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.


POACHED QUINCE

This is one of my regular Autumn 'dinner party desserts'. It has an Arabic feel and it never fails to please.  You need:

- 2 quinces (enough for 8 people)
- a tub of greek yogurt
- two tablespoons of honey
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
- a handful of shelled (unsalted) pistachios (chopped)
- half a tablespoon of pink pepper
- 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
- two tablespoons of lemon juice
- water

Peel and quarter the quinces, getting rid of the core. Put them and the lemon juice in a pan with water (just enough to cover them) over medium heat. Once the water is boiling let it all simmer for 40 minutes more or less until the quinces are soft. Take the quinces off the liquid and reserve them.

Separately put one glass and a half of the water where you have boiled the quinces on a sauce pan. Add the pepper, sugar and orange blossom water. Heat it and let it all simmer for 20-25 minutes until it reduces in volume by two thirds. Once it is ready put it aside and let it cool down.

When you are going to serve this dish just put a quarter of a quince in a bowl. Add a kernel of greek yogurt beside the quince. Drizzle two tablespoons of syrup and a teaspoon of honey on top of the quince and yogurt. And sprinkle the pistachios and pomegranate seeds on top. That is all.




SKATE WING WITH BUTTER

This is always a winner in my home. One of the best fish to get children to eat fish with bones because the bones are huge and therefore easy to spot  - and also they are all facing the same direction, so it is easy to find your way through them. You need:

- a skate wing stake per person (we do 5 portions)
- 100 gr of butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- juice of a lemon
- three tablespoons of flour to dust the fish
- salt

Put skate wings in a big pan. Pour boiling water on them and let it all simmer for 3 minutes. Take the skate wings out and pat dry them with kitchen paper. Salt them on both sides and dust them with the flour also on both sides.

Put half of the butter on a frying pan ( I do this with two frying pans so that the fish is ready for all at the same time, as indeed this dish is best if you eat it very hot). Fry the skate wings over medium heat on both sides until golden  ( it takes 3-4 minutes on the first side and 2-3 on the other side). Take the wings out and put them on a serving plate. Add the rest of the butter to the frying pan together with the parsley and let it all warm up for 2-3- minutes. Add the juice of the lemon to the butter and parsley and pour this sauce over the wings. It is simple and delicious.  I serve it with boiled potatoes.


CRAB CHICORY BOATS

This is a good way to get children to get used to chicory. You can vary the fillings (tuna mayo, shrimps and cocktail sauce,  a mixture of cream and blue cheese…) but it works particularly well with crab. You need:

- a chicory (separate the leaves)
- 100 gr crag meat (I normally use white meat as it is a softer flavour)
- half a chill chopped very thinly
- a teaspoon of chopped coriander
- 2.5 tablespoons mayonnaise (home made really works best on this as shop bought mayo is far too strong for crab) - see our two minutes mayo recipe: http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/04/2-minutes-mayonnaise-sauce.html
-juice and zest of half a lime


Mix the crab, mayo and lime juice. Put the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Then put a bit of the mixture on top of each chicory leaf. Sprinkle with the chile, coriander and lime zest. That is all there is to it.


CATALAN CREAM or CREMA CATALANA

This is a very typical catalan dessert. In Catalan it is called 'crema', while in Castillian it is called 'crema catalana'. Though Calaluna can legitimately claim ownership of this recipe (as indeed there are references to it in Catalan literary works even from the Middle Ages) the fact is that it is eaten all over Spain. And indeed in Europe, as it is just a variation of the typically French 'creme brûlée' that the Belgians make to absolute perfection. Here in the UK this is a 'burnt cream' or a 'Cambridge burnt cream'. Some also claim it is a 'Trinity cream', as they say it was invented in Trinity College in Cambridge in the XXVII century.  Despite the disputes about the origin of this recipe, the fact is that it is a delicious dessert. And it is rather uplifting that no matter the country, language or region, at the end of the day we all eat the same.  

You need  (for 5 people):
- 500 ml full fat milk ( alternatively use 400 ml half-fat cream and 100 ml single cream)
- 3 egg yokes
- half a stick of cinnamon.
- zest of a quarter of a lemon and a quarter of an orange (only the yellow and orange bits)
- 50 gr sugar
- 40 gr corn flour
- more sugar to burn the top of the cream

Heat the milk with the lemon and orange peels and the cinnamon. Let it come to almost boiling point, then lower the heat, simmer for 8 minutes and then cover it and let it cool down for another 20 minutes.

Separately mix the eggs and sugar (with the back of a spoon, so that you do not create any air bubbles). Add the corn flower, and then the milk (through a colander so that you do not get any cinnamon bits in). Put this mixture back in the pan over medium heat while you stir it until it gets thick (it takes around 8 minutes) I normally get this though a colander again to make it very smooth, but I suppose you are fine to do without this step if you cannot be bothered to do it.

