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.


This is very simple but delicious. You need:

- three spring onions
- half a green pepper
- 200 gr desalted cod (put it in cold water for 48 hours changing the water three times)
- 4 eggs
- olive oil

On a frying pan heat olive oil and fry the spring onions and green pepper (both diced into small cubes) over gentle heat. As soon as the spring onions are translucent and the pepper is soft (5-10 minutes)  add the cod and let it all fry for 3-4- minutes so that the cod brakes into small flakes. Put it over a colander so that you get rid of any excess oil.

Meanwhile beat the eggs, add the cod mixture to the eggs and mix it all well.

Clean the pan. Add more olive oil to the pan and get the oil as hot as possible. Pour the eggy mixture onto the pan and lower the heat to medium. After a couple of minutes turn the tortilla (by flipping it over a big dish) and fry it not the other side.

We do not add any salt to this but you may want to add some before you fry the omelet.

The children helped with all of it, except with turning the tortilla. The key to this is that you need start with very hot oil on the pan, otherwise the tortilla will stick to it.


You need:

7-8 apples
same amount of long skewers
400 gr sugar
160 gr of corn syrup
175 ml water
red food colouring ( it really depends on the strength of the colouring, but we used 1 teaspoon)

Mix the sugar, corn syrup, water and colouring in a pan and boil it over first medium and then low heat for 25 minutes.  Try not to stir it. Then put the skewers into the apples and dip them (the apples) into the caramel. Let them rest over a silicon mat or greased baking paper - they cool down in a matter of minutes.

This is a bit tricky for children as you have to be very careful with the caramel, which is extremely hot. Mine were disappointed they were not allowed to dip the apples into the caramel.  They were also let down but the fact that under the crunchy candy coat... there was still an apple!


This is the easiest bread to make at home with the kids and they all love it with butter.
You need:

150 gr plain flour
150 gr wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon of oatmeal (this is optional)
a pinch of salt
half a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
and 200 ml of buttermilk

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients but the buttermilk. Then add the buttermilk and mix it all with a wooden spoon. Make a ball with the dough, cut a cross on the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


The kids had to try hard to dug out the radish as the root really sticks to the ground. We grated it, added two table spoons of soured cream, a pinch of salt, black pepper, a quarter of a teaspoon of english mustard power and a little vinegar.  My eldest got tears on his eyes when he tasted it, so hot it was. We added a bit more cream to soften the taste but still this proved far too strong for them. Absolutely delicious with roast beef though...



This is a wonderful jam. Try it either on toast or with cheese.
You need:
- for each kg of apples (strong cooking apples - if you are lucky to be able to get them from a tree that is even better of course...)
- 500 gr sugar
- half a lemon

You also need sterilised jars (put the jars in the oven at 200 degree for 10 minutes).

Peel the apples and cut them into cubes. Toss them with the lemon juice so that they do not get brown. Put them in a pan with the sugar and boil for around 40 minutes (first high heat and as soon as it bubbles reduce it to low heat). Stir often with a wooden spoon. When the mixture  gets golden  and thick enough to feel heavy on the wooden spoon it is ready (you can test it on frozen saucers  - there is a lot of literature on how to do this on the internet - but we never bother and it always comes out right). When it is ready let it rest for 10 minutes and then pour into the sterilised jars. It lasts for a long time.


This is very simple, but the children found interesting the way in which salted cod changes in both taste and texture. You need:

-100 or 150 gr of salted cod - you need to get rid of the salt by putting it into cold water for 36 hours and changing the water every 12 hours. Cut the cod into slices as thinly as possible.
- one orange in thin slices
- one spring onion (cut not too thinly)
- a few black olives
- dressing: 3 tablespoons of live oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of mustard, salt and pepper.

Arrange the cod, orange, spring onions and olives on a plate (in this order). Mix the dressing and pour it on top of the salad.  This taste better if you let it rest for half an hour or so.


The children liked this soup. They hated the coriander though (both its flavour and its greenness). As you can see in the picture I probably over-did it with the coriander anyway.

