WOW Your Mum With A Four Course Dinner

Celia Brooks Hamper

 

A fabulous four course meal for Mum, created by Celia Brooks

I count my abundant blessings every day. One such blessing is that my mum is still in my life. She’s my role model - a real firecracker - soon to be a great-grandmother. For her, her greatest achievement in life was raising her three daughters, and I’m the youngest.

I’m constantly looking for ways to pay her back, for all the messes, stresses, rejected meals, tantrums, and sleepless nights I inflicted on her as a child. I feel nothing will ever be enough. But one thing that she absolutely adores is being cooked for.

Whenever I visit her, I throw myself headlong into pampering her with food. Sometimes I’ll rope in the whole family as sous chefs to create a fancy feast; other times I’ll prepare something exquisitely simple on my own to nourish and delight her. She is never disappointed - at least she never tells me if she is. I can never truly repay the debt, but eating together is a balm for our souls.

Here’s a simple but impressive four-course meal to honour and thrill your mum. You won’t need an army of sous chefs, but kids and grandkids can certainly keep their little hands busy assembling canapés, deseeding peppers, picking sage, or smashing white chocolate.

 

My menu to serve four people:

Canapé: Truffle & artichoke crostini
Starter: Double tomato & lentil stuffed peppers
Main: Roasted radicchio & pasta with sage & walnut pesto
Dessert: White chocolate & Lotus Biscoff cheesecake

 

 

Canapé: Truffle & Artichoke Crostini

Serves 4 / Prep 15 minutes / Cook 8 minutes

White truffle pairs beautifully with artichokes for this elegant canapé. Seek out the thinnest fresh or ready-to bake baguette you can find, so you can make bite-size slices. Alternatively, use a bite-size cracker or savoury wafer.

Ingredients

1 thin baguette, sliced into 8-12 tiny rounds or semi-rounds
Zero Italian extra virgin olive oil*
1 small jar truffle paste*
1 jar artichoke hearts in oil*
Freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley, to finish (optional)

Method

 

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the bread slices on a lined baking sheet and brush very lightly with oil. Bake until light golden, about 5-8 minutes. Cool.

Use a teaspoon to top each of the crostini with a light layer of truffle paste, then finish with an artichoke quarter on each. Finish with black pepper and a little chopped parsley, if desired.

* these fabulous ingredients are found in the wonderful Super Veg Cookery Hamper.

 

Starter: Double Tomato & Lentil Stuffed Peppers

From "Super Veg" by Celia Brooks

mum and daughter baking together on Mother's Day, with mum pouring in oil

Serves 4 as a starter / Prep 20 mins / Cook 35 mins

Sweet pepper halves act like miniature edible roasting dishes, flavouring its stuffing contents with its delectable juices. Here the lentils become particularly succulent, infused with Mediterranean deliciousness. This can be made well ahead and served warm or at room temperature. Decorate each plate with a few rocket leaves, if desired.

Image credits: Jean Cazals and Murdoch Books 

Ingredients

2 large round red, yellow or orange sweet peppers (or mixed colours)
200g cooked Puy, green, brown or black lentils
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato tapenade* or 2 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
12 rosemary & garlic olives* or other olives in oil
8 basil leaves, torn
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons Zero Italian extra virgin olive oil*
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 plum or vine tomatoes

Method

1) Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the peppers in half from stem to base, cutting right through the stem, leaving it attached. Carve out the seeds and membranes and discard. Lay the pepper halves cut side up in a baking dish.

2) Place the cooked lentils in a bowl. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomato tapenade or sun-dried tomatoes, 4 leaves of torn basil, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 2 teaspoons of balsamic. Mix very thoroughly, then divide the mixture amongst the pepper halves, filling them equally. Add 3 olives each on top. Gently press the surface to compact the filling.

3) Slice the tomatoes 5mm / ¼ inch thick into 8 slices, reserving the ends for another use. Place the tomato slices over the lentils to cover as much as possible, tucking them inside the pepper edges. Top with another torn basil leaf, half a tablespoon of oil each and ½ teaspoon balsamic, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the peppers so they sit as level as possible to keep the juice in while baking – it might help to nestle them together.

