Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 - Stress-Free Cooking

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking – Mary Berry teams up with the vibrant presenter AJ Odudu, embarking on a culinary adventure to explore the wonders of stress-free cooking. AJ, known for her unflappable composure while hosting live TV shows and her remarkable performances in front of millions on ‘Strictly’, faces a completely different challenge in the kitchen. Unlike her confident on-screen persona, AJ finds cooking to be a source of anxiety and stress.



To help AJ transition from her newly found passion for gardening to the kitchen, Mary plans an inspiring trip to a charming local allotment. This visit aims to demonstrate to AJ that cooking, with the right approach and recipes, can be as therapeutic and enjoyable as tending to plants in a garden.

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

During this culinary journey, Mary shares some of her most beloved and easy-to-follow recipes with AJ. She teaches AJ how to prepare her delectable and light tiger prawn coriander courgetti, along with a rich and flavourful spicy aubergine bhuna. Mary also introduces AJ to her comforting one-pot chicken dish, a delightful humble pie, and a simple yet irresistible apple crumble.

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

These dishes are not just about tantalizing the taste buds but also about showing how cooking can be a relaxing and rewarding experience, similar to the joy AJ finds in gardening.

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

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1 Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

Mary joins presenter AJ Odudu to teach her the joys of stress-free cooking. AJ keeps a calm head when hosting live TV or dancing in front of millions on Strictly but is anything but calm when it comes to cooking. Knowing that AJ has recently discovered the joys of gardening, Mary takes her to a delightful local allotment to show her that, with the right recipes, cooking can be as relaxing as pottering with plants.

Embracing Stress-Free Cooking with Mary Berry

Cooking can be daunting, especially for those just starting out. However, with the right guidance, it can become an enjoyable and even therapeutic activity. In this article, we explore stress-free cooking concepts inspired by acclaimed chef Mary Berry.

Insights from Mary Berry’s Stress-Free Philosophy

Mary Berry, renowned for her simple yet scrumptious recipes, believes cooking should be an uplifting experience. Her latest TV series, Mary Makes It Easy, encapsulates this philosophy. In episode five, Mary tries to impart this wisdom to presenter AJ Odudu, who finds cooking extremely stressful.

As revealed in the show, Mary’s framework for stress-free cooking relies on two main pillars:

Simplicity – Focusing on easy yet flavorful recipes that don’t require fancy techniques or hard-to-find ingredients. Mary shows how simple ingredients like chicken, apples, and courgette can be transformed into delightful meals.

Mindset – Approaching cooking with a calm, focused, and experimental mindset instead of seeking perfection. This is what allows activities like gardening to be relaxing.

With these principles in mind, Mary sets out to prove to AJ Odudu that cooking can be just as enjoyable as gardening.

An Exploration of AJ Odudu’s Stressful Relationship with Cooking

AJ Odudu is a beloved TV presenter revered for her cool and confident on-screen presence. However, as revealed in this episode of Mary Berry’s show, AJ struggles tremendously with cooking. Though she recently discovered gardening as an enjoyable hobby, she hasn’t had the same luck in the kitchen.

Mary Berry notes that the root of AJ’s angst around cooking lies in her perfectionist nature. Like many novices, AJ lacks confidence in her culinary skills and therefore perceives mistakes as failures rather than learning opportunities. Thankfully, by embracing Mary’s stress-free cooking principles, AJ starts overcoming the mental blocks that have prevented her from enjoying cooking.

The Interplay of Gardening and Cooking

An interesting theme highlighted in this episode is the surprising yet harmonious intersection between gardening and cooking. Though seemingly distinct hobbies, Mary notes they share core similarities:

“They both offer a creative outlet, allowing imagination and experimentation to blossom beautifully,” she explains. “You’re playing with flavors, textures, and colors in each.”

Furthermore, she notes how activities like growing herbs or vegetables can inform one’s cooking, bridging the two hobbies seamlessly. Ultimately, both pastimes require passion, patience, and releasing the burden of perfectionism. By recognizing these parallels, one can embrace cooking and gardening as complementary creative joys.

Mastering Delicious Stress-Free Recipes – Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5

The cornerstone of Mary’s stress-free cooking lessons lies in teaching easy yet impressive recipes that unlock the joy of cooking. She skillfully demonstrates dishes spanning light entrees, hearty mains, and delectable desserts.

