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.


FLAVOURED MILK MOUSSE

This is the easiest dessert I know - but you need a siphon ( which you can get for 25 quid). You can also serve it on its own, with berries on the side, with tuiles or beside any simple cake.

You need
- 400 ml single cream
- 100 ml milk (if you like a denser consistency just use 500 ml single cream)
- a stick of cinnamon
- peel of a lemon
- three table spoons of sugar

Heat all the ingredients together until it is about to boil. Take if off the heat, let it cool down and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Just before you are going to serve it, strain the mixture  though a colander, put it in the siphon, add two charges of air and serve. I normally put some powdered cinnamon and candied lemon peel on top of it, but it is purely for decoration, so no need to bother.

Kids enjoy being how the siphon works, but be very careful if you let them use itas it works with pressure, so you need to manipulate it with extreme care.


ECLAIRS - PETISUS

In my village these are called 'petisus' with an accent in the 'u'. I suppose this comes from the french 'petit-choux' as they are little bits of choux pastry filled with cream, but where I come from we are not good at languages, so 'petisus' it is. Our local bakery sells them with three types of icing: dark chocolate, white chocolate and caramel. And pretty much any celebration in the village happens with a big tray of these, so they epitomise happiness to me.

You need:
For the pastry:
- 65 ml milk
- 70 g plain flour
- 70 g butter
- 3 eggs
- a pinch of salt

For the cream: 
- 540 ml milk
- 60 ml cream
- 4 egg yokes
- 50 gr corn flour
- 120 sugar
- a teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the icing:
- 150 ml double crem
- 200 g dark chocolate

Start with the cream. Heat 400 ml of milk, the cream and vanilla extract until it is about to boil. Separately mix the rest of the milk with the corn flour and disolve it well. Mix the egg yokes and sugar beating well until they get frothy. Mix the egg mixture with the cornflour mixture, still mixing it well. Finally, add the warm milk to the eggs and cornflour mixture. Put it all back in a pan over low heat (while you keep stirring it) until becomes thick. Take it off the heat, put it in a piping bag and put it in the fridge until it gets cold (you can do this the night before you are going to make the petisus) 


Heat the oven at 180 degrees. Put a tray with water in the lowest part of the oven so that the oven produces steam.

Put the butter and the milk in a pan over low heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and salt (all in one go) and beat well with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and wait for 10 minutes so that the mixture cools down. Beat 2 eggs and add them in little bits (you may not need all of it) Put the mixture into a pipping bag.

Pipe little strips of the mixture on a tray covered with silicone. Push down any peaks by patting them carefully with a wet finger. Beat the remaining egg and paint each blob with the egg wash. Bake for 22 minutes. make a little cut at the side of each strip as you take them out of the oven.

Finally make the icing by putting the chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat until the chocolate dissolves and you get a glossy mixture (around three minutes)

Pipe the cream into each strip of choux pastry and coat each one with the chocolate. 

Wait for 20 minutes or so until the chocolate gets hard and eat. 









BLACK RICE

This is one of my favourite ways to eat Spanish rice. 

You need: 
- 1 large tomato
- half and onion
- half a red pepper
- 3 'fond d' artichokes' ( you can buy them frozen from Picard) 
- 250 g squid 
- one sachet of squid ink (add two if you want the rice really black)
- around 400 g 'bomba' rice, ideally Calasparra
- salt
- fumet 
- olive oil

Start by preparing the 'fumet', which you can do days in advance (see the recipe for 'arroz a banda http://www.mumandsons.com/2018/09/arroz-banda.html

Fry the tomato (no need to add oil) in a small pan until it gets mushy, almost liquid.

Separately fry the onion, pepper and artichokes (all cut into small cubes) over very low heat with a table spoon of olive oil for 8-10 minutes until it is all soft.

Cut the squid into small pieces. Take a paella pan, and fry the squid with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for 3-4 minutes (be careful because they 'spit') then add the rice (a handful per person) the ink, three tablespoons of the tomato pure and three  tablespoons of the onion, peppers and artichokes mixture. Stir it for a minute or so, then add the fumet (for each volume or rice, three times the volume of fumet).

Let it bubble over intense heat for 8 minutes. Then lower the heat and wait for another 8 minutes. Finally  add a tiny drizzle of oil all around the edge of the pan and increase the heat for 3 minutes. This is to create what is called 'socarrat', which is only possible if you add fat to the rice.



PLUM TART

These are so simple, and yet so handy when you parents in law decide to come for tea unannounced and you have not bought any cake. All you need is:

- A sheet of puff pastry
- 3 plums
- 8 teaspoons of brown sugar
- one egg

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Cut the puff pastry in 8 squares. Cut two 'L's inside each square alongside the borders. Flip each 'cut border' to the other side . Beat an egg and paint the borders of the pastry. Cut the plums in slices and arrange them inside each square. Sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar on top of each tart. Bake for 20 minutes (watch them carefully as they burn easily... as you can see with one of them in the picture!)