You need:
- 300 gr butternut squash (cubed)
- one can of coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon red that curry paste
- half a clove of garlic (grated)
- half a teaspoon of grated ginger
- 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
- salt
- one tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 spring onions (cut into thick slices)
- juice of one lime
Optional for garnish: a few cooked prawns cut into chunks.
Very optional: coriander leaves (chopped)

Heat the oil. Over low heat fry the grated ginger for a few seconds, then add the grated garlic. Add the red curry paste and after a few seconds add the spring onions. After a minute or so add the butternut squash and the fish sauce. Let it fry for a couple of minutes and add the coconut milk and the salt. Let it boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and the prawns and coriander leaves if using them.
If you like textures in the soup you may want to add a few boiled chickpeas too.


These are very sugary but they taste great.
You need:
- 90 gr desiccated coconut
- 250 gr sugar
- 160 gr self raising flower
- 1 egg
- 110 gr melted butter

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Mix the sugar and coconut. Then sift the flour and mix it with the sugar and coconut. Add the egg and then the butter. Mix it all well with a wooden spoon. Make balls with the mixture (the size of a nut), put them on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes. They expand a lot in the oven so keep them separate when you put them on the tray. Once they are baked wait for a minute or two before putting them on a cooling tray they break very easily.


We adapted this recipe from the Spanish website 'www.pequerecetas.com' which is great.
You need:
- 150 gr butter (room temperature)
- 125 gr sugar
- 200 gr self raising flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 750 gr apples
-  apricot jam

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
Beat 125 gr of butter with the sugar. Add the lemon juice, vanilla essence and salt. Then add the eggs (one at a time) and finally fold in the flour and baking powder. Last add the milk. Put it all on a springform tin previously greased with butter.
Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut each quarter along its length four times but leaving the tops joined (see picture). Put the apple quarters on top of the cake. Melt the remaining 25 gr of butter and with a brush 'paint' the apples with the butter. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
As you take it out of the oven, dilute two tablespoons of apricot jam with a tablespoon of boiling water and paint the top of the cake for a nice shine.


This is a very Spanish dish, very similar to a ratatouille but without aubergines.

You need:

3 large onions (into slices)
2 cloves of garlic (into thin slices)
1 red pepper (into cubes)
half a green pepper  (into cubes)
5 courgettes - into thick slices
2 large tomatoes - into medium size cubes
a bay leave
olive oil

Heat the olive oil on a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the onion. As soon as they are a bit golden add the peppers and garlic and let them fry for 5-8 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and fry them for another 3-4- minutes. Put the heat down to minimum and let it all soften for 10 more minutes. Then put it on a serving dish and reserve.

Add a touch more olive oil and fry the courgettes for 7-8 minutes. As soon as they are ready mix them with the onion and tomato mixture. Add salt and let it all bubble for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat.

If you get lots of liquid then increase the heat and let it evaporate for another 10 minutes or so.

Do not stir too much as you should keep the shapes of the vegetables.

You can eat this with grilled meat, grilled fish, a fried egg or just with crusty bread. The children also like it with grated cheese on top and then melted under the grill.


'Tigers' is a mussel-version of croquetas (see our recipe). One of my aunts cooks them always when I go to Spain, which is lucky because these little things are truly laborious. The children love them though. Surprisingly, they were mesmerised by the chance of looking closely into their insides. Eating muscles after seeing the insides is an act for faith, but that goes for both children and adults...

You need:
- for each 20 mussels (keep the shells)
- 1.5 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- a quarter of a green pepper (cubed)
-  8 raw (and peeled) shrimps (cut into small cubes)
- salt
- olive oil (lots)
- for the béchamel: flour (three heaped table spoons)  olive oil and  850 l of milk.

- for the crust: flour, 2 eggs, breadcrumbs

Clean the mussels. Put half a glass of water on a pan. When the pan is hot add the mussels. As soon as they open up take them off the heat and discard the ones that have remained closed. Keep the liquid at the bottom of the pan and sieve it through a colander so that you get rid of any sand.