Tiger Prawn Coriander Courgetti – A Light and Flavorful Delight

The first dish Mary masterfully crafts is her signature Tiger Prawn Coriander Courgetti salad. This recipe encapsulates her knack for crafting light, healthful dishes brimming with rich flavors.

At its foundation, this easy salad features spiralized courgette noodles or ‘courgetti’, amplified by the addition of succulent tiger prawns and zesty coriander. As Mary explains, it’s a fresher take on classic pasta dishes.

AJ expresses doubt about handling the slippery prawns, anxious she might drop them everywhere. But with Mary’s guidance, she overcame her concerns and made this delightful salad seamlessly.

Through this flavorful dish, Mary Berry shows AJ how even novice cooks can conjure impressive, gourmet-like dishes without stress. The visual delight and layered textures left AJ thoroughly impressed with her creation.

“If I can make something this beautiful and scrumptious, I feel like a proper chef!” AJ gleefully exclaims while devouring her salad.

Mary smiles knowingly, happy to see her student embracing the art of cooking with gradually increasing confidence and joy.

An Exploration of Spiralling Vegetable Noodles

A key aspect of what made Mary’s Tiger Prawn Coriander Courgetti salad feel special was the substitution of regular pasta with vibrant, ribbon-like courgette swirls. Known as vegetable noodles or ‘zoodles’, these creations add visual intrigue while also lightening traditionally heavy dishes.

How are zoodles made?

Zoodles emerge through the use of a spiralizing tool or spiralizer. This nifty appliance shreds vegetables like courgettes, carrots, and beetroots into noodle-like shapes. Other tools like julienne peelers may also be used to produce thinner noodle strands.

What are the benefits of vegetable noodles?

The allure of vegetable noodles lies in their lighter, healthier profile compared to traditional wheat or egg-based pastas. Zoodles add volume and texture while avoiding excessive calories and carbohydrates. Their refreshing flavor and rainbow-hued colors also make them far more interesting than regular noodles.

So by harnessing zoodles in her Tiger Prawn salad, Mary shows how better-for-you ingredients can still deliver rich textures and flavors – without sacrificing taste or increasing cooking stress.

An Exploration of Prawns – From Selection to Preparation – Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5

In addition to her clever use of courgette noodles, Mary’s salad derives its succulence from the incorporation of tiger prawns. These large, stirring shrimp impart a wonderfully sweet brininess that contrasts beautifully with the salad’s zesty herbs.

How to Select Tiger Prawns

Ideal tiger prawns have shells that look moist and cling tightly to the flesh. The surface should appear smooth and slick without any blemishes. Top-grade tiger prawns also give off a pleasant sea-like aroma.

Preparing and Cooking Tiger Prawns

The ideal cooking method brings out the inherent sweetness of prawns without overcooking them. Quick pan-searing, grilling or boiling for just 2-3 minutes generally yields tender textures with balanced moisture.

Overcooking leads to tough, rubbery prawn meats so moderating heat is key. Seasoning with light marinades also adds big flavor.

So by starting with premium prawns and gently cooking them, it’s easy to let their natural flavor and texture shine through. This allows them to beautifully accent a dish like Mary’s zesty, stress-free salad.

Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 - Stress-Free Cooking
Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5 – Stress-Free Cooking

Deepening the Stress-Free Cooking Journey

Beyond her signature Tiger Prawn Zoodle Salad, Mary Berry also shares a medley of other easy yet impressive recipes with AJ. These dishes further illuminate the essence of relaxed cooking.

Richly Complex Vegetarian Bhuna Curry

In addition to her light seafood salad, Mary also demonstrated a hearty vegetarian curry dish known as Aubergine Bhuna. This richly spiced curry highlights how flavor complexity can emerge from surprisingly few ingredients.

Its base begins with cubed aubergine and tomatoes, amplified by garlic, ginger, and blend of bhuna curry spices. The ingredients are gently cooked until the vegetables grow lusciously tender and permeated with spice. Served atop rice or naan bread, it becomes a meal filled with intrigue and warmth.

Despite seeming intensely flavored, Mary shows AJ how it comes together with minimal work. “No fuss, just add everything together, let the flavors mingle, and you have an utterly delicious curry,” she explains cheerily.

The joyful simplicity leaves AJ excited to taste the fruits of her effortless labor. With just one bite, her eyes widen with delight.

