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.


One of my children is a carrot cake fan. This is the fastest carrot cupcake recipe you could possibly find. We never bother with the icing but you always can mix a couple of tablespoons of philadelphia cheese with two table spoons of double cream and icing sugar and ice a little the cupcakes.

You need:

200 gr self raising flower
250 gr of grated carrots
2 eggs
150 ml sunflower oil
75 gr dark brown sugar
zest of one orange
one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
you can also add some spices if you wish: a teaspoon of cinnamon and some grated nutmeg or a teaspoon of all spice.

Mix together the flour, bicarb and orange zest (and spices if you are using them). Separately mix the oil and eggs and sugar and add it to the the flour mixture. Last add the grated carrots. Line a cupcake tray with paper cases. Put the mixture into the cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.


We normally use shop-bought margarita bases and add the toping, but it is really easy to make the bases yourself. This is adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe:

You need
- 350 gr white four (preferably bread flour)
- a pinch of salt
- a teaspoon of sugar
- 25 gr butter (cold and cut into cubes)
- 25 ml of olive oil
- 7 gr fast yeast
- 160 ml warn water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Rub the butter in like if you are going to make a crumble. Then add the yeast, and finally the oil and water. Mix well.  Cover the dough with a tea towel (clean!) and let it rest for five minutes. Then knead it for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into three balls. Cover them with a little bit of olive oil and cling film and let them rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to cook the pizza roll the dough out and put any toping you like on top. We used tomato sauce, ham, chorizo, cheese and basel. Cook in a preheated 200 degrees oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

Children love helping with all of this. Mine always use far too many toppings, but that is part of the game...


We did this for the Christmas school party and it was very successful.

You need:
- 1 packets of microwave popcorn (all supermarkets sell this)
- 125 gr of butter
- 250 gr light brown sugar
- 2 table spoons of corn syrup or golden syrup

Prepare the plain popcorn in the microwave. Separately melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup until they reach 130 degrees (if you do not have a thermometer let it boil for 10 minutes more or less). Add this caramel to the popcorns and mix well. Put the popcorns on a tray lined with baking parchment and bake it in a reheated 150 degrees oven for 45 minutes.  When you take the popcorn out of them oven let them cool down a little and break them into small bits.

Be careful when the children help you to do this as they can easily burn themselves with the caramel.


This recipe is identical to the marshmallows one that we added earlier this year,but we were very pleased with the colours and it is not every day that we do something as fiddly as this so we thought we would show off and add the picture anyway.

To prepare this just follow the marshmallows recipe. As soon as you put the marshmallows mixture on the tray put a few drops of red colouring on the top and extend them around in patterns with a toothpick. It is strangely rewarding.


We got this recipe from the Guardian food section. We had a bit of a technical glitch as we poured the melted butter over the dough with chocolate chips while the butter was very hot, so some of the chocolate chips melted a bit making the buns go brown. As it happens they are lovely like that, so feel free to make the same mistake if you wish.

You need:

250 gr chocolate chips
2 pinches of salt
25 g sugar 
375 ml  milk
100 ml water
1 sachet of fast-action yeast
75 g butter 
625 g bread white flour
1 beaten egg
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Boil the milk and add the water to it. Add the yeast and let it rest for 5 minutes. Separately mix the flour, sugar and salt and add it to the milky yeast mix. Add the chocolate chips. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture until you get a soft dough. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for ten minutes. Knead it for a few seconds, divide it into 15 balls and let it all rest (still covered) for an hour. Put them on a tray lined with baking paper, brush them with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes. 


This is great with left overs from a roast chicken, though you can of course cook the chicken from scratch if you prefer it.

You need:
- two leeks
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 20 gr of butter
- 100 gr diced bacon or ham
- left over roast chicken (whatever you have)
- frozen peas (to taste - we added a couple of handfuls)
- salt (a pinch)
- ready made puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
- two spoonfuls of creme fraiche or double cream

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
In a shallow pan heat the olive oil and butter. Add the leak cut in rounds and the garlic (in slices). Let it cook over a low heat until the leaks become translucent. Add the bacon. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken (cut in chunks) and then the peas. Add the salt. Let it all cook for 5 minutes. Add the cream and let it bubble up for a could of minutes.

Put the chicken and leek mixture into a pie dish. Cover it with the ready rolled puff pastry. Prickle it all over with a fork and paint it with the beaten egg so that it gets a nice golden colour. Put the dish into the oven and after 20 minutes it should be ready.  


This is a very fake version of tiramisu. It takes just minutes to prepare it and children love it. I had six boys at home today and had to fight so that they would wait to eat the last cup until we had taken a picture...

You need:
- savoyard biscuits (one and a half per bowl/glass)
- decaffeinated coffee (one cup)
- a tub of double cream
- two tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
- icing sugar (two table spoons, though this depends on your children's taste)
- drinking chocolate powder (we use Cadbury's)
- a little bit of dark chocolate

Dunk the biscuits into the coffee and put them at the bottom of the bowl. Whip the cream a little bit (soft peaks only)add the mascarpone and the icing sugar and spoon this on top of the biscuits. Sprinkle the chocolate power on top. With a knife or vegetable peeler make a few shavings of dark chocolate and sprinkle them on top of the whole thing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Making this is easy for the children. You need to double the amount of biscuits as they keep eating them as they go.


