Extracted from Mary Berry Simple Comforts by Mary Berry (BBC Books, £26).
Double-baked mushroom soufflés
Pure indulgence in the best way! You can make these simple mushroom and cheese soufflés well ahead of time, then reheat them in the creamy spinach sauce and they still stand tall.
75g (3oz) butter, plus extra for
200g (7oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
50g (2oz) plain flour
300ml (10fl oz) hot full-fat milk
50g (2oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
3 eggs, separated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUCE
300ml (10fl oz) pouring double cream
50g (2oz) baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Can be made up to hours ahead and reheated with the sauce as in step 8.
1 You will need 6 x size 1 (100ml) ramekins. Preheat the oven to 220°/220° fan/Gas 7 and butter the ramekins generously. Lay a piece of kitchen paper in the base of a roasting tin – the paper stops the ramekins for slipping in the tin.
2 Melt 25g (10oz) of the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry them over high heat for a few minutes. Cover the pan with a lid, lower the heat and cook for another 4 minutes, then remove the lid and fry over a high heat to evaporate the liquid. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
3 To make the soufflé base, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour to make a roux and cook for a minute. Gradually add the hot milk and whisk over a high heat until you have a thickened, smooth sauce.
4 Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until the sauce is smooth. Add the mushrooms and the cheese and season, then set aside to cool a little.
5 Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir about a tablespoon of egg whites into the egg and mushroom mixture and carefully fold it in, keeping everything light and airy.
6 Divide the soufflé mixture evenly between the ramekins and sit them on the paper in the roasting tin. Pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the soufflés for about 15 minutes until risen and lightly golden.
7 To make the sauce, pour the cream into a jug and add the spinach and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
8 To serve, preheat the oven to 200°/200° fan/Gas 7. Carefully run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and remove the soufflés. Sit the soufflés, browned side up, in an ovenproof dish, then spoon the sauce around them. Reheat for about 12 minutes until piping hot. Serve with dressed leaves or some brown bread.
Warm chicken & dill salad with mustard Parmesan dressing
If you are a fan of Caesar salad this is a great one to try – but you must like dill to enjoy it! Crunchy lettuce is best here, as it keeps firm and crisp.
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts,
cut into thin strips
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp runny honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SALAD
½ large iceberg lettuce, very
1 large bunch of dill, leaves
removed and chopped
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
6 dill pickles or gherkins (from a jar),
fi nely chopped
FOR THE DRESSING
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 heaped tbsp Parmesan shavings
25g (1oz) pea shoots or microherbs, to
Dressing can be made up to a day ahead. Assemble the salad up to hours ahead and dress just before serving.
1 Put the chicken into a bowl with the paprika, honey and a tablespoon of the oil. Season well and toss to coat all the chicken pieces.
2 Heat a large frying pan and add the remaining oil. Fry the chicken pieces briefl y over a high heat until golden brown and just cooked through – take care not to overcook them. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
3 Scatter the lettuce over a large serving plate and sprinkle with the dill, spring onions and pickles. Arrange the warm chicken pieces on top.
4 A Measure all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Check the seasoning. Pour the dressing over the salad and sprinkle with Parmesan shavings and microherbs.
Brioche frangipane apple pudding
When you feel in need of a comfort pudding this one really fits the bill. It’s perfect for Sunday lunch, served warm with ice cream, custard, cream or crème fraîche.
½ brioche loaf
175g (6oz) butter, softened,
plus extra for greasing
175g (6oz) caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
175g (6oz) ground almonds
3 eggs, beaten
25g (1oz) plain flour
About 2 red dessert apples, skin
on, cored and thinly sliced,
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
Icing sugar, for dusting
Can be made and baked up to
8 hours ahead and reheated to serve.
1 You will need a large, shallow ovenproof dish, about 28cm (11in) in diameter. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6 and grease the dish with butter.
2 Slice the brioche into thin slices, about 5mm/¼in, and arrange these over the base of the dish. Make sure you cover the base and fill in all the gaps, but don’t overlap the slices.
3 Measure the butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz until pale and fluffy. Add the almond extract, ground almonds, eggs and flour, then whizz again until the mixture is soft and creamy and there are no lumps. Be careful not to over-process.
4 Spoon the mixture over the brioche base and spread it to the sides. Arrange the sliced apples in a neat overlapping circular pattern over the top. Bake the pudding in the oven for about 40 minutes until lightly golden all over and firm in the centre when lightly pressed.
5 Melt the jam with 2 tablespoons of water in a small pan. Brush over the surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
6 Dust the pudding with icing sugar and serve warm.