Tonight on TV: Berry good tips for beginners

Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking. Pictured: Mary Berry. Picture: PA Photo/BBC/Shine TV

Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking. Pictured: Mary Berry. Picture: PA Photo/BBC/Shine TV - Credit: PA

The nation's grandmother recently nailed her colours to the Beeb's mast by heroically telling Channel 4 to jog on – sainthood must be beckoning.

In addition to making the right call with Great British Bake Off – who is Paul without Mary? A ship without a rudder – Mary has announced she has no plans to retire and that she's keen to talk with the BBC about new programmes in the future.

In the meantime, we have the rest of the GBBO series to look forward to, some Christmas specials and then this small but perfectly-formed programme which talks kitchen dunces through the techniques needed to make meals to be proud of. It's a repeat, but sometimes it's nice to do things twice.

Berry has been teaching people how to cook for more than six decades: she knows what she's talking about. Not for her the ridiculous ingredients and ludicrously technical challenges that some chefs favour, she's all about ease and speed.

You might worry when she brandishes a spiraliser, but fear not, she won't be reaching for a sous vide or a dessicator and for the rest of the episode she's cosily making beef wellington and ratatouille (I was astonished when I found out ratatouille was a recipe – I thought my mum was just throwing all the stuff that was about to go mouldy in the vegetable basket into a pot and claiming it was a meal), salmon fillets with herbs and lobster tails with aioli and asparagus. And it's all presented with that trademark Berry twinkle. She advises viewers to let their lobster tails cool down before they try and prise out the meat: 'Find something else to do,' she says, 'Have you made the beds yet?'

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Her aioli, which I can't even pronounce, let alone make, is a cheat's version that even I might be able to throw together after a pep talk: all you need is ready-made mayonnaise, crème fraiche, herbs and crushed garlic. Just the one clove ('Chop it... and you'll know about it for a couple of days').

There's plenty of full cream and butter and all the stuff that will see us shuffle off this mortal coil earlier and some genuinely useful tips – coating vegetables in a plastic bag filled with a little oil? Genius. Unless your bag has a hole in it.

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As an amuse bouche for GBBO later this evening, this is very tasty.

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