There are lots of different recipes for meatloaf. We used one from Martha Stewart though we changed a few ingredients (and most of the quantities):

- 250 gr minced beef
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a handful of parsley
- 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
- 100 gr bacon
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper

- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup

You can also add a bit of celery or red pepper or any other kind of herb.

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Wash and peal all the vegetables and herbs. Mince the veggies and herbs very finely in a food processor. Mix them well with the meat and all the other ingredients except for the sugar and tomato ketchup. Put the mixture into a non-stick loaf tin. Separately mix the sugar and tomato ketchup and paint the meatloaf top with it. Bake it in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Provided you let them use a fork or wooden spoon to mix the ingredients with the raw meat, children like helping to prepare this. Mine like to eat it with mash potatoes and (even more!) tomato ketchup.


In Spain people tend to eat a lot of fish. Fried fish is normally cooked in a thin (not crunchy) batter. In Spain people use hake but cod works well too.

You need:
- 4 slices of cod (1-2 cm thick)
- salt
- plain flour
- 1 beaten egg and a little bit of milk (a couple of spoonfuls)
- plenty of olive oil

Heat the oil (high heat) in a small frying pan. Salt the fish, dust it in the flour (on all sides). Shake it to get rid of the excess flour. Coat it in the egg and milk mixture and fry it for a couple of minutes on each sides ( reduce the heat to medium once you put the fish in) Fish is better underdone than overdone, but if the slices of fish are too thick and you are concerned that the children may be put off by slightly underdone fish get the for 20 seconds (no more) into the microwave oven.


This is a very quick snack for the children.

You need:

- one sheet of puff pastry
- 150 gr chorizo cut into small cubes (some supermarkets sell this already cubed)
- 3 handfuls of grated cheese

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.  Extend the puff pastry. Sprinkle half of the chorizo and half of the cheese on top. Fold the pastry once and pass the rolling pin overity so that the cubes of the chorizo stick to the pastry.  Sprinkle the rest of the chorizo and cheese, fold it again and press again with the rolling pin. Then roll the pastry so that you end up with a cylinder. Put in into the fridge for 15 minutes. Cut it in slices (1 cm thick more or less) and put them on a tray covered with baking paper pressing them down gently. You may paint them with egg yoke if you wish but it is not really necessary. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Children love this, especially if you serve them warm.


The real name of these clams in Spanish is 'almejas a la marinera'. Good clams are difficult to get (and also expensive) so it is a pity to ruin them with a creamy sauce (chowder and alike) This sauce is subtle and not too tick. Many Spanish people eat this dish for Christmas or New Year's eve.

You need:
- 300 gr clams (clean)
- an onion chopped very finely
- a table spoon of parsley (also chopped very finely)
- half a glass of white wine
- 1 -1.5 glass of water
- a bay leave
- half a lemon
- salt ( not too much as the clams are naturally salty)
- 1 table spoon of thin breadcrumbs

You are meant to cook the sauce first and then the clams on it. However, if you are, like me, paranoid about rotten seafood do this first: heat a pan until it is rather hot. Put the clams in it with two tablespoons of water and wait for a couple of minutes until they open up. Discard those that remain closed. Do not throw away the liquid at the bottom of the pan (sieve it as sometimes there is a tiny bit of sand in the clams)

In a different pan fry the onion very slowly until it gets soft and a little bit golden. Increase the heat and add the wine. Wait while it bubbles away and add the juice of the lemon, the water, the liquid from the clams, the breadcrumbs, parsley and the bay leave (and the salt if you think it is needed) Let it all boil for 4-5 minutes.

When you are about to eat heat the sauce until you see bubbles coming up, add the clams and take them off the heat almost immediately (otherwise they will get rubbery). Serve it immediately with plenty of bread.

The children enjoyed seeing the clams opening up. They initially looked at me weirdly as they thought the clams were alive. The sauce is so good though that they forgot all their worries about the clams as soon as they tasted it.


This is another recipe from my grandmother and it is always a success with the children. You can serve it with rice or with cous-cous though my grandma always served it with crusty bread.
You need:

- 4 chicken thighs
- 1 onion (chopped into in moon-like slices)
- 1 clove of garlic (also in slices)
- 1/2 a red pepper (chopped thinly)
- 2 carrots (chopped into small squares)
- 2 apples
- 2 table spoons of vinegar
- 1 glass of water
- 1 bay leaf
- salt
- oil

Put the oil (2-3- table spoons) in a pan and heat it under medium heat. Salt the chicken and fry it on all sides until if becomes golden. Take it out of the pan and reserve it for later.
In the same oil fry the onions, red pepper, garlic and carrots (first over high heat but then lower it) Add a little bit of salt to the vegetables. When the veg become soft add the chicken back to the pan. Wait for 3 minutes and add the vinegar. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes and add the water and bay leaf. Then cover the pan and let it all simmer for 20 minutes.
Peal and core the apples and cut them into quarters. Add them to the pan, cover the pan once again and let it all simmer for another 15 minutes until the apples are soft.
This dish tastes even better the following day.


You need:
- 225 gr self raising flour
- 100 gr butter cut into cubes
- 70 gr brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon golden syrup
- 2 eggs
- 300 gr of plums cut into cubes.

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees.
Mix the butter and flour with your hands until you get a breadcrumbs consistency. Add the sugar. Separately mix the golden syrup and the eggs. Mix them with the flour. Last, add the plums and mix well. Put it all into a greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes.


