Staying Connected with Mum this Mother’s Day

A sponsored post for Woolworths

One of the hardest parts of isolation for many of us, has been being away from our family. While in some parts of the country, we are able to slowly start to reconnect, for so many around the country and the world we have been separated from our friends and family for the longest time. It’s been a chance for us to find different ways to stay in touch, through technology, through the phone, through social media and old school letter and gift sending, and I must say for us, I feel closer to my family more than I have in a very long time.

Easter was tough not sharing a meal with my family at our table, and I know that Mother’s Day will also be hard not being able to share it with all the important Mum’s I love: my friends, my sisters, mother in laws and of course, my Mum.

I am very lucky to be close with my Mum, as you would know from following me over the years on my blog or social media. She taught me everything I know about cooking, about entertaining, working hard and making a house a home.Everything! I am more like her than I care to admit (hello white nighties, love of gardens and roses and very messy cupboards) and that is only becoming the case the older that I get. I can’t believe that I am now the age that she was when she came into her own with her own business, buying a café when she was in her early forties after spending so many years looking after kids. She finally took the chance to trust her skills and ability and take the plunge into being a successful business owner for 6 years.

My Mum bought a café in our local suburb of Eastwood we grew up in the Northwest part of Sydney. Having been an excellent home cook and doing corporate & entertainment industry catering with Aunty Tricia (famous for Anne and the mighty Ginger Fluff) for many years, she took the plunge when I was in about year 9 and bought a café of her own which she turned into a successful business over 6 years. That place was our life throughout those important teen years for me, a place where I worked myself and learnt so much about hard work, cooking for people and of course making lifelong friends along the way. It was where we were when my Mum and Dad’s marriage broke down (when I was in year 12) and where I saw how hard it was for her to make it on her own when she was heartbroken. It was where she was when she met my Step Dad, those early days of love for them and the woman who sold that café all those years later was a completely different one to the one that started it.

I worked in the café for many years – I think I started in year 9 right through to when I finished school. It was hard bloody work – early morning starts and long days, always supporting my Mum who was working so hard. We were quite the team – she relied on me and I had her back. One time in particular where this all came together was when she decided to start doing Pasta nights. A chance in the warmer nights for us to take advantage of the gorgeous outdoor area and provide a place for families to come and relax under the stars and enjoy some cheap pasta while the kids could run around. We were in these together, I would get off the train from school at 4pm and get straight into the tiny hot kitchen and start prep for the night ahead.

We had a small menu of about 6 or so pasta dishes and when it was at its peak, we would feed about 70 people a night, which after a busy day and week for Mum was FULL on. So many Friday nights we would finish up, mopping the floor and cleaning up, getting home past 11 and then turning around to be there at 7am for opening. It was SUCH HARD WORK. God it’s where I learnt everything I know about cooking and cleaning a kitchen, about service, it wasn’t a Michelin star restaurant but it was ours and we created something pretty special in the late 90’s in our little suburb. I am so proud of everything Mum made that place.

Mum took the girls back here a year or so ago to show them the kitchen and café…I never would have expected my own daughters in there when I was 16 that’s for sure!

There are many dishes that stick in my mind: the traditional focaccia (remember this was the 90’s friends) the Chicken special and on those pasta nights: Tortellini New York, a dish that sounds so much more glamorous than the tiny kitchen in suburbia it came from. Tort NY, as it is known by many is famous in our family and extended family friend circle and is an everlasting reminder of my time at Rumbles. A bowl of pure comfort that transports me back to that tiny, hot kitchen. It’s my go to delivery to friends, neighbours and family in times of need (new baby, deaths etc) and rarely cooked for my family as they all don’t like mushrooms (I know, weirdos).

What better dish to cook with Mum to connect and reminisce over, when everything in the world seems so mad? We decided to get together, cook the dish together at the same time and sit down and enjoy over a glass of prosecco. It was such a fun thing to do (I loved seeing how we did it differently and the same, I loved asking questions as I went and god we laughed as we did it). I can’t recommend this enough as a way to bring some calm and norm to our lives at this time.

I thought I better share this recipe with you guys so we can all enjoy a little trip down 1992 memory lane (hello sun dried tomatoes!) and of course so it’s on the blog and not lost in the ether between Mum and I forever. I decided to make the original (and the best) version of this, but of course as a Mum now I always add in extra greens (like a bunch of broccolini and as many greens as I can manage) so add those in if you like too. Or stick to the original recipe as is….I was reminded just how great it is when I cooked it with Mum.

Tort NY

1 bunch shallots (diced)
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
Packet bacon (diced)
Handful mushrooms (sliced)
Handful cherry tomatoes (halved)
Handful sundried tomatoes (Mum used semi-dried)
Packet baby spinach
300mls cream
Packet tortellini
Parmesan cheese

1. Finely diced the bacon, shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes and mince the garlic ready for frying. Put the water on to boil for the pasta.

2. Fry off the bacon in a hot dry pan until crispy. The fat from the bacon should provide enough oil in the pan

3. Add in the shallots and garlic once the bacon is crispy

4. Add in the mushrooms until you get a little colour and then add in the tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes. If I was making this at home I would just add in the broccolini here too

5. Add in some white wine to deglaze the pan and get all those burnt crispy bits off the bottom of the pan and then when the alcohol smell is gone add in the container of cream.

6. Let the sauce simmer on low while the pasta boils and cooks and then add in the spinach to wilt. I also add a decent handful of parmesan cheese too.

7. When the pasta is cooked toss it into the sauce, add in some extra parmesan until everything is coated and delicious.

Serve with more cheese (more is MORE) and if possible enjoy with your Mum with a glass of bubbles.