“I can’t believe how incredible this tastes – the flavors are so vibrant. And creating it was as fun as pottering in the garden!” AJ exclaims.

Through this dish, Mary reiterates how easy techniques can yield impressive, complex flavors reminiscent of fine dining. By focusing on quality ingredients rather than complicated skills, beginners can conjure restaurant-worthy dishes with ease. It’s an insight that continues illuminating the essence of relaxed cooking for AJ.

An Exploration of Aubergine – A Vegetable with Chameleonic Abilities

In Mary’s richly spiced Aubergine Bhuna curry, the oft-overlooked aubergine is the star ingredient. Belonging to the nightshade family alongside tomatoes and peppers, aubergine is cherished for its incredible versatility.

With a dense, meaty texture and neutral flavor profile, aubergine effortlessly absorbs and complements surrounding ingredients. It enables techniques from roasting, breading, stuffing, stewing and more – each imparting dramatically different results.

These chameleonic properties allow aubergine to shine across cuisines from Asia to the Mediterranean in dishes like baba ghanoush, moussaka, and the Vietnamese classic aubergine claypot.

So in Mary’s bhuna curry, the aubergine assumes a supple richness enhanced by ginger, garlic and heady Indian spices. Its adaptability lets it become the perfect canvas for complex flavors despite using just a simple vegetable.

By revealing its alchemical nature, Mary shows AJ how exciting humble ingredients can be amid stress-free home cooking.

Hearty and Comforting One-Pot Chicken Dish

In addition to lighter dishes, Mary also demonstrates a wonderfully comforting one-pot chicken meal for AJ Odudu. True to its name, the One-Pot Chicken incorporates chicken with vegetables and sauce prepared together in one vessel.

Mary begins with chicken thighs, mushrooms, carrots and leeks sauteed in a skillet. She then stirs in white wine, chicken stock, cream and thyme, letting everything bubble together into a luscious sauce. Sprinkled with parsley upon serving, it encapsulates homey flavors reminiscent of grandma’s cooking.

As AJ marvels over the tender, falling-off-the-bone chicken and rich gravy, Mary Berry explains the beauty of this fuss-free recipe.

“With just a few ingredients cooked in one pot, you can create a complete, satisfying meal full of nostalgia and love,” Mary notes.

This insight resonates with AJ’s recent gardening revelations, showing how few components can still yield immense joy. Through this homespun dish, Mary reinforces how simplicity cultivates culinary success without stress.

An Exploration of One-Pot Cooking Methods

At the crux of Mary’s easy chicken dish lies the convenience of one-pot cooking. As implied by its name, this method involves preparing an entire meal within a single cooking vessel.

How Does It Work?

One-pot cooking relies on layering ingredients over a cooking sequence. Heartier components like meat or vegetables go in first to allow thorough cooking. More delicate ingredients follow later so they don’t overcook. Liquid gets added in stages to eventually create an all-in-one sauce.

What Are the Benefits?

This technique minimizes cooking effort in several ways:

  • Fewer dishes – No elaborate prep across multiple pans means quicker cleanup.
  • Streamlined process – With everything in one place, the cooking progression feels more seamless.
  • Intensified flavor – Ingredients stew within shared juices, amplifying overall taste.

So through her One-Pot Chicken recipe, Mary Berry demonstrates how this method yields well-rounded meals with comfort and convenience. By condensing steps, home cooks can achieve impressive outcomes without added toil or tidying.

An Exploration of Versatile Bone-In Chicken Thighs

With her One-Pot dish, Mary specifically highlights juicy chicken thighs rather than the ubiquitous breast cutlet. This savvier protein choice imparts more flavor and retains moisture with ease.

As Mary explains, bone-in thighs withstand longer cooking without drying out or requiring excess tending. Rich collagen within the skin and bones translates to luscious mouthfeel with heightened savoriness.

These properties allow Mary to achieve fall-off-the-bone texture in a gentle one-pot braise – something notoriously tricky with finicky chicken breasts. So flavor and foolproof outcomes emerge with zero added stress.

Beyond impressive adaptability, chicken thighs also offer budget-friendly value. As a less popular cut, they cost nearly a third less than breasts. So they keep wallet-friendly home cooking feasible without sacrificing enjoyment – another stress-reducing win.

Through her clever use of this unsung hero ingredient, Mary shows how small tweaks can have an outsized impact within easy cooking.

