Mother’s Day is one of those occasions that I find most difficult to face since my mother passed away. Even though I am a mother myself, and my little people always spoil me something rotten on this day, I can’t but feel desperately lonely. Mother’s Day always makes me reflect on the past and in turn I yearn for my mother’s busy kitchen, packed to the brim with chat, delicious food and love. My mother was one my greatest inspirations in life, and in so many ways I still aspire to make her proud. For those who are lucky enough cherish the time you spend with your Mother this Mother’s Day. And for those immersed in grief, even if like me you are a few years on, let’s take this day as an opportunity to give thanks for the women who helped to mould us into the people we've become.

Meringues Sandwiched with Lemon Curd & Cream

My mother had a real soft spot for meringues. Whether celebrating or commiserating, meringues seemed to always be a suitable treat. They are so simple to make and I'd happily crunch on them without any topping, however when paired with softly whipped cream and tart lemon curd they really turn into something special. For me, these are the perfect treat to make for Mother’s Day.

3 large egg whites
150g caster sugar

To assemble
150mls cream, whipped
100g lemon curd

1.    Preheat the oven to 140°C/ fan 120°C/ gas mark 1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2.   Place the egg whites into a clean, stainless steel mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk, on a high speed, beat them until they become thick and fluffy.
3.   Continue to whisk the egg whites and very gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat for at least 5 minutes, or until the mixture can form stiff peaks.
4.      Using a dessert spoon scoop a spoonful of mixture and scrape it off with another spoon onto the lined baking trays. This amount of mixture should make 12 meringues.
5.      Place in the preheated oven for 1 hour. After which time turn off the oven and open its door and allow the meringues to cool.
6.      When completely cooled sandwich two meringues together with a spoonful of lemon curd and some freshly whipped cream.

In our house pancakes are never limited to Shrove Tuesday, but are enjoyed whenever there is a little extra time to spare in the mornings. Occasionally, if it's a special occasion, say like a birthday, pancakes will always be on the food request list. Pancakes are so easy to prepare and they rarely create too much of a mess, so they're ideal to make with little ones. The boys are planning on having pancakes for their breakfast, dinner and tea tomorrow so I may get cracking with the batter-making! 

These pancakes can be made plain, but for a fruity pancake mix, I like to add a handful of mashed blueberries or strawberries, or a grated apple, or some mashed ripe banana to the batter. It just really depends on what I have to hand. This recipe is for thick 'American style' pancakes. If you would prefer more of a 'crepe like' pancake just add a little extra milk to the batter and spread it out evenly on the pan at the start of cooking. 

Perfectly Plump Pancakes

150g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
225ml milk
50g blueberries/strawberries, mashed, or 1 eating apple, grated
sunflower oil, for frying

To Serve
fresh berries
maple syrup or apple syrup

1. Place the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Slowly combine it with the flour, using a hand whisk
3. Very slowly add the milk, whisking well after each addition.
4. When the batter is nice and smooth add the mashed blueberries or grated apple. Combine well and then pour into a jug and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for at least an hour. The batter can be used straight away but it tends to have a better consistency when left to rest. Give the batter a little whisk before cooking.
5. Heat the frying pan and add a little sunflower oil.
6. Add 3 small ladlefuls of batter onto the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until some bubbles appear on the surface. Using a spatula or fish slice to turn the pancake over and brown the other side.
7. To keep the cooked pancakes warm place in a low heated oven and continue cooking the rest of the pancakes. Add the toppings of your choice.

Enjoy straight away!

Some more pancake inspiration -

Kristin at Edible Ireland shares her recipe for Salted Nutella & Banana Pancakes...these sound amazing.

Rosanne has some adorable looking Buttermilk pancakes over on her blog - Like Mam Used to Bake.

These nutrient-rich Pear Pancakes, from Dorcas Barry, are so tasty and they are a great, healthy alternative for Pancake Tuesday.
Donal Skehan shares a delicious savory Pancake recipe, filled with Ham Hock, Spinach and Cheese.

There are many more interesting pancake recipes on the web. Feel free to share your favourite pancake recipe, or pancake toppings, in the comment box below. I'm always on the lookout to try something tried, tested and loved!