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.


SUMMER PUDDING

It has been ages since we published a post here, but we have been sticking to really simple recipes since covid. And days are so busy with work...

Still, we did this for a weekend meal by the seasid and it came out really well (despite we used mostly frozen fruit) so we thought we would post it. Summer pudding is one of my favourite desserts. When we lived in London I used to buy individual summer puddings - one of the many many things I miss from London while living in the USA. 

You need: 

- 1 kg of frozen berries 

- ideally this is done with red currants, but since we could not find them here we added 200g of cape gooseberries (cut in half) for acidity.

 - 175 g sugar

- 2 tbsp of water

- a small loaf of stale white bread (without the crust)

Put the sugar and water in a pan and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes transparent. Add the fruit and cook it all for another couple of minutes until the fruit is soft. Remove some of the juice with a ladle and set it aside. Let it all cool down. 

Line a pudding bowl with cling film and then with the bread (using a combination of squares and triangles).  Tip the fruit in it. Cover it with more bread (cut a circle with four squares of bread of the same dimensions as the top of the bowl). Cover the pudding with the cling film. Put a small plate on top of it and a couple of heavy cans on top of the plate - leave it in the fridge overnight. 

When you are going to serve it, put a deep plate on top of the pudding and turn it upside down (get rid of the cling film). Pour a bit of the left-over juice on top and serve it with cream. 







BROCCOLI CAKE

This is great for a weekend lunch. You need:

- 250 g flour
- one teaspoon of baking powder
- 150 ml sunflower oil
- 4 eggs
- 150 ml buttermilk (or 100 ml milk with 4 spoonfuls of yogurt)
- 5 medium size florets of broccoli (cut the base in a straight line)
- 150 g of cubes or small stripes of bacon
- 100 g feta cheese
- salt (not much as you have both bacon and feta)

Preheat the oven at 185 degrees and grease a loaf cake tin. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Separately mix the oil, eggs and buttermilk. Then mix the dry and wet ingredients. Fry the bacon, get rid of the fat and add it to the mixture. Put half of the mixture in the greased pound cake tin, then line up the florets of broccoli in the center. Cover with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle the feta on top. Bake for 40 minutes - it is nicer when it is served warm.






BLUEBERRY CAKES


These are not muffins, but mini cakes, which means that making them takes a tiny bit more time than muffins, but the result is much better. There is a dispute as to whether the recipe comes from the Ritz or from the department store that led to Macy's. It is because of the latter that I have dared to touch the recipe, because I have a physical allergy to 'anything Ritz' (which I hope I share with most other Europeans) since the London billionaires owners of that hotel became leading supporters of Brexit, Farage and then Boris Johnson - so much for these two being 'politicians of the people'!

You need:
-115 g butter
- 200 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 140  plain flour plus one tablespoon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- half a teaspoon salt
- 120 ml milk 
- 350 g blueberries
- three more tablespoons of sugar

Preheat the oven at 190 degrees (375 F for those of you in America)
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisker. Then add the eggs (one by one) and the vanilla while you keep beating. Combine the flour, baking poder and salt  - add half of it to the mixture, then add half the milk, then the rest of the flour and finally the rest of the milk. Sprinkle a tablespoon  of flour on the blueberries and add them to the mixture. 
Put the batter into a muffin tray lined with muffins' papers. Sprinkle the three tablespoons of sugar on top. And bake for 30 minutes.  


COCONUT FLAPJACKS



This recipe is for Dane, who had not eaten flapjacks before I made them. For those of you who are not British, flapjacks are a staple treat in the UK. For some reason they have a reputation of being on the healthy side, which is insane if you look at the amount of butter and syrup they have. But certainly better than a frosted cake. 
You need: 
- 200 g butter
- 6 tablespoons golden syrup. If you cannot get golden syrup just try a combination of corn syrup and brown sugar.
- 320 g oats
- 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (chopped thinly)
- 2 tablespoons linseed 

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees (350 F). Combine all the ingredients but the butter and syrup in a bowl. Separately put the butter and syrup in a pan and heat it until the butter melts (best way to do this is greasing the spoon a little bit with a flavourless vegetable oil first). Add the butter and syrup to the dry ingredients, mix, and put it all in a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. 

When you take the tray off the oven, score them into squares with a sharp knife. As soon as they get cold you can cut them along the knife marks.  

You can substitute the coconut and cranberries but any other dried fruit you fancy. But you may want to keep the linseed, as it gives the flapjacks a really nice crunch.












PICKLED RED ONIONS


I am addicted to these, love them in salads, with smoked salmon, fresh salmon, lentils, cured meats... I even like them with burgers. And could not be simpler to make. You need:

- a red onion (sliced very thinly)
-  a bay leaf
- 10 black peppercorns
- half a teaspoon of salt
- 100 ml vinegar
- 200 ml water

Heat the water, vinegar, salt, bay leaf and peppercorns in a pan. Put the onions in a jar. When the liquid starts to boil, pour it over the onions, close the lid of the jar and wait for at least one hour. They last for a week and a half or so in the fridge.



CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These are always a winner, even amongst Americans who, let's face it, are so much better than us (N.B.- this is a 'European inclusive us' not a 'British nationalistic us') at chocolate chip cookies. The original recipe is from Mary Berry for cookies three ways, but the chocolate ones are by far the most popular 'chez nous' - and we have altered the recipe a tiny bit to make them less sweet over time.

You need:
175 soft butter
175 plain flour
55 g of sugar (the original recipe calls for more, but they come out too sweet for my taste)
75 semolina
70 g dark chocolate chips (or less if you follow the original recipe and do not like the bitter taste of dark chocolate)

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees, Mix all the ingredients but the chocolate in a food processor (pulse it). Then mix the chocolate chips by hand. Make little balls with the dough, put them on a lined baking tray, press them down with your fingers to flatten them and bake for 12 minutes.

If you want softer cookies replace the semolina with plain flour and add a teaspoon of corn starch.




BROCCOLI AND RICOTTA CAKE

It has taken us so long to get back to this blog - totally underestimated how much effort needs to go into relocating elsewhere - but one of my sons is keen we do not drop it altogether. Anyway, we are back to it now that have been a whole year in California and got a better hand of the routine here (bar the endless trips!)

You need:
- a tub of ricotta cheese (425 g)
- 6 eggs
- 300 g of broccoli (riced or chopped into small bits - just put it in the food processor and blitz it a couple of times) 
- two handfuls of spinach (chopped)
- a teaspoon of chopped mint
- a handful of grated parmesan cheese
- salt (a generous pinch)
- black pepper
- butter and flour for the tin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Butter the baking tray (we bake this in a ceramic one, but pyrex works well too. Then sprinkle a bit of flour on top and move around so that the whole tray is coated in flour). Mix the eggs, ricotta, broccoli, spinach , mint, salt and pepper. Put the mixture in the tin. Add the grated parmesan on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. That is all there is to it.

This is a great simple lunch with a green salad. Notice the broccoli flowers in the picture, my latest culinary discovery. Edible in salads, bitter and mustardy, delicious.