The early bird gets the very best on modern Mother’s Day

My kids are big teens now, so Mother’s Day this year will mean a long sleep in — for them, at least.
Having sadly lost the art of the marathon sleep-in myself, I will be
getting up much earlier than them — although not too early. Don’t waste any pity on me; I can still manage to keep my eyes

shut tight till 9am on a good day. In all likelihood I will make my own breakfast. Again, I urge you to hold your pity, because,
honestly, I prefer this. I don’t even like eating breakfast in bed and am such a perfectionist when it comes to food that I think (no, actually, I know) that I am the only person in my family who can cook eggs properly.
One Mother’s Day, many years ago when the kids were only little,
I introduced them to the concept of bagels, cream cheese and my favourite blackcurrant jam as a suitable and hard-to-get-wrong alternative for my special breakfast.
Luckily, the idea caught on, and even now is the breakfast of choice for everybody’s special occasions — birthdays, Father’s Day and even
So, since breakfast is out and brunch is in — or late lunch if you too have teens — I am sharing my recipes for Pear and Feta Pizza and what I call Stromboli Sandwich.
Both are easy for kids to make by themselves with only minimal adult
supervision. All that is required are a few simple ingredients, a bit of slicing and grating, some basic assembly and about 20 minutes in the oven.
Packing slices of salty salami and creamy mozzarella into a ciabatta
loaf liberally spread with pesto or scattering crumbled feta, chunks of walnut and slices of sweet pear onto a ready-made pizza base couldn’t be easier.
So quick and easy, in fact, that maybe everyone in your house can
have a sleep-in, too.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Pear, feta and walnut pizza
It is child’s play to assemble salty feta, sweet pear and crunchy walnuts on a ready-made pizza base and cook for a few minutes. Adding a scattering of fresh thyme leaves and a skinny drizzle of honey just before serving will really make the flavours sing.
1 firm pear – the beurre bosc is ideal
2 ready-made pizza bases
150g block of goat’s feta
70g packet of walnut halves
Olive oil
Ground black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves
Runny honey

Preheat the oven to 230C.
Wash and then quarter the unpeeled pear and remove core and seeds. Cut each quarter into 6 or 8 thinnish slices.
Carefully pick the fresh thyme leaves from the stems and set aside. You don’t need much – enough to fill about a teaspoon or two.

Put the pizza bases onto an oven tray and brush the tops, right to the edge, with olive oil.
Roughly crumble all the feta evenly over the two pizza bases. It will be a bit messy and sticky but don’t worry, just do your best.
With your hands, break up the walnut halves into smaller chunks and scatter over the feta.
Top with pear slices in a wheel-spoke pattern and add some ground black pepper.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the bases are cooked and the cheese and pear are soft. This cheese won’t melt or go bubbly so don’t leave it in for too long.
Remove pizzas from the oven and scatter them with the fresh thyme leaves. The warmth of the pizza will release their wonderful aroma.
Just before serving, add a skinny drizzle of runny honey over the top, but don’t overdo it, you don’t want to overpower the other flavours, just to enhance them.

Stromboli Sandwich
Load a ciabatta loaf with cheese, pesto and salami and bake in the oven until hot, melty and mouth-wateringly delicious. The best way to eat it is to pull it apart and eat with your fingers while it is still hot.
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
200 gm sliced salami
100gm mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
Small jar of basil pesto
¼ cup sliced olives
chopped parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Slice the bread at 2cm intervals almost through to the base.
Thickly spread one side of each slice with pesto and add a slice of mozzarella to each.
Fold the salami slices in half and push one or two between the pesto and cheese in each slice.
Put finished loaf onto a baking tray and sprinkle about ¼ cup grated mozzarella and some sliced olives over the top.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese bubbles. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 2 minutes.
Just before serving, top the bread with some more olives and the chopped parsley.

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Michael Otto

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