Take the muscles off the shells and put the sells aside. Cut the mussels into small cubes.

On a different pan, fry the onion, green pepper and garlic until they onion becomes translucent. Then add the shrimps and mussels for a coupe of minutes. Add salt and take the mixture off the heat.

Separately prepare the béchamel (heat two table spoons of olive oil, add three tablespoons of  flour and let it get hot for 2-3- minutes while storing well. Then add the milk. Blend with a hand held blender and then put it back on the heat until it starts bubbling and thickening while stirring constantly. At the end add 4 table spoons of the liquid that you got at the bottom of the pan when 'opening' the mussels.  When the béchamel is ready mix it with the mussels mixture and pour it onto the mussels shells. Then let them cool down.

Beat the eggs and put then in a bowl. Prepare another bowl with flour and a third bowl with bread crumbs. Dust the shuffled shells with flour.  Then dip them into the eggs and cover them with breadcrumbs (by dipping the béchamel surface of the sells into the breadcrumbs).

Heat olive oil in a frying pan ( a lot of it!) and fry the mussels for a couple of minutes until golden.


This cake is identical to the strawberry one. You just need to substitute the strawberries with 250 gr of blackberries. This cake is nicer though as the blackberries mix with the dough and make it all slightly purple.

We cooked it in a loaf tin so that the kids would see that different shapes require different cooking times. While the cake in the springform tin took 50 minutes to bake, this one took 1.15 minutes.


Just follow the recipe of the previous post but use only 85 g of sugar (instead of 100 g) and add a handful of strawberries. Blend of the ingredients and serve with ice.


We made this because the children wanted to sell it (with cookies) to neighbours and it was a massive hit. You need:

- 6 lemons (cut them in quarters and remove the pith)
- 100 gr sugar
- 1 l water
- one pinch of salt
- a handful of ice

Blend all the ingredients except the ice in a blender (this tastes even better if you mix all the ingredients and let them rest overnight) Strain the lemonade through a colander. Add the ice.


This is a nice and very easy tea time summer cake. You need:
- 175 gr plain flour
- 225 gr sugar
- one table spoon baking powder
- grates zest of one lemon
- 80 ml sunflower oil
- 2 eggs
- 250 gr strawberries cut into small bits

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees. In a bowl mix all the ingredients except for the fruit with a wooden spoon. Then add the fruit and mix again (but be careful not to break the strawberries). Grease a springform cake tin and pour the mix in. Bake for 50 minutes.


This is a very a very simple summer salad.
You need:
- one tin of chickpeas
- 3 spring onions ( cut into slices)
- 150 gr of chorizo cut into small squares
- 100 gr feta cheese cut into small squares
- 1 spoonful of chopped parsley
- half a clove of garlic
- olive oil
- wine vinegar

Mix the chickpeas, spring onions and feta cheese. Fry slightly the chorizo cubes and add it to the salad. Grate the clove of garlic and mix it with the vinegar and one table spoon of olive oil. Mix it all well. Sprinkle the parsley on top. We do not add any salt as the feta is naturally salted but add some if you wish.


We have got 20.000 webpage views, so we have decided to celebrate it by posting one of our best-est recipes.  Marmitako is a fish stew from the North of Spain and it is simply 'wonderful proper food'.
You need:
(for 5 people)
- 2 steaks of tuna (there is a lot of controversy over tuna, so when you buy it check that it is responsibly sourced. It is, like all fish, not cheap, but one steak goes down a long way in this dish)
- one large onion cut into thin half moons
- a quarter of a green pepper and half a red pepper cut into thin slices
- flour (3 or 4 spoonfuls)
- salt
- olive oil (4 spoonfuls plus more for frying the potatoes)
- a clove of garlic
- a handful of parsley
- a glass of white wine
- a glass of water
- one bay leave
- half a tomato into small cubes or, even better, 2 spoonfuls of (homemade) tomato sauce.
- a potato per person cut into medium size chunks

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. While the oil is heating up, cut the tuna steaks into chunks, salt them and dust them with the flour. Fry them for one or two minutes on each side, take them off the pan and reserve them.

