Cooking With Mum: Mark Best & Mum Jacquie
To celebrate Mother’s Day, we caught up with Chef Mark Best (known for his Sydney restaurant Marque) to ask what it’s like to be in the kitchen with his Mum. We were also lucky enough to have Mark share his great grandmother’s Honey Biscuit recipe with us. Keep reading to see what we found out!
What’s your favourite memory of yourself and your mum in the kitchen?
The one that sticks with me most is the time my sister Cassie and I decided to bake mum a birthday cake for her birthday. We would have been 9 and 10 yo. Packet sponge – no issue – icing – icing sugar, water, egg white “didn’t mum say to add lemon juice to make it go hard?” 4 lemons later and the icing is a runny mess and mum cam home to find us both howling in defeat. She iced the cake and still feigned surprise when we presented it with a song and many candles.
What’s the best cooking hack you’ve learnt from your mum?
To never waste anything. Ever.
In what ways do you think you’re like your mum?
Looks. Dogmatic approach. Stubborn beyond all reason.
Are there any of your mum’s cooking habits that annoy you when you cook together?
She refuses to stick to the recipe
Why have you chosen the recipe below in particular to share with us for Mother’s Day?
Because it is fraught with so much memory dating back to my earliest recollections. It defined Christmas time for us. The little gingerbread man is missing a foot because that’s how kids eat them. They can be unnecessarily cruel.
Honey Biscuit Recipe
This recipe was passed down from Mark Best’s great grandmother (mum’s side).
Prep time: approx. 30 minutes plus overnight refrigeration | Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes a lot
900g runny honey
450g raw (demerara) sugar
4 whole eggs,
1.7 kg plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
240 g (81⁄2 oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the honey.
- Transfer the honey to a very large bowl with the raw sugar and whole eggs.
- Gradually sift and stir in the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda until you get a stiff mixture that is neither dry nor sticky. (The quantity of flour will vary slightly every batch.)
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 180°C
- line a baking tray with baking paper.
- For simple round biscuits, roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place it on the lined baking tray. Flatten slightly.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving a 1 cm space between the balls.
- Press a sugared almond into the top of each ball. (Alternatively, use decorative cookie cutters of your choice in various shapes.)
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the biscuits have a nice golden colour. Times will vary slightly depending on the thickness of the biscuit. A thin biscuit will be crisp while a ball will be softer.
- Allow to set for a couple of minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- While the biscuits are cooling, whisk the egg white in a bowl until just broken up. Whisk in the icing sugar to form a thin icing. Stir in the lemon juice to assist hardening the icing.
- Decorate the cooled biscuits with the icing and leave for 25 minutes to set.
Image features: Jacquie Best, Mark Best and Ethan (Taken at the Blue Mountains, 2005)
Image credit: Mark Best & Petrina Tinslay (Honey Biscuit Image)
Read Other Cooking With Mum Features:
Click here to read Alice Zaslavsky’s Cooking With Mum Mother’s Day feature.
Click here to read Seth James’ Cooking With Mum Mother’s Day feature.
Other Mother’s Day Ideas
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – Support local businesses this Mother’s Day with our Mother’s Day edition of #takeawayforwa
Mother’s Day Brunch at Home Ideas and recipes for you to bring brunch to Mum!