It’s Mother’s Day, and (whisper it) what she really wants is a spa weekend without any kids. But a home-cooked meal lovingly served by little hands always goes down well too. Here are a few ideas for kids of all ages (and some tips for dads too…)
Forget tea and toast (too many crumbs), a zingy breakfast smoothie is sure to set her up for the day
Ok, so she loves the idea of Mother’s Day. Breakfast in bed, a whole day of being spoilt rotten - what could be nicer? At least, it’s great in theory. In reality, the thought of letting kids loose in the kitchen makes any sane woman want to lie down in a darkened room. So, Dads, take note and make the dishes part of the master plan.
Here are a few ideas for kids of all ages.
Preschoolers: breakfast in bed
Young kids love ‘helping’ and can get involved with pouring, weighing, mixing and of course tasting. Before you start, bear in mind the best breakfast in bed is one not served at 6am – so whatever’s on the menu, your main priority is to hold them back until at least 8.
Forget tea and toast (too many crumbs). A zingy breakfast smoothie is sure to set her up for the day, and even the youngest kids can help chop soft fruit or push the button on the blender. Just whizz up some banana, fresh or frozen berries, natural yoghurt and fruit juice, strain and serve. Follow with blueberry pancakes which will keep them occupied mixing and flipping until decent o’clock. Make them American-style, pile with blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup.
Primary age: brunch or afternoon tea
Older kids can be a bit more adventurous, although they’ll still need help with a hot oven or stove. For brunch, smoked salmon & egg bagels are bound to make her feel special. Let them crack the eggs (what’s a bit of shell between friends?), stir, operate the toaster and pile everything together with a grind of black pepper.
Alternatively, it’s a safe bet to go for the kind of food they love themselves. Afternoon tea brings together the best in bite-sized treats that are fun to make. Go for finger sandwiches, sausage rolls and scones groaning under a tower of cream and jam.
Teens: cooking for grown ups
At this age they should be able to cope with something a bit more complex, so you can hopefully stand back and let them get on with it - although you may need to be on hand for disaster recovery or general clean-up duty.
Thai green curry is fun to make – if they’re really adventurous they can grind the spices themselves, but a ready-made paste is just as good. Fry it in a little oil then add chicken pieces followed by coconut milk, fish sauce to season and baby corn and/or some green beans. Cook until the chicken is tender and serve with jasmine rice.
Chilli crab linguine is simple to make but has a wonderful grown-up feel. Sauté garlic with chopped red chilli, then stir in white crab meat and a splash of white wine. Season, throw in chopped parsley, add a good squeeze of lemon and serve with the pasta and a glass of something crisp and white.