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.


BREAST CHEESE

Three times – three- has the Mail group put words in my mouth that I have not said and in just three days. All in relation to people from the Tory party – surprise! Luckily my words are in writing in my Made in Spain book. So here is the thing: you are going to have to buy it (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X) to see how wrong they are…though I suspect you already know…  Oh, come on, it is a really fun book and for a great cause!

Perhaps if the Mail stopped obsessing about women’s thighs and breasts and focused a tiny bit more on our brains, they might actually manage to listen and report accurately what we say.

This is a Breast Cheese (‘queso de tetilla’) from the beautiful region of Galicia in Spain. One of the few breasts worth obsessing with (Paul, take note!) Creamy, tender, soft… a pure delight. Eat it with membrillo or just a bunch of grapes.



VALENCIANAS

This recipe is at the request of Emily, who got in touch to ask for this recipe for her nan after watching me talking about the Made in Spain book at Lorraine"s.

Valencianas are elongated cakes. The whole point of that shape is that you normally dunk them in hot milk for breakfast. It is actually very difficult to buy the long paper cases in the UK so we did them  mini-loaf paper cases instead.

There are lots of recipes in the internet, all very different. We had to phone a friend of mine from Valencia to find the closest one to the real thing ( which is normally shop bought in Valencia from any of the fantastic bakeries there). This one comes from http://recetastradicionalesdecocina.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/receta-de-las-magdalenas-valencianas.html. We have only adjusted the quantities a tiny bit.

For nine Valencianas you need:
- 2 eggs
- 200 gr sugar
-200 gr plain flour
- 85 ml sunflower oil
- 170 ml milk
- a teaspoon of baking powder
- grated rind of a lemon
- caster sugar


Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
Mix the sugar and eggs ( we did this by hand) until they become pale. Add the oil, lemon rind and milk and keep mixing. Then add the flour and baking powder.  Pour the mixture into the cases (use double paper cases so that they do not expand too much) sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each valenciana and bake for 25 minutes (check after 20 minutes - they should be golden but pale)

The children loved them and they really make your kitchen feel wholesome.


MENEMEM

At one of the dinners to promote the Made in Spain book a journalist told me about the Turkish dish menemem. I have tried it twice since then. Huge success. It basically starts with what we call in Spain 'a sofrito' (onions, green peppers and tomatoes) and then eggs are added on top - what's not to like? 
Given the developments in Turkey it seemed fitting to tell the children about Turkish food this weekend. Cooking is also a good way to overcome the frustration of seeing the two countries closest to my heart navel-gazing while the international order disintegrates around us.  Mind you, we then went all dancing to a concert of the Gipsy Kings - that is an even better way to forget about everything! 

We got the Menemem recipe from the website www.seriouseats.com and adapted it a bit.

You need:

- 2 onions diced ( we used red ones)
- 1.5 green peppers diced
- 5 tomatos in big chunks
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- black pepper
- half a teaspoon of oregano
- a pinch of paprika 
- one egg per person

Fry the onion and peppers in the olive oil until they are soft ( 15-17 minutes) Then add the tomatoes and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Add salt, oregano and paprika. Then break the eggs on top (you can also beat the eggs before you add them so that you get 'red scramble eggs' but it is easier to share this dish if you leave the eggs whole) Wait until the eggs set (barely) and serve.

This is enough for four.



LITTLE BACON OF HEAVEN

This dessert is called Tocinillo de Cielo, which literally means 'Little Bacon of Heaven' and it is heavenly indeed. It is one of the desserts invented by the Clarisa nuns with the many eggs they receive from brides,  as in Spain it is usual for brides to bring eggs - dozens of eggs-  to nuns on a wedding day so that they pray for good weather.

You need:
-for the caramel: 8 gr of sugar and a teaspoon of water
- for the 'little bacon':  250 gr sugar, 125 ml water, 6 egg yokes and an egg (keep the shells).

It is a very filling dessert, so this makes a little 'tocinillo' as you can see in the picture. The proportions of the ingredients are very straight forward so you can make a bigger tocinillo easily by doubling the amounts.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
Mix the 125 ml of water with the 250 gr of sugar and let it boil until it reaches 105 degrees (around 15 minutes). Then let it cool down for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the caramel by putting the 70 g of sugar and the water in a pan under medium heat until it becomes golden without stirring it (swirling is fine). Pour the caramel on the mould where you are going to bake the tocinillio ( any cake mould or pyrex plate) and coat the bottom of the mould with it.
Beat very lightly the egg yokes and the egg and keep stirring while you pour slowly the sugar and water mixture into it. Pour the mixture into the caramelised mould. Then put the mould into a bigger (deep) oven tray. Put the egg shells on the bigger tray and fill it with boiling water until it comes to about three quarters of the hight of the tocinillo mould. Let it bake for half an hour and then let it cool down (in the fridge) overnight.

To de-mould the tocinillo just run the point of a knife through the sides of the mould. In a corner push the tocinillo up a little bit with the knife from underneath so that you get a little bit of air under the tocinillo. It should then come out easily.


MADE IN SPAIN

… and finally we have the Made in Spain book in our hands. The publishers, Hodder, have done a fantastic job with it - very exciting! Cannot wait for you to read it.

You can pre-order it in Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X  And if you like it when you read it please post a review in Amazon's website!


MEMBRILLO PASTRIES

I went to Spain last week to vote at the general election (well worth the effort, as we managed to stop the rise of populism there… about the only good effect of Brexit so far!) While in my village I found time to buy some membrillo, much in demand by my children now that we have long exhausted our home made supply - and much cheaper than in the Uk as well. These are really easy pastries that you can make with it.  I do not know anybody who does not like these.

You need: 
- a roll of shop-bought puff pastry
- membrillo (quince paste)
- a packet of grated medium cheddar
- one egg (beaten)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. 
Cut the puff pastry into rectangles (4 cms width  and 8 cms length) Put a little square of membrillo on top of the lower part of the rectangle. Cover the membrillo with grated cheese.  Put the upper part of the rectangle on top of the membrillo and cheese so that you end up with a square. Use a fork to press down the sides so that the cheese does not 'escape' when you bake it. Paint the top of the squares with the beaten egg. Bake int the oven for around 22-25 mints until golden.  

PS - you can make membrillo yourself in the Autumn when quinces are in season. This is our recipe:  http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/10/quince-paste-membrillo.html



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.