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Making Mother’s Day delicious

Well, Mother’s Day is this Sunday and whatever you’re up to, we’re here to share some very tasty ideas for creating a four-course dinner to remember, courtesy of the brilliant, multi award-winning Somerset Chef, Steve James.

Steve’s shared some of his favourite recipes with us, using wonderful local ingredients, and of course there’s no reason why you can’t get your creativity on in the kitchen anytime (especially at the moment), so if you’re looking for something special to create full stop... this is also most definitely for you. Personally, I think my dogs should make Graeme cook the vegetarian versions on Sunday!

Anyway, here's what's on the menu.


Griddled Watermelon, Cucumber and British Mozzarella Salad

(Cured ham can be added if you’d like to)

Main course

Awesome Arancini with Smoked Godminster Sauce

(We have a vegetarian and a meat option for you to choose from)


Beautiful Rose Apple Tart served with Cream or Ice Cream

(Steve likes to serve his with homemade double cinnamon ice cream. Definitely like the sound of that!)

Cheese course

Earl Grey and Ginger Poached Pears with Bath Blue Cheese and Walnut Crumb

(This is making my tummy somersault!)

Let’s get cooking... and eating!

Griddled watermelon, cucumber and British mozzarella salad (V)


Serves 4

1 small watermelon

1 cucumber

2x Buffalo Mozarella from West Country Water Buffalo

A few sprigs of mint


1 tbsp lime juice (approximately 1 lime)

1 large red chilli

3 tbsp Fussels rapeseed oil

Begin by cutting your watermelon into 2cm thick wedges. Lay a cooling rack over a sink and place the watermelon slices on top and sprinkle each side with the salt. Leave this for about 30 mins as this will help get rid of any excess moisture. After the 30 minutes has finished, rinse off the excess salt and press the melon between sheets of paper towel to dry them. Heat a griddle pan till very hot. In batches, fry the watermelon slices for about 2 minutes on each side until you have the char marks, then leave to cool.

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a jar with a pinch of salt and pepper, put the lid on and shake. Using a speed peeler, take long strips from the cucumber avoiding the seeds in the middle. Serve your griddled watermelon on plates with the cucumber ribbons, tear the mozzarella, add a few sprigs of mint and a good pinch of pepper. Spoon over the dressing and serve.

To add meat to the dish, pick up a 60g pack of Culatello from Somerset Charcuterie and drape over the watermelon, cucumber and mozzarella.

Awesome Arancini with Smoked Godminster Sauce


Serves 6


1 onion finely diced

25g Dorset Dairy Co butter

1tbsp Fussels rapeseed oil

100ml red wine

1l beef stock, kept warm in a saucepan on the hob (or vegetable stock for the vegetarian version)

200g arborio rice

Season with Dorset sea salt and cracked black pepper

Beef ragu (or lentil ragu for the vegetarian version)

1 onion finely diced

1tbsp Fussels rapeseed oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed to a fine paste

1 carrot finely diced

1 stick celery finely diced

1 sprig of rosemary stalks removed and chopped

1 bay leaf

2tsp fresh oregano chopped, or 1 tsp dried oregano

250g minced beef steak or puy lentils (for the vegetarian version)

100ml red wine

1tbsp tomato puree

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

750ml beef stock (or vegetable stock)

400ml water

Season with Dorset sea salt and cracked black pepper


250g breadcrumbs

3 eggs whisked

100g plain flour, seasoned with Dorset sea salt and cracked black pepper

Oil for deep frying

Smoked Godminster cheese sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

Pinch of mace or nutmeg

1 bay leaf

250ml milk

100g smoked Godminster cheese, grated

Season with Dorset sea salt and cracked black pepper

To serve


Extra smoked Godminster cheese, shaved

Start by making the risotto. Fry the onion in the oil and butter until soft and just starting to colour. Add the arborio rice and cook gently. You will see the grains start to turn translucent. Add in the red wine and cook until completely absorbed. Gradually add the stock a ladle at a time, keep stirring as this will help the risotto get nice and creamy, cook until the rice is cooked through - tender but still creamy. Season and then transfer to a bowl and cool. When cool enough, place in the fridge.

To make the ragu add the oil to a large sauce pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion, celery and carrot in the oil for around 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds and then remove the mixture to a bowl. Place the pan back on the heat and turn the heat up to high, adding a splash more oil if necessary. Once the pan is hot, add the mince beef and fry until browned. If you're using lentils cook these according to the packet instructions.

Return the vegetables back to the pan and stir through. Add the tomato puree and all the herbs and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock, water and tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 45 mins to an hour till thickened. Remove the bay leaf and season, then place in a bowl to cool and transfer to the fridge. Leave both the ragu and risotto in the fridge overnight to cool completely.

