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.


MUSSELS SOUP

This is one of my favourite soups. And mussels are a good source of iron, so it is good to feed them to children.
You need:
- about 750 gr mussels (don't worry too much about the precise quality)
- 300 ml white wine ( I also do this some times with 'manzanilla', a light Spanish sherry, which is wonderful to cook with and goes really well with sea food and also with pork)
- an onion (chopped finely)
- one leek (chopped finely)
- a clove of garlic (grated)
- three tablespoons of olive oil
- 250 ml water.
- a pinch of saffron
- 150 ml double cream
- a pinch of parsley


Clean well the mussels (discard any that are open and do not close after tapping them before you cook them, and also any that remain closed after you cook them). While you are cleaning the mussels, fry the onions and leek in the olive oil over slow heat so that they get soft but not golden (15 to 20 minutes). If you worry that they might burn just add a tablespoon of water.

Put the mussels in a separate pan, add the white wine and let the muscles cook over high heat until they all open up. Take the mussels off their shells. Reserve the wine (it is a good idea to get it through a colander in case there was any sand in the mussels)

Go back to the pan with the onions. Add the mussels and parsley. Dissolve the saffron into the white wine. Add it all to the onions and mussels and add also also the water. Let it all bubble up for 5-8 minutes.

As you take it off the heat, add the cream and blitz it all with a hand held mixer.

Serve it immediately. I sometimes reserve some of the mussels, chop them and add them to the soup for texture. You can also serve this with a slice of grilled crusty bread and alioli. Or just serve it like that with bread - it is delicious so it does not need anything else.

TURRON ICE - CREAM



This is a very easy ice cream for Christmas time, though you can eat it throughout the whole year. Turron is an almond and honey nougat that we eat in Spain during Christmas. 'In the beginning' there was only turron duro (hard as a stone) and turron bland (sweet as honey). Then came the 'egg yolk' turron (which I detest) and the chocolate one (which I love-love-love) And then many other fancy ones (mostly terrible) that you can now find in most spanish shops.

For this recipe you need:
- one 'tableta' of turron blando (300 gr)
- 400 ml cream -  preferably double cream. I sometimes use single cream, which is frankly stupid, as the turron has so many calories (don't even look at the label or you will have a shock!)  that saving a few calories on the cream is just pointless. And yet I still do this…madness I know. )
- a tablespoon of honey
- two egg yokes.

Cut the turron into little pieces. Heat the cream with the turron over very low heat until it dissolves (do not let it boil). Separately whisk the egg yokes and the honey until you get a pale fluffy mixture. Then add the turron and cream mixture to it, little by little, while you are still whisking so that you get a thick cream consistency. Freeze it in an ice-maker machine or just in a container in the freezer (stirring it a couple of times so that you do not get any crystals in the ice cream) Take it out of the freezer 15 minutes before you are going to serve it.


PORK WITH PEDRO XIMENEZ

Long time without writing a post. Been far too busy - all Brexit's fault!! ­čśé

Pedro Ximenez is a sweet wine from the region of Andalucia in Spain. You can buy it in most UK supermarkets. It is meant to be made with grapes that were introduced in Spain when Spain was ruled by the Arabs (many people forget that Spain was under Arab ruling for more years than under Christians)

You can use Marsala or Porto or indeed any other sweet wine, though Pedro Ximenez goes particularly well with pork as it has a depth that other sweet wines do not have.

You need:
- two pork loins (cut into thick medallions - I normally flatten them a bit with the back of a big knife)
- 2 onions
- 300 ml water
- 150 ml Pedro Ximenez
- a teaspoon of corn flour
- olive oil
- salt

Heat a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Salt the  medallions of pork and fry them on both sides until they are golden (2-3- minutes on each side). Take them off the pan and reserve them until later.
In the same pan add two more tablespoons of oil and fry the onions over very low heat for 15-18 minutes until they are very soft. Then add the water and Pedro Ximenez and let it all boil until you get bubbles. Take a quarter of a glass of the sauce, add the teaspoon of corn flour, mix well and return the mixture back to the pan. Add the pork back to the pan and let it all bubble for 8-10 minutes until the sauce becomes thick (I cannot stand thick sauces, so I often miss the corn flour step) It is great served with squared fried potatoes and swiss chard but also with mashed potatoes or even rice.


POACHED QUINCE

This is one of my regular Autumn 'dinner party desserts'. It has an Arabic feel and it never fails to please.  You need:

- 2 quinces (enough for 8 people)
- a tub of greek yogurt
- two tablespoons of honey
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
- a handful of shelled (unsalted) pistachios (chopped)
- half a tablespoon of pink pepper
- 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
- two tablespoons of lemon juice
- water

Peel and quarter the quinces, getting rid of the core. Put them and the lemon juice in a pan with water (just enough to cover them) over medium heat. Once the water is boiling let it all simmer for 40 minutes more or less until the quinces are soft. Take the quinces off the liquid and reserve them.

Separately put one glass and a half of the water where you have boiled the quinces on a sauce pan. Add the pepper, sugar and orange blossom water. Heat it and let it all simmer for 20-25 minutes until it reduces in volume by two thirds. Once it is ready put it aside and let it cool down.

When you are going to serve this dish just put a quarter of a quince in a bowl. Add a kernel of greek yogurt beside the quince. Drizzle two tablespoons of syrup and a teaspoon of honey on top of the quince and yogurt. And sprinkle the pistachios and pomegranate seeds on top. That is all.




SKATE WING WITH BUTTER

This is always a winner in my home. One of the best fish to get children to eat fish with bones because the bones are huge and therefore easy to spot  - and also they are all facing the same direction, so it is easy to find your way through them. You need:

- a skate wing stake per person (we do 5 portions)
- 100 gr of butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- juice of a lemon
- three tablespoons of flour to dust the fish
- salt

Put skate wings in a big pan. Pour boiling water on them and let it all simmer for 3 minutes. Take the skate wings out and pat dry them with kitchen paper. Salt them on both sides and dust them with the flour also on both sides.

Put half of the butter on a frying pan ( I do this with two frying pans so that the fish is ready for all at the same time, as indeed this dish is best if you eat it very hot). Fry the skate wings over medium heat on both sides until golden  ( it takes 3-4 minutes on the first side and 2-3 on the other side). Take the wings out and put them on a serving plate. Add the rest of the butter to the frying pan together with the parsley and let it all warm up for 2-3- minutes. Add the juice of the lemon to the butter and parsley and pour this sauce over the wings. It is simple and delicious.  I serve it with boiled potatoes.


CRAB CHICORY BOATS

This is a good way to get children to get used to chicory. You can vary the fillings (tuna mayo, shrimps and cocktail sauce,  a mixture of cream and blue cheese…) but it works particularly well with crab. You need:

- a chicory (separate the leaves)
- 100 gr crag meat (I normally use white meat as it is a softer flavour)
- half a chill chopped very thinly
- a teaspoon of chopped coriander
- 2.5 tablespoons mayonnaise (home made really works best on this as shop bought mayo is far too strong for crab) - see our two minutes mayo recipe: http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/04/2-minutes-mayonnaise-sauce.html
-juice and zest of half a lime


Mix the crab, mayo and lime juice. Put the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Then put a bit of the mixture on top of each chicory leaf. Sprinkle with the chile, coriander and lime zest. That is all there is to it.