In the same oil fry the onion and peppers (and fresh tomato if you are using it) turning the heat down so that they get soft and sweet. When they are ready add the fish back to the pan. Add the bay leave and the tomato sauce if you are using it. Grind the garlic clove with the parsley with a pester and mortar, add the wine to the clove and parsley mixture and add it all to the pan. Add the water, wait until there are bubbles in the sauce and let it simmer over slow heat for  around 10 minutes ( it is really difficult to overcook this dish, so do not worry too much about the precise timing)

Separately fry the potatoes (in olive oil after having salted them). Take them off the frying pan when they are golden but not completely soft (this takes around 4-5- minutes) and put them on kitchen paper to get rid of the oil.

You can keep the fish stew for one day in the fridge and it actually tastes nicer the following day as the flour on the fish thickens the sauce. 15 minutes before you are going to serve the dish heat it up and add the potatoes. Cover with a lid and wait for 8-10 minutes until they get soft and the whole dish mellows. Add some chopped fresh parsley (this is not necessary really, but the dish looks nicer this way).

The children love this dish. As for you, get a glass of very cold Albarino (it is a white wine from Galicia and there are lots of good ones in most British supermarket but Terras Gaudas is best) and just enjoy life.


It is a mystery why most of the British crab is exported to Spain. A whole crab (just plonk it in salty boiling water with a bay leaf for 15 minutes and then cover it with a clean cloth for 5 minutes) is a delicacy but it is difficult to find it in supermarkets or even fishmongers - unless you are lucky to be in Dorset or Norfolk of course. These cakes are a much poorer alternative, but the children like them, probably because they eat them with mayonnaise sauce.
You need:
- 200 gr white crab meat (they sell this in packs in supermarkets)
- 3 spring onions cut in small slices
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise sauce
- 1 egg
- if you prepare this for adults add also black pepper and chopped coriander

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them. Put the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes so that it gets to a nice consistency. Grease a pan with a tablespoon of oil (sunflower is best though we use olive oil) and heat it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop spoonfuls of the mixture and fry them for a couple of minutes on each side until the cakes are golden. Serve immediately.


This makes a very easy lunch.

You need:
- three tins of canned tuna (we do this with tinned salmon and it works very nicely too)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tin of evaporated milk
- 2 spoonfuls of tomato sauce (if you do it wit salmon do not add the tomato)
- salt

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse them briefly so that they mix but the tuna retains some texture. Grease well a loaf tin and pour the mixture in. Then boil some water and pour it onto a big(-er) baking tray. Get the loaf tin inside the tray with the boiling water (this is called a 'bain marie' which is a beautify name; it basically means giving a 'gentle bath' and it evokes all romantic images of rural France) Bake for 40-45 minutes. Once it is cooked wait a little so that it could down before you un-mould it. It is a good idea to run a knife along the sides of the mould before you do so.\

The kids can help with all of it and my youngest enjoys the pulsing, but you should be really careful with the 'bain marie' as it is very easy to get badly burnt with the boiling water and/or the oven.


This is another very simple fish recipe which is a winer with the kids.

You need (for 2 adults and three kids):
- three potatoes (sliced thickly)
- 2 tomatoes (sliced into thin half moons)
- 1 onion ( chopped or sliced)
- one steak of halibut or any other white fish per person (or one steak for each two persons if they are big)
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons of white wine
- half a glass of water
- salt
- a teaspoon of chopped parsley
- olive oil

Preheat the oven at 220 degrees.

Spread the potato slices on a shallow baking tray. Put the tomatoes and onion on top. Add 4 spoonfuls of olive oil and the salt and mix it all well with your hands. Bake in the over for 30 minutes. By this time the potatoes should be soft and golden.

Salt the fish. Take the potatoes out of the oven and put steaks on top of the potatoes.  Put the lemon juice and white wine on top, sprinkle it with the parsley and add a tiny bit of olive oil on top of each steak. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the fish is opaque (with the children is better to do it for 15 minutes)  Serve it as soon as you get it off the oven.