This tastes very good though supermarket breads are so good these days that it is hardly worth it. The children learned about the bread making process, but in truth it is a bit of a bore to make (this applies to anything with yeast!)

You need:
500 gr bread flour
10 gr yeast
10 gr salt
340 ml water
50 ml olive oil plus half a glass.

Mix the flour, salt and yeast. Add the 50 ml of olive oil and the water in little bits while you mix it all together with your hands. The result should be a very wet mixture. Knead it for five minutes over an oiled surface until the mixture is bound together and becomes elastic. Then put it into an oiled container and let it rest of an hour so that it doubles in size. Put the dough over a lined and oiled baking tray and extend it with your fingers until it cover the whole tray. Cover with cling film and let it rest for another hour - it should double in size again.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Make dimples with your fingers into the dough (this is the nicest bit) and sprinkle it all with oil. We added salt and oregano but you can also add: basil and tomatos; rosemary and flaky salt;  or cheese and oregano. Black olives and sun dried tomatoes are also good.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Holidays definitely over...back to the blog.

We picked some plums and damson this weekend and decided to try to make jam with them. The children helped cleaning and cutting the fruit but I did most of the rest on my own as I was far too worried about possible burns. Still it is fun for the kids to see the change in texture, though they just could not believe the enormous amount of sugar that is needed for jam.

Plum jam:
1 Kg plums
1 Kg sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
100 ml water

Wash and cut the plums and put them in a heavy bottom pan. Add the water and lemon juice. Boil the plums, water and lemon juice for around 30-40 minutes (first over high heat, but then as soon as there are bubbles lower the heat to minimum) Add the sugar and boil for another 20 minutes or so until it reaches set point. It you have a candy thermometer (try Lakeland) this just mean waiting until the mixture reaches 220 degrees - no rocket science. Put the mixture aside and spoon it into sterilised jars. Cover the jars with a circle of waxed paper ( or alternatively baking paper dipped in oil) Close the jars and store. They last for months.

To sterilise the jars wash them in the dishwasher at its highest temperature and then get them into the oven ( open side down) for 20 minutes at 120 degrees.

For the damsons follow the same procedure with the following proportions:
- 1 Kg damsons
- 780 gr sugar
- 115 ml orange juice
- half and orange zest

The main difference is that you need to boil the damsons whole and take the stones out after the damsons are soft. Easiest way to do this is with your hands but put some plastic gloves on as otherwise you will burn yourself.


You need:
- 3 egg whites
- 175 gr sugar
- frozen strawberry or raspberry powder ( 1.5 table spoons)
- cocoa powder: .5 tablespoons

Preheat the oven at 150 degrees.

Whisk the egg whites (until they reach hard peak stage)Add the  sugar in tablespoons while you continue whisking. Once the mixture becomes heavy and glossy put little amounts of the mixture on an oven tray lined with silicone or baking parchment (you can do this with a piping bag or just with a spoon) Sprinkle cocoa on top of half of the meringues ( do not sprinkle the strawberry until they come out of the oven or the strawberry powder will turn out black) As soon as you get the meringues into the oven reduce the temperature to 140 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. Leave them in the oven without opening the door for a few hours or preferably overnight. Sprinkle the strawberry powder on top of the other half of the meringues. That is all.  


You can do this with cherries, peaches, plums, but we do it with apricots because fresh apricots are one of my favourite fruits. Good apricots are difficult to get nowadays so cooking them improves their sweetness. 
You need:
- 500 gr fresh apricots
- 100 gr sugar
- 40 gr plain flour
- 250 ml milk
- 3 eggs
- 40 gr butter
- powdered sugar

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
Grease an oven dish (ceramic or pyrex) with a bit of butter. Cut the apricots in half (taking the stone off) and arrange them on top of the dish. Cover them with half of the sugar. Separately mix the rest of the sugar, flour, milk and eggs and pour this mixture on top of the apricots. Cut the butter into little squares and dot them on top of the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.  sprinkle with the powdered sugar just as you take it off the oven (you can also grill it at this point for 3-4 minutes if you like a golden finish). Eat promptly.  

Children can do this all by themselves except for getting the dish into and out of the oven. 


These biscuits are called 'palmeras' in Spanish, but the children found the 'elephant ears' English name much more amusing. There are very easy to make.
You need:
-1 rectangle of shop-bought (preferably all butter) puff pastry.
-5-6 handfuls of caster sugar

Extend the puff pastry rectangle. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on top of it. Press a little with the rolling pin so that the sugar sticks to the pastry. Fold the pastry by bringing the longest sides towards the centre so that both longest sides meet right in the middle of your rectangle. You should end up with a smaller rectangle.
Sprinkle more sugar on it. Press down again with the rolling pin. Fold it again by bringing both extreme sides towards the centre.
Sprinkle again some sugar. Press down with the rolling pin and fold again.
You should end up with a cylinder of sugary pastry. Wrap it with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven at 200 degrees. Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut little slices of the cylinder. Put them on the baking tray and flatten them a bit with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes turning them after 12 minutes so that they get golden on both sides.


