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.


PRAWNS / GAMBAS

This is how to prepare prawns, shrimps, langoustines, or any over similar sea food so that the flesh stays terse rather than mushy:

Boil water (without any salt) in a large pan. Separately prepare a bowl with very cold water and lots of ice and throw a handful of coarse sea salt in  (a handful of salt for a kilo of prawns). Throw the shrimps or langoustines into the boiling water. Wait for a minute or two until they turn pink (the precise timing depends on the size of the prawn). As soon as they are pink take them off the boiling water and throw them into the salty icy water. Wait for a couple of minutes and serve them  ( or keep them in the fridge covered with a damp tea cloth).  They come out perfect.

According to my foodie brother then reason this works is that you create a process of osmosis with the salt and ice. My physics teacher mother agrees. If my mother says so it must be true!



INSPIRING GIRLS WEBPAGE

Just because I cannot contain my excitement, this is the Inspiring Girls webpage. Still without content, but it gives you an idea of how it will be when content will be added in September.

First countries to go live will be: Italy, Spain, Zambia and Serbia. If you know any women in those countries who may want to become part of the camping - or indeed know women in other countries who may want to launch in elsewhere - get in touch with us!

click here for inspiring girls

GRILLED COURGETTES

Grilled courgettes are delicious. These ones are home grown and taste divine. We cut the courgettes in half and then vertically (simply because the courgettes from my uncle's far, are huge, but if you have normal size courgettes  just cut then vertically in pound thick slices). Heat a grilling pan .  Put the courgettes slices on top. Let them grill for 3 minutes until they are golden, turn them around, add a drizzle of olive oil on top, wait for another couple of minutes until they are golden on the other side and then take the courgettes out. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and serve immediately.

In Spain we serve these as a starter on their own. But they go well with any grilled or roast  meat or grilled blue fish.


WATERMELON ICE LOLLIES

This could not be simpler and is an easy way to get children to eat more fruit.
You need:
- half a watermelon (get rid of the pips)
We did this with a really sweet watermelon in Spain, so there was not need to add anything else. If the watermelon is not sweet you may want to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar and the juice of half a lemon.

Blend the watermelon. Pour the juice on the ice lollies moulds. Wait for 4 hours… and eat.

You can do this with orange juice, melon, peaches, strawberries, kiwis…you name it.

EMPANADILLAS

Empanadillas are little fried tuna pies. Perfect for children's suppers. If you happen to be in Spain you can buy empanadillas pastry rounds in any supermarket.  If you are not in Spain you can use wonton's pastry (though that makes a triangular empanadilla rather than a semi-circular one). Or you can also make the pastry yourself (a bit of a bother, really, but you can find the recipe below)

For the pastry
- 90 ml water
- 80 ml olive oil
- 330 g plain flour
- a generous pinch of salt

Mix the water and olive oil. Heat it gently for a couple of minutes. Add it to the flour and salt (in one go). Mix well and let it rest for 30 minutes. Knead it a little to get rid of the air. Then cut thin circles of the pastry and put them in between baking paper squares so that they do not stick to each other (this is how they sell them in Spain).

For the empanadillas you need:
- two boiled eggs (chopped very thinly)
-20 green olives ( chopped very thinly)
- 2 small tins of tuna
-a tablespoon of red vinegar (this is optional, but in Spain we often make this with tuna in 'escabeche', which is difficult to find here, so the vinegar helps to get that 'escabache' flavour)
-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce or good passata
- a pinch of salt
- lots of olive oil

Mix the chopped boiled eggs, chopped green olives, tuna, vinegar, tomato sauce and salt until you get a thick paste (do not over-mix it so that you can still see each ingredient). Put a teaspoon and a half of the mixture on each round of pastry. Fold the pastry over and press down the sides with the teeth of a fork so that the empanadillas do not open up. At this point you can freeze the empanadillas if you wish.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the empanadillas. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until they get golden. Be careful because they can burn in seconds. Once they are ready put them on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil.


INSPIRING GIRLS

And this is the webpage of the global Inspiring Girls campaign (click here for the webpage) that we are launching this Autumn.  Isn't the logo super-cute? There are now four countries ready to go - cannot wait to see the campaign properly launched...

Thank so much to all of you who are contributing, including those who are helping me finance this transition period from the national to the international campaign by buying the Made in Spain book.

And if you have good ideas on this or would like to be involved send us an email at  hello@inspiring-girls.com.  Every woman - and man - is welcome!



STUFFED PEPPERS

This is a great Spanish Dish.

You need:
- 2 jars of piquillo peppers
- 400 g beef mince meat
- 2 onions (diced thinly)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
- 500 ml milk
- 30 gr of butter
- 8 tablespoons of tomato sauce ( or good passata)
- 80 ml of white wine
- half a glass of water
- a teaspoon of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt

Put the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion for 8-10 minutes (low heat) until it is soft. Then add the mince meat and salt,  increase the heat and let it all fry for another 11-15 minutes stirring from time to time until the meat is brown.

Separately, heat the butter in a pan. Add the flour and let it fry for 3 minutes while stirring it. Then add the milk. Put the heat on medium, and keep stirring until you see that there are bubbles. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes until it gets thick and smooth. If you are not confident preparing the béchamel sauce, blend the mixture with a hand held blender as soon as you add the milk to the butter and flour - it always comes out perfect this way.

Add a bit of salt to the béchamel, mix it with the meat and let it cool down a little.

Take the piquillo peppers out of the jar discarding the water. Stuff the peppers with the meat and béchamel mixture. Put them on a shallow pan. Then pour the tomato sauce on top. Heat it until you get bubbles on the tomato sauce. Add the wine and water and let it all simmer for 10 minutes. Before serving it sprinkle the parsley on top.