Put the cream on the individual pots, cover with cling film ( really important as otherwise you will get a really unpleasant 'custard skin' on top) and let it cool down in the fridge for 3 hours. When you are going to serve it, put some sugar on top and then burn the sugar under a hot grill or (much -much easier) with a torch.

Very delicious - and surprisingly light.


CHOCOLATE SWISS ROLL

Every time we make this my guests are impressed, but it is in fact really easy to make. In Spanish this type of cake is called 'brazo de gitano', ie. 'gypsy's arm', no idea why.  We first learned to make these decorations  a couple of years ago in a Spanish blog called www.recetadelafelicidad.com and since then we have changed colours, flavours and also slightly adapted the recipe. This is one of my children's favourite combinations of flavours.
You need:
- 30 g melted butter
- an egg white
- 30 g sugar
- 40 g plain flour
- 4 eggs
- 120 more g plain flour
- 25 g cocoa
- 120 more g sugar
- 4 tablespoons apricot jam
- a 250 g tub of mascarpone cheese
- two tablespoons icing sugar


The easiest manner to do this is with an indented silicon mat. We bought ours in Spain (see link: http://www.utilcentre.com/utensilios/pasteleria/tapete-relieve-silicona-60-c-a-230-c/tapete-relieve-relief-10-modeloflowers.html). We have not found them in the UK, but they send them internationally (the mats are huge, so we cut them in half and kept one in Spain, but you can always pass one half to a friend who likes to bake…) If you cannot/do not want to get the matt, you can also make this very easily by hand.

Just mix well the melted butter, egg white, 30 g sugar and 40 g flour and extend this mixture over the silicon mat ensuring the mixture gets into every indentation. If you do not have the mat, put the mixture into a piping mat with a very small nozzle. Print whatever pattern you like, put baking parchment on top of the paper with the pattern and then just pipe the mixture following closely the pattern. Put the silicon matt or baking parchment with the mixture into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Then, preheat the oven at 170 degrees. Whisk the eggs and 120 g sugar well (and electric whisk is best) until it acquires the consistency of whipped cream. Add the flour and cocoa and mix it all with an spoon ensuring you do not loose any air. Put this mixture on the swiss roll mat or on a swiss roll tin with the decorated baking paper at the bottom. Bake it for just 10 minutes (not a minute longer or it will get very dry!)

Take it the roll off the oven and put it over a clean cloth. Roll it over itself and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the mascarpone and icing sugar. When the roll is cold, extend it, spread the apricot jam on top and then the spread mascarpone over the jam. Roll it all tightly ensuring you do not leave any air inside it. Cut the extremes so that you get a nice swirl on the side and serve.


RASPBERRY LEMONADE

If you are meant to make lemonade when life gives you lemons (a recommendation I thoroughly agree with) I promise I could have swamped you all with lemonade this year. This is a recipe I got in California this summer. A sort of 'citron presse' with crushed raspberries. Simple and yet delicious. Totally recommendable.

You need:
- 6 lemons
- 150 ml water
- 250 ml fizzy water
- 5 raspberries per person
- one table spoon of caster sugar per person

Juice the lemons. Add the water and sugar, mix it all well and strain it so that you do not get any pips. Put the raspberries into a tall glass. Crush them with the back of a spoon. Add the sweetened lemon juice. Top it up with the fizzy water. It could not be any simpler.

Like all lemonades (and like life itself)  this tastes better with plenty of sunny weather.

SUMMER CHICKEN

I thought I would post a 'proper' summer roast chicken as I am in the US for a few days and all we can get here is the chlorinated chicken (surrounded by mountains of fries) that the UK Government seems so keen to allow into the UK as part of their desperate attempt to agree a deal with the US at any cost. Pity that otherwise perfectly sensible people, like the head of the UK administration, seem to have fallen for that nonsense too. The thing is this:  if the UK government  allows US chlorinated poultry into the UK, no UK poultry will be allowed in the EU. That will mean we will have plenty of chlorinated chicken to eat in the UK, but  we may need to cross the channel to eat a proper chicken. Apparently in fantasy planet Brexitland this is called 'taking back control'… taking control of all but your chicken that is!

You need:
- one chicken
- half a glass of water
- two table spoons of olive oil
- salt
- four sweet potatoes
- 200 gr butternut squash
- three onions
- a jar of pesto (see our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/03/green-pesto.html)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Cut the onions in six chunks (vertically). Cut the sweet potatoes and butternut squash in big chunks. Put both the onions and sweet potatoes on a roasting tray. Add a bit of salt and the two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss it all well.  Salt the chicken (including inside) and put it on top of the onions and sweet potatoes. Add the water (not on top of the chicken, just on the side of the roasting tray). Roast for 1.30 minutes. Serve it with the pesto and a salad. Simple and wonderful.