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.


OMELET 'A LA MENTA"

I went to Milan earlier this week to launch Inspiring Girls Italy with our partner there, the business association ValoreD. What an amazing amazing day! You can see pictures in my instagram (miriamgonzalezdurantez) but  I could have stayed for hours listening to the volunteers telling their life journeys to the girls. So utterly inspiring. I came back mesmerised by the professionalism, energy and strength of Italian women - the kind of strength that comes from the inside, a 'serene strength'. Thanks so-so much to ENI, Intesa Sanpaolo and Courriere de la Sera, who sponsored our event there and also to the Minister of Education for backing us. We are already in four countries and we set this up from scratch, fancy that!

The night before the event I was taken to a restaurant, where they served omelet 'a la menta', which I had never tried beforehand  It was the kind of moment when you wonder: why, of why, didn't I think about this beforehand?! so simple but so very gorgeous. The freshness of the mint with the warmth of the egg and the parmesan - a revelation. I am prone to liking any recipes with eggs, but this... I just love it.

All you need is:

- 2 eggs
- a couple of spoons of olive oil (use a small frying pan)
- a pinch of salt ( not too much as the cheese is salty)
- a tablespoon and a half of grated parmesan cheese
- two teaspoons of finely chopped mint leaves

Heat the oil in the frying plan. Beat the eggs (not too much) with the salt and the mint. Pour the egg mixture onto the pan. After 30 seconds stir it a couple of times so that you get 'folds' in the omelet. Sprinkle the parmesan on top. wait one more minute and fold the omelet in half as you normally do with any omelet. It should all take barely 2 minutes so that the omelet is moist inside. Eat it immediately. Just heavenly.  



STRAWBERRY CRUMBLE

A journalist friend (yes, they do exist, in fact many of them…but for some reason none in the Daily Mail!­čśë) has asked me to bake a Brexit crumble.  This particular recipe comes from the wonderful Nigella Lawson and calls for almonds and vanilla, but over the years we have cut down on the sugar, replaced the vanilla with lemon zest and the almond with hazelnuts (only because a year ago I went through a time when I compulsively added hazelnuts to almost everything - they are particularly good with mackerel and orange I must say) The crumble, just like Brexit, seems fine on the outside, though if you look attentively you can see that there is a mess bubbling up inside. And it will definitely fall apart when you serve it no matter how hard you try. Though to be perfectly honest, I am not sure the messiest of the crumbles does any justice to the mess we are all in.

You need:
- 300 g strawberries
- 100 g sugar
- 100 g hazelnuts (ground 30 g thinly and the remaining 70 g coarsely)
- 110 g plain flour
- zest of a lemon
- 75 gr cold butter
- a tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees

Cut the strawberries in half. Put them on a baking dish (you can also bake this in individual dishes) Sprinkle them with 30 g of sugar, the 30 g of thinly ground hazelnuts and the lemon zest.

Separately mix the flour and baking powder  with the cold butter (diced). Rub the butter with your fingers for 5 minutes. The add the remaining sugar and Hazelnuts. Tip this on top of the strawberries. Bake for 30 minutes (22 minutes if you bake this in individual dishes)




VINAIGRETTE


I normally dress the salad by just pouring some salt, olive oil and red wine vinegar on top of it (in this order). If you get enough practice you will not even need to measure the ingredients. The rule in Spain is that the salad should be oily, salty and not too vinaigry -  but I love vinegar (and I also love breaking rules) so my salads (which I eat pretty much every day) are always on the vinaigry side. The alternative to this rudimentary way of dressing salads is to prepare a proper vinaigrette and keep in in the fridge for a few days. You need:

- 200 ml of light olive oil
- 40 ml water
- a tablespoon of mustard (dijon is best)
- a teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of red wine

Whisk the olive oil and mustard. When the mixture is emulsionated (i.e. it becomes a thick sauce) add the water, then the salt and vinegar. Whisk it a bit more and keep in a jar in the fridge.

You can also do a variation of this by replacing the mustard by a tablespoon of shop-bought mayonnaise and increasing the amount of water to 60 ml.

Whatever you do please do not add any sugar or honey to it - that is the easiest way to ruin any salad.

