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Mary Berry demonstrates recipes that deliver on flavour but save on time, inspired by the cuisine and cooking culture of places she visits in a new six-part series, beginning with Rome.

It’s the holy grail of home cooking: quick, tasty meals that require next to no effort but look like gourmet sensations.

That’s the thinking behind Mary Berry’s brand new series, and she’s kicking off with a trip to the perfect place: Rome.

Hopping on the back of a Vespa in the glorious Italian sunshine, Mary goes to watch handmade pasta being rolled out (hardly a bit of quick food prep, but fun to see!), tastes pizza served in a cone and even tries some sea urchin!

Thankfully, Mary also gets cooking herself, giving us her top recipes for delicious pasta and dreamy tiramisu.

As a famous chimney sweep once said: ‘It’s a jolly holiday with Mary!’

TV Times rating: ****

Mary Berry's Quick Cooking

When in Rome: Mary on a Vespa

Here, Mary, who turns 84 later this month, shares her favourite moments from the series 

Why do a series on quick cooking?

That’s the way I live! I’m a very busy person with my children and grandchildren, so I have to be organised with cooking. 
I love a quick, inexpensive meal that you can do 
in about 30 minutes. I don’t include ingredients that you couldn’t get 
in a supermarket in Scunthorpe – I’m not doing the show for the rarefied people who have lots in their larder. Most people don’t need juniper berries sitting 
on their shelves…

What do you cook 
for dinner if you’re 
in a rush?

Well, I usually look 
in the fridge and see what needs to be used up; we don’t like waste. If I’m cooking spontaneously, it will usually be pasta or 
a sausage bake. Or perhaps an ‘all-in-one’ dish with chicken and veg that can go straight in 
the oven. If I’ve got people round for supper and a glass 
of wine, then everything’s always in one dish. I serve up the food, then the dish goes in the sink; I fill it with water and everywhere looks tidy again!

You’re off to Rome for the first episode, and we even see you having a ride on a Vespa!

That was fun – what a perfect way of seeing Rome! I loved the city, it was very hot and, gosh, I made some good bruschetta. It was so interesting going round the markets, and I went to see pasta being made with two ladies who have been doing it for 40 years. Making your own pasta definitely doesn’t count as fast cooking, but I do it with my grandchildren sometimes. I think we’ve all grown to love pasta and it’s very healthy. When my son did the London Marathon, they advised them 
to live on it!