We got this recipe from the BBC website for a birthday celebration. The cake is very spectacular. I suspect though that children actually prefer a simpler cake with lots of icing.

You need three times the following recipe:

- 125 g soft butter
- 225 g plain flour
- 150 g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- lots of food colouring: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
- buttercream ( an enormous amount!)
-2 greased and lined round tins

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and mix well. Divide the mixture in two and mix each with one of the colours (red and yellow). Put the mixture into the tins and bake for 12 minutes. Repeat this with two more colours (green and blue). And again with the two remaining colours (orange and purple)

Some recipes call for cream cheese icing but we put the cakes together with normal buttercream:150 gr butter, 300 gr icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.


My children love this fish. You can prepare it in minutes.

You need:
- a sole filet per person (it may seem too much for a child, but mine devour it every time; and yes, it is not cheap, but it is after all very good fish. It does not work as well with other white fish, but we tried it once with haddock and it seemed fine)
- butter
- a handful of parsley
- one and a half lemons (for 5 people)
- salt
- flour

Wash the fish and pat dry it with a clean tea towel. Melt two spoonfuls of butter on a large pan. While the butter melts, salt the fish, dust it with the flour and shake it a bit so that you get rid of any excess flour. Fry the fish (skin side down) for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn it around and fry it again for a couple of minutes. Take the fish off the pan. Add 2 table spoons of butter to the pan. Once the butter melts add the parsley, let it fry for 30 seconds and then add the lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the fish.

The parsley splutters a lot, so be careful. If you are scared of spluttering, add the lemon to the butter first and then add the parsley (it will be less crispy but very nice anyway)

Sole is a good fish for children to get used to eat fish with bones as it is very easy to see where the bones are.


This is so easy that it hardly qualifies for a recipe, but it makes a nice quick 'comfort food' lunch. You need:
- a roll of puff pastry
- ham (enough slices to cover half of the of pastry, normally 4 or 5)
- cheese (cheddar or edam or alike - again 4 or 5 slices. You can also do this with grated cheese)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche or three tablespoons of double cream

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Cover a tray with baking paper. Put the puff pastry on top and prickle it with a fork all over the surface. Put ham slices on top of half of the pastry. Then put the cheese slices on top of the ham. Beat the egg with the creme fraiche and pour it on top of the cheese. Fold the uncovered half of the puff pastry over the cheese. Press the borders with a fork (as in the picture) so that the egg and melted cheese does not get out of the pastry. Prickle the top of the pastry with a fork (you can also paint the pastry at this stage with a beaten egg if you want it shinny). Bake for 20 minutes. Eat warm.

The children helped with it all except for handling the trays in and out of the oven.


You need:
- 2 aubergines
- 1 onion (chopped into small cubes)
- three cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 3-ish tablespoons of olive oil
- salt
- 1 tablespoons of capers
- a handful of green olives - you can use black olives if you prefer them.
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- a handful of pine nuts
- 2 peppers
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of (good) red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven at 220 degrees. Put the aubergines on a tray and rub them with a little bit of olive oil. Put the peppers on the tray as well and roast them all for 40 minutes. Take them out of the oven, peel the aubergines and the peppers and chop them into small cubes.
Separately fry the onions on some olive oil until they start getting golden. Add the garlic to the pan and continue frying them for another 5 minutes or so until they start getting brown. Add this to the aubergines (including the frying oil).
Toast the pinenuts on a pan and add them to the aubergines too. Then add the capers, olives, parsley, lemon juice and vinegar. Taste and add some salt of necessary.

The flavours of this dish are very strong, but children seem to like it (though my children, understandably, fish out the cappers). You can keep the skin of the aubergines on (which makes a nicer and prettier dish) but children seem to prefer it without the skin. 


This is a hybrid between a quiche and an omelet. It works very well for lunch with a salad.