We have now published 100 posts and have had more than 10,000 clicks. However, we have not managed to generate any money at all. While we have had fun with the cooking I am failing to teach the children about the economics of the internet. I have tried to explain that it is all based on marketing and ultimately on trust, but even I am not sure how this is meant to work. Our sweet recipes seem to be much more popular than savoury ones, so in an attempt to encourage you to click more on the blog we will publish more sweet recipes for a few weeks. If you visit the blog please-please click on the adds on the right hand column! all we need is to reach the £40 threshold so that they can receive a cheque and then this blog can be over...

This recipe was adapted form the Usborne Beginners Cookbook. You need:

100 g soft butter
100 g sugar
175 g plain flower
1 egg
150 chocolate chips (we did this with Hagelslag, which are Dutch chocolate sprinkles)

In a food processor mix all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Add the chips at the end and mix them with a spoon. On a greased baking tray ( or even better on a silicone mat) put tablespoons of this mixture and flatten them down a bit. Cook for 12-15 minutes.


This chicken recipe is a typical Spanish one.
You need:
-Four thighs of chicken
- salt
-olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
-2 bay leaves
-3 tablespoons of vinegar
-1 glass of water

Heat the olive oil and fry the chicken things on all sides until they acquire a dark golden colour.  Put the chicken aside.

Wait for a while until the oil cools down. Then fry the garlic slices for a minute or so until they start getting a pale golden colour. Add the vinegar and let it bubble for another a few seconds. Then add the water and bay leaves. Let it all bubble for a minute. Add the chicken to this sauce, lower the heat and let it all bubble for 20-25 minutes until the chicken gets tender. Serve with crusty bread or with rice.

You have to be a bit careful with the kids when you prepare this dish as the chicken splatters a lot when you fry it. Also, the vinegar can produce a very strong smell while it looses its acidity and kids might dislike this.


You need:
- 2 egg whites
- 110 gr sugar
- 80 gr plain flour
- 60 gr melted butter
- 100 gr sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix well the butter, egg whites, sugar and flour. Then add the almonds. Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Put spoonfuls of the mixture on the tray extending them well with the back of a spoon so that they are very thin. Bake them for 7 to 8 minutes until they become golden. As you get them off the oven peel them carefully with a spatula and put them on a rolling pin or bottle so that they get curved. This only takes a couple of minutes.


This is a  typical treat by Spanish nuns who often used to make a living by selling cakes and sweets. They are very light, as light as the sigh of a nun, hence their name.

You need
 - 3 egg whites
- 125 gr sugar
- 125 gr powdered almonds
- grated zest of half a lemon
- little muffin cases

Preheat the oven at 220 degrees.

Whisk the egg whites. Add the sugar in little bits and continue whisking until the mixture becomes glossy. Fold in the almonds and then the lemon zest.

Spoon the mixture into the cases. Bake until golden - they often take 10-12 minutes, but it depends a bit on the size of the paper case.


This is a great recipe.  Really fresh and subtle. We were in a rush when we took the picture so it probably does not do justice to the recipe. Just trust us on this one. You need:

- 350 gr strawberries
- 70 gr sugar
-  5 leaves of gelatine
- 2 egg whites
- 125 ml double cream and 125 ml single cream

Blend the strawberries in a food processor or with a hand held mixer. While you do this, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water, then get rid of the excess water and put the gelatine in a cup and into the microwave (at high temperature) for 15 seconds. Add the gelatine to the strawberries and mix well.

Separately combine the single and double cream and beat it until you get soft whipped cream. this takes only a couple of minutes. Then fold the strawberries mixture into the cream taking care so that you do not lose any air.

In a different bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Then add the sugar ( in little bits) until the egg whites become glossy. Fold this mixture into the strawberries and cream one taking once again lots of care so that you do not loose the air.

Spoon the mixture into ramekins or little glasses and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Children like to help through it all as it involves plenty of blending and beating. Oddly they made no reference to the pink colour.

You can make it one day in advance but remember that this contains raw egg so do not keep in the fridge for more than 48 hours.


This is not really a proper recipe, but my kids like it.

You need:
- 100-140 g of bacon cut into small cubes
- 1 tin of sweetcorn
- 1 cucumber - also into small cubes

Mix all the ingredients together. Add a pinch of salt, 1 table spoon of oil and half a table spoon of vinegar  (all to taste). if you are serving this to adults you may want to add also some chopped avocado.


You need:
- 500 gr mince meat
- 1 egg
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
- 1 and a half tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar
- 2 pinches of salt

- flour (plain) - around  100 gr
- 1 egg - beaten with a tablespoon of milk
- olive oil

- 1 onion - finely chopped
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 glass of water
- another clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of parsley (chopped)
- one bay leave
- a bit more salt

Mix the mince meat, egg, vinegar, breadcrumbs and salt. Separately mince the garlic and the parsley (both together) in a pester and add them to the mixture. Mix well with your hands.

Take handfuls of the mixture and shape them into balls ( the size of a golf ball more or less). Put a dish with the flour and another one with the beaten egg. Heat the oil ( over medium heat).

Now, take a meatball, coat it in flour, then coat it in the egg and then fry it ( do not overfly them, you just need to get them a little bit brown on all sides). Keep doing this with all the other meatballs ( you should be able to fry 6 or 7 at the same time)

Separately heat a bit of olive oil, fry the onion slowly until it becomes translucent (7-8 minutes). In a pester mince the garlic with the parsley. Add the white wine to the garlic mixture and put it all into the pan with the onions (increasing the heat to high). Add the water and the bay leave. Heat until you see bubbles come up. Add the meatballs, lower the heat to very low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Eat with plain rice or crusty bread. My grandma used to add little cubes of fried potatoes that she added to the simmering pan for 3-4 minutes so that they would get soft and catch the flavour of the meatballs.


