I was invited to talk about Mother’s Day on BBC Radio WM on Thursday. They wanted me to think about what to cook for your Mum.
Mother’s Day used to be called Mothering Sunday and was originally the time to celebrate the mother of Christ, which is why it was on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This developed into going to Church to not only to think about Christ’s Mother, but also your own. During this time a lot of people were in domestic service and Mother’s Day was the only day they were given as a holiday, so that they could go and visit their Mums. If they had nice employers, they’d also give the servants the raw ingredients to cook a cake to take to their Mothers as a gift – usually a rich fruit cake decorated with marzipan. It was called a Mothering Cake.
As time progressed, Mother’s Day was largely forgotten. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that it was resurrected by a card company (presumably to boost their funds). They re-named it ‘Mother’s Day’: Mothering Cake got absorbed into Easter and was now called Simnel Cake.
As Mother’s Day is still on the fourth Sunday of Lent, I wondered what people were cooking for their Mums on their special day. A straw poll found that most people still eat a roast on Mother’s Day – either cooked at home or out.
I decided not to stray too far from tradition and give advice on how to ‘pimp up your roast’.
My suggestions are:
Make a rub for your lamb joint by adding a few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary, mint or parsley) to a pestle and mortar (or a bowl with the end of a rolling pin!), along with a couple of peeled cloves of garlic, some slices of lemon rind, a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper and bash the whole thing to get the flavour into the oil. Add some lemon juice and taste. It should taste a little too salty and very herby! Pierce the lamb all over with a sharp knife and rub the marinade into the lamb. Roast as you would normally, making sure that you cover the roast with some foil for the first hour of cooking. Remember to baste frequently.
Take 1/4 block of soft butter along with 2 cloves garlic and some chopped herbs and pepper. Mix them all together. Lift the skin of the chicken up (it’s best to start by the cavity of the chicken) and grab a handful of the butter mixture. Using your fingers, push the butter down the chicken breast and along the top of the legs (still underneath the skin) and put all of the butter under the skin this way. Roast the chicken as normal, making sure to baste frequently as the buttery, garlicky juices fall through the chicken.
This is a basic brownie recipe which you can again pimp up to suit yourself. Add chopped milk and white chocolate/ raisins and chocolate coated biscuit/ sour cherries and chocolate – whatever you want!
200g dark chocolate snapped into pieces
325g caster sugar
130g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
Oven temp 170C 325F Gas 3. Baking tray – it’s best to use a rectangular shaped tray 33 x 23, or anything you’ve got really! Line it with baking paper to make it easier to remove when cooked.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water until they have melted together. Stir well
Remove from the heat and add the sugar and vanilla essence. Stir well.
Add the flour. Stir well.
Mix the eggs together and then stir into the chocolate mixture. Stir well. If you are using extras, now is the time to put them in. You may want to leave a small handful of extras to sprinkle on the top before you put it in the oven – just for effect.
Put the mixture into your baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes.
Pay no attention to what you already know about how to cook cakes. Brownies don’t have to have a skewer put in and come out clean to say that they’re cooked. The fact that they still feel raw in the middle is a good thing – it makes them gooey and delicious!
Take it out after 30 minutes and leave until cool enough to lift out and cool on a baking tray.
Eat. Enjoy. Your Mum will love you even more.