SAFFRON ALI-OLI

This is a lovely sauce for any Spanish rice dish. It also goes really well with fish. Or indeed just on its own on lots of crusty bread if you have had a bad day.

All you need to do is to prepare a mayonnaise as per our 2 minutes mayo sauce recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/04/2-minutes-mayonnaise-sauce.html with one egg, 200 ml sunflower oil, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice using a hand held blender.  Separately, add 10 stems of saffron to two tablespoons of boiling water and let it infuse for 5 minutes. Add the saffron water and a clove of garlic to the mayo and blend well. It has raw egg so keep it always in the fridge and never longer than a day.


ARROZ A BANDA

This is very similar to a paella, but without any of the paella distractions: no need to peel prawns,  open mussels, suck bones, clams or anything like that.  It is typical from the area of Alicante, where I spent most of the summer holidays during my childhood. The chef that cooks this best in Spain is Maria Jose San Roman from the wonderful restaurant Monastrell in Alicante. This recipe is slightly adapted from one of hers. If you are into cooking rice watch her videos in You Tube - she is not only a superb chef but also a great defender of cooking simply and focussing on the a quality of products, which I totally agree with.

You need: 
- 2 large tomatos
- half and onion
- half a red pepper
- 2 ñoras - or alternatively a teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 7 prawns
- 300 g squid 
- around 400 g 'bomba' rice, ideally Calasparra
- salt
- fumet: made with fish bones (a couple of bones of flat fish) and a litre of water. You can get a huge amount of fish bones for very little money - indeed most fishmongers would normally give it to you for free) 
- saffron 
- olive oil

Start by preparing the 'fumet' (which I normally prepare well in advance and freeze): roast the fishbones, a tomato cut into quarters and two cloves of garlic with a couple of table spoons of olive oil at 250 degrees. It takes around 40 minutes until the fish bones are brown with black edges. Put it all in a big pan with two litres of water and boil for 2 hours (or just 20 minutes in you do this with a express cooker) 

Separately, fry the ñoras and remaining clove of garlic with a tablespoon of oil, blend it and reserve it. If you are not using ñoras just grate the garlic and mix it with the tablespoon of paprika.

Fry the tomato (no need to add oil) in a small pan until it gets mushy, almost liquid.

Finally fry the onions and peppers (both cut into small cubes) over very low heat with a table spoon of olive oil for 18-10 minutes until the peppers are soft and the onions translucent.

Up to this point you can prepare it all well in advance or even the previous day.

45 minutes before you are going to eat, boil a little bit of water (half a glass), add the saffron and let it infuse. 
Cut the squid and prawns into small pieces. Take a paella pan, fry the prawns until they get pink with a tablespoon of oil (one or two minutes) take them out and reserve. In the same oil fry the squid for 3-4 minutes, then add the rice (a handful per person) a tablespoon of the ñora or paprika mixture, three tablespoons of the tomato pure and three to four tablespoons of the onion and peppers mixture. Stir it for a minute or so, then add the saffron liquid (put it through a colander to get rid of  the saffron stems). Finally add the fumet (for each volume or rice, three times the volume of fumet).

Let it bubble over high heat for 8 minutes. Then lower the heat and wait for another 8 minutes. Finally (and take note because this is a secret trick) add a tiny drizzle of oil all around the edge of the pan and increase the heat for 3 minutes. This is to create what is called 'socarrat', the burn bit at the bottom of the paella, which is something that every Spaniard would fight for at the table.

The key to any Spanish rice dish is not to overcomplicate it with too many ingredients. And to be really precise about timing. As soon as the rice is done you need to eat it immediately or it will become 'pasado' (mushy)... yuck...       



GOUGERES

Once you learn how to make choux pastry, you can make lots of different recipes. These are gougeres, i.e salty choux pastry. By far my favourite recipe with choux pastry, as I like anything with cheese. My children also prefer these over chouquettes. Though profiteroles are of course something else...

You need:
- 65 ml milk
- 70 g plain flour
- 70 g butter
- 3 eggs
- 125 g strong grated cheese
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- a pinch of ground pepper
- a pinch of salt


Heat the oven at 180 degrees. Put a tray with water in the lowest part of the oven so that the oven produces steam.

Put the butter and the milk  in a pan over low heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and salt (all in one go) and beat well with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and wait for 10 minutes so that the mixture cools down. Beat 2 eggs and add them in  little bits (you may not need all of it, but the only way to find this out is trial and error. The good news is that when you make choux pastry 4 or 5 times you will never forget what consistency you need). Finally add the pepper, nutmeg and cheese. Put the mixture into a pipping bag.

Pipe little blobs of the mixture on a tray covered with silicone. Push down any peaks by patting them carefully with a wet finger. Beat the remaining egg and paint each blob with the egg wash. Bake for 22 minutes.