Why we all need a 'Bero' book!
I grew up watching my mother bake every Sunday morning and I seem to have inherited the same baking bug. In fact I think it's safe to say that historically there has always been a baking bug that travels through our family, particularly in the women. But there’s one thing that all these generations of bakers have in common…the Bero home recipes baking book.
It’s like a baking bible, the go to book when we get the urge to bake. Every Sunday my Mum would have hers balanced on top of the tea and coffee canisters that sat on top of the kitchen work surface while she baked. Now I think about it it was most likely balanced there to keep it clean from wayward flour and batter spillages! Mine on the other hand sits on the work surface and is splattered in cake mixture! The front cover has come off because its been over used and the index page is now mostly unreadable due to a minor ‘getting stuck to the page before’ accident! It's safe to say my copy has seen better days and I'm sorry to say I think I’m currently on my third copy of said book! The first got ruined in an industrial accident – which if you read between the lines means I had such a great spillage over it (I think from milk) that it was totally unsalvageable! The second I lost when I took it on a trip to ASDA, no I don’t usually take my cook books shopping with me but I was food shopping for a 4 day holiday of 20 people and I took it incase I needed to change any menu ideas and refer to amounts and I think I left it in the trolley. Thankfully my sister had a spare copy, which she kindly passed on to me and lets say this third one currently looks well used and well loved, like a favourite teddy bear as a child!
Tucked inside my Mums kitchen cupboard is also a treasure trove of past editions of the Bero recipe book. They too look well loved and belonged to the generations of bakers in or family who came before. I love looking at how the book has changed from the sepia version that my grandma had with simple pictures and nice thick cover to my mums very 70’s looking colour photo version. Then right at the other end is the snazzy silver cover anniversary edition one. I have to say though that even still in my current book the kids cooking section at the back still looks incredibly 80’s and the fact that there’s is still a section for cooking in the microwave just makes me giggle!
Lots of the recipes are still the same, with a few exceptions. As time has gone on the recipe for milk bread has disappeared and new ones have been put in place as times and peoples tastes have changed. But there are many are constant through all of our editions and there’s something quite calming and safe about that. In fact last week when it was the 75thanniversary of VE day I was looking for some recipes of things that children might have eaten at the parties that were held back in 1945. I wanted to add some bakes of the era to our celebration party lunch and turns out that actually I bake a lot of them any way. Jam tarts, rock cakes, shortbread, potato cakes, flapjack, griddle cakes, crumbles and pastry for pies were all on the list and they’re all some favourites from the good old Bero book. I have joked in the past that I think I’m A WW2 housewife in disguise, but maybe this Bero book has something to do with that!
This little book has taught me so many basics that now I have turned into my mother baking with confidence and and basically using whatever falls out of the cupboard at me. I know it’s not just me I have friends who use the Bero book as their first go to recipe book too. We all I have discovered change the recipes up depending on what we have to hand.
My friend once offered me a cheese and courgette scone and I remarked ‘ooo posh’. Her reply was ‘Oh they’re only out the Bero book and I had some spare courgettes so I grated them and threw them in too.’ Another one had her daughter show us a rock cake she’d just made when we were on a video call and this was followed by the comment ‘We put coconut in them this time’ my reply was ‘Do you ever put seeds in your rock cakes?’ The Bero rock cakes call for raisins / sultanas but our favourite in the OMC household is to replace them with dried cranberries and pumpkin or sunflower seeds...we'll be trying coconut next time now!
I regularly make the chocolate chip cookies but alter the recipe on the flavourings. We’ve had chocolate and coconut, raisin and cinnamon, ginger and dried apricot, cocoa powder to make chocolate flavour ones (lets face it if there is actually chocolate in my house it usually gets eaten!), seeds to add a crunch and I regularly use the recipe to use up all the ends of the packets of dried fruit and seeds that are always left in the cupboard and just see what comes out! I've not yet tried it but I dare say you could also add cereal to them too! I can hand on heart say, nothing has ever failed unless by some total disaster I’ve forgotten something was in the oven and its got a little overdone - and even then they still generally taste okay!!
The other week whilst in lockdown I even thought I’d have a go at making rough puff pastry (from the Bero book) which I’ve always been under the impression is tricky to do and that it's easier to buy ready rolled puff pastry from the supermarket. What a surprise when I found it was really simple and I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner. Two weeks later and I was totally hooked on this rough puff thing and ended up trying my hand at making a make-shift custard slice, which despite the home made appearance was really simple and tasted amazing! Don’t worry if you’re fancying a go at making these the recipe will be coming up on the blog shortly!!
My only disappointment is that you used to be able to buy one of these little Bero home recipe books from the supermarket. They’d be tucked away on the shelf somewhere in the home baking section and only costing a pound or two they were ideal to just pick up. I mean they were so readily available that my mum has used them as stocking stuffers for my sister and I on a few occasions, which is why we ended up with multiple copies! Sadly, however, a few years ago they stopped appearing on the supermarket shelves and I thought they might have stopped making them. Thankfully they haven’t they still do them but now you have to buy them online. You can find a link for them at this website https://www.be-ro.co.uk and whilst you wait for one to arrive if you look at the ‘Our Recipes’ section you will find some of the good old favourites to try out whilst in lock down.
Happy baking everyone!
NB: Please note this is not an affiliated post I just love the Bero home recipes baking book so much!