You need:
5 eggs
200 ml of  creme fraiche ( or 150 ml of double cream)
2 grated courgettes
3 grated carrots
a handful of grated cheddar ( or any other hard cheese)
salt and pepper
a tablespoon of flour
a little bit of butter (one little cube)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Grease a quiche mould (or any round mould) with butter and sprinkle it with the flour.
Whisk the eggs with the creme fraiche. Add the courgettes, carrots, salt and peppers. Put the mixture into the mould. Sprinkle it with the cheese. Bake fit or 30-35 minutes (or until the top is golden).

It is meant to sink a bit after it could down.

Children can help with it all but be careful with the grating as it is difficult for them  to understand that a grater can be as sharp as a knife.


It takes a while for children to like this taste, but it really is the taste of the mediterranean sun. The peppers go well with any grilled meat, grilled tuna, fried eggs, omelet or just with bread... and they are full of vitamin C.

Just get 6 big peppers (the bigger the better). Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Put the peppers on a tray and add a bit of water on the bottom of the tray (half a glass more or less). Put the tray into the oven and roast the peppers for 35 minutes. Then turn them around and roast them for another 30 minutes. They should come up rather black.  Let them cool down and then peel them (it is easier if you put them into a pastil bag as they are cooling down). Add 3 tablespoons of the liquid that the peppers have produced while you were roasting them, 3 table spoons of olive oil, one and a half tablespoons of good vinegar and salt.

You can keep them for a few days in the fridge or freeze them  provided you do not add oil and vinegar.


This is a very simple salty cake that you can adapt as you wish.

You need:
250 gr flour
one teaspoon baking powder
150 ml sunflower oil
4 eggs
150 ml buttlemilk ( or 100 ml milk with 4 spoonfuls of yogurt)
150 cubes of butternut squash (you can get rid of this if your children do not like it but it makes it is about the only healthy bit of this cake)
150 gr of cubes bacon
75 gr grated cheese
(you can also add peppers, paprika, or any other spice you like)

Preheat the oven at 185 degrees and grease and line the cake tin ( we used a loaf cake one but you can use any shape you wish). Mix all the dry ingredients. Then mix separately all the wet ingredients (i.e. eggs, buttermilk or milk and yogurt, and oil). Last, mix dry and wet ingredients together. Put in all into the cake mould and bake for 40 minutes. 


This seems more difficult than it is. You need:

- 80 gr self raising flour
- 80 gr sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tub of philadelphia cheese
- 250 gr of ham

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Beat well the eggs and sugar until the mixture gets foamy. Then fold in the flour trying not to loose too much air. Pour the mixture on a swiss roll tray ( we use a silicon tray, but if you use a normal one then grease it and line it). Bake for 9 minutes. As soon as you take it out of the oven turn it onto a wet kitchen towel and roll it. Let it cool down (rolled with the wet towel) for 15 minutes more or less.

When it has cooled down unroll it, spread Philadelphia cheese on top and then put the ham slices on top of the cheese. Roll it again pressing it firmly so that you get rid of any air pockets inside. Cover the cylinder with cling film or foil and let it chill in the fridge until you eat it.


This soup is heaven. The smell when you are cooking it will make anybody go hungry. We call it 'bolitas' soup because in Spain it is normally prepared with pasta shaped as tiny balls, a bit like cous-cous. It is my children's favourite soup. We cannot find the little balls in the shops o we do it with pasta shaped like 'little stars' which is great too.

You need:
- the left overs from a roast chicken (or a chicken thigh and leg)
- 200 gr 'serrano' ham (it is not worth spending a lot on this so just ask for any left overs of a ham in the supermarket  - the bone is actually very good for this)
- one onion
- one leak
- one carrot
- 6 green beans (you can miss this if you wish)
- one bay leave
- one handful of chickpeas
- one quarter of a pepper ( preferably green, but red is fine too)
- a little bit of parsley (half a teaspoon)
- salt
- water (1.5 l)
- pasta shaped like starts.

Put all the ingredients but the pasta into a pan with the water. Bring it all to the boil and then lower the heat to its lowest setting and let it all simmer for 2 hours (if you do this with a pressure cooker one hour will be enough).

Get the soup though a colander and dismiss all the solid bits (if you have used proper chicken rather than left overs you can use it in a chicken salad) This liquid keeps for a week or so in the fridge.

