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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.


CHICKEN IN PEPITORIA

In moments of sadness one resorts to comfort food.  This recipe is indeed Spanish comfort food at its very best. Though not even the best food in the world will get rid of the sadness and the feeling of powerlessness that I feel today.

Pepitoria is a really traditional Spanish sauce made with saffron and eggs. My grandma used to make a very light pepitoria for fish (see our salmon in pepitoria recipe) and a thicker one for chicken. In fact, the traditional dish is 'hen in pepitoria' but since hens are very difficult to find nowadays most Spanish who like this dish have turned to chicken instead.

You need:
- a chicken cut in 12 chuncks (2 from each leg, one for each wing and then cut the breast in three). You can also buy just drums or thighs, but if you buy the whole chicken you can also make chicken soup with the carcass and also it is interesting for the older children to see how to cut a chicken)
- three tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 eggs
- a pinch of saffron
- three tablespoons of powdered almonds
- 2 onions ( diced thinly)
- 2 cloves of garlic (diced very thinly)
- half a glass of wine
- 2.5 glasses of water
- salt
- a bay leaf

Boil the three eggs.
Heat the oil in a wide shallow pan. Salt the chicken on both sides and fry it in batches until it is golden (on both sides).
Reserve the chicken. In the same oil where you have fried the chicken fry the onion and garlic for 5-8 minutes (low heat) until they become soft.While they are frying,  toast the powdered almonds by putting them on a frying pan while stirring them a little for a couple of minutes (watch this all the time as it can burn easily). Mix the almonds with the egg yokes (reserve the egg whites) and the wine so that it becomes like a thick paste. Toast the saffron for a few seconds on the pan of the almonds and add it to the almond and egg yokes paste.
Put the chicken back into the roomy pan with the onion and garlic. Pour the egg yokes paste on top of the chicken and add the glasses of wine, a little bit ore salt and the bay leaf. Let it all boil and then lower the heat so that it simmers for 50 minutes to an hour.
Before you are going to serve it get rid of the bay leaf, cut the boiled egg whites into little bits (best way to do this is to smash them with the back of a fork) and sprinkle them on the chicken.
It is just delicious (and improves if you let it rest for a few hours or even a day). We serve it with fried cubed potatoes but you can serve it with plain rice too.


    

BARNACLES / PERCEBES

In order to celebrate that we have reached 200,000 views I am bringing to you one of the most loved foods in Spain and indeed one of my favourite ones (which my children like as well): barnacles, or 'percebes'. The mother of all delicacies in Spain. It really is big celebration's food. Hideously expensive (unless you happen to be in a Galician fishermen village when they are in season and then you can have the pleasure of stuffing yourself with these). They epitomase the essence of the Spanish cuisine: if you find a great ingredient do as little as possible  to it. Eating barnacles is like 'eating the sea'.

In order to prepare these you need to get as many barnacles as you can afford (normally when we eat these in Spain we just get a very few per person given their price). When you buy them, ask for where do they come from as the colder the water the barnacles come from, the better they are (and I honestly think that barnacles from Galicia are the very best).

Ideally they should be boiled in sea water, but if you are not living near the sea just fill a big pan with water and add 70 gr of sea salt for every litre of water. Add a bay leaf per litre as well.  Once the water is boiling add the barnacles. As soon as the water boils again (a matter of a couple of minutes, if at all) take them off the pan (in some Galician villages the recipe calls for putting the barnacles into the pan , praying an 'our father' and taking them off the water…though this obviously depends on how fast you pray!). Cover the barnacles with a clean tea-cloth and serve them while they are hot. Simply superb.


PESTO SNAILS

We had some left over pastry from the tart Lorraine in our previous post, so we made some pesto snails. this could not be easiest. You need:

- a rectangle of puff pastry around 10 cm width and 20 cm length.
- 4 tablespoons of pesto (preferably home made - see our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/03/green-pesto.html)
- two handfuls of parmesan cheese ( or any other grated cheese)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Spread the pesto over the rectangle of pastry and then sprinkle the cheese on top. Roll the pastry along its longest side and then cut slices of around 2 centimetres long. Put the slices on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Press them down a bit so that they get flat. No need to paint them with beaten egg or anything like that. Bake them in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until golden. Eat them while they are still warm.