You need:
- 1 glass of olive oil
- 4 peppers cut into matchsticks
- salt

Put the oil into a small deep pan. Heat the oil (under high heat) until it is about to produce smoke. Add the peppers. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the peppers for 3-4- minutes (or until the edges start getting black) As you take them out put them on a piece of kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil. Sprinkle with salt.

Keep the oil as it adds great flavour to eggs or tortilla.

The fact that the colours of the peppers are the colours of the winners of the European Championship is pure coincidence.


I have been told off for sprinkling dried strawberries on top of the cake, which I thought looked really pretty. According to one of my sons I have 'ruined it with THAT pink'. By the end of the day they had eaten the whole cake, so so much for anti-pink prejudice...

You need:
- 2 eggs
- 3 ripe bananas
- 175 plain flour
- 150 ml sun flour oil
- 150 gr sugar
- 10 gr of freeze dried strawberries
- 1 and a half table tespoon baking powder
- half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees.
Mix the sugar, eggs and oil and beat well. Mash the bananas (with a fork) and add them, as well as the strawberries, to the sugar and egg mixture. Combine the flour, baking powered and bicarbonate and add it to the mixture, beating it by hand. Put it all in a greased and lined  tin (we used a rectangular one) and bake for one hour.

The sweetness of the banana and the acidity of the dried strawberries works particularly well. If you do not mind the pink (or the price) you can always add more strawberries.


Though they may look similar, gazpacho has nothing to do with salmorejo (see separate recipe) As they say in Spain, the 'king' of the gazpacho' is the cucumber while the 'king of the salmorejo' is the tomato.

You need:
- 1 cucumber (without the skin)
- 10 ripe tomatoes (leave the skin on)
- half an onion
- half a green pepper
- 1 clove of garlic
- a third of a glass of (good) olive oil.
- 2 to 3 table spoons of vinegar (to taste)
- salt (again to taste, but remember that tomatoes take a lot of salt)
- half a glass of water

Cut the vegetables in big chunks, put all vegetables and the water in a beaker and blend (we use a hand held mixer but a blender is good too) until they are liquidised. Add the oil, vinegar and salt and blend again until the oil emulsifies. Get is all through a strainer and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. If it is too tick for you just add more water. You can serve this with cubes of cucumber, red pepper, boiled egg whites or fried or toasted bread. If the weather is very hot add some ice cubes before serving it too.

My children love this but not as much a salmorejo. It is the easiest manner to them to eat lots of raw vegetables.


This is a simple starter or a main course if you serve it with a salad.
You need:
- a sheet of puff pastry (all butter is best)
- chargrilled aubergine or roast peppers or sundried tomatoes (we used left over aubergines, but all this is optional)
- basil or oregano ( we used Greek basil)
- a block of goats cheese (the hard kind that has a white rim)
- a beaten egg
- olive oil

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Cut the puff pastry in squares. Put them on top of an oven tray lined with baking parchment. Top each square with the aubergine (or pepper of tomato) the goat's cheese and the basil. Paint the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg  - we forgot to do this but they turned out fine. Drizzle some olive oil on top. Bake for 20 minutes until they become golden and crispy.

The colour of the aubergine proved to be a challenge for the kids. So did the acidic flavour of the goats's cheese. After lots of pleading from my side they tried a minuscule portion of cheese but they spitted it up. They ended up eating only the pastry, which they thought was great, but it was shop bought so it had no merit...


One of my sons loves caramel and insisted in a chocolate cake with caramel sauce for his birthday. I should warn you that you try this at your peril...

For the cake you need:
- 350 gr of softened butter
- 350 g sugar
- 6 eggs
- half a teaspoon vanilla essence
- 100 cocoa powder
- 300 gr plain flower
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a greased and lined round tin.

Preheat the oven a 180 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar with a hand held mixer (or by hand) until they become pale. Then add the eggs and the vanilla. Separately mix the flour and baking powder. Mix one quarter of the flour mixture with the butter and sugar one. Then add the rest of the flour. Put it all into the greased and lined tin and bake it for 45 minutes.  After the cake is cooked you will need to wait five to ten minutes before you take it off the tin.

For the caramel sauce (which comes from a Nigella recipe, though she does it with double cream) you need: 50 gr of caster sugar, 50 gr of golden syrup, 50 gr of brown sugar and 75 gr of butter. Melt it all together in a pan ( it will only take a few minutes so watch it as it melts) Add three table spoons of creme fraiche and a teaspoon of Maldon salt. Once it cools down a little pour it over the cake or serve it on the side. The only problem with this sauce is that you can actually eat it with a spoon, so keep off the spoons.

My kids help with any recipe that involves chocolate so this was a good manner to bring them back to the blog. We have not written much for a while but it is tough competing against football...


This is so basic that it is almost not a recipe at all.
You only need a leg of such per person and around 100 gr of diced butternut squash and sweet potato per person (some supermarkets sell them already diced), a bit of olive oil (2-3- tablespoons) and salt.

