Precious memories of dad can be traced back to the very beginning, with them bouncing us on their sturdy shoulders as kids and then ferrying us between sports practices, after-school clubs, and parties as teens. A silent source of strength and fiercely protective – they are the ultimate advice providers, givers of the most comforting hugs, and the dealer of some shamefully bad jokes
Grace Stevens – TV chef, cookbook author, super mum to four, and fellow daughter shares three ways to make this Father’s Day extraordinarily special for doting dads who deserve to be treated for all that they do for us.
Gather all the family
This Father’s Day is an extra special one. After two years of being banished indoors, we can finally unmask and spend priceless time with our loved ones. I like to plan a nice outing for all the family like going for a leisurely walk outdoors or visiting a nearby market to taste some of the local delicacies. If the weather is not playing ball, then why not snuggle under a blanket with cups of steaming hot chocolate and freshly baked gooey chocolate brownies and have a movie afternoon.
Whatever the activity, the main thing is for dad to know that everyone just wants to spend the day with him and celebrate the hard work he has put into holding the family together through these stressful years. One of our family traditions is to take lots of family photos, so we have something to fondly look back on in years to come.
Start the day right
Nothing says Father’s Day like a lie-in, and you can never go wrong with a sumptuous home-cooked meal to demonstrate your love and appreciation for dad. Cooking dad breakfast and delivering it straight to the bedroom is a classic treat. As my kids get older, they have become more adventurous with breakfast, even preparing everything the night before so that they make less noise in the kitchen and don’t wake dad up from his pretend sleep.
If you’re assisting younger kids to treat your partner, involve them in the baking of an easy but tasty treat for dad, like some sweetie pie cupcakes or chocolate mousse cups. If you don’t live with your father but want to preserve a bit of this tradition, why not pop over to his house with some freshly baked cookies, biltong, or his favourite chocolate wrapped up in brown paper.
Make it about him
Every father is different so put some thought into what would make his day extra special. If he’s the adventurous type, why not pack up the family and go away for the weekend? Match tickets are always a winner for the sporty dad, or maybe a bottle of his favourite wine, or better still, why not book a wine tasting afternoon at a local farm? If your dad loves cooking, working with his hands, or gardening, dedicate some time during the day to helping him with his hobbies or maybe do something for him, like clean out his car, or help him in the garage. The trick is to make sure he feels special and loved, just like he always makes you feel.
No matter your age, or his, a father, or father figure, is a hero to every child, and Father’s Day is a brilliant opportunity to come together and show your appreciation for his selfless love and kindness. No matter how you choose to spend the day, enjoying some quality time with loved ones, over delicious food, is never a bad idea.
Here are a few of Grace’s beloved treats to create for dad:
Whip up a classic with a sophisticated twist. This gluten free mousse recipe can be an impressive showstopper if dressed up, or a simple but decadent feel-good after lunch treat on a rainy winter afternoon. You can make this ahead of time, and a little goes a long way which is perfect for big families. I like to spoon out the mousse into small Martini glasses for a more dramatic look, and then arrange them on a try for the kids to serve to dad.
Sweetie Pie Cupcakes
Who can say no to a warm cupcake right out of the oven? These adorable little ones are topped off with a white cloud of light and airy meringue enveloped in delightful gooey chocolate. Getting the temperature of the sugar syrup just right does requires some concentration but perfect that, and the rest will be all fun and games. I like to get the kids involved with the pouring of the melted chocolate – it’s might be messy but it’s lots of fun, and everyone is guaranteed to enjoy this delicious, sweet treat.
RECIPES BY GRACE STEVENS
Chocolate Mousse and Almond Tuiles
By Grace Stevens
- 4 egg yolks
- 60ml castor sugar
- 500ml cream
- 225g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 5ml vanilla extract
- 1 egg white
- 50g icing sugar
- 50g butter, melted
- 50g almond flour, well sifted
- 2ml vanilla extract
- 30g Shaved almonds
- 150ml cream
- 15ml castor sugar
- 2ml vanilla extract
- grated chocolate
- Place egg yolks, 30ml sugar and 180ml cream in a medium saucepan and mix well.
- Over a medium heat, cook the egg mixture until it is thick. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
- Cover with clingfilm over the surface of the custard and allow to cool.
- Whip the remaining cream and sugar until soft peak.
- Fold a third of the cream into the cooled custard and mix to loosen the custard.
- Fold the custard into the remaining cream.
- Divide mousse between six serving dishes, I used small glasses. Martini glasses also make a dramatic serving dish.
- Place in the fridge until serving.
- Preheat oven to 180ºC
- In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Add the egg white and almond flour and mix well to a paste.
- Rest in the fridge until needed.
- Drop teaspoon amounts of batter onto a silicone mat or silicone paper and spread into a circular shape, getting the batter as thin as possible.
- Sprinkle with shaved almonds.
- Bake for 4 minutes, until the tuile turns golden brown, you will have to watch them carefully.
- Remove from the oven and quickly slide a pallet knife under the tuile and wrap around a wooden spoon or small rolling-pin to shape. Rest on a dish towel until firm. Repeat with remaining tuiles. You will haave to work quickly.
- Repeat with the rest of the batter or until you have enough tuiles to serve.
- Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff.
- Place cream in a piping bag with a star nozzle.
- Pipe a swirl of cream on top each mousse. Top with grated chocolate.
- Place a tuile on each dessert just before serving.
- Serve immediately.
Sweetie Pie Cupcakes by Grace Stevens
8 vanilla bean cupcakes
2 large egg whites (60g)
120g castor sugar
200g melted chocolate
- Place egg white into stainless steel mixing bowl.
- Place the castor sugar and the water into a medium saucepan. With a metal spoon, stir the sugar over a medium heat until the liquid is clear, and you can’t see any more sugar crystals.
- Use a wet pastry brush to brush any stray sugar crystals down from the sides of the saucepan. Place your thermometer in the sugar syrup and bring the syrup to the boil.
- When the temperature reaches 110ºC, begin whisking the egg whites. Keep an eye on the thermometer. By the time it reaches 118ºC, the egg whites should be stiff. If the sugar is not hot enough, just stop beating until the sugar is up to temperature.
- Remove the syrup from the heat at 118ºC. Start whisking the egg whites again and pour the hot syrup slowly into the egg whites, while you catch it with the beaters, beating it all in.
- Continue to beat the egg whites until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, about 5 minutes.
- Fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe swirls onto cupcakes.
- Drizzle chocolate over each meringue swirl until all the meringue is covered.