Good Food Blog
Dishes that remind you of mumPosted at 10:57AM, 13 March 2012 by Natalie Hardwick - Web assistant, bbcgoodfood.com
Once a year, flowers and handkerchiefs come out for official Mother's Day celebrations, but in our kitchens mum is present all year round. Nostalgic childhood dishes bring memories flooding back in a mere sniff, whether your ma was a budding baker or a convenience queen. We asked the Good Food team and our fans on Facebook to reveal what food most reminds them of their mum, and the result is a top 10 list of comforting classics.
Macaroni and cheese
Our writers on bbcgoodfood.com Lily and Roxy both said a creamy, cheesy pasta bake was their mum's staple dish, with lots of you agreeing on Facebook. Boil pasta, make a cheese sauce, assemble in a dish and bake - how can any busy mum argue with that? Hiding tomatoes, leeks or spinach within the sauce adds nutrition for anti-vegetable tots, and breadcrumbs or bacon add bite. We have plenty of variants of the ever-popular mac and cheese on our site.
Good Food deputy food editor Elaine says her mum was a dab hand at pastry, so she ranks her cheese and onion pie as her number one childhood meal. She says: "My mum's shortcrust was really short, so the pie was a fabulous combination of tangy cheese, soft onion and melt in the mouth pastry. I've tried to make it myself but somehow it never quite tastes as good! However, Barney Desmazery's recipe comes close."
Toad in the hole
Meaty, juicy sausages enveloped in a crisp, golden batter and coated in gravy is what reminds bbcgoodfood.com editor Hannah of her mum. It's a British classic and one of the thriftiest ways to please a gaggle of hungry mouths. In its most basic form you can serve it with baked beans or gravy, but it's a dish versatile enough to handle some clever additions - mustard and herbs in the batter, slices of apple among the sausage, or some caramelised onions served on the side.
The unanimous verdict on Facebook was that nobody does roast dinner better than mum - even if back in the day it was tinned marrowfat peas and instant gravy. Her magic touch with a joint of meat provides the foundation, while cauliflower cheese and roast potatoes make up for the fact you have to eat your greens. Mum's official rule for roast dinner? Never give your Yorkshire pudding or gravy secrets away.
The theme of meat and potatoes continues with the fifth most popular savoury dish by mum - a cottage or shepherd's pie. Mum's knack of making the very creamiest mash, along with her gravy skills, means this adaptable potato-topped meat pie is comfort on a plate. Facebook fans John Scott and Sara Beaumont plumped for an even more storecupboard version - corned beef hash, made with tinned beef and a steaming pile of buttery potatoes.
Our art director, Andrew says his mum's 'rustic' baked custard was a top childhood treat. It's a foolproof family dessert, even if you're more inclined to lean for a can opener than a whisk. If you are going to make your own from scratch, you'll need a lot of eggs and sugar, but the end product will be a hot, silken dream. Cinnamon and nutmeg work well as a topping, and you can stir in some rice to bulk it out. Finish it off with jam or fruit.
Pikelets and pancakes
Our deputy food editor Sarah says the pikelets of her native New Zealand were her mum's signature dish. This Kiwi speciality is the first thing she was taught to cook: "They're a bit like drop scones, or small American pancakes, but you let them go cold then spread with raspberry or boysenberry jam and top with a dollop of whipped cream for afternoon tea. Just the smell of them frying in a pan makes me think of my mum and gran. This batter recipe is pretty similar, just make the pancakes a lot smaller, about 6-8cm across, then cool but eat quickly."
Whether it's treacle, suet or rice, dense hearty puddings were a popular choice with Facebook fans. Treacle puddings are a simple case of cobbling together your sponge ingredients, then deciding whether to bake, steam, or in the modern age, microwave them with sticky syrup. Ice cream or custard are the obligatory accompaniments. Mum was also fond of serving up a rice pudding, according to our fans. A deluxe version may include clotted cream or delicious steamed fruit, while some of you love it so much you could forgive a layer of skin!
Bread and butter
A school dinner classic and storecupboard treat, everyday sliced bread baked with custard and raisins is a timeless classic according to many of our Facebook fans. Of course, it can be given the wow factor by replacing bread with brioche, pannetone or hot cross buns, adding a healthy slug of booze for the grown-ups, or maybe fruit as a cursory nod towards nutrition. There's even a way of making it savoury.
Clutching onto some floury apron strings while your mum pulls out a sweet and crispy pie is another favourite memory for our Facebook fans. Although some mums don't spend hours sweating over the perfect pastry and proudly plump for ready-made, for others a fruit pie made from scratch was the perfect centrepiece for family occasions. Apple seems to be your favourite filling, although cherry, pear and rhubarb all work well, especially when served with cold ice cream or hot custard.
Let us know your mum's signature dish or, if you're a mum with a foolproof recipe for keeping the family well fed, share you secrets below...