It keeps in the fridge for a week.



ARTICHOKES WITH SERRANO HAM

Artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables, together with aubergines and swiss chard. I bought these beauties last week at the truly exorbitant price of £1.99…per artichoke! For that price you can buy a whole kilo of artichokes in Spain (taking into account the depreciation of the pound after Brexit et all) Out of curiosity I searched the prices in different supermarkets  during one of my daily commutes - difficult to find artichokes in the UK for less than 1.40-1.50 per unit at the very best. Insane. How much of that goes to the farmers pockets? as the granddaughter and niece of farmers I can tell you that very little indeed. Perhaps when governments spend money on marketing to convince us all to increase the number of fruit and vegetables we eat per day, they could think of how to work with supermarkets so that  raw vegetables and fruits go down to a more normal prize. How can they possibly justify that the price of one single artichoke is the same as the prize of not one, but twelve packets of salt and vinegar crisps? or eight Mars bars?

For this dish you need:
- one artichoke for two people (or if you are in the South of Europe, as many as you wish)
- two cloves of garlic sliced
- 50 gr serrano ham  (or parma, etc…cut it in little cubes)
- 80 ml water
- a tablespoon of white vinegar
- half a lemon
- salt
- three tablespoons of olive oil

Clean the artichokes: get rid of all the outer leaves and peel the base as well. Cut them in slices and put them in a bowl of water with the juice of half a lemon.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Dry the artichokes and add them to the oil. Let them fry over medium heat for 3-4- minutes until them get golden. Add salt to the artichokes.

Separately fry the garlic on low heat on the spare tablespoon of oil (this takes only 1.5 minute or so), add the ham and let it fry for another minute, then the vinegar and finally the water. Pour all this over the artichokes and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes until they get soft (the exact amount of time depends on how tender the artichokes are of course - I prefer them a little al dente, but children normally like them soft)



CHEESE AND PUMPKIN SEED BISCUITS

… and these are some cheese biscuits that you can eat with the broccoli mayo (see our recipe) or any other dip, though my children and their friends eat them (devour them to be precise) on their own.

You need:
- 135 gr plain flour
- 120 gr grated cheddar
- 80 ml sunflower oil
- 30 ml milk
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of paprika
- a handful of sunflower seeds

Mix all the ingredients but the sunflower seeds. Make a roll with the dough and put it in the fridge (covered by cling film or foil) for one hour. Then preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Cut slices of the roll, put them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Press a few sunflower seeds on top of each biscuit and bake for 8 minutes (or until golden).  It is very difficult to stop eating these.

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BROCCOLI MAYO

You can make mayonnaise with any food rich in lecithin: from eggs to milk, brussels sprouts of broccoli. My children like this as a dip, or on the side of grilled chicken and salad, as a sauce. It also goes well with boiled eggs and white fish.  You need:
-500 gr broccoli
- 200 ml sunflower oil (or a very mild olive oil)
- salt
- two or three tablespoons of lemon

Boil the broccoli for 15 minutes until it is really soft. Put the boiled broccoli in a tall beaker and add the oil on top.  Blend it all with a hand held blender - start with the blender at the bottom of the beaker without moving it for a 40 seconds or so and then bring the blender very slowly up while keeping a steady hand. Then add the lemon and salt and blend for a couple of seconds again. You can also do this with a normal blender by blending the broccoli first and then adding the oil little by little.





CRAB LINGUINI

Simple-simple, but my children love it. You need:
- 250 - 350 gr crab meat
- a packet of linguini
- two tablespoons of olive oil
- three cloves of garlic, chopped thinly
- a glass of white wine
 - half a lemon (juice and zest)
- a handful of parsley (flat)
- salt

Boil the linguini in plenty of salty water according to the packet instructions. Separately heat the olive oil in a pan, fry the garlic (over low heat) for 3 minutes, add the lemon zest and half of the parsley (chopped thinly) and after 20 seconds add the wine and salt and let it reduce for 10 minutes. When the linguini are boiled, add the crab to the wine sauce, let it simmer for a minute , pour the linguini on top, mix well and serve. You can add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil on top if you wish. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top. That is all.