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Live webchat with Mary Berry - Tues 21 May 10-11am

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CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 08-May-13 12:50:50

We are, frankly, beside ourselves with excitement that queen of the kitchen, Mary Berry, will be joining us at GNHQ for a live webchat <panics about baking cake for occasion and discovering it has a soggy bottom>

Mary Berry, CBE is one of the UK’s best-known and most respected cookery writers and television presenters. She has over 80 books to her name and over 6 million sales worldwide. A judge on The Great British Bake Off she has been voted as Britain’s favourite baking companion.

Her new book - Mary Berry’s Cookery Course - is the ultimate kitchen companion for home cooks keen to perfect their skills and learn how to cook some of Mary’s favourite recipes under her expert guidance. It is published by DK (RRP £25) on June 3 and is full of gorgeous recipes ranging from roast chicken to beef wellington, vanilla cupcakes to lemon tart. We have a signed copy to give away to someone who posts a question on the thread. envy envy envy (we might be a teeny bit jealous...)

Pamaga Wed 08-May-13 13:22:38

Hi Mary
Do you ever use a microwave oven? Are there any tips you can give for using a microwave oven in baking processes, please?
Loved the Bake Off with you and Paul Hollywood!

LullyDully Wed 08-May-13 14:15:19

My grandchildren have been turned on to baking by the Bake Off.

Why do you think suddenly it is trendy for men to bake cakes? Do you think there is a change coming even if it is slow? My mum always baked cakes and Dad made bread.

plinkplonk Wed 08-May-13 14:19:08

Hello Mary - I am so excited about having the chance to 'talk' to you!!! Can I ask you a question about salmon? I recently bought a side (on offer in Tesco!) and wanted to bake it in foil in the oven - but then had a panic about it being raw in the middle so chopped it into fillets and cooked individually blush

Can you advise me on how long I should cook a side or even a whole salmon in foil in the oven and at what temperature (fan)? And is it really true you can cook salmon in the dishwasher?! Thank you so much - book looks brilliant - off to preorder!

pamelaJEAN Wed 08-May-13 15:09:04

Hi Mary, How exciting having this chance to "talk" to you, its just a quick question, having lost 2 stone in weight with a well known slimming club, at the group everyone raves about fat free chips, no matter how I make them, they still seem substandard to what I would expect, brown one side and white the other...!!! Nothing like my mums, in the old days, using a chip pan with lard, and any fats from the Sunday Roasts.....!!! Also have you any future plans for producing a fat free/ healthy eating cookery book? Kindest Regards Pam

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 08-May-13 16:18:23

On which note - we would all like to know how you can eat so much cake and stay so slim. We are rather fond of cake at GNHQ so any tips are desperately needed would be greatly appreciated

carow48 Wed 08-May-13 16:46:36

When I make a Victoria sponge, the cakes rise well, but on the top they have what I can only describe as "blisters", rather than a nice smooth surface - can you help please?

shysal Wed 08-May-13 17:08:45

Do I correctly recall you stating that you were a fan of soft margarine for cakes? It is so much easier when creaming with sugar or stirring an all-in-one mix. Is there a noticable taste difference?
I absolutely love the Bake Off, and even the grandchildren have 'soggy bottom' and 'moist' in their vocabulary ! I remember baking most of the featured recipes when my family was young, but not always with the success achieved by the contestants! Are you surprised at the current popularity of baking which you and Paul Hollywood have brought about?
cupcake

annodomini Wed 08-May-13 19:22:59

Mary, why do the cherries sink to the bottom when I bake a cherry cake and what can I do to prevent this disaster?

leona Thu 09-May-13 10:20:39

What sort of granny are you? Do you cook much with your grandchildren or is it a bit of a busman's holiday? And if you do - do you let them lick the spoon? I panic about raw eggs (not that it ever did us any harm)

Thank you so much - I love all your books and look forward to this new one

sasspot Fri 10-May-13 15:36:44

I make a wicked rich chocolate cake Mary, but have a problem with either the timing or the temp. The recipe says to have the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4. Mine is a fan oven, so usually have it at 160C. Then says to divide the cake batter between two sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes. If I follow that, the cake is too dense and if I bake it for a longer time, it gets too hard around the edges. Please have you any advice?

www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/easy_chocolate_cake_31070

Mads Fri 10-May-13 15:57:40

Hi Mary
I like to make my own bread. Should I use oil or not in my recipe? Would oil make the bread last longer?

NfkDumpling Fri 10-May-13 16:20:27

Hi Mary
Sonce he retired my husband has taken over the cooking and is one of your biggest fans. He usually turns to your Complete Cook Book for the times when recipes are needed.

However, most of your savoury dishes seem to contain garlic and I have a garlic intolerance. Is there anything he could use instead? He usually just leaves it out but often it leaves the dish with the feeling of needing just that something extra.

