This year our kids will be at opposite ends of the country, so I won’t be able to enjoy their company or culinary skills on Mother’s Day. I would be happy though to receive a restaurant voucher — it would help both me and the hospitality industry. However, I suspect my husband will cook up his amazing spaghetti bolognese for Mother’s Day dinner. He uses minced venison which is the same price as prime minced beef in our local supermarket. But it’s venison that makes a million dollar bolognese.

Mother’s Day has a place in my heart. My mum was a fantastic cook and she really enjoyed catering for a crowd. I guess her passion was instilled in me from an early age, but I didn’t realise it at the time. It’s something I have belatedly thanked her for over the years and especially on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day originated with the ancient Greeks and Romans but the celebrations as we know them are only about 100 hundred years old. The day is celebrated in over 40 countries although the dates can differ, and honours mothers and their influence on society. It has quickly become very commercialised — May’s retail sales boom. 


Kids, whip up this amazing cake for your mum. If an 18cm x 9cm pan is not available use a 20cm one — the cake will just sit lower. I sprinkled dried rose petals on top of the cake. I bought these at Briscoes

Base: 250g packet malt biscuits
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
100g butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
Topping: 75g sliced almonds
250g marshmallows
1 cup red glace cherries
300g dark chocolate, chopped

Crush the biscuits very finely in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Combine with the coconut in a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a microwave-proof bowl, about 1 minute 20 seconds on medium (50%) power. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk stir well to combine.

Line a 18cm round x 9cm deep loose-based cake pan with baking paper. Press the mixture evenly into the pan and refrigerate to set.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the almonds in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Cool.

Cut the marshmallows and cherries in half with scissors. Combine with the almonds.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in short burst. Mix well.

Spread a little over the cake base. Pile half the marshmallows, cherries and almonds evenly on top. Drizzle with about 1/3 of the remaining chocolate so the ingredients stick together. Top with the remaining marshmallow mix. Drizzle the last of the chocolate evenly over the top. Refrigerate to set. 

Serve the cake at room temperature. Use a large, heavy, serrated knife (eg a bread knife) to cut the cake into wedges. Run the knife under hot water for a few seconds then dry before cutting. Serves about 16.


Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl the night before, cover and refrigerate.

1 cup each: plain flour, wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon each: baking powder, caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup each: milk, plain yoghurt
2 large eggs
1 cup warm water
butter or canola oil for cooking
Combine the flours, baking powder, caster sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Beat the milk, yoghurt and eggs together. Stir into the flour mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 10 hours or overnight. In the morning, add the warm water. Stir well.

Melt the butter in a heavy, non-stick frying pan. Add about a 1/4 cup of the batter. Cook until bubbles appear on the top. Flip over and cook the other side. Keep warm in a 100°C oven. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Great served with microwaved or grilled bacon, poached or fried eggs and fresh fruit (eg sliced banana and kiwifruit) or fruit, yoghurt and maple syrup. Makes about 16 pancakes.


An electric frypan meal. 

1.5kg chicken
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon each: chopped fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
assorted vegetables, optional

Wipe the chicken inside and out and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To make stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in an electric frypan. Sauté the onion, until soft. Combine with the herbs, breadcrumbs and egg. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing. Tie the bird neatly with string.

Heat the remaining oil in the frypan. Add the chicken and lightly brown all over on medium heat. Cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours on medium-low heat, breast-side up.  

Peeled potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, parsnip and/or quartered red onions could be added about 45 minutes before the end of cooking. Turn the veg over occasionally. Serves 4-5.


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