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on 17 July 2014
I have loads of Mary Berry books her recipes and tips have improved my cooking immensely. She can do no wrong for me and this book is no exception I can't wait to get cooking
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on 16 March 2016
I am a big fan of Mary Berry, both in terms of how kindly and helpfully she treats contestants on the Great British Bake Off and how clear and straightforward her recipes are. I already own several of her books and find them extremely useful not just as a source of interesting recipes, but also for their really helpful technical tips and hints.

I bought this book with high hopes of new recipes and plenty of 'cook ahead' knowledge. What a disappointment it turned out to be. The recipes range from the 'surely I've seen that before?' to the purely fatuous. Does anyone need a 'recipe' for fruit salad which is nothing more than a shopping list for five different fruits, with instructions to chop them up and combine them?

Tips for preparing ahead include 'Store the iced cake in an airtight container for 2-3 days' (wow, I'd never have thought of doing that with a cake!) or 'Prepare and freeze for up to 1 month' (well yes, with sorbet or ice cream there aren't many other storage options). Homemade lemon curd (under "h" in the index) has to be poured into warm, clean jars and will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. Do the jars need to be sterilised and covered, or what? I've never seen recipes for fresh lemon curd that suggest keeping for more than a week in the fridge.

For me, this book seemed to have been put together in a hurry without proper editing or proofreading. Is the daft fruit salad recipe on page 226 really served when '...the main pudding is very rich' - surely that should be main course? The Rhubarb Oaty Crumble (nothing new or inspiring about this old chestnut) gives instructions under the 'Prepare Ahead' box to 'Complete to the end of step 4 up to 12 hours ahead, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge. Continue with step 5'. Unfortunately there are only 4 steps in the receipe - and step 4 is 'Serve warm with cream, ice cream or custard.'

Photography and styling aren't up to the standards of some of her other cook books. A tray bake with a knife carelessly placed on the left hand side, blade outwards away from the food, looks very odd (unless it was styled by a left hander!). Photos are underexposed (the Banoffee Traybake on page 252) and to me look very dated in style.

The inclusion of recipes from friends and neighbours all added to my impression that this was a book thrown together in a hurry.

I borrowed this from the library; so glad I didn't actually spend money buying it, because it won't see any use.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 February 2016
I am a fan of Mary Berry and her cooking/baking!
I had this book for christmas and have used it numerous times so far. It has a great collection of tasty recipes which can be made in advance - great for when your working full time! I have to plan my meals in advance!

> Cosmetically, the hardcover looks very posh and has an elegant feel to it. It looks lovely on the bookshelf along with my other cookbooks!
> Informationally, the books introduction outlines important information such as: preparing & cooking ahead; cooling & chilling; freezing & thawing and reheating & refreshing.
> The book has 9 chapters: starters & nibbles; fish; poultry & game; meat; vegetarian specials; vegetables & salads; hot pudding; cold desserts and home baking. It also has an index.
> Each recipe states the amount of servings; whether it is vegetarian; how much in advance it can be made; whether it can be frozen and how to cook in an AGA.
> The cook covers a range of seafood, poultry and vegetables.
> As a fan of vegetarian dishes some of my favourite recipes include: winter vegetable soup; Mediterranean vegetable Galette with mozzarella; stir fried vegetable lasagne and the lentil & vegetable cottage pie.

Overall i am very pleased with this book. I would be more than happy to provide these dishes to family and friends!
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on 3 November 2002
I have quite a collection of cookery books, and can honestly say this is one of the best. The instructions are clear, the pictures are stunning (and the food you cook will look like the food in the pictures), and the recipe selection is superb from the point of view of the ingredients being readily available and the food appealing to all ages. What is more, as the title suggests, the food can be prepared in advance leaving the cook the opportunity to enjoy the meal too.
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on 25 February 2016
Bought book to inspire my partner to do some cooking with, sadly she still hasn't used the book to make something nice. Not the fault of the book as this is a very good book, I think I will get a new partner and give her the book and I may get a nice cake.
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on 23 January 2018
I have to say I already have some books by Mary Berry and was always very pleased with them in fact I have never been disappointed, however I like to review each book on its own merit. This Mary Berry book has been fantastic for me over the years as I was a busy working Mum with six children and you certainly are one step ahead with this book. The good thing is the recipes actually always come out lovely she just has the knack and people love my cooking little do they know that it's actually via my secret weapon of Mary Berry books. This is a great buy can definitely recommend as has easy clear instructions, lovely tasty food and the caramelised peaches in brandy are to die for.
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on 9 December 2015
The recipe that I wanted it for was not in it, is not very happy, I did send an email to BBC food but no reply
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on 7 August 2014
Excellent well writen & presented book at an excellent price through Amazon.
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on 22 December 2009
Excellent piece of kit. Easy to use (much easier than Sky version), especially for recording. No more renewing Sky cards. No more irritating messages flashing up on screen or programmes being turned off in the middle of recording, and it uses very little electricity. Really pleased.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 February 2016
This is a recent purchase but I am already over dependent on it. The ingredients are all things we use all the time and although the recipes have more stages and sometimes require a little bit more preparation or process, they are all very manageable. We have had some really delicious meals from this book and the pork and leek burgers are requested weekly. The winning thing about this book is that you can prepare every single meal in advance - sometimes up to 48 hours - and then just finish off the final stages when you need to. This makes managing meal times a breeze. It also made a recent Sunday lunch with lots of visitors exceptionally easy to orchestrate - I served cheese soufflé would you believe - all pre made then shoved in the oven, presented with a flourish, a fanfare and an appropriate round of applause and awe. I thank you.
There are some lovely bread, scone and cake recipes. We have had the cheese scone bake a lot as it tarts up a Saturday lunch of soup rather nicely. Recommend!
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