When it comes to putting food on the table, Megan and Millicent Morton believe in quality over quantity. The mother and daughter duo let us in on how cooking for one another is their greatest act of love, their favourite Easter memories and the most divine no-churn ice cream recipe.
"My mother instilled in me that interior work at its core is about keeping families together, and this has formed my own thinking around interiors true purpose. "
On my 18th birthday my mother had collected a vintage Dior jacket (that she found at the Paris fleas for $50), a pair of black Louboutin kitten heels (“because you don’t want to ever look like you’re not comfortable”), an organic white perfectly shaped tee, one of her beloved Lee Mathews linen skirts, a pair of vintage 501’s and tiny diamond studs from her dealer in India. She gifted it to me in a vellum suitcase she had found with our initials on it. Of course I didn’t get it but I’m now so grateful for these starts, because she has taught me that dressing is self care as well as self expression. We both appreciate clothing but we wear things differently. I love cooking for her because while she is a stylist par excellence and a conductor of real ambience, she really doesn’t cook. This is what makes our time together so special. Living in Melbourne and her in Sydney means any time we do get to eat together we do, and it’s always at home. We would never take a reservation if we could help it. In India people feel genuinely sorry for you if you eat out night after night. The thought is “poor you, you have no one to cook deliciousness for you” so when I am home I make it as delicious for her as I can. She sometimes gets so excited about the evening meal you will wake up and walk into the kitchen and she has laid her table response the night before! We love food in our family, but most of all we love what it means; that we are all together. My mother instilled in me that interior work is at its core about keeping families together, and this has formed my own thinking around interior’s true purpose. It’s been drilled into me that we ‘eat with our eyes’.
One of my favourite Easter memories is my parents mustering us all up and taking us to an art gallery. Instead of rushing, it’s a day-long affair and enjoyed at a slow pace. This year we will feast on my pizzas, made by my siblings and I, with Bandol rosè followed by my mum’s hand churned vanilla bean ice-cream with threads of saffron.
"Putting food on the table, as I have learned from my daughter, is the most demonstrable act of love"
Megan captured in her Double Bay home.
To have someone who truly considers colour, textures and flavours when cooking is one of the things I love about Millicent’s cooking the most. Her skills and verve in the kitchen astounds me and my husband and I watch her in true disbelief. What I love about all of it is how unflappable she is, and how she gets to that delicious point with seeming ease and grace. For her food is part and parcel of her art and self care. We are a household that runs on quality over quantity so sharing food together from R&D glassware and now their deeply beautiful ceramics just elevates the simple art of meeting at the table. Putting food on the table, as I have learned from my daughter, is the most demonstrable act of love.
My fondest memory is waking up on Easter morning and my very crafty mother had made rabbit prints up our half a kilometre drive way. I later found the talcum powder and cornflakes box used as a template in the bin, but I will forever be in wonder and marvel of her early morning efforts. This year Easter is special because all my children are at an age that I don’t have to pretend the Easter bunny is real and I can focus on really delicious food and the time spent together.
Our Easter lunch menu has been made in under an hour with prep the day or night before. We promise it won’t have you going to any more than your usual stores. We all know that beauty is in simplicity and if it’s good before it’s even tampered with it needs very little else. 3 simple and delicious things to make, a drink, a dough and a no churn ice-cream, with methods so simple they hardly need a recipe with variations to keep it fun.
Making cordial is about picking your flavour (we went for lemon, ginger and citrus), adding it’s juice, together with 1 cup of sugar for every cup of liquid, into a clean saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, reduce the heat to low, simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until it has slightly thickened and turned glossy.
COLD: Set aside, squeeze in the lemon juice and sweetener (if needed) and leave to steep for an hour. Overnight for more flavour.
HOT: Add to cup of hot water (just off boiling) to make a lovely steeper or serve over ice with a slice of lemon and sparkling water.
Make it BOOZY: Either of these can be made a bit boozy with a glug of dark rum or gin.
Make it OMBRE: Lemon makes lemon-aid. Ginger makes ginger and we used peaches and oranges for our citrus coloured one.
2 cups water
1 tbsp citric acid
1 tbsp tartaric acid
Zest and juice of 6 lemons
1/3 cup (80g) caster sugar
7cm- piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced crossways
6 cups sugar
4 cups water
6 cups orange juice with pulp (10-15 oranges)
Juices of two lemons
Muddle of 2 peaches
Zest of two oranges (careful to remove the white pith as this will make the cordial overly bitter)
PREP 48hrs / Cook 1 hour
We went with the combination of beetroot, radish, turnips and eggplant, but anything goes. All you need is salt/oil to season and some clay!
Wash and cut vegetables down the middle in half. Lay the vegetables cut side facing down on a tray.
Take a rolling pin to make a thin layer of clay (we used ‘school clay’) and place over the cut vegetables and leave to set over night.
Remove veg from the clay imprints and bake them with oil and salt to season in a hot oven and place back into their molds to serve.
LEFT OVER CLAY?
Why Don’t You make desert spoons using the extra clay. Lay a silver spoon onto rolled clay and trace it with a knife. Leave the clay to dry and put scoops of your desert on them to serve.
375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water
Pinch of caster sugar
2 teaspoons (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
600g (4 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
60ml (1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing)
Whisk yeast and water in a jug and stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour and salt in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Pour yeast mixture and oil and using your hands, mix the dough until it comes together and is smooth. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap.
Set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes to an hour until it doubles in size. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for another 5 minutes or until smooth. Divide dough and roll out pizza bases to desired size. Sprinkle a little flour on the bench before rolling to prevent dough from sticking. (We keep a couple of balls rolled in our freezer so we are never short of instant pizza).
Pre bake your thinly cut veg. We did olives and potatoes/ eggplant and tomatoes.
Over a base of pasta or pizza sauce, order your toppings in rounds on the pizza. We don’t do cheese but do on yours if you please.
OPT: a sprinkle of polenta over your dough for a crispier base.
Why Don’t You: Make your own edible napkin rings! Cover a toilet paper cardboard tube in tin foil, spray with cooking spray and wrap left over pizza dough around the tube pinching the corners together. For a braid, roll dough into two or three long thin strips and pinch the ends together. Cover and let raise for up to an hour, bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Once out of the oven spread butter on the rings while still hot, let them cool and gently slide the rings off the foil tubes and slide over napkin inside.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons espresso liqueur (or not)
(To make vanilla, leave out last 2 ingredients and add scraping of a vanilla bean or a drop of essence if your beanless)
Whisk madly all the ingredients until you have soft peaks and place in an airtight container in the freezer for 6 hours (ideally overnight).
Using a rockmelon baller scoop mouthfuls onto a spoon and set aside in the freezer. We added spoons of honey and pomegranate to accompany our ice cream, so it’s a real mouth party.
Photography: Phillip Huynh