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.


ROAST CAULIFLOWER WITH YOGURT

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. 



SARDINES DIP

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.

MY GRANNY'S MACKEREL

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.


TOMATO AND PARSLEY TOAST

This is a healthy yet tasty starter to say goodbye to the summer.

You need:
- sourdough bread ( a slice per person)
- a clove of garlic
- 12 walnuts
- 30 gr manchego cheese ( or any over hard cheese)
- 4 tablespoons of good olive oil and a bit more to drizzle the toast at the end
- 3 handfuls of parsley ( I always use flat parsley but curly is good too)
- tomatoes (we used different varieties simply because we had them, but any kind of tomatoes works well)

Put the cheese, walnuts, parsley, garlic and oil into a blender and blend it all until you get a smooth paste.

Toast the sourdough. Put the parsley paste on top. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of the parsley paste. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and add a drizzle of olive oil on top.




QUESADA - SANTANDER'S CHEESE CAKE

AT LAST we have gone over the £60 threshold that we had set to ourselves. In fact we have gone comfortably over it. My children are keen we keep writing the blog though, as it has become part of our weekend routines. As I am going through a particularly indulgent time, I have agreed to go on. So you will keep getting our weekly recipes, at least for a good while.

The recipe today is 'quesada', a very plain but very delicious cheesecake from the region of Cantabria in the north of Spain. It brings fond memories to us because this summer we had the chance to try the quesada of Ana, the 'queen of quesada', in the Casona de los Villa in the stunning village of Santillana del Mar. If you click in our instagram (miriamgonzalezdurantez) you can see a picture of the village there, but in any case, if you go to the North of Spain, Santillana is a village you should not miss.

Normally quesada is made with curd milk or fresh Spanish cheese, but when we were there she had made it with ricotta, which works well for making this recipe in the UK where it is not possible to find fresh Spanish cheese.

You need:
1.5 tubs of ricotta (250gr per tub, i.e 375 gr in total)
1 measurement of the tub of plain flour
2 measurements of the tub of sugar
2 measurements of the tub of milk
3 eggs
the zest of one lemon (grated)
a pinch of salt
a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Blend all the ingredients together (we do this with a hand blender) Put the mixture on a shallow tray previously greased with butter ( we use a swiss-roll one but if you like the quesada thicker then use a smaller tray) and bake for 45 minutes. Wait until the quesada is completely cold. In Spain it is normally eaten on its own, but it is also nice with berries (especially raspberries) on the side.


CHICKEN WITH TOMATO SAUCE

This is a dish that brings most Spaniards back to their childhood. In the villages our grand-mothers used to prepare it with home grown chickens (pollos de corral) and sun ripen tomatoes and then in the seventies, on the account to modernity, our mothers did it with 'factories' chickens' and shop bought passata. The recipe below is a compromise between both.

You need:

- a chicken thigh per person (buy the best quality chicken you are able to afford)
- a large onion
- a tin of tomatoes
- half a green pepper and a quarter of a yellow red pepper
- a clove of garlic
- a glass of wine
- a glass of water
- a bay leaf
- a quarter of a teaspoon of chopped rosemary (if you do not have rosemary do it without it as it is not worth buying it just for this - I always have a have a rosemary plant in my kitchen, which is good for cooking and in Mediterranean culture is also meant to bring good luck, though only if somebody gave you the plant as a present)
- olive oil
- salt

Salt the chicken. Heat a bit of olive oil (4 tablespoons more or less) in a frying pan and fry the chicken on both sides (2-3- minutes each side) until it becomes golden. If you do not mind carbohydrates you can dust the chicken thighs in flour before you do this and as a result you will get a heavier sauce at the end. When the chicken is golden on both sides take it off the pan and reserve it .

In a large pan add a bit of the oil that you have used for frying the chicken. And the onion (diced)  and peppers (also diced) and let them fry over low to medium heat for 4-5- minutes. Then grate the garlic, add it to the pan and wait for another 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat to maximum hight. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, add the tin of tomatoes, the glass of wine, water, bay leaf and rosemary. Let it all bubble for a couple of minutes and then lower the heat and let it simmer for a good half an hour.

I do not want to enter into the polemic about deep-fat- fryers that seems to have gripped parts of the country, but the most authentic way to eat this is with fried cubed potatoes or french fries.



TZAZIKI

Courtesy of my sister, who has been a few days in Greece. And a good way to use the many cucumbers that are in full supply in Spain during the summer.

You need:
- two cucumbers
- 8 tablespoons of greek yogurt
- a clove of garlic
- a tablespoon of chopped dill
- a tablespoon of salt
- a tablespoon of lemon juice
- a tablespoon of olive oil

Peel the cucumbers, get rid of the seeds, grate them coarsely, sprinkle salt on them and put them on a colander for at least 30 minutes. After that, dry them with kitchen paper or a teacloth.

Grate the garlic, mix it with the yogurt, chopped dill, and lemon juice. Mix this sauce with the cucumbers.  Serve it in a bowl,  drizzle some olive oil on it and sprinkle a bit more drill on top. You may want to add a black olive on top.