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.


COURGETTE FLOWERS

There are a delicacy. Totally seasonal, so if you see them just buy them. In California where I now live you can get a big bag of them for five dollars, which is not bad (together with petrol about the only thing relatively cheap here).

You need:
20 courgette flowers
a tub of ricotta cheese
salt and pepper (to taste plus half a teaspoon for the batter)
a bunch of mint leaves
zest of half a lemon
75 g plain flower
two eggs
half a teaspoon of bicarb
125 ml very cold fizzy water
A generous amount of oil to fry the flowers (I use 50% soft olive oil and 50% sunflower oil)

Wash the flowers carefully so that you do not break them. Combine the ricotta, salt and pepper, mint leaves and lemon zest. Put the mixture into a pipping bag and stuff the flowers with it. Separately prepare a batter by combining the eggs, fizzy water, half a teaspoon of salt and bicarb. Heat the oil in a small deep pan (medium heat). When the oil is hot dip the flowers into the batter so that they are completely covered with it (a bit messy, but not difficult) and fry them in the oil for one to two minutes on each side or until golden. It is easier to do this in small batches of 4-5 flowers at a time.
Eat them immediately.




 

LEMON MOUSSE

We are on a lemon recipes roll. This one is incredibly simple.  You just need:
- a jar of lemon curd (either make it with our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2015_05_03_archive.html or buy a good quality one)
- 2 egg whites
- 200 ml double cream
- 100 gr sugar (I do not like this -or anything else- too sugary, but you can add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth)

Whip the egg whites. Add the sugar (one spoonful at a time) while you keep whipping so that you get a meringue like consistency.  Separately whip the cream to soft peaks.  Add one spoonful of egg whites to the lemon curd and mix well. Then fold in carefully the rest of the eggs whites. Finally fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into individual glasses, cover with cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Take it off the fridge for 20 minutes before you are going to eat it. You can decorate it with blueberries, raspberries, lemon zest or mint.


LEMON MUFFINS

And yet one more recipe with lemons. You need:
- 300 g plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- one and a half teaspoons of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of bicarb.
- 200 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- zest and juice of one and a half lemons
- 85 ml milk
- 115 gr butter (melted)

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients but the sugar (flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb). Then mix separately the sugar, eggs, zest and juice of lemons, butter and milk. Combine both sets of ingredients loosely with a fork (do not over mix them). Put the mixture into muffin cases (10 very big ones or 12 normal ones) and bake for 25 minutes.


LEMON CURD PAVLOVAS

Made this for Easter, partly because I have a surplus of lemons (a problem I never thought I would have!) and partly because they resemble eggs. They could not be easier to make:

For the mini pavlovas you need 
four egg whites
250 gr sugar
a pinch of salt
one tsp of cornflour
250 ml double cream

Beat the egg whites with the salt for a few minutes (with an electric mixer or by hand) until they form hard peaks. Add the sugar - one spoonful at a time while you keep beating. Sprinkle the cornflour on top and fold them carefully over the egg whites. Put dollops of this on a piece of baking paper. Bake them on a preheated over at 180 degrees. As soon as you put the egg whites in the oven turn it down to 150 degrees and leave them for 35 minutes. Then just open the door of the oven and let it cool down completely.

For the lemon curd follow our recipe here:http://www.mumandsons.com/2015_05_03_archive.html 

To assemble them: whip the cream until you get soft peaks. Put a spoonful of cream on top of each merengue and top it up with a teaspoonful of lemon curd.


TORRIJAS

Long time since I last posted here, but setting up in a new country has taken a while.

These are called 'torrijas', an Easter dessert that is eaten all over Spain, and they are divine. Nobody in my family (by which I mean no women, because men did not cook - surprise!) made them when I was little, but once every year la señora Paca in my village would make big trays of these and give us one. They are perfect for  Easter, because they feel properly sinful after all that Lent restraint.  Think of them like the much better version of French toast: made with delicately flavoured milk, fluffy not mushy, and with a hint of honey at the very end.

You need:
Stale bread (proper crusty bread) cut in thick slices - it really has to be stale, so buy it, cut it and leave it in a cupboard for a couple of days.
250 ml milk
150 ml sugar
peel of a lemon
a cinnamon stick
a teaspoon of vanilla essence
two eggs, beaten
two tablespoon of honey
Unflavoured oil (sunflower or alike) - a very generous amount
150 ml water

Start by preparing the flavoured milk the night before you are going to make these: just bring to the boil the milk, cinnamon stick, lemon peel, 50 g of sugar and vanilla; put it in a sealed container and let it cool down (in the fridge) over night.

Heat the oil in a frying pan (over medium heat). Soak the bread properly into the flavoured milk (the bread should absorb as much milk as possible), then coat the bread with the beaten egg and fry until they are golden on both sides. Don't bother putting them on kitchen paper when you take them out of the pan to get rid of excess oil: you only eat these once a year, so 'excess' is the whole point of them.

You can prepare the honey syrup  by just combining the water, 100 ml sugar and honey and boiling it  for 15 minutes over low heat. The nicer way to do this (and indeed most other syrups) is to prepare a caramel with the sugar, honey and a teaspoon of water (just put it over low heat and wait without stirring until it becomes golden), then add carefully the rest of the water and boil for 8-10 minutes. You can also add a teaspoon of whisky or cognac to the water and caramel (before you boil it), which obviously makes the syrup even better. Let the syrup cool down a little and pour over the torrijas.

These are eaten at room temperature.


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.