Viewers were left bereft when Mary Berry announced she wouldn't be following The Great British Bake Off's move to Channel 4.
But fear not, fans - five months on and the Somerset-born cook, whose final GBBO hurrah came in the form of a National Television Award for Best TV Judge earlier this year, is back with a new BBC Two TV series and accompanying cookbook, Mary Berry Everyday, celebrating items which have formed the cornerstone of her cooking over six decades.
"I was thinking about, as the title suggests, the everyday," explains Berry 81, whose culinary career started with training, aged 21, at Le Cordon Bleu school, France. "Everyday can be just with the family, it can mean having friends around, it can be a special occasion."
While the six-part series will follow Berry as she travels to Scotland to enjoy the best of their everyday larder; tries her hand at bee keeping; and teaches her own grand-daughter to milk a goat and make cheese, the tie-in tome will document her own kitchen creations (120, to be exact), alongside top tricks and tips.
With everything from hearty and wholesome, to indulgent and easy crowd-pleasers on the menu, it's a catalogue that's sure to please.
"All the recipes are tried out at home," notes the star, who reveals she welcomes constructive criticism from her tight-knit family (Berry often cooks for her husband, Paul Hunnings, and their children and grandchildren).
"The children might say, 'Oh yuck', or someone may say, 'That takes too long to do', and those don't go in the book," she confides. "But I make sure there aren't too many of those!
"It's important not to have too many ingredients or pieces of equipment," she adds. "I want to inspire people to cook, and I do think a book is a nice thing to have. I'm very lucky that people trust me and that they have a go."
With more than 70 titles under her belt, it's safe to say people do trust Berry - and fans will be pleased to hear she isn't hanging up her apron strings any time soon.
"I'm not stepping back; I am doing different things," Berry insists, resolute in her choice to keep busy.
"Maybe Mel, Sue and I will get down to something..." she adds cryptically (the Bake Off co-presenters also decided to quit the popular series when the shock channel switch was announced), though it's unlikely to happen overnight.
"I've got a new series on country houses coming up, I'll be doing a bit at Chelsea [Flower Show] I expect, and I'll be doing a new series for 2018," lists Berry.
"Don't worry, I won't be idle."
Keep busy in the kitchen yourself, with these three recipes from Berry's new book...
SQUASH AND BLACK BEAN CHILLI
1 small butternut squash (about 1kg), peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
3tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp ground coriander
3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
150ml white wine
1tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 x 400g tins of black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of coriander, to serve
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.
Arrange the cubes of squash in a single layer a baking tray and drizzle over two tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until golden and tender, but still with a little bite.
Heat the remaining oil in a large, wide, deep frying pan. Add the onions, garlic and chilli and fry over a high heat for two to three minutes. Sprinkle in the spices and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes, wine and sugar, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring. Cover with a lid, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Give the mixture a stir, add the beans and the roasted cubes of squash, then cover again with the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Check the seasoning and serve piping hot with the coriander.
BEEF AND ALE STEW WITH HORSERADISH SPIRAL DUMPLINGS
For the stew:
1kg braising beef, diced
250g small shallots, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
200g button mushrooms
50g plain flour
150ml beef stock
2-3tbsp onion marmalade or caramelised onion chutney
1-2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
A dash of gravy browning (optional)
3 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Buttered cabbage, to serve
For the dumplings:
175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
75g shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
3-4tbsp hot horseradish sauce
2tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will need a 4L deep flameproof and ovenproof casserole dish with a lid. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3.
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in the casserole dish, add the beef and brown all over on a high heat - you will need to do this in batches, removing the meat with a slotted spoon as it is cooked and setting aside.
Pour in a little more oil if needed and add the shallots with the carrots and mushrooms. Stir-fry over a high heat for four to five minutes.
Measure the flour into a bowl and gradually whisk in the ale, slowly at first to make a smooth paste before adding the rest of the ale.
Return the meat to the casserole dish, then pour in the flour mixture and the stock. Stir over a high heat until the liquid is thickened and bubbling. Add the onion marmalade/chutney, Worcestershire sauce, gravy browning (if using) and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then stir as you bring back up to the boil and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for two to two-and-a-half hours, or until the meat is tender.
To make the dumplings, measure the flour and suet into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in 125-150ml of water to make a soft, sticky dough. Transfer to a floured work surface and gently knead until smooth.
Sprinkle flour onto a sheet of baking paper, sit the dough on top and roll into a rectangle about 15 x 25cm. Spread the top with the horseradish sauce and scatter with the parsley. Roll up the dough into a Swiss roll, working from the long side and using the baking paper to help. Chill in the fridge for 45 minutes and slice into eight using a serrated knife.
When the meat is tender, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7. Remove the lid from the casserole and arrange the dumplings, spiral side up and spaced apart, on top of the stew. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the dumplings are golden and puffed up.
Remove the bay leaves and serve piping hot with buttered cabbage.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE
For the base:
150g digestive biscuits
60g butter, plus extra for greasing
1tbsp demerara sugar
For the topping:
200g white chocolate
1 x 250g tub of full-fat mascarpone cheese
300ml pouring double cream
1tsp vanilla extract
500g fresh raspberries
1tbsp icing sugar
You will need a 20cm round spring-form tin with deep sides, and a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle (optional). Butter the base of the tin and line with a disc of baking paper.
To make the base, measure the biscuits into a resealable freezer bag and use a rolling pin, or the base of a saucepan, to crush into fine crumbs, but still with a bit of texture.
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat until just melted. Add the crushed biscuits and sugar and stir until combined. Spoon into the base of the prepared tin and press with the back of a spoon until level. Chill in the fridge while you make the topping.
Break the chocolate into a separate bowl, and sit it on top of a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted but not hot, then leave for five to 10 minutes, until cool but still liquid.
Meanwhile, tip the mascarpone into a bowl, and mix with a spatula to loosen so it is soft. Stir in the cream and vanilla extract, stirring with the spatula until smooth.
To make a coulis for the top of the cheesecake, place half the raspberries into a small blender or food processor. Add the icing sugar and whizz until runny, then pour through a sieve to remove the seeds.
Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl with the mascarpone mixture and stir to combine, taking care not to over-mix.
Spoon half the white chocolate mixture on to the biscuit base in the tin. Use the handle of a teaspoon to make a few small holes in the white chocolate mixture, pushing right down to the top of the biscuit base.
Pour or pipe enough of the coulis into the holes to fill them, setting aside the remaining coulis for decorating the top of the cheesecake. Spoon the remaining white chocolate mixture on top and smooth and level the top. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for a minimum of six hours, or ideally overnight.
To serve, arrange the rest of the raspberries on top of the cheesecake and drizzle over the remaining coulis. Run a palette knife around the edges of the tin before removing the sides and base, and sit it on a serving plate.
Mary Berry Everyday by Mary Berry, photography by Georgia Glynn Smith, is published by BBC Books, priced £26. Available now
THREE OF THE BEST... Baking tools
Swan Plastic 5 Speed Hand Mixer, £19.97 (Ocado.com)
Professional Piping & Icing Gift Set 7 Nozzles & 1 bag, £13.99 (www.lakeland.co.uk)
Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin, £22 (www.josephjoseph.com/en-gb)