 

4) Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the peppers are very soft and sizzling. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with any pan juices poured on.

* these fabulous ingredients are found in the wonderful Super Veg Cookery Hamper.

 

 

Main: Roasted radicchio & pasta with sage & walnut pesto

From "Super Veg" by Celia Brooks

Penne Radicchio & Pasts

Serves 4 as a starter / Prep 15 mins / Cook 15 mins

Rustic and ravishing purple wedges of radicchio crown this generous and deeply flavourful pasta platter. Blanching the radicchio lessens its bitterness and gives it a well-seasoned and juicy texture, but you can leave out this step if you (and all your diners) really love that bitter edge, and roast it from raw. The blanching turns the water a strange colour, and even though it strips the bitterness, it doesn’t transfer it to the pasta, so you can reuse the same water for cooking the pasta.

Image credits: Jean Cazals and Murdoch Books 

Ingredients

500g radicchio (about 2 - 3 large)
2 tablespoons Zero Italian extra virgin olive oil*
cooking salt, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g bronze-drawn slow dried rigatoni* or other large pasta shapes

For the pesto:
75g walnut pieces
15g fresh sage leaves (about 2 handfuls)
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125ml extra virgin olive oil
50 - 100g Black Bomber extra-mature cheddar cheese* or more Parmesan, grated, to finish

Method

1) Put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil. Heat the oven to 220C and line a baking sheet.

2) Cut the radicchio in half from stem to base, then each half into 3 or 4 wedges through the core. (Save any stray leaves for a future salad.) Once the water has boiled, drop the radicchio wedges in a few at a time and blanch for one minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain very well. Gently place them on the baking sheet and brush all over with olive oil. Roast for 10 - 15 minutes, until steaming and showing some golden edges. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

3) Cook the pasta until done to your liking. Drain and toss with a few drops of oil; keep warm.

4) Meanwhile, make the pesto. Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor to a thick but spoonable paste – add more oil if it is too solid.

 

5) Stir half the pesto through the pasta and scoop into a warm serving dish. Arrange the radicchio on top and dollop the remaining pesto over it. Serve right away, with extra grated cheese, if desired.

 

* these lovely ingredients are found in the exceptional Kitchen Heroes Gift Box.

 

 

Dessert: White chocolate & Lotus Biscoff cheesecake

Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake

This incredibly indulgent cheesecake is the perfect finish for this menu, and such a special treat for Mum and everyone who is lucky enough to join in this amazing feast! Plus it’s a doddle to make. Make it the night before or 3-4 hours ahead or your special meal so it sets to perfection.

Here are a few of my personal tips when making the cheesecake:

1) Use a 20cm / 8 inch cake or flan tin with a removable base.
2) I reduced the quantities for the biscuit base to 150g Lotus Biscoff biscuits and 50g melted butter, which is my preferred proportion to the amount of cheesecake mixture.
3) While the chocolate is cooling, go ahead and mix the cream and mascarpone together with a fork until smooth, then set aside to warm up to room temperature. Following this, mix it with the cooled chocolate - having them both at room temperature will ensure a smooth mixture.
4) Personally I prefer the taste of the cheesecake itself at room temperature rather than chilled, so I recommend leaving the finished cake out of the fridge while you cook dinner.

View the Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe

 

 

 

Treat Mum to the gift of food

Celia Brooks, renowned Celebrity Chef curated these excquisite dishes for you to share with Mum, no matter the occasion. Whether it's her birthday, Mother's Day, or any other occasion, the gift of fine cuisine is something she'll never forget.

Have you enjoyed these lovely recipes, or think Mum would like to give them a go herself? Pick up the hand-selected ingredients, alongside Celia's cookery book Super Veg in our Curated By Celia Brooks range of gift hampers.

Shop the Celia Brooks Range

 
This blog was posted 3 months ago .