TART LORRAINE

This is a very simple tart-version of quiche Lorraine that works well for the Summer, whether for lunch of for a brunch. You need:
 - a packet of puff pastry
- two handfuls of grated cheese
- 150 gr bacon or pancetta (diced)
- half a teaspoon of salt
- 125 gr cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.  Roll out the puff pastry to make a rectangle (if you buy ready-rolled out pastry, roll it a bit more between two pieces of baking paper so that you get a very thin base-. Put the pastry on top of an oven tray covered with baking paper and prick it with a fork all over. Bake for 10 minutes.
Take the pastry off the oven. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the cheese (do not cut the tomatoes as otherwise the tart will become too watery and the pastry soggy). Heat the pancetta on a frying pan for 3-4 minutes (on in the microwave for minute). Get rid of the recess fat (by putting the hot pancetta on a bit of kitchen paper) Sprinkle the pancetta on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on top of it all and paint lightly the tomatoes with the olive oil (with a brush). Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden.
My youngest likes to put the tomatoes on top and paint them with the oil.


MADE IN SPAIN BOOK COVER

…and here you have a link to the Amazon video on our book… this is being so much fun!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=10253152031

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1465161540&sr=8-1&keywords=miriam+gonzalez



FILO ORANGE CAKE

We are on a  bit of a filo pastry theme (simply because I have bought too much) so we have tried a Greek orange cake called 'portokalopita'. I am afraid I simply could not swallow it as it is one of the sweetest desserts I have ever tasted (probably together with baklava, which I also dislike as I cannot stand honey) I nevertheless love the name and the smell that this leaves in the kitchen. The kids thought the taste was OK. And if you have a very sweet tooth this is definitely your dessert. We got the recipe from a website called 'my greek dish' but we cut down the amount of syrup (no offence to the Greeks but this cake will massive improve by not using any syrup at all and serving it with yogurt)

You need:
- a packet of filo pastry
- 300 ml orange juice
- 300 g sugar
- 300 ml sunflower or corn oil plus a bit more to grease the tray
- 200 gr greek yogurt
- zest of 1.5 oranges
- 4 teaspoons baking powder (this is not a typo, it really is four)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the syrup:
- 200 gr water
- 150 gr sugar
- zest of an orange

Open the  filo pastry and let it dry overnight ( or for an hours).
Preheat the oven at 175 degrees.
Mix the yogurt, oil, orange juice, zest, sugar  and vanilla extract. Then add the baking powered. Finally crumble the filo and add it to the mixture. Grease a baking tray with the oil and pour the mixture in. Bake for 45 minutes.

While it is baking make a syrup (if you are using it) by boiling the water, sugar and zest of the orange. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and then let it cool down.

As soon as you take the cake out of the oven pour the syrup on top.  Let it all cool down before eating it.

FILO AND COURGETTE PIE

This is a courgette version of spanakopita that my children much prefer over the traditional spinach filled one. It is a very easy way to sort out a lunch with minimal effort ( just add a green salad on the side)
You need:
- 4 grated courgettes (3 if they are big)
-1.5 tablespoons of olive oil plus more oil for 'painting' the filo.
- half an onion (diced thinly)
- 200 gr feta cheese
- rind of a lemon - grated very thinly
- a packet of filo ( you will need 10 sheets)
- 1 egg
- a tablespoon of sesame seeds of poppy seeds or chopped pine nuts (optional)
- salt

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

In a large pan heat the oil, add the onions and let them soften for 5 minutes over low heat. Increase the heat to medium, add the courgettes and let it all fry for 8-10 minutes. Take it off the heat, crumble the feta and add it to the pan. Add salt (carefully as the feta cheese is very salty). Then (this is the secret tip) fry lightly the lemon rind for a minute on half a teaspoon of olive oil and add it to the courgettes and feta mixture. Let this cool down for 10 minutes or so.

Overlap two sheets of filo so that they make a long rectangle. Brush them with olive oil and add two more sheets on top, brush them again and so on until you have used the 10 sheets. Put the courgettes mixture along the longest side of the rectangle. Roll it so that you end up with a thin long roll. Then roll it over itself so that you get a snail shape. Put it on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Pain it with the beaten egg and sprinkle the seeds on top ( this is just for decoration so don't do this if you cannot be bothered). Bake for 35 minutes. It is very delicious.