For the first time in a quite a few weeks, I woke this morning feeling really quite chirpy with positive hope for the year ahead. It could be that spring is coming and I can feel it in my bones, and see it in the sky. I’m actually excited about the change of season, and imagine my inner smile when I witness my first daffodil in bloom.
You can also detect the first whiff of spring when you see the beginnings of Mother’s day paraphernalia around every corner. Some may suggest essential to serve as a reminder to those who are prone to forgetfulness. (Oh, and it’s on the 15th March for all those in the aforementioned!)
For me, Mother’s day lends me the perfect ‘no questions asked’ opportunity to say how much I love my mum. After all, she’s there for me 365 days of the year, so why shouldn’t she enjoy at least one that is dedicated ‘just’ for her? Food and cooking bring me joy and comfort. The keen sharp spike of pleasure when I make something new and all consuming continues to drive me to explore more. I love it. And this is why I relish in sharing this exact same passion with those who are nearest and dearest to me. So without further ado, I have created the perfect Mothering Sunday menu for all to enjoy. Including a breakfast idea if you really want to push the boat out, starting the day as you mean for it to continue….
Brioche french toast with berries and greek yoghurt
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
3 large free-range eggs
75ml single cream
75g golden caster sugar
a knob of butter
6 large slices brioche
300g berries such as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries
Natural or greek yoghurt, to serve
dusting of icing sugar, to serve
1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and sugar. Heat a pan over a medium heat and melt the butter until just starting to bubble.
2. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and place in the pan, two at a time, for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Melt a little more butter in the pan before adding the second batch if required.
3. Top each slice with a quarter of the berries, a large spoonful of Total greek yoghurt and a dusting of icing sugar. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 (makes about 30 meatballs)
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
1kg lamb mince
2 spring onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 heaped tsp dried oregano
a handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve
2 tsp cumin powder
3-4 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
2 large egg, lightly beaten
30 feta cubes
For the yoghurt sauce
300g Greek yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp capers, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, fan 170C, gas 5. In a bowl, combine the lamb mince, onion, garlic, herbs, egg and breadcrumbs. Season well and shape into balls.
2. Make an indentation in the centre of each meatball with your finger and add a feta cube, then mould the meat around the cheese to cover.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs for a few minutes, or until browned all over. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the all the ingredients for the yoghurt sauce.
5. Serve the meatballs with a generous spoonful of yoghurt sauce and a sprinkling of chopped mint leaves. Delicious with a torn fresh loaf, a green dressed salad and the baked aubergine recipe below.
Baked aubergine with garlic and cumin yoghurt
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
3 large aubergines
5 tbsp olive oil
a handful of coriander and mint leaves
100g feta cheese, crumbled
25g toasted pine nuts
250g Greek yoghurt
1-2 tsp cumin powder
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas 6. Slice the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern. Brush the flesh liberally with the oil, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the flesh is cooked through, and turns a golden brown.
2. In a bowl, mix together the yoghurt with the cumin and garlic, then season to taste. When ready to serve, (either warm or cold), divide the feta, herbs and pine nuts on top of each aubergine and finish with a big dollop of yoghurt.
Fig, lemon and ginger cheesecake cups
Prep 15 minutes
3 figs, cut into quarters
1 x 280g tub of Philadelphia
300g Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoon icing sugar
1 lemon, squeeze of juice and zest
200g ginger nut biscuits
1. Using a food processor, whizz the biscuits for a few seconds (allowing them to still be a bit chunky if you wish), or alternatively bash with a rolling pin in a plastic bag.
2. In a bowl, mix together the Philadelphia, greek yoghurt, lemon and icing sugar. Divide the ginger crumbs between the base of six glasses, then add the yoghurt filling and finish with the fig slices on top. Serve immediately, or cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge until needed.
Photography, recipes and styling by Natalie Seldon