Welcome to Mum&sons

My two eldest boys challenged me to start a cooking blog with simple recipes that we can cook together - and my youngest one has now joined in. I am hoping they pick up some cooking and photograph skills... or that at least they learn to design and run a blog.


This is a dish that comes from my favourite tapas place 'La Criolla' in Valladolid, my home town ( you can see the picture of the main 'plaza' there below). During 'tapas time' you often have to battle your way to the counter to sample their outstanding 'tostaditas', 'calamares' and their delicious ham, - but their 'champi rellenos' (stuffed mushrooms) are their signature dish. They serve it as a 'racion' (to be shared) and make it with button mushrooms - but we have made it with portobello mushrooms so that it can be served on its own for lunch.

This is one of those recipes where you have to use shop bought mayonnaise as the home made version simply does not work when you put it in the oven.

You need:

- a portobello mushroom per person.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- two cloves of garlic
- a handful of parsley
- 80 gr of serrano or iberico ham (diced) - you can also use parma ham
- 4 tablespoons of shop-bought mayonnaise
- a handful of fine breadcrumbs
- 1.5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- salt

Heat a frying pan or skillet (over high heat) Put the mushrooms on the pan, lower the heat and fry them on both sides (for 3-4- minutes on each side). Add some salt. Take them off the pan and put them on a baking tray.

Separately grind the garlic and parsley with a pester and mortar. When they become a paste, add the  olive oil and vinegar and mix it all well (you can also do this with a food processor, but in my humble  opinion grinding the garlic and parsley provides a better texture)

Finally heat the ham in a frying pan for 2-3- mints (without adding any oil)

Set the grill on its highest setting. Put a tablespoon and a half of the oil, garlic, vinegar and parsley mixture on top of each mushroom. Then sprinkle a little bit of the ham on top. Cover it all with a teaspoon of mayonnaise and sprinkle a tiny bit of breadcrumbs on top. Grill for 2-3- minutes until the mayo gets golden. Unbeatable!


This is not really a recipe but the leftovers of making 'membrillo' or quince paste (see our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/10/quince-paste-membrillo.html) which we made last week. The membrillo came out so well this year that I  decided to buy a quince tree (which I am yet to plant)

Do not through away the liquid from boiling the quinces. Just mix it with water (2 parts of quince liquid for 1 of water) add a tablespoon of honey for each litre of liquid (or to taste) and the juice of half a lemon. Boil it all together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool down and add some  mint leaves before you drink it. Really nice.


This soup is divine. I had never cooked it before this summer, but it has become a regular at my home.  The recipe is from Concha in Malaga, who kindly shared it with me after the Daily Mail made a fuss about my Made in Spain book and my recipe for mayonnaise there  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X ) I have actually received a recipe for a chocolate cake with mayonnaise as well - but I had not had the courage to test it yet!

Anyway, back to the soup, it is a really basic, almost humble, fish soup - the kind soup that fishermen would cook in Spanish fishing villages, with a really wholesome taste. You can make it with any white fish. We did it with monkfish, that works particularly well. But you can also try with hake, haddock or cod. My children love it.

You need:

- 2 large potatoes.
- 300 gr white fish (either monkfish or cod, hake, haddock…)
- 2 white fish bones (just ask the fishmonger for these - they will normally give them to you for free)
- a bay leaf
- an onion
- 300 gr prawns (this is optional but it gives a nice variety of textures to the soup)
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 180 ml olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- salt
- 1.5 l water

Boil the potatoes (peeled and cut in half), onion (cut in half), fish bones and bay leaf in the 1.5 l of water with salt for around 25 minutes. Seven or eight minutes before you are going to take this fish stock off the heat add the white fish. And after a couple of minutes add the prawns. As soon as the fish and prawns are cooked (it really is a matter of a few minutes only) take the stock off the heat. Take the potatoes, white fish and prawns out and reserve them (after cutting them in mouth bite chunks). Discard the onion and bay leaf, get rid of any foam at the top of the stock and pass it all through a sieve.

White the stock is boiling, make a mayonnaise with the egg and the olive oil. The easiest is to make this with a hand blender following our recipe for two minutes mayonnaise (i.e put the egg and olive oil in a tall beaker, put the hand blender into the beaker and blend for a minute without moving it at all, then move it up slowly). As soon as the mayo is ready add the lemon juice and a bit of salt.

