So…the long promised Mother’s Day lunch. I think I even managed to scrape by as the serene hostess I was aspiring to – by 10.30am I had prepped ALL my vegetables, the pie was made bar the pastry top, and I was nearly ready to ice my cake. Things I nearly slipped up on: almost completely forgot about my soup starter (eek!); forgot to take the butter out of the fridge to soften for my icing, so reluctantly had to shove it in the oven on a very low temperature; and we didn’t have any nibbles. Otherwise, I think it was a success – I was especially pleased with my pie.
For starters we had a bowl of pea soup – which is one of my storecupboard favourites and is dead easy to make. Simply bung a load of frozen peas (!! I know, frozen, but they taste great and there’s no way I would sacrifice freshly podded peas from the garden to soup, they rarely make it as far as the kitchen anyway) into a saucepan – if you want to measure your peas out, a good way to do this would measure them into your soup bowls to the level you would like the soup. Crumble an organic chicken stock cube (I know…another cheats item, but this is a storecupboard recipe and sometimes we all need a night off) over the peas and pour over boiling water, just enough to cover the peas. Bring to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat off, blitz up the peas – the longer you blitz the smoother the soup (I feel it tastes better as smooth as possible). Mix a spoonful of natural yohurt in to give a subtly creamy hint and season to taste with salt and pepper. I served our soup topped with a garnish of sunflower seed sprouts, which was a bit ponsy, and quite difficult to eat. N’s mom described it as ‘spaghetti’. Not quite what I was going for… Next time I would probably opt for some chopped parsley.
For mains I created a chicken pie. Pie was perfect as it gave me a better chance to be a more visible hostess, rather than the one previously described waving from the kitchen door as our family arrived. I had looked at so many chicken pies recipes, but none I really wanted to make. Menus seem to come upon me, from nowhere, just a lot of thinking and looking at what’s available at the grocers or markets, and then it suddenly all makes sense. So the ‘spring’ part of this chicken pie came from the vibrant greens that are at my local shops at the moment. Spring greens, savoy cabbages, leeks, kale, and the first of the French parsley. What I envisionaged was a chicken pie that was bursting with greeness that is filling the hedgerows and lanes as we progress into Spring.
You can find the recipe for how to make my Spring Chicken Pie here.
And finally, for dessert we had a honey and walnut cake with a lemon frosting. This was a deep golden coloured cake, that was flecked with walnut. I changed a recipe for a plain honey cake, initially wanting to add some lavender to it, but discovered that my lavender was out of date and had lost its smell. Instead I used some walnuts that I chopped up quite finely as N is not a nut fan. The cake really needs the lemon juice in the frosting otherwise it’s way too sweet – or maybe you have a super sweet tooth and then it would be fine. But the lemon frosting adds a really nice dimension to the cake. I decorated our cake with lilac hyacinth flowers and minature daffodil heads. Sadly they weren’t edible, but soon the viola’s and heartease will be flowering and I can make you a cake with edible flowers, which is truly stunning. I will post the honey and walnut cake in a future posting, so be sure to check back soon if you fancy making it yourself.