Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets episode 4: Mary visits Goodwood House, home to the March family and a long line of innovators in the fields of sport and farming. Famous for iconic horse racing and motoring events, Mary Berry is taken on a thrilling lap of the Goodwood motor circuit by Lord March, in a car designed by his grandfather, and invited to one of his infamous dinner parties where 300 dine in style in the splendid state rooms.
But the family were not only innovators in sport, and Mary meets the octogenarian duchess and her daughter Nimmy who reveal the forward-thinking story behind the Estate’s organic farm. Discovering below stairs, Mary takes to the butler’s pantry to cook a hearty race day breakfast, a delicious coq au vin and a four-tier cake for a sumptuous cricket tea set in the one of the oldest cricket clubs in the world.
Berry’s first job was at the Bath Electricity Board showroom and then conducting home visits to show new customers how to use their electric ovens. She would typically demonstrate the ovens by making a Victoria sponge, a technique she would later repeat when in television studios to test out an oven she had not used before. Her catchment area for demonstrations was limited to the greater Bath area, which she drove around in a Ford Popular supplied as a company car.
Her ambition was to move out of the family home to London, which her parents would not allow until she was 21. At the age of 22, she applied to work at the Dutch Dairy Bureau, while taking City & Guilds courses in the evenings. She then persuaded her manager to pay for her to undertake the professional qualification from the French Le Cordon Bleu school.
She left the Dutch Dairy Bureau to become a recipe tester for PR firm Benson’s, where she began to write her first book. She has since cooked for a range of food-related bodies, including the Egg Council and the Flour Advisory Board. In 1966 she became food editor of Housewife magazine. She was food editor of Ideal Home magazine from 1970 to 1973.
Her first cookbook, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, was published in 1970. She launched her own product range in 1994 with her daughter Annabel. The salad dressings and sauces were originally only sold at Mary’s AGA cooking school, but have since been sold in Britain, Germany and Ireland with retailers such as Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Tesco. She has also appeared on a BBC Two series called The Great British Food Revival, and her solo show, Mary Berry Cooks, began airing on 3 March 2014.
Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets episode 4 recipes
Homemade lemon curd
It’s hard to go back to shop-bought curd after making your own. Just make sure you keep an eye on the pan while the curd is thickening so that it doesn’t split.
- Break the eggs into a saucepan and whisk to combine. Stir in the remaining ingredients and place over a medium heat.
- Whisk continuously over the heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and is slightly thickened – this could take 7–10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it may split.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Spoon into a sterilised jar (or two small jars) seal, and leave to thicken.
- Keep in the fridge for up to a month, but use within a week of opening the jar.
Strawberry cake with lemon curd
Enjoy this spectacular layered strawberry cake with luscious lemon curd after a long and lazy game of cricket. Or, like us, just while watching the cricket.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with discs of non-stick baking paper and grease well.
- Put the eggs, flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest and baking powder in a bowl and beat until smooth and combined. Divide between the tins and level the top.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is well-risen, golden and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes in the tins. Remove from the tin onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Cut the three or four whole strawberries in half through the stalk and set aside to decorate. Slice the remaining strawberries.
- Slice each cake in half horizontally and sit one slice on a cake stand. Spread with a quarter of the whipped cream, then 2 tablespoons of lemon curd, then a third of the sliced strawberries.
- Continue layering the cake. Finish with a large dollop of cream in the centre of the top slice, then decorate with the reserved green-topped strawberries. Cut into wedges to serve.
Earl Grey tea bread – Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets episode 4
Dried fruit is plumped up by being soaked overnight in Earl Grey tea. After that it’s a quick stir-together job and a couple of hours later, voila, the perfect tea loaf.
- Put the currants and sultanas in a bowl and pour over the hot tea. Stir, cover and leave to soak overnight for the liquid to absorb.
- Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 3½. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper.
- Add the flour, sugar and egg to the bowl of soaked fruit (if there is a little excess liquid this is fine) and mix thoroughly.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for 1¾ hours, or until the cake is risen and just firm to the touch, but check it after 1¼ hours to see how it is doing. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.
- Turn out the cake and remove the paper. To serve, cut into fairly thick slices and spread with butter to serve.