,plus
buffet,baking,puds,starters canapes,mains vegetarian options along with full instructions and lovely colour photos.Its so nice to have all the Xmas recipes that you will need and indeed use in one book.
Smoked salmon canapes
Dips
Jumbo prwns in teriyaki sauce
Mulled wine
Haddock and spinach pots
Fisk pie
Five nut roast
Roast turkey and all the trimmings
Beef and accompaniments
Frangipani mince pies
Trifles
Ginger spice pudding
Xmas cake Xmas pudding
Apricot and brandy cake
Apricot brioche tart
Turkey korma
Five spice turkey.
And loads more!
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on 18 November 2013
I think this book is excellent for Christmas but really useful for other times of the year. I always enjoy Mary's book. They are simple to read but give very good detail and explanation.
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