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14 March 2021

Chef Rachel Allen’s top 7 telly, film and food picks for Mother’s Day

14 March 2021

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to curl up on the sofa and watch a really good film. Not sure where to begin? Irish chef Rachel Allen recommends her top flicks and food picks for a deliciously lazy Sunday.

Food that’s straightforward to prepare and easy to eat while snuggled up in front of the screen is just what I love on a lazy weekend,” says Allen, “and seeing as it’s Mother’s Day, choosing recipes that can be made by the rest of the family is a great idea.”

1. Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich cover

“If it’s Erin Brockovich that you’re watching, I would recommend some Southern fried chicken goujons with a garlic mayonnaise, as Erin herself was born in Kansas – the home of some of the best fried chicken,” says Allen. “Make your own by cutting chicken fillets into strips (or you can use whole drumsticks, thighs or wings if you prefer) and soaking in buttermilk for at least 10 minutes, then tossing in flour that you’ve heavily seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne, before deep-frying until golden and crisp. Serve with a mayonnaise that you’ve mixed with lots of chopped parsley and crushed or grated garlic – or cheat and buy aioli.”

2. Hustlers

“Keeping with the all-American theme, I love the movie Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez – and a really good plate of sticky ribs with a blue cheese sauce is the perfect accompaniment. If you’re offering a cocktail, you can’t beat a Porn Star Martini,” Make your own by scooping the middle out of a passion fruit and popping into a cocktail shaker with 60ml vodka (vanilla flavoured if possible), 30ml Passoa, a good squeeze of lime juice and a tablespoon of sugar syrup (it’s really easy to make your own with caster sugar and water if you don’t have any handy). Add a handful of ice, give it a shake, then strain into two Martini glasses, top up with Prosecco or Champagne, and garnish with half a passion fruit.

3. Second Act

“I love a good rom-com,” Allen continues, “and the role that Jennifer Lopez plays in Second Act is a great bit of feel-good storytelling, where she fools everyone into believing that she has a Harvard degree and worldwide travel under her belt, landing her a job she never believed possible. I think some spicy popcorn enjoyed with this movie would be just perfect. I like to make plain popcorn and toss it in melted butter, mixed with salt, curry powder, garlic, chilli and ground cumin.”

4. Eat, Pray, Love

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“I loved the story of Elizabeth Gilbert who travelled through Italy, India and Bali in search of not only herself, but some peace and tranquillity, after hitting a rough patch in her life. Pizza is definitely one to munch with this movie, or a great Indian curry.”

5. Outlander

“If you’re looking for a historical drama with some great romance thrown in, I recommend Outlander. I adored seeing Paris in the mid-1900s in season two, which inspired me to make cheese fondue to enjoy with this great bit of TV. Make your own by placing two tablespoons of white wine with one large clove of crushed garlic in a saucepan or fondue pot, with two teaspoons of Ballymaloe Tomato Relish (or another tomato chutney) and two teaspoons of chopped parsley. Add in 175g of grated Cheddar cheese, then place on a low heat and allow to melt slowly, stirring only once or twice. Once it’s all melted and divine, serve the cheese fondue straight away with chunks of crusty bread dipped into it with forks. Don’t forget, if somebody drops their bread into the fondue, you have to kiss the person on your left! This quantity will serve up to four people.”

6. Little Women

scene from Little Women

“I also loved seeing France depicted in Little Women, where Amy – played by Florence Pugh – was based,” Allen notes. “I think some Moules Provençal, or mussels with garlic breadcrumbs, are ideal for watching in front of a lovely movie, and preferably washed down with a lovely crisp glass of white wine.” (We recommend Picpoul De Pinet Les Canots, £8.49, Waitrose and Aldi‘s Touraine Sauvignon Blanc – a steal at just £5.99.) “My top tip for making this dish would be to cook mussels in a covered pot with a couple of tablespoons of water until they’re open, then remove the top shells and cool the mussels,” she continues. “Spread soft garlic butter over the cooked mussels (each in a shell) then dip them in soft white breadcrumbs and cook under a hot grill until golden and bubbling. Prepare the mussels ahead, up to the point of grilling them.”

7. The Crown

scene from The Crown

“I have been hooked on The Crown in the last few months, and can’t think of a better accompaniment than afternoon tea,” Allen concludes. “Some cucumber sandwiches and a slice of Victoria sponge would be very fitting, and even better if made by my family and served to me on a tray – now that sounds like a great Mother’s Day!”

Titles are available on DVD or Blu-ray or to download and keep here on Amazon

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