The challenge: Mother’s day menu

A modern-retro menu that brought a great big spoonful of nostalgia to the table! A few gorgeous Italian ingredients give my essentially British menu a little magic touch. Can you spot them?


Peach Melba Fizz

Serves: 6 (This is a menu for for 4 but you’ll have two extra glasses of fizz – bonus!)

Prep: 5 mins

185g raspberries, reserving 6 raspberries decorate
2 peach halves (plus 2tbsp fruit juice or syrup)
1 bottle chilled Prosecco

1 Blitz the raspberries, peaches and syrup, pass through a sieve, divide between 6 glasses and top up with Prosecco. Decorate each with a reserved raspberry.

Crispy mushrooms with Italian flag dip


Serves: 4

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins

150g self-raising flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
250ml San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
Vegetable oil for deep frying
200g button mushrooms

For the dips

English garden dip

150g frozen peas, defrosted and drained
1/4 onion, chopped
Handful mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2tbsp plain yoghurt
Juice of half Lemon
1/2 red chilli, seeds removed

Cheats Aioli

1 garlic clove, crushed
100g good quality mayonnaise

8tbsp ketchup

1 For the English garden dip, blitz the peas, onion, mint and garlic, until nearly smooth. Stir through the yoghurt, lemon and chilli. Season to taste. Chill until needed.

2 Stir the garlic through the mayonnaise. Season to taste. Chill until needed.

3 Put the flour and water in a medium bowl and whisk to form a batter.

4 Fill a medium pan with oil so it is approx one quarter full. Heat the oil until a 1cm cube of bread sizzles.

5 Dip the mushrooms in the batter and gently lower into the hot oil and deep-fry until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and lay on kitchen paper. Divide the mushrooms between 4 plates with a spoonful of each dip – don’t forget the ketchup! (See Bitalian Tip) Sprinkle sea salt over the mushrooms and serve.

Britalian Tip

Get arty! Layer the dips in shot glasses to resemble the Italian flag! You will probably have extra English garden dip, serve in small bowl for everyone to dive in!

21st century Cartwheel

sausages 1

My mum used to make her cartwheel sausage in the 70s and 80s  with white potatoes, onion, carrot and Bisto, I’ve tried to refine it a little (well I’ve used sweet potatoes and a tsp of Harissa – that’s refined enough for me!)

Serves 4

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 1 hour 30 mins

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 Parsnips, peeled and very thinly sliced
Handful lemon thyme, leaves removed
1tsp Harissa
1tbsp tomato purée
600ml hot beef stock
25g Parmesan, grated
8 lightly spiced Italian sausages

1 Preheat the oven to 190ºC, 170ºC fan, gas 5. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a 23cm pie dish, followed by a layer of onion, top with a layer of parsnips, then and scatter over some of the thyme. Repeat the layers until you have used up all the ingredients, reserving a little thyme and finishing with a layer of potatoes.

2 Mix the Harissa and tomato purée into the hot beef stock and pour over the potatoes. Scatter with the remaining thyme and the Parmesan.

3 Bake for 30 mins, remove from the oven, place the sausages on top in a cartwheel fashion. Return to the oven and cook for 1 hour until the sausages are cooked through and the potatoes are soft.

Crispy kale side

kale 1

This is a recipe we developed for Sainsbury’s LWFL mag for a healthier Chinese feature (!). It may seem like an odd combo but the sweet crispy kale with the spicy sausages and the soft potato is a real winner.

Serves: 4

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 14 mins

200g pack shredded curly leaf kale (or use shredded Savoy cabbage)
1 tbsp olive oil by Sainsbury’s
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp Fairtrade Demerara sugar by Sainsbury’s

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Put the kale in a large bowl and mix in the olive oil and salt.

2 Spread out on a large baking tray then sprinkle over 2 tsp of the sugar. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and give it a toss.

3 Sprinkle over the remaining sugar and cook for a further 7 minutes, until crispy. Mix well again before serving.

Banoffee and walnut trifle

trifle 1

My taste-buds are dancing!’ was a comment I got from my husband for this little number. My mum couldn’t believe I had gone to the effort of making Walnut Whip [her favourite] ‘tops’ to decorate it. When I explained they were just blobs of chocolate with a walnut shoved on the top, her beaming smile just got wider and she proudly said ‘you could sell them, they’re brilliant.’  Next year I’ll just make a pile of them and put my feet up. 

Serves: 4

Prep: 15 mins (plus cooling time)

Cook: 5 mins

75g melted dark chocolate, plus extra shavings to serve
10 walnut halves
300g ready-made date and walnut loaf cake, cut into 2cm cubes
2tbsp Martini Extra Dry
2 bananas, sliced
350g ready-made custard
350ml double cream, softly whipped

For the toffee sauce

75g unsalted butter
50g soft brown sugar
50g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
125ml double cream

1 Using a teaspoon, spoon the melted chocolate onto a parchment lined baking tray so you have 10 x 3cm wide disks, top each with a walnut half, then transfer to the fridge to set completely.

2 For the toffee sauce, melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a small heavy based pan and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Remove from the heat, then add the cream, stir to combine, return to the heat and cook for another minute. Set aside to to cool.

4 Meanwhile put the cake in the bottom of a trifle bowl, drizzle over the Martini, scatter over the bananas and drizzle over some of the toffee sauce (see Britalian tip).

5 Spoon over the custard. Leave to set in the fridge for 10 mins. Remove from the fridge and spoon over half the cream. Place the remaining cream in a piping bag or freezer bag. Cut a large-ish hole from the end (or one corner) and pipe 7 – 10 (depending on the width of your bowl) blobs around the edge, top each blob with a Walnut Whip ‘top’ (save any remaining disks to have with a coffee when everyone’s gone or if you’re feeling generous give them to your mum!), drizzle a little extra toffee sauce in a spiral pattern in the centre of the trifle, scatter the chocolate shavings in the centre. Chill until ready to serve.

Britalian Tip

This is the base of Nigella’s salted caramel recipe (without the salt!). It’s so easy and delicious and you’ll probably have some leftover, serve alongside the trifle or it will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days – delicious poured over ice cream! Or if you’re Nigella just pour it over your head (See Stylist cover Dec 2011). Love that shot.




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