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.


You can serve this with olive oil and vinegar or with mayonnaise ( see 2 minutes mayonnaise sauce post). If you use mayonnaise then this is called 'little Russian salad' (ensaladilla) in Spanish.

You need:
3 big potatoes diced (small cubes)
3 carrot (also diced into small cubes)
3 hand fulls of frozen peas
4 cornichons (cut into tiny pieces)
8 green olives (also cut into tiny pieces)
4 tinned red peppers (cut into small pieces)
1 tin of tuna (into small flakes)
you can also add if you wish a couple of boiled eggs cut into small cubes ( we did not use them for the picture below)

Boil water in a pan.Using a steamer (we have a stained steel fan, but you can also use a Chinese steamer) steam the potatoes and carrots in salty water for 10 minutes ( you can also just boil them for 7-8 minutes  but the texture will not be as nice). Boil the peas  for 3-4 minutes. Mix the potatoes, carrots, peas and all the other ingredients. Taste it as you may need to add a bit more salt at the end. You can serve this  (with olive oil and vinegar or with mayonnaise) with a simple green salad as a main course for lunch.


This sauce is really healthy. You can have it with prawns, green salad, radishes, boiled eggs or (small) pasta.

You need:
1/2 onion
1 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
half a clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 hard-boiled egg
olive oil (plenty)
white or red wine vinegar ( to taste)
In a food processor chop thinly the onion, peppers, garlic, parsley and the hard-boiled egg white. Dissolve the egg yoke into a little bit of olive oil. Add this to the vegetables. Topple it with more olive oil. Add the salt and vinegar and serve.

The children did it all, except for boiling the egg. They like this with prawns.


This is very simple. The kids can help to dust the sardines but do not let them approach the frying pan as the oil often splatters.
You only need:
4-5- sardines per person. Small ones are best. You can also do this with anchovies, though they are more expensive.
Olive oil
Put a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan. Heat it until the oil is about to produce smoke. Add the salt on the sardines and dust them in flour. Put them on the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium and fry the sardines on both sides ( this only takes a couple of minutes on one side and a minute on the other one). Serve immediately.


We are in Spain for a few days, so the kids are now cooking with their granny and various aunts, all of whom cook much better than me. With so many people in the kitchen the kids are not doing much, but at least they are learning by watching while they mess around.

We will have an 'all Spanish theme' for the days to come and we thought the best way to start this is with a paella. I never cook paella, but it is one of my mother's signature dishes.

There are many ways to prepare paella and you can try various combinations that should all work well (all chicken; all vegetable, all fish, fish and meat, fish and chicken, all chicken, squid and veggies...). Two main things to avoid though: do not cover the paella with herbs (nobody does this in Spain); and never, just never, put chorizo in the paella (I cannot explain why, but it is simply not right)

You will need:
olive oil
one onion diced
half a green pepper and a red pepper diced
two gloves of garlic ( unpeeled)
1/2 tomato (preferably peeled) diced
100 gr Spanish ham diced into small cubes
a handful of frozen peas
10-15 clams
1 squid (or 6-7 frozen squid rings) chopped into small bits
1 mussel per person
1 slice of chewy fish (tuna, conger or monkfish) chopped into cubes
12 raw prawns
1/2 tsp parsley chopped thinly
500 gr rice (we normally use a handful of rice per person and one more for the pan). The rice should be round, not long. In some Spanish shops you can find Calasparra rice - this is the 'pata negra' of the rices.
1 bay leave
saffron (three to five stems)
A bill shallow pan or paella dish

Boil water ( 2 glasses) in a pan, add the clams, cover the pan with a lid and let it all boil for just a minute. Take the pan off the heat, sieve the water through a colander and reserve it. Discard any clams that have not opened up. Repeat the same process with the mussles.

Peel the prawns and boil the fish bone and the shells of the prawns for around 10-15 minutes. Sieve the water and reserve it. Discard the fish-bone and the shells.

Cover the pan in olive oil (1 cm depth more or less) and heat it (medium heat). Fry the onion, peppers, tomato and garlic (in this order) for 5 minutes. Then add the ham, the parsley and the bay leave, reduce the heat and and keep cooking it for another 5-7 minutes until the whole things becomes soft, slightly translucent and gooey. Increase the heat to medium, add the squid and then the fish and keep cooking it all for another 5 minutes. Finally add the prawns, the peas and half a lemon (whole, not diced). Keep frying it until the prawns take a coral colour and the lemon gets brownish.

Then add  the rice and the salt and move it all a little bit with a spoon. After a couple of minutes (when the rice starts getting translucent) add the water of the clams and the fish bone and shells.  Dissolve the saffron into half a glass of boiling water and add it to the pan. You should end up with 1 cm of water on top of the rice, so add more water if needed until you reach this amount. Let it all bubble and cook for 18-20 minutes. If you wish you can do this last step in the oven  (preheated at 200 degrees). As soon as you add the water to the rice you should not touch the rice anymore or you will end up with a sticky mess rather than fluffy rice.

Five to eight minutes before you take the pan off the heat add the clams  and the mussels (see picture below). 

Take the dish off the heat, cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. The rice should be a bit 'al dente'.  Serve immediately.