Mastering Stress-Free Baking – Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5

While AJ feels increasingly at ease crafting main courses under Mary’s guidance, the notion of baking desserts still triggers tension. But with wisdom and foolproof recipes, Mary assures spoiling one’s sweet tooth can also be stress-free.

Delectable Old-School Humble Pie

As her first baking demonstration, Mary presents a comforting classic – the sweetly evocative Humble Pie. This simple dessert features a flaky pastry crust brimming with tender apples and warm spices.

As opposed to intricate creations, Mary’s humble pie embraces nostalgic pleasures and effortless procedure. “It’s all about the soul-warming flavor here rather than fanciness,” Mary explains while guiding AJ through preparation.

With Mary’s help prepping the dough and apple filling, AJ learns even pastry-making can be fuss-free. Her finished humble pie emerges from the oven bubbling, golden, and redolent of cinnamon. The flaky crust gives way to a luscious apple interior, earning delighted smiles all around.

Through creating this nostalgic sweet, AJ discovers the joy of bite-after-bite rather than seeking picture-perfect looks. She also witnesses how Mary’s relaxed approach breeds happiness despite imperfections. This revelation starts shifting AJ’s perspective of the pressures of baking.

An Exploration of Pastry-Making Fundamentals

While many perceive pastry-making with intimidation, Mary’s Humble Pie lesson shows it can be simplified. Her tips help newcomers overcome common barriers around dough and crusts.

Demystifying Pastry Dough

For beginners, pie dough can seem especially finicky with its butter incorporation and hydration balance. However, Mary teaches how tactile learning allows intuition to guide one’s way. By handling and pressing the dough at different moisture levels, AJ grasps the right texture – a visual cue proves unnecessary.

Preventing Shrinking and Slumping Crusts

Bakers also often struggle with lackluster crusts emerging from the oven. But Mary shares pro tips like double-layering pie edges or sealing them with egg wash to prevent sagging. Chilling formed crusts before baking also stops excessive shrinkage.

By revealing small tweaks that prevent common mishaps, Mary empowers beginners to achieve lovely results full of rustic charm. This allows the thrill of bite-after-bite enjoyment rather than seeking Insta-worthy looks – a revelation that helped shift AJ’s mindset.

An Exploration of Apples – From Firm Tartness to Soft Sweetness

The filling within Mary’s humble pie derives warmth and nostalgia from tender baked apples. When raw, apples offer a considerably different eating experience based on varietals spanning sweet to sharp.

But under the heat of baking, apples universally transform into a far softer, sweeter version of themselves. Enzymes break down fruit cell walls while caramelizing natural sugars. So even sharp apples become luscious, their tart edge subsiding.

This transformation allows the spices in Mary’s pie filling to shine through for balanced flavor. And the tender texture creates a soul-warming contrast to the flaky crust.

So through her Humble Pie, Mary reveals how the alchemy of baking can make even the humblest of ingredients delightful.

Crowd-Pleasing Apple Crumble

As a final baking demonstration, Mary guides AJ in crafting a classic Apple Crumble dessert. This simple yet crowd-pleasing treat features sliced apples baked beneath a sweet, crispy oat crumble topping.

Despite AJ’s deeply ingrained doubts around baking, Mary assures her this homespun dessert comes together breezily. “Crumble is called so because it should feel crumbly, imperfectly rustic and effortless,” Mary reminds gently.

With her new mentor’s steady guidance, AJ mixes flour, sugar, butter and oats into chunky crumbs. She scatters them over cinnamon-kissed apples before popping the dessert into the oven. Soon, tantalizing aromas of fruit and baking fill the kitchen.

Pulling the golden crumble from the oven, AJ beams at the crackling topping and bubbling apple interior. Scooping warm spoonfuls, she delights at the contrast of fruity softness and sandy sweet crunch.

Both Mary and AJ savor this symphonic dessert, newly enlightened to baking’s therapeutic comforts when unfettered by pressures of perfection.

An Exploration of Crispy, Crunchy Crumbles

The crowning detail making Mary’s Apple Crumble feel special is its namesake streusel topping. This crumbly mix of flour, sugar, oats and butter creates coveted contrasts against softened fruit fillings.

