Mother’s Day beckons and all I want is a happy family gathering — someone to make me laugh and to cook a meal and clean up afterwards. Many of my friends share my simple wishes. I wonder whether my hopes will be realised?
The origin of Mother's Day can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, the celebrations as we know them are only about 100 years old. Mother’s Day is celebrated in over 40 countries (although on different dates) and is a popular event. Besides New Zealand, the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Samoa, Georgia, Australia and Thailand all have designated celebrations to honour mothers.
Although the day was originally supposed to foster friendship and community between mothers it quickly became commercialised. May’s retail sales boomed.
Flowers and chocolates are the most popular gifts. In the USA over $2.5 billion dollars are spent on flowers for Mother’s Day. Apparently, mothers are more appreciated than dads: Paymark shows that the spending is four times more before Mother’s Day than Father’s Day.
Besides rocketing flower and chocolate sales, telecommunications companies also benefit: literally millions of phone calls are made on Mother’s Day.
So dear family, if you read this, how about surprising me with one of my own recipes?
RASPBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE SLICE
Free-flow frozen raspberries can replace fresh but ensure they are thawed in the fridge and gently patted dry. This sweet treat is similar to a cheesecake slice. Store in the fridge.
1 1/2 sheets ready-rolled sweet short pastry
500g crème fraiche
1/3 cup (100g) caster sugar
1 cup ground almonds
2 large eggs
250g fresh raspberries (preferably)
100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Trim the pastry to fit the base of a 30cm x 20cm slice pan. Press the edges together to join. Lightly prick the pastry with a fork every 5cm. Top with a sheet of foil pressing down gently. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden. Cool.
Reduce the heat to 170°C.
Beat the crème fraiche, caster sugar, ground almonds and eggs in a bowl until well mixed. Fold in the raspberries and white chocolate.
Pour evenly over the pastry base. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just set and lightly golden. Turn the oven off, open the door and leave to cool.
Chill then cut into bars or squares. Makes about 24 pieces.
MANDARIN CHICKEN SALAD
Dressing: 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon each: hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce
2 teaspoons finely grated root ginger
1 clove garlic crushed
3 tablespoons canola oil
Chicken Salad: 3 cups finely sliced iceberg lettuce
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
310g can mandarin segments, well drained
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Place all the dressing ingredients — except the oil —in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil — whisking continuously — until creamy.
Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently. Just before serving drizzle with the dressing. Serves 4.
PUMPKIN & PICCALILLI PINWHEEL SCONES
About 150 grams of raw, peeled and seeded pumpkin makes 3/4 of a cup of cooked mashed pumpkin.
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup cold cooked mashed pumpkin
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup milk
Filling: 1/4 cup chopped piccalilli
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar then beat in the egg. Stir in the pumpkin. Sift in the flour and salt and add the milk. Mix well.
Turn onto a lightly floured board and lightly knead. Pat out into a 2cm-thick oblong. Spread with the piccalilli and sprinkle with the parmesan.
Roll up from the long edge. Cut into 2cm thick rounds. Place, cut-side down on the prepared baking tray, about 1cm apart.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked. Makes 12.