Happy Mother’s Day – Better Late Than Never

Ok, so full disclosure up front, we don’t usually do anything for my mum in our family on Mother’s Day. I probably haven’t done anything in particular to mark the day in 20 years and back then it was probably a poorly made breakfast and a homemade card. I rang my mum on Saturday to see if she’d gotten the baked goods I’d made (as detailed below) and her response was “we don’t normally do anything”.

I did feel like I should do something nice for my mum this year, I owe a large slice of gratitude to her for lots of the support and advice she gives me with baking but I can’t really think of many things I’ve baked specifically for her. You should really need an excuse for doing something nice for your mum but mine has had a more difficult year than normal, I also saw a tweet at the weekend from Kathryn of @LondonBakes which I realised was also true of my mum and added some extra meaning “@londonbakes Tomorrow will be my mother’s first mother’s day without her mother and so I have bought her some of her very favourite things.”

I’d gotten the idea of adding a bit of a twist on some of my mum’s classic” recipes because nothing says “I love you mum” more than ruining some of her favourite recipes I have my mum’s recipes for around 5 years now. The Christmas after I moved in to my apartment I was getting in to cooking more; she bought me the recipe book below and typed out some of her recipes on index cards for me but this is the first time I’ve used some of them. She’s very sweet when she wants to be. 🙂

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I was supposed to bake these a week before Mother’s Day so they would arrive with my Mum before the weekend but I completely blanked on it and didn’t make a start on these til Tuesday with two of the recipes requiring an overnight fruit soak. So here’s what I made:

Gur Cake Mini Pies

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My mum has never actually given me her recipe for Gur Cake and speaking to her this week she doesn’t actually use on. I pinched the recipe for the Gur Cake filling from Catriona over at http://wholesomeireland.com/?p=307 but decided to change the pastry and normal style to create a bit of a smaller and lighter pie. Catirona’s recipe calls for cake crumbs and I used Madeira cake. I’ve discussed the recipe with my Mum since I sent these to her and her recipe is quite different. I may well use it some day now I’m not baking things in secret from her and post it here when I do.

I made my mum’s almond pastry recipe for the cases with 170g Plain Flour, 20g Icing Sugar, 20g Ground Almonds and a pinch of salt all blended in with 112g Margarine and an egg yolk and some cold water to bring it all together. I cut out the pastry discs, places in my tray and pressed in the Gur mix on top of them. I baked for 20-25mins at 170 degrees C

The almond pastry, orange juice and spices in the filling give the final gur cake alternative I made a very Christmas feeling and could certainly be used an alternative to Mince Pies at Christmas.

Oatmeal Slices

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This is probably the recipe I messed with the flavour on the most. My mum traditionally makes pastry (220g Plain Flour and 10g Caster Sugar blended with 100g Margarine, cold water to combine) and rolls it out to the size of a normal sized baking tray. The pastry is spread with 150g Apricot Jam on the pastry and tops with an Oat Meal Mix (180g melted Margarine, 180g Caster Sugar dissolved in to the melted Margarine, Almond Essence and Egg mixed in once cooled and 280g of Oatmeal stirred in at the end). This is baked at 210 degrees C for 20-30 minutes.

I decided I’d spread the pastry with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam (and leave the Almond Essence out of the Oatmeal mix). My mum isn’t a big fan of peanut butter and strawberry jam…I love peanut butter and jam…still, it’s the thought that counts Mum!

Personally I loved these and the ones that didn’t make it to my mum went down well in work.

Lemon and Ginger Green Tea Brack

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Recovering a bit from my selfish PB&J Oat Squares my Mum loves Tea Brack and I’ve experimented with different teas before (with little success). My mum has been using ginger a lot in bakes the last few months so I wanted to include some here. My mum’s traditional recipe calls for 250g Dried Fruit soaked in 1 large mug of tea overnight. I pinched two tea bags of Lemon and Green Tea from one of the girls in work and made a bit of a stronger brew. I combined the drained fruit with 250g Self-Raising Flour, 100g Brown Sugar, 1tsp Mixed Spice and 1 Large Egg. I also added two ‘bulbs’ of grated stem ginger and a splash of the syrup from the jar. A squeeze of lemon juice wouldn’t have been out-of-place here but I didn’t include any myself.

The loaf was baked for 180 degrees C for 35-45 minutes.

This was my mum’s favourite of the three things but she seemed to enjoy trying them all.

I’d baked them Wednesday night and posted them before 10:00 Thursday Morning. Being the loving son I am I picked the cheapest option which should have arrived within 2-3 business days, the package arrived the following Tuesday, two days late…I blame An Post/Royal Mail!

So I baked these later than planned, they were posted and arrived later than planned and this post has gone up later than planned. Not to worry, my mum knows I’m far from the perfect son.

I’ll finish off with a song I like that’s from a son to his mum but it doesn’t have any special meaning to me and my mum, I just happen to like it.

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