Tortellini New York

This is a family favouirte recipe of ours from my Mum's cafe in the 90s.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch shallots diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 packet bacon diced
  • 1 handful mushrooms sliced
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes You can use semi dried
  • 1 packet baby spinach
  • 300 mls thickened cream
  • 1 packet tortellini
  • 2-3 handfuls Parmesan cheese in the suace and some for topping

Instructions
 

  • 1. Finely diced the bacon, shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes and mince the garlic ready for frying. Put the water on to boil for the pasta.
  • Fry off the bacon in a hot dry pan until crispy. The fat from the bacon should provide enough oil in the pan
  • Add in the shallots and garlic once the bacon is crispy
  • Add in the mushrooms until you get a little colour and then add in the tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes. If I was making this at home I would just add in the broccolini here too
  • Add in some white wine to deglaze the pan and get all those burnt crispy bits off the bottom of the pan and then when the alcohol smell is gone add in the container of cream.
  • Let the sauce simmer on low while the pasta boils and cooks and then add in the spinach to wilt. I also add a decent handful of parmesan cheese too.
  • When the pasta is cooked toss it into the sauce, add in some extra parmesan until everything is coated and delicious.
  • Serve with more cheese (more is MORE) and if possible enjoy with your Mum with a glass of bubbles.

Woolworths are asking us to connect with our Mums through food this Mother’s Day and have some great recipe ideas to share over on their website here. Whether it’s online, over the phone or if you are lucky enough to see them in person on Mother’s Day, let your Mum know how much they mean to you, and for OUR family, that’s through cooking, food and memories…our language of love. Hope you guys love this recipe as much as we all do.

I’d love to see what you do too through Instagram by using the hashtag #cookwithmum this Mother’s Day.

How have you been connecting with your Mum during isolation?
What’s your best Mum/food memory meal you share together or have special memories of?

Comments

  1. Looks delicious. This is such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing.
    Happy mums day to you and your mum
    Cheers Kate

  2. Love the recipe, thanks for sharing. My mum is 86 and doesnt do any cooking now, my sister lives close by and when I visit I take meals to her. But we went through all Mum’s cookbooks and handwritten recipes that we loved and had them put onto a teatowel for my sister and i our 4 girls and the 5 grandies and one for Mum, but we are now compiling a book with mums favourites and the ones we love. Particular favourite is Jo Mazzotti, mince, tine tomato soup, tin mushrooms, pasta and lots of cheese. Love going back to those recipes. Stay safe. We are lucky here in the Adelaide Hills that we dont have as many restrictions an you have, but I still am looking forward to being able to travel to Mt Gambier soon to see my mum in flesh not on facetime at my sisters. Yvonne

  3. What a lovely story! And a great recipe to try. With a Woolworths just down the road it will be easy to get the ingredients too. Happy Mother’s Day everyone x

  4. Love the story and love the recipe. Might try with evaporated milk for a light version.

    Thanks for sharing. It is these types of experiences that we have when we are young that shape us more than we can ever realise at the time.

  5. Barbara Sainsbery says

    What a lovely story. I know how hard owning and working in hospitality is, my daughter and husband own a restaurant, late nights, early mornings and with 2 young children, I help out where I can. So heres to mums and daughters, will certainly have a prosecco with her on sunday. You are such a good writer xxx

  6. I love this! So gorgeous! I felt a bit teary watching you two cook together. I just read this over on Cup of Jo and thought of you: https://cupofjo.com/2020/05/ways-to-help-during-quarantine/

  7. Annette says

    Oh my goodness, I want a bowl of Tort NY right now! That’s my kind of dish. Yummo.

    What a fantastic life apprenticeship working at the cafe gave you Beth. Being able to work alongside your mum is something neither my mum nor I would survive, and as kids we were NEVER allowed in the kitchen.

    What a great trip down memory lane for you and your mum.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you both!

    Annette x

  8. Great story, fab recipe. My mother was a good plain cook and I don’t think she liked it very much. She always bused to stir the soup or the stew with a book in the other hand. I have a child hood full of blackened saucepans. That said, when she didn’t multi task she was a great cook. Still trying to replicate her Rock Buns!

  9. This is such a beautiful story! Your mum sounds amazing. I live in Ryde & have never heard of Brumbles, I must check it out when all this is over. Love your gorgeous friendship with your mum too. Happy Mother’s Day 😊

    • It’s RUMBLES at the end of Eastwood Plaza down towards the station end. I think it’s still there but it would be very different from all those years ago now, Thanks Vange x

  10. I have put this on my meal plan this week. And I’m with you, as soon as it gets cool I just want to eat & eat & eat. It’s fine right? We need the extra warmth in our bodies!

  11. I love this so much Bevvo! And the raffia/terracotta pots in the pics give me good 90s cafe memory vibes. many thanks

  12. dirtgirl says

    Just wanted you to know that I absolutely love this recipe. I have made it so many times since you published it on here. As it makes enough for 4, there is always plenty left for us to have as leftovers next day and it tastes just as good. Each time I have used a different variety of Rana pasta and it’s brilliant. Have passed this recipe on to friends and families as a ‘must try’.
    Another favourite recipe is Miss Rabbits Chorizo soup that gets made in large batches and frozen. When we go out for the day we take a food flask loaded with the soup and we eat it with crusty rolls.
    Prior to lockdown I had friends call around unexpectedly, so I grabbed a batch of Chorizo soup from freezer and served it with garlic croutons that I had made from left over bread rolls. It was a hit and made entertaining so easy!
    Thank you for keeping us supplied with great recipes!

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