Mom’s best recipes: 8 of our all-time favourites

By Lesego Madisa, 5 May 2023

Nothing tastes as good as Mom’s signature dish. In honour of Mother’s Day, we asked the TASTE team to share their mom’s best dishes. From juicy frikkadels to decadent puds and tarts, these recipes prove mom truly does know best.

While the TASTE team has wined and dined around the country (and globe), they all unanimously agree that a home-cooked meal by inspiring mother figures in their lives beats any intricate fine-dining menu.

Lettie's frikkadels

Don’t be fooled by the ease of these 7-ingredient frikkadels! They may be simple, but they're loaded with flavour. Liesl’s mom has a special ingredient that elevates these meatballs:

“My mom says her mother swore by adding a few whole cloves instead of ground spice. Once the frikkadels come out of the oven ‘kraakbruin’ (crispy brown), place them in a covered casserole dish to ‘sweat’ a little before serving.” - Liesl Nicholson, group operations manager

Get the recipe for Lettie’s frikkadels here. 

Mom's mac n cheese

Classic mac ’n cheese was a dish that Khanya was introduced to later in life. Growing up, this meaty and cheesy pasta bake was what her family referred to as mac ’n cheese.

“This is one of the first things my mother taught me to cook and I cherish this recipe and its hidden lessons about generosity and balance to this day." - Khanya Mzongwana, deputy food editor This is the mac and cheese recipe I grew up with, I was only introduced to the creamy variety later in life and I still prefer this one! This is one of the first things my mother taught me to cook and I cherish this recipe and its hidden lessons about generosity and balance to this day. To my vegetarian friends, please omit the bacon and give this recipe a go. It's delicious and makes banging leftovers the next day.Get the recipe for mom’s mac n cheese here. 

Nana's three-cheese onion pie

Hannah’s nan’s pie is pure comfort food at its best. Mashed potatoes, three kinds of cheese and caramelised onions are encased in flaky, buttery pastry and baked until golden. If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate meat-free winter warmer, this pie will blow you away.

“I’m really proud of this recipe from my Nana, it was passed down to her from her mom, so it’s really close to my heart. If you’re going to make one cheesy comfort dish this month, this is it!” - Hannah Lewry, contributing food editor

Nana's three-cheese-and-onion pie recipeGet the recipe for Nana’s three-cheese onion pie here.

Brenda's Mexican pork chops

Steak and chops aren’t just for Father’s Day. These Mexican-inspired pork chops were Lynda’s favourite growing up. The blend of spices gave an unexpected and exotic flavour to what would otherwise have been another pork chop dish.

“I am definitely a child of the seventies because I remember thinking this dish was incredibly exotic – it must have been the paprika and cayenne pepper! My mom used to make it in an electric frying pan – do they even exist anymore?” - Lynda Ingham-Brown, chief copy editor

Get the recipe for Brenda’s Mexican pork chops here.

Pinkie's buttermilk pudding

Kate’s mom, Pinkie, loves hosting dinner parties. And while many of her dishes are requested by eager guests and family members, her top recipe is her simple buttermilk pudding. With winter around the corner, you’ll want to add this recipe to your arsenal.

”Despite her elaborate dinner party menus, this is my mother’s most requested recipe – the simplest, most comforting nursery pudding of them all.” – Kate Wilson, editor-in-chief

Get the recipe for Pinkie’s buttermilk pudding here. 

Sandra’s tropical tart

This tart features ingredients that every South African retro bake must include: canned fruit and evaporated milk. If baking isn’t your thing, this tart is a fail-safe dessert that can be used as a base for your favourite flavours. For Michelle’s mom, coconut and canned fruit cocktail added tropical flavours to a warm winter dessert.

"This fruity ‘malva pudding’ was an integral part of our family Sunday teas with grandparents, aunts and uncles while I was growing up. You could also serve it hot with custard if you prefer.” – Michelle Coburn,  deputy editor

Get the recipe for Sandra's tropical tart here.

Nana’s Victorian sponge cake 

If there’s one person to whom food director Abigail attributes her love of cooking, it’s her grandmother. Over her years at TASTE, she has shared countless recipes inspired by her grandmother, but it's this Victorian sponge cake that started it all.

"My love affair with baking started with beating the sugar and butter together in my nana’s mixing bowl. I still have it. She could whip up a sponge cake in minutes with no electric beater. We would sit on the couch together and beat that sugar and butter until it was pale and creamy.” – Abigail Donnelly, food director

Get the recipe for Nana’s Victorian sponge cake here.

Mamose’s tea biscuits

Receiving a cookie press was a great coming-of-age moment for The Lazy Makoti, Mogau. Also referred to as “dikuku tsa bayeng” these butter tea biscuits are always baked in large batches over the festive season to have ready for unexpected guests to dunk in milky tea or enjoy with home-made ginger beer. Gifting them with extras to take home is always encouraged.

“I’m not sure when or how they became a tradition, but that’s what they are. Just seeing them immediately inspires nostalgia and makes me want to call home. I guess that’s part of the genius of our mothers.” – Mogau Seshoene, TASTETube contributor and TASTE columnist

Mama’s tea biscuitsGet the recipe for Mama's tea biscuits here.

Want to make your mom something special this Mother's Day, find more Mother's Day recipes here. 

Lesego Madisa

Article by Lesego Madisa

TASTE's commercial content producer loves thrifty recipes, fridge foraging and never says "no" to cake. When she's not flipping through the pages of food mags and cookbooks, she's happily baking and knitting in her tiny apartment.
View all articles
Load more