(Oh, and would you consider leading a bring back the bun campaign? These new fangled cup cakes are all puff, wind and mock icing)

eGJ Fri 10-May-13 17:47:01

Your new recipes all now have butter which has been softened. Can we use all your "old" recipes which say soft margarine and substitute softened butter? Your books nearly fill one shelf and my first book of yours is Marry Berry Cooking at Home which I think I bought in 1983!!

Hattiehelga Fri 10-May-13 18:31:02

Bake Off is the best cookery programme ever and I love your style of no nonsense good home food and have had great success with your recipes. My fruitcakes (birthdays and Christmas) taste great but have you an idea why they are crumbly even though moist and don't slice cleanly. I look forward to more and more of your tips and recipes.

Mamie Sat 11-May-13 10:11:19

Hello Mary
I have always enjoyed your recipes and I think I first watched you in the TV programme Houseparty, which is indeed a very long time ago now.
Although I enjoy watching and reading recipes from many cooks, I find that I return all the time to the same great writers; for me, probably Jane Grigson, Marcella Hazan and Madhur Jaffrey would be the top three.
So my question is about your favourite cookery writers. Who has had the most influence on you over the years? Or to put the question another way - which are the most bespattered books in your kitchen?

Noni Sat 11-May-13 20:00:28

Hi Mary
I have used your cookery books since I bought an Aga in 1986. Sadly when we moved 4 years ago I couldn't have an Aga again. I still miss it. But on to my question. I often bake a cake for my grandsons birthdays. Last month I decided to bake a cake for a 12 inch square cake tin ( I needed that size for the icing of the cake...a large truck on a road, with motor bike etc too). However I couldn't find a recipe for that size tin and I think you can't just double or treble a recipe and cook it for longer? Any tips on what to do in this situation? My cake turned out rather dry ( I had improvised on the recipe). The finished iced cake looked amazing, but it would have been much nicer if the cake had tasted better! By the way it was a chocolate sponge my grandson wanted....
Thanks in advance
Noni

shysal Mon 13-May-13 09:54:33

Congratulations, Mary and the team, on winning a BAFTA award. For the first time in my life I actually felt compelled to vote. I thought you looked lovely on the night, your sense of style is perfect, do you agonise over what to wear to achieve the balance between modern and classic, or does it come naturally? I wish I could achieve the same effect, but have no flair!

constance Mon 13-May-13 17:07:47

My fourteen year old has learnt a lot from watching you on Bake Off, and has taken to making cakes regularly as a result. The problem we have is that I am on a gluten free diet so we were wondering if you have found any way to make good sponge cakes using gluten free flour, or perhaps some recipes for other cakes she can try, and I can eat.
By the way, I loved watching Bake Off and reminiscing about domestic science lessons I had at school, where we did learn a lot of the techniques that popped up. My offspring are now thoroughly bored by me trying to explain the difference between rough puff and flaky pastry, even though I can't eat them anymore - I attempted gluten free flaky pastry at Christmas and it was the closest thing to a housebrick I have made in years. Ooh, any thoughts on how I could achieve a better result?

cinnamonstix Tue 14-May-13 09:50:38

Can you recommend a cake decorating book for beginners? I don't know the difference between fondant, icing etc (is there a difference?!), let alone how to decorate the bloody thing.

All the books I've come across so far either have too much information or not enough.

Bonsai Tue 14-May-13 09:56:49

Can one truly label themselves as someone who bakes cakes/cooks etc if one only follows a recipe? Or should it be natural and experimental? I'm always scared to add a pinch of this, or a pinch of that - rather follow exactly what the book says!

iMac Tue 14-May-13 10:02:51

Hi Marry. I don't watch cook shows often, but when I do, I'm always amazed when chefs say 'add a pinch of salt' and then just free pour half the contents of the salt mill! And a glug of oil or whatever is always a third of the bottle...

What advice can you give those following recipes at home?

eGJ Tue 14-May-13 14:30:47

Another query! You say "softened butter" I took mine out of the fridge last night, but the hand mixer almost over-heated creaming butter & sugar. I have no problem with soft margarine. I'd like to have the butter taste, but don't want to burn out my motor! HELP PLEASE!!

swizzle Fri 17-May-13 17:26:33

Hello Mary

Fashions in food have changed so much since you began writing books - how have you kept up with that and are there things you made then that you are still making now whatever the fashions?

loretta Fri 17-May-13 17:28:47

I saw a quote in the papers last week from Delia Smith: she said you can't learn to cook from a book. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10054338/Delia-Smith-You-cant-learn-cooking-from-cook-books.html

I thought this was a bit rich from someone who has written books called How to Cook and wondered whether you agree with her or not

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