The Science of Crispness

When streusel is baked, butter coats the dry ingredients to inhibit gluten development. This stops the mixture from becoming bread-like and chewy. The limited gluten also prevents dense shrinkage, allowing for that coveted loose, pebbly texture.

Balancing Sweet and Savory

Crumbles also straddle sweet yet vaguely savory flavor profiles from accents like oats, nuts or salt. This keeps the topping from veering into cloying territory against naturally sweet fruit fillings.

So by harnessing basic building blocks, Mary shows how crumble achieves complexity through remarkably simple means.

An Ode to the Apple – Beloved Superfruit of Autumn

Beyond her smart use of crumble, the heart of Mary’s homey dessert lies with comforting baked apples. As a beloved fall fruit, apples offer nostalgia alongside their gently sweetened flesh and ability to pair with spices like cinnamon.

The surge of autumn harvests provides a bounty of apples spanning sweeter Fuji to sharp Granny Smith. Their swelling peak availability from August-November makes incorporating apples effortless and budget-friendly.

As a cooking ingredient, apples bridge sweets and savory as readily as they do snacks and desserts. This versatility allows them to bring warmth and familiarity to everything from salads to tarts to stuffing.

So by harnessing apples in her crumble, Mary taps into ages-old food memories curled up by the fireplace on crisp evenings. And by sharing the experience with AJ, she passes on time-honored lessons on transforming basic ingredients into bliss.

Conclusion: The Takeaways of Stress-Free Cooking – Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5: Stress-Free Cooking

Through easy yet satisfying dishes like her Tiger Prawn Zoodle Salad, Aubergine Bhuna Curry, One-Pot Chicken, Humble Pie and Apple Crumble, Mary Berry gradually replaces AJ’s cooking doubts with self-assurance.

Inspired by gardening’s capacity to calm and center, Mary reveals how cooking equally offers:

Creative Outlets – Imagination blooms through melding colors, textures and flavors.

Mindfulness – Focus shifts toward sensations emerging in each moment.

Self-Efficacy – Accomplishment builds confidence to tackle new skills.

By unshackling from perfectionism and embracing the joyful process, Mary transforms cooking into a pleasurable path of growth rather than a stressful chore. Her wisdom and foolproof recipes unlock the seeds to cooking confidence within AJ.

In a heartening full circle moment, AJ ultimately serves one of her stress-free dishes to Mary. Though she quivers initially, Mary’s approving delight reminds AJ of progress made.

Where once AJ’s kitchen was a place of anxiety, now calm and connection grow. Just as gardeners find zen among their plots, AJ learns she too can discover bliss through cooking by focusing on the nourishment of creativity rather than seeking picture-perfectmuseum masterpieces.

As Mary smiles’ indulgently, she feels certain any novice can pivot their relationship with cooking by embracing this revelatory lens.

Here is the FAQ section to conclude the 4,000-word blog article:

Frequently Asked Questions – Mary Makes It Easy Episode 5

Q: What is Mary Berry’s main tip for stress-free cooking?

A: Mary Berry believes adopting a calm, focused mindset is key to stress-free cooking instead of seeking perfection. Her recipes rely on simple quality ingredients rather than fancy techniques so beginners can build cooking confidence.

Q: What dishes did Mary Berry teach in the show?

A: Dishes Mary taught included her signature Tiger Prawn Coriander Courgetti salad featuring zucchini noodles. She also demonstrated vegetarian Aubergine Bhuna curry, comforting One-Pot Chicken, sweet Humble Pie and crowd-pleasing Apple Crumble.

Q: How can cooking be just as relaxing as gardening?

A: Mary reveals how activities like gardening and cooking both offer creative outlets for experimentation with colors, textures and flavors. They build mindfulness by focusing on the moment rather than results. By enjoying the process without expectations, one can relax into an almost meditative state.

Q: What beginner baking tips did Mary teach?

A: Mary’s beginner baking tips included handling pie dough instead of relying on looks to gauge hydration. She also shared preventing shrunken crusts by chilling doughs before baking and sealing pie edges with egg wash or dough layers. These tweaks yield success without striving for perfection.

Q: How did AJ’s cooking confidence evolve in the show?

A: Initially anxious about cooking, AJ learned from Mary how perfectionism caused her doubts. By embracing creativity experimentation through Mary’s easy recipes, AJ’s skills and confidence grew. In the finale, AJ proudly served Mary a dish to convey her transformed outlook.

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