No flowers, no expensive cards. Just three sheets of coloured card and the felt-tip scrawlings of three children. That was all it took to make my wife’s Mother’s Day perfect.
Saved me a packet!
Mums only deserve the best, so I’ve combined these recipes from two of the best chefs in the land for this superlative Mother’s Day treat: herb-crusted rack of lamb with butternut squash puree and buttery crushed new potatoes
1 x 8-bone rack of lamb cutlets, cut into two portions
FOR THE HERB CRUST
2 slices of stale bread made into crumbs.
4 tbsp grated Parmesan (roughly 1/2 a cup)
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs coriander
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
splash of olive oil
FOR THE SQUASH PUREE
1 small butternut squash
Salt and black pepper
FOR THE CRUSHED POTATOES
New potatoes (as many as you like)
A couple of knobs of salted butter
1. To cook the lamb, pre-heat the Sous Vide to 60C. Trim all the fat off the lamb. Vacuum pack each portion of the lamb rack and immerse in the Sour Vide bath for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, make the herb crust by pulsing all the ingredients together in a food processor.
3. Prepare the squash. Cut into chunks and cook in boiling water for approx. 12 mins until soft. Puree with a stick blender and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Put aside until required.
3. Remove the lamb from the vac packs and coat with mustard. The lamb will be pink, as it should be. Dip into the berby breadcrumb mix so that all the meat is covered.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender, approx 12-15 mins.
5. Put the lamb in the oven and cook for 4-5 mins until the crust becomes slightly crunchy.
7. Meanwhile, warm throught the butternut squash puree and crush the potatoes with the butter. Serve.
Note: If you don’t have a Sous Vide, simply brown the lamb in a frying pan with a splash of oil, then transfer to a hot oven for 7-8 minutes, and then go to Stage 3.
My dilemma: what do I get my wife for Mother’s Day while at the same time delegate my duty of encouraging our youngest son to read?
By jove, I believe I have the answer, thanks to one of my blog and Twitter followers, Caroline Edwards.
‘Why not MAKE a book that you and he can read together?’ she proferred.
And by an astonishing coincide, Caroline runs a company that does just that! Spooky, eh?
Caroline is the boss of children’s publisher love2read . In a nutshell, you can create your own books using a variety of templates by uploading your favourite photos and writing your own text.
For a man who spends much of his time scratching his head wondering what to buy for his wife aka The Woman who Has Everything on such occasions as her birthday, Valentine’s, Christmas and this Sunday’s Mother’s Day, it was a Heaven-sent solution.
So I plonked the youngest on my knee, trawled through our digital photo albums and selected our favourite pictures of his hard-working Mum and her three favourite people in the whole world.
Several pushes of buttons later, the book was assembled, I handed over my payment details, and then a few days later it arrived in the post, all glossy, and shiny, and super-professional – something to treasure for the rest of our lives.
It was great fun putting it together, but even more wonderful to see my wife’s face when the kids presented it to her (OK, not on Mother’s Day, unless I’m a time traveller). But even more rewarding, was leaving my missus and her youngest to read the book together – while I sloped off to the pub.
Here’s some blurb about love2read if you fancy having a go yourself.
The company has a range of books that can be personalised by adding ten photos and personalised text to the pages.
Dad and the children can find their most precious digital photos of Mum and use them to create a simple reading book.
By adding phrases such as “My mum is beautiful”, “My mum helps me” or simply “My mum loves me” and a personal message on the front cover you can make a unique and memorable gift.
Reading, especially at bedtime, is a great way for busy parents to spend precious time with their children in a way that’s relaxed and fun.
It also improves children’s literacy skills and as Mum often an end up reading the bedtime story, isn’t it time she became the star of the show?
Children like nothing more than looking at familiar family photographs, so love2read’s range of books about Mum will set them on the road to reading success in no time. There is also a range of books about Granny- so Granny can be the star of the bedtime story too!
• You can log on to www.love2read.co.uk and order your own personalised book today. Books cost £14.99 + £2 p&p and are mailed within 10 days of placing an order. To ensure books arrive in time for Mum to enjoy being the star of Mother’s Day, orders need to be placed by 13th March.
• This, by the way, is NOT a sponsored post.