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Outshine your siblings with this spectacular Mother's Day lunch


Mums are pretty special people, and it's impossible to know what small token of our love could possibly make up the endless support we receive from them. Every year, in the lead up to Mother's Day, offspring around the country scramble to florists, raid pyjama stores and create a national shortage of candle supplies in an effort to communicate their gratitude for the women who raised them. And let’s be honest, sometimes, we can still fall short.

After years of pot plant and trinket buying, could it finally be time to go all out and plan something extra special? Outshine your siblings this May, and prepare a Mother's Day lunch for your family. Or, for extra brownie points and something different, keep the invites strictly limited to your mum and her best friends, guaranteeing her a good time and some much-needed respite.

To convince you further, we caught up with former MasterChef contestant, restaurateur and mum, Sarah Todd, who told us how to style the perfect Mother's Day celebration, and most importantly, what to put on the ultimate Mother's Day menu. It's a five-course family feast that will have your mum feeling the love.

Styling the table

What are the first things you think about when it comes to styling a table?

It has to look inviting and enticing. I don't want my table to look too stark or too perfect. You want it to be inviting to make you want to dive right in. Keep it looking fresh and colourful and a little bit rustic.

Easy ways to give your table the wow factor?

Forage around in your garden or local area to add pops of greenery or colour, and use little crates or boxes to create different heights on the buffet table.

Tips for easy entertaining?

Make life simple for yourself on the day and choose dishes that you can prepare the day before. We all want to enjoy celebrating together. I love making big, one-pot wonders like paella. It might seem fancy, but it's actually super easy to whip up, and your mum will love it.

How do you tie everything together?

Pick a cuisine. That way you know all the dishes will taste nice together and it makes it simple to decide on what dishes to create — Spanish dinner party or Indian. Keep it simple and let the food speak for itself. Then use lots of nice big platters with colourful, tasty food.

The menu

Graze the day away

If you want to greet your mum with the royal treatment, one of the easiest and most dramatic ways to achieve that is with a gourmet grazing table adorned with all of your favourite cheeses, dips and deli meats, ready for when your mums-of-honour arrive. It creates an instantly relaxed environment, as any hungry guests can chip away as they please.

To start: Prosciutto wrapped prawns


  • One dozen green king/banana prawns
  • Clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6-8 slices prosciutto, sliced paper-thin and halved lengthways
  • One lemon, juiced
  • Good quality mayo or aioli
  • Basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Peel and devein the prawns. Remove the head but leave the tail on.
  2. Place prawns in a bowl with garlic and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss so that prawns are well coated.
  3. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around the top of each prawn.
  4. Brush a griddle pan or BBQ with olive oil. Cook prawns over medium-high heat for four-five minutes, occasionally turning, until pink and cooked through.
  5. Arrange on a platter with fresh basil. Drizzle with lemon juice.
  6. Serve with aioli or mayonnaise.

To start: Roast beef and crispy potato rolls with Wasabi mayo


  • 12 slices rare roast beef (from the deli)
  • Two potatoes, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, powdered
  • Salt and pepper, to season

For the wasabi mayo

  • 1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp wasabi


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Place grated potatoes in a bowl. Add parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until the potato is well coated.
  3. Heat a frying pan over high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the base of the pan.
  4. Once hot, add grated potato and pan-fry, stirring constantly until potato is cooked.
  5. Line a baking tray with paper. Spread the fried potato out so that it forms a single layer.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the potato is starting to turn crispy and golden at the edges.
  7. Place a spoonful of the potato mix to one side of the beef slice and roll. Secure with a toothpick.
  8. To make the wasabi may - add mayo and wasabi to a bowl and mix until well combined.
  9. Top beef rolls with a dollop of mayo and serve.

The main event: Authentic seafood paella


  • 400 ml olive oil
  • One chorizo, finely diced
  • One onion, finely diced
  • One leek, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Six garlic cloves
  • One bell pepper, finely diced
  • Six over-ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika (omit if using strong-flavoured chorizo)
  • 500 ml white wine
  • Pinch saffron
  • 3 cups bomba or Calasparra rice
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 15 Vongole mussels
  • 15 green tiger or king prawns
  • Ten mussels
  • Two crabs, cut in quarters (optional)
  • Three lemons, sliced in 1/2cm rounds
  • ½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • Tinned artichokes, roughly chopped


  1. Coat the pan generously with olive oil. Brown chorizo over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Do not fully cook. Set aside. This gives your oil a fantastic flavour and an intense red colour.
  2. Add onion, leek and garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Do not colour.
  3. Add pepper and plum tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, poach your seafood in the chicken stock until just cooked (approximately 5 minutes). Strain and set aside and keep stock for paella.
  5. In a bowl, soak the saffron in the wine.
  6. Add smoked and sweet paprika to the pan with the onion and tomato mixture and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add wine mixture and allow to simmer until reduced by 1/3.
  7. Add rice and all of the stock and allow to simmer until cooked through. In the first 15 minutes, you can stir the paella then you must leave and allow caramelisation on the bottom of the pan.
  8. Rim the entire paella pan with lemon rings and allow to cook until serving to infuse and caramelise, approximately 45 minutes in total.
  9. For the last 8 minutes, add in all your seafood then top with fresh parsley, artichokes.
  10. Cover with a cloth and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Sides: Green bean, parmesan and pecan salad with balsamic dressing


  • 400 g green beans
  • 1 cup parmesan, shaved
  • 1 cup pecan nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper, to garnish


  1. Top and tail the beans (cut off the ends).
  2. Place in a steamer basket over a couple of inches of water.
  3. Cover and steam until just cooked but still crunchy, about five minutes.
  4. Remove and place beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  5. Drain and add to a bowl with the parmesan and pecans.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper.
  7. Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.

Dessert: Pavlova with fig, basil and strawberry


  • Six eggs, separated
  • 360g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, sieved
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • One pinch of cinnamon
  • One pinch of salt

For the cream and topping

  • 300 g whipping cream
  • One punnet strawberries, cut into quarters
  • 4 figs, cut into quarters
  • Handful basil leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Line an oven tray with baking paper, brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour. Shake off the excess.
  3. Place egg whites in a large bowl with salt and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time while still whipping until the sugar is dissolved between additions. The meringue should be glossy while all the sugar should be dissolved and not grainy (test by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers). Reduce the whisk speed to low then add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour.
  4. Spoon the meringue into a circle on the baking tray. Use a spatula to create a little peak around the sides of the Pavlova.
  5. Place in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 120°C. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Whisk the cream until you can form soft peaks
  7. Top the meringue with the cream, followed by fruit and fresh basil.
  8. *Note: This can be prepared the night before.

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