Preheat the oven at 250 degrees. Salt the duck. Put the duck on a tray with a bit of water. Roast 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Then add the olive oil and salt to the vegetables and add it to the duck. Roast for a further 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees and roast for another 30 minutes. It is a very nice and simple dinner.


Fish in papillote is a very healthy and easy meal. You need:
- a steak of salmon
- half a carrot
- half a leak
- half a courgette
- half a lemon: zest and juice
- salt
-1 table spoon of olive oil
- a splash of white wine

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Take a big rectangle of aluminium foil.  Put the oil on top. Salt the fish and put it on the olive oil. Cut the carrot courgettes and leaks in thin batons and put them on the salmon. Add the zest of the lemon, the lemon juice and the wine. Make a packet or bag with the olive oil sealing well all the sides so that air cannot get out. If you are not sure that it is properly closed put the packet on another piece of foil and seal it too. Put the packet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

The flavors are very subtle so most children like this. You can serve it with rice or mash potatoes. You can also do this with cod, halibut or any other vegetables. If you are serving this to adults you may want to cut the baking time to 10 minutes.


This is very very delicious - and a bit (only a bit though) healthier than normal chocolate mousse.

You need:
80 ml refined olive oil (unless you are an olive oil addict it is better to avoid virgin olive oil for this as the taste is very strong)
60 gr caster sugar
150 gr dark chocolate
4 large eggs (separated)

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a pan over a bowl of simmering water. Once it is melted let it cool down a little. Add the 4 egg yokes and whisk it all well. It will become a very thick paste. Then pour the olive oil slowly while you keep whisking it.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Then add the sugar and keep whisking until the mixture becomes glossy. Beat one third of the egg whites with the chocolate mixture. Then fold in carefully the remaining egg whites.
Pour in a glasses or ramekins and let it cool down in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Sprinkle a little bit of Maldon salt over the mousse before serving it.  You can also shape the mousse into  'quenelles' with a spoon (warmed under the hot water tap) and serve it with an orange salad. 

Anything that involves chocolate and whisking egg whites is a winner with my children.They thought that the taste was interesting and even tried the salt. The recipe contains raw eggs so eat within 24 hours (this suited us fine)


Do not be fooled by the fact that these are home made as they are still full of unrefined sugar. They are really not good for children (teeth, obesity, sugar-rush, you name it) so do not do them often. Still, they will make you a really popular mum for a while.  The recipe comes from James Martin.

You need
- 9 sheets of gelatine
- 450 gr sugar
- 1 tablespoon liquid glucose (or golden syrup)
- 200 ml water (plus a bit more to soak the gelatine)
- two egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- lots of icing sugar ad cornflour
- sunflower oil
and a candy thermometer

Oil a shallow baking tray and dust it well with icing sugar and cornflour.
Soak the gelatine in a little bit of cold water. 
While the gelatine is getting soft, boil the sugar, glucose and water until it reaches 127 degrees. If you do not have a candy thermometer, this should take around 15 minutes. As soon as the mixture reaches the right temperature add the gelatine leaves and the soaking water. 
While the sugar is boiling, whisk the egg whites and then add the sugar mixture slowly while you keep whisking ( you may want to put the syrup into a jug for this). When the eggs mixture thickens add the vanilla extract. And if you want to add some colouring do it now ( 2 -3 drops should be enough)
Put the thick mixture into the oiled and dusted tray and let it all rest overnight.
Use a knife to loosen the edges and put it all on a surface dusted with lots of cornflour and sugar. Cut the marshmallows into squares and roll them in (even more!) cornflour and sugar.

The children were not allowed to approach the syrup as it is far too easy to get burnt, but they enjoyed cutting the marshmallows and dusting them (and burning and eating them with friends)


You need:
- four carrots
- fresh coriander (to taste)
- a table spoon of sesame seeds
- two table spoons of olive oil and one of vinegar
- salt
Grate the carrots. Toast the sesame seeds on a pan over low to medium heat (watch this all the time as they burn very easily). Add the seeds and the coriander to the carrots. Mix the olive oil, salt and vinegar and add it to the salad.
You can replace the sesame and coriander by pine nuts and parsley.
Children like using graters but supervise them closely as they can cut themselves easily. Also, careful when you toast the sesame seeds as some of them pop out. 


This comes from Moro's cook book.
You need:

3 eggs, separated
70 gr sugar
one teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
zest of half orange
350 gr yogurt
20 gr flour
a handful of shelled and chopped pistachios
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they become pale. Add the vanilla extract, yogurt, zests, lemon juice and flour and mix well. Wish up the egg whites and mix it with the yolks mixture.Put it all in a baking dish and then put the dish into a wider tin. Put the tin into a preheated oven at 180 degrees and add water to the tin until it comes halfway up the baking dish. Cook for 30-35 minutes (adding the pistachios for the last 10 minutes)  until brown. It will sink after you take it out but what counts is the taste. The smell is amazing and children cannot stop eating this.


Cover a roasting tin with cherry tomatoes. Add salt, olive oil (as much as you want) crushed garlic (2-3 cloves) and if you wish a few basil leaves too. Toss it all well with your hands or (if you do not like the smell of garlic) with a spoon. Roast at 200 degrees for 40 minutes or until they start to get black around the edges.  Eat it with meat, cod, omelets, on their own, on toast, with a salad...

