Discover how easy fantastic fast cooking can be with three sneaks peek recipes from Mary Berry's new book, Quick Cooking.
Mary’s utterly reliable, and always delicious, fast dishes tempt any taste buds and her no-fuss expertise means you can put mouth-watering home-cooked food on your family’s table without compromising on quality or freshness.
Speaking about the book, the Bake-Off star said:
From Crumble Fish Pie, Glazed Chilli Coriander Chicken or Rice Noodle and Vegetable Stir-Fry, there are many recipes perfect for a fast, satisfying supper. Or for Sunday lunch or dinner with friends, there’s 30-minute Beef Ragu or Roast Fillet Pork with Sage and Mustard Sauce followed by Upside-down Rhubarb pudding, simple and quick, but utterly delicious.
Why not give these a try:
Crispy Parma ham, red peppers and fresh herbs is such a lovely flavour combination. Parma ham usually comes in packets of six to seven slices – use the whole packet. Swap the ham for thin rashers of streaky bacon, if you prefer.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10–15 minutes
275g (10oz) penne pasta
6–7 slices Parma ham, snipped into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped (see note)
150g (5oz) roasted red peppers in oil (from a jar), drained and chopped (see note)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
1 × 30g packet of flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
1 × 30g packet of basil, leaves roughly chopped
30g (1oz) Parmesan, finely grated
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat. Fry the Parma ham for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the oil to the pan, along with the spring onions, peppers and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Add the crème fraîche and bring to the boil, then add the drained pasta with half the crispy ham, most of the herbs and some salt and pepper. Toss over the heat for a few minutes.
Add the cheese and a splash of the reserved cooking water if the sauce seems too thick, and sprinkle over the remaining crispy ham and herbs to serve.
• Try using kitchen scissors to cut the spring onions quickly.
• Using chargrilled skinned peppers in oil from a jar makes this dish very quick – they are an excellent time saver. You can roast and skin your own peppers of course, if you prefer (see page 281).
A classic Italian dessert, this is still a favourite of mine. I’ve made individual puddings here (piccolo means ‘small’ in Italian), as they set more quickly, but you could make this in a large 1.2-litre (2-pint) dish, if you prefer.
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus chilling
250g (9oz) full-fat mascarpone cheese
300ml (10fl oz) double cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
125ml (4fl oz) strong coffee, cooled
6 tbsp brandy
12 sponge fingers (see note)
50g (2oz) dark chocolate, coarsely grated
You will need 4–6 small tumblers.
Measure the mascarpone and about 50ml (2fl oz) of the cream into a large bowl, whisking until smooth. Slowly add the remaining cream and whisk again into soft peaks, being careful not to over-mix or it will be too thick. Fold in the vanilla extract and icing sugar.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the coffee and brandy.
Break six of the sponge fingers in half and dip into the coffee and brandy mixture (see note). Arrange the soaked sponge fingers in the base of the tumblers. Spoon half of the cream mixture on top and half of the grated chocolate.
Break the remaining sponge fingers and soak in the coffee and brandy. Place on the cream layer, then spoon the remaining cream mixture on top, levelling neatly.
Chill for a few hours, if possible, then sprinkle with the remaining chocolate before serving at room temperature.
• If you can’t find sponge fingers, use trifle sponges or slices of sponge cake instead, though they are less robust once dipped, so take care when assembling.
• Give the sponge fingers a really good dunking in the coffee and brandy. There’s plenty to go around and, ideally, you want them to absorb all the flavour and add moisture to the dish.
A lovely, quick dish for a midweek meal. If you can’t find oyster mushrooms, use chestnut mushrooms instead. Black bean sauce is fermented black or yellow soya beans.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 large shallots, very thinly sliced
2cm (¾in) knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (see note)
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
350g (12oz) peeled raw king prawns, deveined (see note below)
250g (9oz) broccoli, broken into tiny florets
150g (5oz) oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced
6 tbsp black bean sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
juice of ½ lemon
Heat a large frying pan or wok until very hot.
Add the oil, shallots, ginger and chilli and stir-fry over a high heat for 30 seconds.
Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, then season the prawns with salt and pepper and add them to the centre of the pan.
Fry for about 2 minutes until starting to turn pink. Tip in the broccoli and mushrooms, toss together using two spatulas and fry for 2–3 minutes.
Mix the black bean sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice together in a bowl.
Add to the pan and toss everything together well.
Stir-fry for another 2 minutes until the prawns are cooked and the broccoli is just tender but still crunchy.
Serve piping hot on its own or with rice or noodles.
• To peel a small knob of root ginger, which can be a bit tricky to handle, take a teaspoon and scrape away the skin – it will come off easily.
• Using raw prawns makes all the difference to this dish; if you use cooked prawns, they can become rubbery and lose their flavour.