Rock-cakes

3 celebrities share their mothers’ best recipes

Jimmy Doherty, Katie Piper and Alexandra Burke

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3 celebrities share their mothers’ best recipes

Three stars talk about the dishes that evoke special memories of their mums.

Chef Jimmy Doherty, 42, lives on a farm in Suffolk with his wife and their three daughters.

‘I was raised in Clavering, a village in the heart of Essex, though my mum grew up in the East End of London. She had lived through rationing, so our household was very resourceful.

She’d never let food go to waste and always turned leftovers into a tasty new meal. She used to make this hearty pie out of leftover turkey, sausage or any other meat and the whole family loved tucking into it! I’ve definitely inherited her no-waste mentality.

Thanks to Mum, I became kitchen-savvy at a young age. If she worked late, I’d crack on with making dinner. By the time I went to uni, I was quite accomplished – I’d make bread, grow veg and buy fish from the market. I’m so grateful to Mum for encouraging my culinary independence!’

Author and TV presenter Katie Piper, 34, lives in London with her husband and their two daughters.

‘My mum is an amazing cook. Her shepherd’s pie is legendary – the recipe was from an old cookbook but she’d adapted it. Her trick? Stir in a teaspoon of diluted Marmite to bring out the umami flavours of the meat. Genius! It was incredible at the best of times but, at weekends, when mum surprised us with a crispy, cheesy topping or by blending a dollop of double cream into the mash, it’d be extra indulgent.

'Growing up, I cherished our family meal time – no matter what we were eating, it was a time when we all grouped together to chat about things like school, hobbies and our plans for the weekend. I’m now carrying on that dinner-time tradition with my own family. After my daughter Belle, three, was born, Mum passed the recipe down to me and Belle loves it!

'I adore my mum. We have such a special bond and we’ve been through a lot together. I cannot thank her enough for the strength that she has instilled in me. I can’t wait to pass her recipe onto my own kids!’

Singer Alexandra Burke, 29, lives in Hertfordshire with her fiancé.

‘I can still remember coming home after playing with my friends to the delicious smell of Mum’s rock cakes baking at our house in Holloway, north London. Mum [Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell] sadly passed away last year, so memories like this – of her doing something caring and kind – are of great comfort to me.

'Mum was my biggest inspiration in music but I admired her cooking prowess, too. As a single mum of four, she was fastidious about putting good, nutritious food on the table. I respected that immensely and have learned by her example.

'I got engaged just before Christmas last year and, just as Mum’s rock cakes became a family custom, I hope to hand over the recipe to my own children some day. Little traditions like that will help keep her memory alive.’