You can do this with normal tomatoes too if you cut them in quarters (give it 15 more minutes in the oven then) but children tend to prefer cherry tomatoes for some reason.


This recipe is adapted from a book from Nigella Lawson. It is the easiest thing to do for school cakes or parties.

You need:
- 165 g butter
- 165 gr dark chocolate
- 250 gr sugar
- 115 gr plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave ( 50 second at high temperature; if it is not melted put it back another 20 seconds and so on). Separately mix the eggs, sugar an vanilla and add it all to the butter and chocolate (do this carefully if the chocolate is still hot). Combine the flour and salt and add it to the mixture. Put it all on a lined tin and bake on a 180 degrees preheated oven for 25 minutes.


To undo the damage of the pheasant, and under pressure from one of my sons, I ended up agreeing to do a recipe for cheesecake that we found in one of their children magazines. I have to recognize that it was yummy.

You need :
- 250 gr ginger biscuits
- 100 gr melted butter
- half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 400 gr Philadelphia cheese
- 200 ml cream
- 100 icing sugar plus 3 more tablespoons
- strawberries and raspberries
- water

You should use a loose bottom tin for this.
Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin until you get crumbs . Mix them with the melted butter and press them down on the base of the tin. Let them cool for at least 45 minutes.
Mix the cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Put it all on top of the biscuit crumbs and put it back in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
Put a handful of strawberries and raspberries in a pan with two table spoons of icing sugar and 3 table spoons of water. Boil it all under very low hear for around 5 minutes. Then blend it in a food processor. When this is cool put some fruit on top of the cake and add the fruit puree on top.

The children helped with it all but crushing the biscuits was their preferred bit.


The children were put off big time by the smell of the raw pheasants. They were not too impressed with the roast pheasant either and would swap this for chicken any day. Adding lots of redcurrant jelly convinced them to eat this, but it was definitely not a winner.

You need:
- two pheasants
-4 onions (cut in eights)
-4 apples (cut in quarters)
- 6 cloves of garlic (unpeeled) one lemon
- olive oil (you can use butter instead)
- salt
- thyme or rosemary

Salt the pheasants and cover them with the herbs and olive oil. Put them in a roasting tin. Add the onions, garlic and apples to the tin, add a bit of salt, and sprinkle them (and the pheasants) with the lemon juice. Roast in a 200 degrees preheated oven for 45 minutes. Before serving peel the garlic (which should be soft by now)  and mix it well with the juice so that you get a sort of thin gravy.   You may need redcurrant jelly too...


One of my grandmothers used to prepare this dish every Sunday. It is simple but comforting. Anything with chorizo and peas is always a winner.

You need (per person)
- a teaspoon of olive oil
- a teaspoon of grated onion
- 10-15 gr of chorizo (cut into cubes)
- 10 gr of Spanish ham or bacon (cut into cubes)
- a handful of frozen peas
- three tablespoon of tomato sauce (see separate recipe)
- 1 egg
- salt and if you wish also pepper
All the quantities are purely indicative so add more or less to taste.

Heat the oil and grated onion in a pan over medium heat until the onion becomes golden. Then add the chorizo and ham/bacon and fry for 2 minutes. Add the peas and after 3-4- minutes add the tomato sauce. Let it bubble for 1 minute. Take it off the heat and put in on an individual oven proof dish or ramekin. Put the egg on top. Add salt ( and pepper) and bake in a 175 preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until just set.  

The children did not help much this time but they do like opening the eggs. If yours do too get them to open them on a separate cup or you may end up with lots of ruined chorizo/peas mixture.


These are very easy to make.
You need:

100 gr self raising flour
100 gr light brown sugar
85g butter
100g peanut butter
200 gr dark or milk chocolate (broken into little chunks)
1 egg
half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, butter, peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract. Then stir in the flour and chocolate chunks. Put spoonfuls or balls of the mixture on a lined baking tray (we used silicone lining from Lakeland). Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 12 minutes. Let them cool down a little before taking them off the baking tray. 


This is nice for the children to make because it comes out really beautiful. You can do this with various vegetables, but we normally do it with leeks. I added a few spinach leaves as well but had to hide them from the children (they saw in a newspaper that spinach is full of mercury and that this is toxic, so they now feel scientifically entitled to refuse eating them).

You need:
- one packet of puff pastry  (already rolled)
- 350 gr salmon ( two rectangular steaks)
- a little bit of olive oil
- butter
-s alt and pepper
- 2 leeks
- a few spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon creme fraiche.
- 1 egg ( beaten)

In a pan fry the leeks (medium to low heat) on a tablespoon of butter and a table spoon of olive oil for 15 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, and toss it all well. After 1 more minute add the cream, salt and pepper,  wait until it bubble and take it all off the heat.

Roll out the puff pastry. Add salt and pepper to the salmon. Put the salmon in the center of the puff pastry, add the leeks mixture on top. Cover it all with the pastry encasing the salmon well. Press the extremes of the pastry together with a  fork so that the crust does not open up. Paint the pastry with the egg wash. Put it on an oven tray with a little bit of olive oil so that it does not stick. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes ( until golden).


We baked this recently for a family birthday and it was truly spectacular. We saw the  recipe in a Pascale Lorraine programme. She calls it 'I cannot believe you made that cake'.

