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Our family favourites

28 May 2021
Mom Prepares Dinner With The Kids Watching, Ca. 1962

We all have special recipes. Those that bring with them fond and beautiful memories. We asked our team to share with you their favourites and the stories behind them that make them so.

One recipe was handed to a newly-wed many years ago, as a way to help pennies stretch just that little bit further. Another was created by a mother in the UK, as a way to welcome her travelling daughter home. And, as is often the case with family recipes, a third has been on the lunch menu for many years but written only in the memory of a mother - until now.

So, from our families to yours, we hope you enjoy these special recipes that have been at the heart of our homes for many years and they bring you the same joy.

We would love to hear about your special recipe, so please send it to and we will add it to the list for everyone to enjoy.

Editor Kate Preece shares her mum Juliet’s recipe:

I’ve never known of anyone else who makes this, but it’s been my go-to lunch request for mum for as long as I can remember.

The spaghetti topping might be controversial for some, but it’s been the staple for us. What else mum throws on top could be anything from leftover sausages and bacon to fried potatoes and last night’s roasties.

Emerging from my office-cum-bedroom to find this being served on my table today, during lockdown, is truly food for the soul.

Scone-dough pizza
 There’s a bit of flexibility in this recipe. It doesn’t come out of a book, per se, but my mum’s head!

2 cups self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
75 butter

tin of spaghetti


  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Grate in butter.
  4. Mix together with as much milk as is required to bind the dough together.
  5. Roll out dough on a flat floured surface until it resembles your desired shape (roughly 30cm x 20cm, 1cm thick).
  6. Transfer onto a baking paper-lined pizza stone (or similar).
  7. Pour on spaghetti and any leftovers – roast veges, bacon, etc.
  8. Top with grated cheese and place in oven.
  9. Cook for 15-20 minutes.


Deputy editor Shelley Robinson shares her mum Adele’s recipe:

This always brings back memories of walking home from the bus in the rain, with a stinky wet school jersey. And then that moment of opening the front door to the delicious smell of bacon and onions sauteing.  It was like being greeted by a hug as warm as my mother’s own. She had a heck of a job on her hands, feeding two girls fond of playing as many sports as possible. Keeping us carbo-loaded was a full-time job.

Mum got the recipe off a friend when she was newly-wed and keeping an eye on the pennies, as you do. It can be made with things you hopefully already have in the pantry. My partner, who is a chef, gets a bit miffed when I say it is my favourite meal. But even he has, begrudgingly, admitted it is a fine dish indeed, especially the crunchy bits on top.  I blurted out this week: "I want mum’s spud pie". Perhaps what I really wanted was one of her hugs.

Spud pie
4 large cooked potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 - 2 rashers bacon
1 onion
50 gm butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp mustard
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 C breadcrumbs
Mixed herbs - optional


  1. Slice potatoes and place in a buttered dish.
  2. Add eggs.
  3. To make the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan. Add chopped bacon, onion and saute until soft. Stir in flour, mustard and add 1 cup of milk.  Bring to boil, stirring continuously. Add grated cheese and remaining milk. Cook until thickened.
  4. Pour over potatoes.
  5. Topping: Melt butter and mix through breadcrumbs, adding herbs if used. Spread over potatoes and sauce.
  6. Bake uncovered at 180 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Proofreader Kerry shares her mum Jackie’s recipe:

Every year I try to get back to the UK, and every year my mum makes my favourite cake ready for when I get home – a coffee and walnut cake. It is the most lovely moment to arrive home after hours and hours of plane travel, then a train, taxi or car pickup, and sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of my mum’s cake. That’s when I know I’m truly home (even if I’m slightly delusional with the jet lag!).

I can’t bake myself, but I did make a cake at the weekend, so maybe I can also make this for myself while in lockdown (as my next UK trip is on indefinite hold).

Coffee and Walnut Cake

170g self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
170g butter
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
85g chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp coffee
1 Tbsp hot water

Preheat oven Gas Mark 3 / 160oC.

  1. Mix coffee with hot water so it dissolves.
  2. Place all ingredients (including coffee) into a bowl and whisk to a creamy consistency.
  3. Add a teaspoon of cold water and mix this into the cake mix.
  4. Divide the mixture between two 20cm cake tins and cook for 30 minutes (or until done – check with a fork or skewer to see if it comes out clean). Leave to cool.

Buttercream Icing (for the filling)

85g butter
170g icing sugar
1 Tbsp coffee dissolved in hot water (no more than 1 Tbsp)

  1. Make sure butter is soft (ideally at room temperature) and beat in icing sugar and dissolved coffee.
  2. When cake layers have cooled, spread icing onto one layer and top with the second layer to create a filled cake.

Coffee Fudge Icing (for the topping)
60g butter
170g icing sugar
1 Tbsp coffee dissolved in hot water (no more than 1 Tbsp)
1 beaten egg

  1. Melt butter over a pan of hot water (not boiling water)
  2. . Remove from heat and stir in coffee and beaten egg.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and beat it in as you go until you get the desired consistency (you may not require all the icing sugar).

When the fudge icing has cooled slightly, pour it onto your cake and drizzle down the sides. Decorate with walnuts if you wish.

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