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For mothers' delight

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It is countdown to Mothering Sunday. Wake up sweet mother to a nice surprise breakfast with these sumptuous recipes compiled by IYABO AYANDARE.

MOTHERS' Day was created as a day for each family to honour their mother, celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Fathers' Day, the celebration honouring fathers.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. It is believed to have originated from the 16th Century Christian practice of visiting one's mother's church yearly, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day.

The Mothering Sunday was the day in earlier times when all the children who were away from their homes were allowed to return to their homes. However, they were away from their homes either for learning a trade or to work as servants to earn livelihood.

As a result of secularisation, it is now principally used to show appreciation to one's mother, although it is still recognised in the historical sense by some churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ as well as the traditional concept 'Mother Church'.

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Gradually it became a tradition that on this day the family used to gather for a mid-Lenten feast in which the Mother was treated as the "special guest". As the children visited their moms on this day in order to spend the entire day with their mothers, they used to give treats of cakes to their mothers. They also used to get wildflower bouquets and other such things for their mothers.

The same "Mothering Sunday" is today celebrated as and popularly known as the Mothers' Day. This year mothers' celebration comes up on Sunday, March 22.

Mothers' Day is the perfect time to formally honour one of the most loving persons who play a significant role in our lives, "Mother". It is the day to give her a formal treatment by showering her with all our love, tender care and warmth of our feelings. This is the time to remind her that she has been the most loving, adorable, kind-hearted, caring and understanding person throughout our lives. Of course you are not expected to do something beyond your limits for this purpose but just get some gifts of your choice for her. Even a small and inexpensive gift item will make your mother's day. What is important is your feelings and emotions and not the materialistic things or their prices.

You can make this day unforgettable and add extra joy to the occasion by giving your mother a special gift, which could be in various forms ranging from greeting cards, jewelries, books or even treating her with delicious delicacies especially her favourite traditional dishes, cooked in a special way.

Express your love to mum by treating her with some of these scrumptious recipes compiled for mothers' delight.

Groundnut soup

Recipe for four servings:

500g assorted parts of meat (washed)

I medium smoked fish (washed)

225g stockfish

225g bush meat (washed)

500g roasted groundnuts

1 pint stock or water

100g ground crayfish

25g iru (locust bean)

2 medium fresh tomatoes

100g / 4oz ground pepper

1 medium size onion

3 large peppers (tatase)

Salt and seasonings to taste

Place the washed meats in a large pot, add a drop of water or stock, season with salt and ground pepper and boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Add the smoked fish and stockfish, cook for another l0 minutes. Add the rest of the stock. Bring to the boil and add the ground fresh tomatoes, onions, pepper, iru and groundnut. Cook for 20 minutes until the soup thickens. Sprinkle in ground crayfish and stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Check seasoning and serve hot with boiled yam.

Fish stew

Recipe for four servings;

500 grams fish fillets

2 teaspoons salt and seasonings to taste

1 tablespoon dried thyme, or more, to taste

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green chili, minced

1 small onion, chopped

Cup tomato paste

2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (palm oil, if you have it)

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Season the fish fillets with salt and thyme, and set aside. Place the red pepper, chili, onion, tomato paste and broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the oil and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Slice the fish into inch strips, and add them to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve the stew over rice.

Green plantain porridge

Recipe for three servings:

6 big green plantains

500 gram of ugu leaf (fresh or dried) Spinach can be used as an alternative.

5 tablespoons full of crayfish

1 smoked fish (de-boned)

400g cow liver or kidney

450g chicken breast fillets or chunks can be used instead.

Pinch salt and seasonings to taste

1 medium size diced onions

5 table spoons of grounded fresh pepper

Litre palm oil (olive or vegetable oil can be used too).

Wash your unpeeled green plantain in warm water first before you start.

Holding the plantain down with one hand; cut off both ends.

Remove the peel by making a vertical slit on the side of the fruit, about a quarter of a centimetre deep, just below the covering with a kitchen knife.

Dip in water and allow to soak for about five minutes, this method is known to make the peel come off more easily. While plantain is soaked in water, pluck, wash and slice the vegetable leaves (ugu) if you are using one fresh from the farm. Dried ugu leaves are sold in small packets outside Africa, and can be used instead, where you do not have dried ugu leaf. Then peel the plantain skin with you fingers or with the aid of a knife.

Scrape a little part off each plantain into the pot to act as thickener. Instead, you may decide to chop about half a plantain and blend it into a paste as the thickener. Then slice the plantain into medium sized cubes and place into the cooking pot or saucepan. Fill the pot with water till it covers the plantain slightly and bring to boil for about 10 to 20 minutes. Add dry fish if available at this point. Chop kidney or liver into tiny pieces and put into the pot. Alternatively, you could pre-boil chopped chicken breast meat, spiced with dried thyme leaves, onions and a few pinch of cooking salt, and add this to the plantain porridge instead of chopped kidney or liver.

Add seasonings, salt and pepper to taste, as well as crayfish, onions diced, and allow to boil on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add palm oil, stir and cover for five minutes. Add ugu leaves, stir, and allow to simmer for another five minutes. The porridge should now be soft with a thick creamy paste to the base. Serve hot with chilled water.

Apple

lemon fizz

Recipe 3 servings:

1 cup apple juice

1 bottle lemonade

2 tablespoons finely chopped cucumber

2 tablespoons finely chopped apple (optional)

1 teaspoon mint leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon honey

Combine all the ingredients, pour into two glasses and serve immediately. Chill the apple juice and lemonade before mixing this drink since adding ice cubes will dilute the drink.

Fruit shake

Recipe for three servings:

2 cups sliced bananas

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups chopped pineapple

1 cup chopped peeled apples

Cup ice cubes

1 teaspoon honey

Apple pie

Recipe for 10 servings:

5 cups wheat flour

2 cups cold unsalted butter

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup water

For the filling:

12 tart apples thinly sliced

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture with a fork. Add the water to make dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Remove dough from wrap and roll into a circle.

Put the dough in a pie pan and fill with the apple filling.

To make the filling, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon in a bowl. Add the apple slices and toss well. Fill the pie-crust with the apple mixture. Roll the remainder of dough and place it on top of the pie filling. Crimp the edges together. Layer with little butter. Cut few small slits in the top crust.

Bake the pie at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350degrees for 35 minutes. When the juices bubble out of the top and crust is golden brown, the apple pie is ready.

In a blender, combine the bananas, strawberries, pineapples, papayas, apples, ice cubes, and honey. Puree on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately for Mothers' day breakfast.

Blueberry Mothers' Day breakfast cake

Recipe for four servings:

1 cup cornmeal

Cup flour

1 table baking powder

2 egg whites

Cup apple juice

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup blueberries

Combine the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder. Beat egg whites until light and fluffy. Beat together the apple juice, milk and oil; gently fold in egg whites. Stir in dry ingredients. Pour batter into an oiled cake pan, sprinkle with the blueberries. Bake at 425� F. for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup