“We’ve got the ultimate chocolate brownie – that’s to die for. I’ve done many brownie recipes and blondies and things in my time, but we’ve put the ultimate chocolate brownie in there, and a few casseroles – the Sunday best minted lamb is delicious… Then there’s one pot things like Tuscan chicken, which is the sort of dish you can share for a very special occasion. It’s done with chicken thighs, which if you overcook and people are late – it doesn’t matter a bit, it just means it is more tender. Whereas if we use the breasts, it would have become tough.”
She’s always a fan of the classics, but Berry isn’t afraid to branch out either, saying: “We’ve included brunch this time, because brunch seems to be very popular – especially on a Sunday morning, when you have friends round,” she adds. “Perhaps they don’t necessarily want to do a roast – they do brunch, because everybody gets up a bit later, and it’s a lovely meal to share.”
Berry might see the appeal of brunch, but that doesn’t mean she’s completely ditched her Sunday routine. “In our family, it’s still the Sunday roast,” she admits. “But of course, this summer’s been so warm, we’ve often had brunch instead.”
Spaghetti with peas and pesto
For the pea pesto:
250g frozen petits pois
115g unsalted cashew nuts
55g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve (optional)
2 large garlic cloves, halved
Large bunch of basil, roughly chopped
100ml olive oil
1. Cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling water for three minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again.
2. Place half the peas in a small food processor and add the nuts, cheese, garlic and basil. Whiz until finely chopped. Slowly add the oil, a little a time, until you have a paste consistency. Season with salt to taste.
3. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Reserve 50ml of the pasta water before draining.
4. Place the pesto in a large non-stick frying pan, add the reserved peas and the cooked spaghetti and a little of the pasta water. Toss everything over a high heat until well coated.
5. Season well with freshly ground black pepper and serve with extra Parmesan, if liked.
6 large skinless chicken thighs, bone in
2tbsp plain flour
2tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2tsp tomato puree
30g sun-blushed tomatoes, chopped
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
150ml pouring double cream
150g baby spinach
55g Parmesan, grated
1. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl. Add the flour and half the paprika and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss together to coat.
2. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the chicken and fry for three to four minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Set aside on a plate.
3. Add the onion and pepper to the unwashed pan and fry for four to five minutes over a medium heat, until soft. You may need a little more oil. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
4. Stir in the purée, tomatoes, wine and stock and bring up to the boil. Return the chicken to the pan with any resting juices, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until tender.
5. Add the cream and spinach to the pan and stir until wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the cheese and serve piping hot.
Ultimate chocolate brownies
(Makes 24 squares)
360g plain chocolate (2×180g packets), broken into pieces
225g butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
225g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
75g self-raising flour
1tsp vanilla extract
75g chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a 30×23-centimetre traybake tin with non-stick baking paper.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Stir to combine.
3. Remove from the heat and add the sugar and eggs. Mix well until smooth, then add the flour and vanilla and mix again. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes, until well risen and set around the edges, with a slightly soft centre.
5. Leave to cool in the tin, then slice into 24 squares.
Cook And Share by Mary Berry is published in hardback by BBC Books. Photography by Laura Edwards. Available now.