Let the fish stock cool down a little. Then take half a glass of the fish stock and pour it over the mayo (in the beaker), mix it well with a balloon whisk. The pour this mixture over the fish stock and mix well again.  You can use as much or as little mayo as you wish - the more mayo, the ticker the soup. If you like a thiner soup (as we do) use only half of the mayo.

When you are going to serve the soup put some potato and fish chunks as well as a couple of prawns on each plate. Then pour the liquid on top.

This soup is best warm but not hot. The only rule to remember is that once you mix the mayo with the fish stock you should never-ever boil the soup. If you boil it, the mayo will split and you will end up with scrambled soup - not good!



I have finally found a way to use the chia seeds that I once bought in a moment of 'clean eating' inclination.  I am afraid I  do not get what people see in chia seeds  - that slimy texture when you mix them with yogurt or milk? definitely not good!

This is a recipe to get children to eat seeds. It has no flour, which is a plus.
The recipe (that we have edited) comes from  http://ohsheglows.com/2012/01/31/endurance-crackers/

Take any measurement (a glass or yogurt pot) and  mix:
- one measurement of sunflower seeds
- half a measurement of chia seeds
- a quarter of a measurement of flax seeds
- half a measurement of sesame seeds
- half a teaspoon of salt
-one measurement of water

Preheat the oven at 150 degrees. Mix all the seeds and water. Let them rest for 20 minutes. Extend the mixture over a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn around and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.

The taste is actually Ok… but give me Ryvita any day.


You may be fed up - with reason - to see roast cauliflower everywhere. But it has to be recognised that it tastes good. And while most children despise boiled cauliflower they seem to enjoy it roasted.

You need:
- a cauliflower (broken into florets)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- a handful of pumpkin seeds
- salt
- 5 tablespoons of greek style yogurt
- haft a teaspoon of turmeric
- a teaspoon of tahini
- a tablespoon of lemon juice
- half a clove of garlic- grated

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Put the cauliflower florets on an oven tray, salt them  and coat them with the olive oil (just by tossing them with your hands). Put it in the oven and wait for 25-30 minutes.

As soon as the cauliflower is ready toast the pumpkin seeds on a frying pan over medium heat   it should take just a could of minutes, but be careful because some of them 'explode' when they get hot and the children can get burnt)

Mix the yogurt, turmeric, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Taste the sauce as you may need a tiny bit of salt.

Serve the cauliflower with the seeds on top and the sauce on the side. 


This is a very easy dip to make.

You need:
- two tins of sardines
- five tablespoons of Philadelphia
- a pinch of salt
- a small pinch of paprika
- a tablespoon of lemon juice

Just put all the ingredients in a food processor (including the bones of the sardines, which are meant to be very good as they are full of calcium) and blitz it all for a minute. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and serve.


This is one of my favourite recipes ever.  It comes from my grandmother Maria and is a sort of 'escabache' but without the sharpness of it. The fatiness of the blue fish goes really well with the acidity of the vinegar. It is best prepared with whole rather than filleted mackerel. The downside to that is that mackerel has many bones (and some of them very thin) so you would have to ask the children to be really careful eating it (and be very careful yourself!)

Talking of fish bones, I am being told a female journalist was outraged during the summer because I had said that one of the main differences in eating habits between the UK and Spain is that in Spain we are used to eating fish with bones while in the UK most of the fish is filleted. Though she chose to take  it as an insult, I am afraid this is a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion. Her main counter-argument apparently was that British people have been eating fish with bones for many years…now, wait for this…  in the River Cafe!! Oh yes. And then they say it is politicians who are out of touch…

You need:
- a mackerel per person (ask the fishmonger to cut the head off and gut it)
- 100 gr flour ( for five mackerels)
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- two bay leaves
- 7 cloves of garlic (sliced)
- 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley
- a third of a glass of red vinegar
 - a glass of water
- salt

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Salt the mackerel and dust it with the flour on both sides. Fry it for 3 minutes or so on each side (over medium heat) until it is golden on both sides.  Put the mackerel aside in a shallow pan.

In the same oil where you have fried the mackerel add the garlic and fry it over medium heat for a couple of minutes until golden, then add the bay leaves, a teaspoon on parsley and the vinegar, wait for a minute while the vinegar gets hot and bubbly and then add the water. Wait for another minute and pour all this over the mackerels. Let them simmer for 3 minutes.

You can either eat them at this point or leave the in the fridge until the following day ( this dish actually improves over night). Sprinkle the other teaspoon of parsley on top just before you are going to serve it.