JUST around the corner, Mother’s Day is a chance to say thank you and really spoil mums. As much as I’ll be making sure I see my own mum on Mother’s Day this year, we’re also planning some special treats for my wife Michaela.
We’ve got four boys all under the age of six, so she definitely deserves a little rest and relaxation. With her hugely important role in the running of our restaurants, she doesn’t get a lot of time to herself, so our two elder boys, Kasper and Axel, are all set to help me in the kitchen to make it feel like a special day. It’s inspiring how she juggles the children while still being so involved in the business, but she says she wouldn’t have it any other way. I suppose our industry is a way of life, like it is for many families, and having an understanding and respect for what she does allows me to focus on my cooking and other developments. But when it comes to Mother’s Day, the boys and I will be setting some ground rules, so she has to try to relax for a little while.
Kasper and Axel are really excited about treating her this year, making their own cards and messages for mummy. Nothing shows an appreciation for mum quite as much as cooking though, whether it’s breakfast in bed, a lovely Sunday roast for lunch or making a delicious dessert or afternoon tea, which she can take some time out to enjoy.
We’re planning to make some of Michaela’s favourite sweet treats and these recipes are inspired by some of the dishes we have on the menu at The Kitchin, so they are truly special.
In the same way that many other occasions can be a great opportunity to get the kids involved in cooking, Mother’s Day is a chance for them to have fun and try making something they are proud to share with mum.
If you’re making desserts for Mother’s Day, rhubarb is the perfect addition. It’s bang in season and its vibrant colour and sharp, fresh flavour is a perfect taster of the new spring season ahead. It looks so delicious on the plate too, it’s bound to brighten up anyone’s day. We’ll be serving fresh rhubarb in a lovely heart-shaped meringue, but it works just as well on any shape.
Chocolate never fails to be a winner and the beauty of this dish is that if mum doesn’t manage to finish it all, there might just be some left for the little chefs too.
190g dark chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa)
90g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
40g plain flour – sifted
3-4 metal moulds for cooking
40g butter for lining moulds
sugar for lining moulds
Prepare your moulds with a layer of butter and sugar. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy – it will probably take you around five minutes. Place a bowl over a pan of simmering water and slowly melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Take off the heat and stir again until smooth. Leave to cool for around 10 minutes. Add the whole eggs and fold into the chocolate and butter, mixing until smooth. Then, add the sifted plain flour and again fold in until the mixture is completely combined. Now add the caster sugar and egg yolk mixture and mix. Tip into a jug and carefully fill your metal moulds equally until almost full. Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Place the fondants in their moulds on a baking tray and cook for 7-8 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they start to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven when ready and leave to rest for 1 minute, before turning out. Loosen the fondants from the moulds by moving the tops very gently until they come away from the sides. Place a fondant in the centre of each plate and serve with your choice of ice cream, crème fraîche or whipped cream.
Heart-Shaped Meringue with Rhubarb and Orange
For the meringue 6 large egg whites 1 tsp white wine vinegar 250g caster sugar 1 tsp cornflour
For the lime mascarpone cream
250ml whipping cream 50g icing sugar 150g mascarpone finely grated zest of 1 lime
For the rhubarb filling
6 rhubarb stalks – de-strung if necessary and cut into 1cm lengths
180g sugar, or to taste
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3 blood oranges – cut into segments and peeled
1 tsp lemon thyme leaves
Heat the oven to 110C/Gas ¼. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. To make the meringue, using an electric hand whisk or electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with the wine vinegar until they begin to froth and increase in volume. Now whisk in two-thirds of the sugar, a little at a time. When stiff peaks form, add the remaining sugar and sift in the cornflour. Fold in, using a large metal spoon, until just incorporated.
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag and pipe the shape of a heart in the centre of the baking sheet. You can use the back of the spoon to smooth and flatten the meringue. Make the edge of the meringue slightly higher to create a hollow for the filling to sit in. Bake for 1-2 hours, until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The meringue should be a light golden colour. Set aside to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the lime mascarpone cream. Whisk the cream and icing sugar together in a bowl to form soft peaks. In another large bowl, stir the mascarpone and lime zest together. Fold in the whipped cream, using a large metal spoon. Cover and refrigerate. For the filling, put the rhubarb into a heavy-based saucepan with the sugar and orange zest and juice. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is softened.
To serve the meringue, fill the centre with the lime mascarpone cream. Pile the rhubarb on top and garnish with the peeled orange segments before sprinkling with lemon thyme leaves.