You need:
- 200 gr butter
- 200 gr sugar
- 140 gr plain flour
- 4 eggs
- 60 gr cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- buttercream (you can make it by beating well 250 gr butter, 500 gr icing sugar and 100 gr cocoa, but we cheated a bit and bought it ready made at the supermarket)
- lots of chocolate cigarillos (you can buy them at www.chocolatetradingco.com). You need around 350 gr for the cake but my children (and I) ate a fair amount of them while arranging them on the cake.
- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds
- a bit of vegetable oil for greasing the cake tin

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line and grease the cake tin (with the vegetable oil).

With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add two eggs and half of the flour and mix it all well. Add the rest of the eggs, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and mix it. Put it all into the tin and bake it for 40-45 minutes (the recipe calls for 30-40 minutes but we needed more time)

When the cake is cool, cut it in half with a serrated knife. Put the upper layer at the bottom, cover it with buttercream, put  the bottom layer of the cake on top and cover it all (top and sides) with a generous amount of buttercream. Let the buttercream harden in the fridge for 30 minutes and cover it all again (top and sides) with even more buttercream.

Stick the cigarillos on the sides of the cake and put the red fruit on top.

The cake is rather deceptive because it looks light and elegant but it is actually rather heavy (tonnes of buttercream) If you can forget the amount of calories it is actually very delicious. 


This takes no time at all.
You need:
- shop-bought puff pastry ( preferably already rolled)
- 5-6 apples cut into thin slices
- 2 handfuls of caster sugar
- one egg beaten

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Line an oven tray with baking parchment. Put the puff pastry on top. Arrange the apple slices on top of the puff pastry. Sprinkle it with the sugar, paint the puff pastry edges with the egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes.

You can also put apple sauce under the apple slices. Or you can toss the apples with the juice and grated zest of a lemon.


You need
400 gr minced beef
50 gr bacon (cut in cubes)
1 large carrot (grated)
1 large onion (grated)
1 clove of garlic (grated)
some olive oil
salt and pepper
1 glass of wine
1 glass of water (we do not use stock but you may wish to use it)
2 table spoon Worcestershire sauce
5 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
800 gr potatoes
50 gr butter (plus some more to dot over the mashed potatoes)
4 table spoons creme (or creme fraiche)

In a large pan (over medium to high heat) put 2 table spoons of oil and brown the meat (get rid of any lumps by shredding it with two wooden spoons). Take it out of the pan and reserve it. Lower the hear to medium. Fry the bacon in the same pan (without any oil) for 3 minutes. As soon as it is golden add 2 tablespoons of oil, the grated carrot and onion and fry this for 3-4- minutes. Add the meat back and then add the salt, grated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, wine and water. Let it all bubble for 5 minutes.

Separately boil the potatoes in salty water until they are soft. Drain the water, add the butter, milk, cream, salt and pepper and mash it all well.

Put the meat on a deep baking tray. Cover it with the mashed potatoes. Dot little cubes of butter on top and bake in a 200 degrees preheated oven for 35 minutes.

The children get a bit bored with all these steps but they like helping with the mashing. Mine love this pie but I suspect they liked it even more when they did not know what was inside it.


These are very easy and go well with posset or creamy desserts (they are also less heavy than shortbread).
You need:
125 gr butter
125 gr glass sugar
125 gr flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
You can add half a teaspoon of vanilla essence if you wish.

Melt the butter. Add the sugar, flour, egg and milk  in this order. Mix it all well ( you can do this easily with a wooden spoon). Cover a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicon mat. Make 7-8 cm long lines with the mixture (you can either use a piping bag or a teaspoon). Bake in a 180 degrees preheated oven for 10 minutes. As soon as you see that the edges get golden take them off the oven. Let them cool on a rack. 
It is very easy for the children to help with these, except that they are not dexterous with the pipping bag.


This is simplicity itself.
You only need:
500ml cream (most recipes call for double cream but we do this with single cream and it is lighter and nicer)
150g sugar
85ml lemon juice (and zest if you wish)

Put the cream and sugar in a pan, stir it a few times and bring it to boil. Lower the heat and let it boil for three minutes while you stir it regularly. Take it off the heat, add the lemon juice (and zest if using it) and let it cool down. Pour it onto glasses or cups and refrigerate it overnight. We serve it with 'cat's tongues' (see recipe)

The children did all the measuring and stirring.


This comes from a Delia recipe and we have done this countless times. They always turn out well and they are a good side dish for the pork with dried fruit.

You need
- potatoes ( we use one potato per person)
- onions (a large onion for each Kg of potatoes)
- milk (200 ml for each Kg of potatoes)
- water (Delia calls for stock but that masks the flavour of the potatoes)
- 30-40 gr butter
-salt and pepper
- rosemary or thyme (we used with thyme)

Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into thick slices - we do this with the food processor- and add salt and pepper.  Peel the onion and cut it into half moons. Take a roasting tray and arrange: a layer of potatoes at the bottom, a bit of the rosemary or thyme, then a layer of onions, another layer of potatoes, more rosemary or thyme, a layer of onion and a last layer of potatoes. Sprinkle thyme or rosemary on top. Add the milk and then add water until you cover three quarters of the roasting tray. Cut the butter into small cubes and put them (randomly) on top of the potatoes. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for an hour. You can prepare this well in advance and then reheat it in the oven.

The children enjoyed cutting the veggies in the food processor. They also helped arranging the layers and pouring the milk and water.