The following day mix together the ragu and risotto then form into balls using about 1 ½ tbsp of the mixture. Once your balls are formed, lay out three separate bowls. Place the seasoned flour in one, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in the last. Dip each ball into the flour, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure each one is coated fully. Heat the oil for deep frying either in a deep fryer or a heavy based pan until it reaches 180c or until a small piece of bread sizzles when you place it in the oil. Warm your oven to around 150c, fry the arancini in batches until golden and crisp (4-5 mins) and then place on a baking tray in the oven to keep warm

To make the smoked Godminster sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a pan with the bay leaf and mace or nutmeg, then leave to one side to infuse for about 10 mins. In another pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and once melted add the flour. Stir and cook for about one minute until it smells biscuity. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and gradually add the milk to the flour and butter mixture, whisking after each addition. Once all the milk has been added, cook until it has become a nice thick sauce. Add the grated smoked Godminster cheese and cook until it has melted into the sauce and then season with salt and lots of black pepper.

Serve warm with the arancini, sprigs of basil and extra shavings of smoked Godminster cheese.

To create the vegetarian version of this dish, simply substitute the beef stock with vegetable stock and use puy or beluga lentils instead of mince.

Rose apple tart

Sweet shortcrust Pastry

195g plain flour

25g icing sugar

100g Dorset Dairy Co unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

Pinch of Dorset sea salt

1tsp ground cinnamon

Chilled water

1 beaten egg (for brushing whilst cooking)

Bramley apple filling

2 large Bramley apples, peeled cored and finely diced

50g sugar

1tbsp Dorset Dairy Co unsalted butter

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


6 red apples (preferably red delicious, but a braeburn, gala or pink lady will also work) divided into 4 and cored

1 lemon

1 tbsp of apricot jam

For the pastry, sieve the flour, icing sugar, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers, rub the butter and flour together until it forms breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of chilled water at a time to the flour mix, using your fingertips to bring the dough together, If it doesn’t come together after that tablespoon has been added, add another until it just comes together to a soft dough. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Meanwhile, make the Bramley apple filling. Place all the filling ingredients into a saucepan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and place with a lid on over a medium heat, stirring every so often until a puree is formed. Place to one side to cool.

Once your pastry has chilled, preheat your oven to 180c (fan). Lightly dust a work surface with plain flour and roll your pastry out to a round about the depth of a one pound coin and large enough to line the base and side of your 20cm tart tin. Roll the pastry over your rolling pin and place into the tin - and press the pastry down into the corners and the groves of the sides. Trim off any excess, prick the base with a fork, cover with cling film again and place in the freezer for twenty minutes. This will help stop the pastry from shrinking.

Once chilled, line the pastry with baking parchment and then add baking beans or rice to this. Place on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the baking parchment and the baking beans or rice and then brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Place back in the oven for 5-8minutes until golden. At this point you can let the pastry cool and store in an airtight container for a day or so until ready to use.

Fill the pastry case with Bramley apple filling until it comes to about ½- ¾ full. With your apples for the topping, slice them as thin as you can. If you have a mandolin you can use that to get them very thin. Place them into a large bowl and squeeze over the juice of half the lemon to stop them from browning and if you leave them for a minute, it will also help to soften them. You can just lay the apples for the top of the filling in a nice pattern but I like to roll one of the pieces and then wrap more around the outside with the skin upwards, so it creates the rose effect you can see in the photo - and then gently press that into the filling. Once repeated and completed, reduce the oven to 160c and place the tart in. Cook for 30 minutes until the apples on top are just cooked and are starting to change colour.

Remove from the oven. In a small saucepan melt the jam with 1 tbsp of water until it becomes syrupy. Brush the top of the tart with the glaze and serve warm or cold.

Earl grey and ginger poached pears with bath blue cheese and walnut crumb

This recipe is perfect served instead of a cheeseboard.

Serves 4


4 Comice or conference pears

2 tea bags of Dorset Tea early grey

1 cinnamon stick

100ml rice wine vinegar

7 thin slices of fresh ginger

20 peppercorns

1 tbsp honey

Walnut crumb

55g walnuts blitzed in a food processor to a fine crumb

60g plain flour

1 egg yolk

35g Dorset Dairy Co unsalted butter

A good pinch of black pepper

To serve

A handful of rocket

1 tsp Fussels rapeseed oil

Put the tea bags, cinnamon stick, rice wine vinegar, ginger, peppercorns and honey in a pan. Peel the pears, but leave the stalks on if they have them. Put the pears in the saucepan and add enough water to just cover them. If they float, you will need to turn them every so often as they cook so they cook evenly. Bring the liquid to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, cover the pan with a cartouche made from baking parchment and let simmer for about 15 minutes until the pears are just cooked. You should be able to put a blunt knife into the centre. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the poaching liquid.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Add all the ingredients for the walnut crumb to a food processor and blitz until crumbly. Spread out onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and place in the oven for up to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes and giving it a good mix, breaking up any larger pieces as it bakes. Bake until it is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool.

To serve, place a good amount of the walnut crumb on your serving dish, place a pear on top of the crumb, add a large piece of Bath blue cheese and garnish with rocket leaves lightly dressed in oil.

WOW! This menu sounds incredible and. Steve's also creating an Alice in Wonderland takeaway Afternoon Tea for Mother's Day. It's now sold out and it's easy to see why!

Anyway, we want to say a huge thanks to Steve for sharing his recipes with us and whatever you're up to on Sunday, have a good, safe one.

Photography credits: Richard Budd, photos 1 to 5 and also 7.


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