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Salcombe Sundays with Mary Berry

PUBLISHED: 15:36 17 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:05 20 February 2013

Salcombe Sundays with Mary Berry

Salcombe Sundays with Mary Berry

Mary Berry tells Anna Turns why she loves to experiment with new Sunday lunch recipes for big family gatherings at her Salcombe home

Marys Favourite Salcombe

  • Mary has happy memories of Salcombe when she first met her husband Paul over 45 years ago, they did most of their courting in Island Street. She has always returned to this seaside town for family holidays and feels very lucky to now have a house here. We come down to Salcombe a few times every year. There is so much to do and see and Salcombe is special you could be on the south coast of France.

  • Best walk I love taking the ferry across to East Portlemouth and walking along to Gara Rock.

  • Best view Walking towards Overbecks you get great views across Salcombe estuary.

  • Best time to visit May is wonderful, because there are not too many people about and everything in town is open.

  • Best restaurant We sometimes eat out in the Fortescue Inn, an old haunt. The Winking Prawn at North Sands is a family favourite, and well often take friends to the Tides Reach Hotel at South Sands for a drink.

  • Best shops Cranches is a wonderful veg shop doing a roaring trade. They also stock the salad dressings that I produce with my daughter, Annabel! The bakery and Colemans butchers are very good, and we buy our lobsters in town too. Aune Valley butchers near Loddiswell also sells wonderful meat.

  • Best beach The whole family loves the East Portlemouth beaches. The little ones get so excited about travelling across on the ferry.

Salcombe Sundays

Mary Berry tells Anna Turns why she loves to experiment with new Sunday lunch recipes for big family gatherings at her Salcombe home

Elevenses at Mary Berrys house in Salcombe was bound to be a treat. Rather than a few chocolate digestives on a plate, I was offered the most exquisite pink macaroons with my cup of tea. Homemade by Mary, she had re-created the French-style biscuits and was quite proud that she had just discovered how to make the top surface shiny once finished, she had put them in the freezer for a few hours, and hey presto they came out perfectly smooth.
Mary Berry is famed and loved for her practical and fuss-free approach to home cooking, and having written over 70 cookbooks, she is somewhat of a guru in the kitchen. Her new book, Sunday Lunches, contains over 150 new recipes for a relaxed Sunday lunch. The developing of the recipes is my favourite part of the whole process, says Mary. I love experimenting, and we test each recipe until they are just right.
Her first book on Sunday lunches was published almost 30 years ago, when the recipes focused on more traditional roast dinners. Lifestyles are different now and weekend lunches are a more informal and sociable family affair. Mary explains how Sunday lunches have changed. Down here in Salcombe, Sunday lunch is definitely not a roast in the middle of the day it is often a buffet you might take to the beach, or a slow roast which you can leave in the oven while you are out in the daytime.
Marys recipes for all the classics make a welcome appearance, including all the trimmings you could wish for, from the perfect roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing and numerous types of sauces. But Marys latest take on Sunday lunches also includes a huge variety of seasonal one-pot dishes, from seafood paella to winter curries, as well as mouth-watering pudding recipes a special treat which sets this meal above the rest of the weeks meals.
Mary is a strong advocate of preparing food in advance to make life a little easier. Rather than leaving it all last minute, I prefer recipes which allow you to cook ahead of time and just leave the finishing touches until you serve up. I asked Mary if shed prefer cooking for a fancy dinner party or a family meal at home. Every New Years Eve we have something ever so special, but on the other hand I wouldnt hesitate to have family round for cottage pie or a simple pasta dish. It is the friendship that matters and the food is always a bonus.
Nowadays, people are more aware of seasonality, and more in touch with what is available locally, says Mary. People are ordering veg boxes and going to pick your own, so at last people are realising when the seasons are. If you have asparagus in August you know it hasnt come from England, for example.
Outside of the kitchen, Marys other love is gardening. We do grow our own veg at home, and over time I have learnt which ones we are best t. I love celeriac so we grow that, and leeks, spinach, and lots of our own herbs. I always plant my rocket after August so the flea beetle has gone and the leaves dont get damaged.
Mary loves having ingredients growing in her garden, just one step away from the kitchen. We often see what is left in the garden that we could use, or look in the fridge. My husband, Paul, is great at imagining what we could have, and I never hesitate using up leftovers!

Down here in Salcombe, Sunday lunch is often a buffet you might take to the beach

Food is a big part of family heritage in the Berry household. A lot of my recipes have strong family connections. Recipes that are handed down are usually the ones that have been so tried and tested. But you must remember to ask your relatives for their recipes before it is all forgotten. It is essential to write it down and watch how they do it, while they are still enjoying cooking. They might measure one ingredient in a special cup, for example, so you need to measure this specific amount.
Mary thoroughly enjoys passing on cooking skills to the younger generations. I cook with my grandchildren a lot and it can be quite methodical. We usually begin by making jelly when they are very young, and we have recently got past the stage of making cupcakes with every possible decoration on top. Once you have got them standing on a chair beside you, they love it, and weighing out ingredients is a great way of teaching them numbers in a fun way too.
Marys lovely macaroons will be making their very own TV appearance this year when Mary judges BBC 2s second series of the Great British Bake-Off competition to find the countys best amateur baker. Macaroons will be set as one of the challenges for this years contestants, and if you press the red button youll be able to watch Mary demonstrate how to make some of her favourite recipes. Ill certainly be watching.
As I said my goodbyes, Mary kindly offered to answer any cookery-related questions I had in the future. I doubt she realised that if I did take her up on this, Id probably be calling her at least once a week for years to come!

Click here for Mary's recipe for Wicked Chocolate Mousse

Click here for Mary's recipe for Cold Poached Salmon


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