Whenever you want to use it, bring the liquid back to the boil (if you find the taste too strong you can solute it with water), add the pasta (a handful for two persons) and let it boil for 8-10 minutes until the pasta is soft.


You need:
- two tablespoons of olive oil,
- 500 gr of mussels
- one large onion cut into small cubes
- one table spoon of chopped parsley
- one bay leaf
- 1 glass of white wine
-1 glass of water
- salt

Clean the mussels.

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Fry the onion under low heat until it becomes translucent. Add half of the parsley. Increase the heat and add the wine and the bay leaf. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes and then add the water. Throw the muscles in, cover the pan with a lead and wait for 3-4 minutes until the mussels open up. Take them off the heat, add the remaining parsley and eat them (with crusty bread) as soon as possible.

This sauce is a winer with the children. They were not sure about the mussels themselves but once they tasted one they were fine eating the rest and using the empty shell as tongues to eat the other mussels.

Only thing with this recipe is that you need to wash the mussels very carefully. Don't take any risks and discard any muscles that remain closed after you cook them.


Don't be tempted to make this recipe: it takes forever, the kitchen becomes a mess and the kids get bored well before half-way though it. After many hours chopping, boiling, stirring, waiting, sterilising and testing the setting point it turns out that actually the children do not like the taste of marmalade. Honestly, if you are into it, any supermarket marmalade is just fine.

Since we (I!) did the whole thing  we (I!) decided to include this in the blog nevertheless.

We followed a recipe from Delia Smith which technically works well despite the comments above.

You need:
- 900 gr seville oranges
- 1 lemon
-1.8 kg of sugar
-2.25 l of water

Squeeze the juice out of the oranges and lemon. Add it to the water. 

Cut the orange peel (without the pith) in tiny pieces (...I know, it does take much longer than you think...) add them to the juice and water pan.

Put the pith and pips in a muslin cloth or bag. Put them also into the pan.

Bring it all to boil and then simmer for two (two!) hours.

After than let it cool down. Squeeze all the liquid out of the muslin bag. This is the pectin and you will need to squeeze for a while as there is more in there than you think ( ... and yes your hands will smell of orange for a good few hours...) 

Increase the heat to high and let it boil for 15-ish minutes. This is when you can start testing the jam with cold saucers and any of the other methods that you can easily find  in the internet. If you have a candy thermometer boil it until it reaches jam temperature.

Then get rid of the scum with a spoon. You can add a bit of butter to help you (but it does not get rid of it all, so back to the spoon...).

Let it all settle for 20 minutes.

By this point you should have had time to sterilise the jars (in the dishwasher, oven or microwave).

Put the jam into the jars (this is actually more difficult that it seems unless you have a jam funnel) bringing it as close as possible to the top.

Cover with a wax disk ( they sell them in Lakeland and they are cheap)

...finally, close the lids.

The good news is: there is no need to do this ever again in your whole life.


This is a way to eat oranges that is typical from Jaen, one of the best known olive oil producing areas in Spain. All you need to do is to slice an orange, sprinkle sugar on top and then drizzle some (good) olive oil.   It is an unusual taste but it works well. The children liked it though they prefer the oranges with just sugar on top or on their own.

If you like the taste of olive oil you can also toast some bread, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle sugar on top. This (with a strong coffee) is the breakfast of many people in the South of Spain.


You need:

- 10 'piquillo' peppers (they sell them in most supermarkets)
- one tin of tuna (preferably in spring water)
- 1 small onion
- 2  tablespoons of plain flour
- olive oil (3 tablespoons)
- 700 ml of milk
- salt

Fry the onions in two spoons of olive oil until they become translucent. Then add the tuna and let it all fry for 4-5- minutes ( you can add some parsley too if you wish).

Separately prepare a thin béchamel sauce: heat the remaining olive oil. Add the flour and let it fry over very low heat for 3 minutes (it should not become dark). Then add the milk and keep steering it all with a wooden spoon until the milk boils and the mixture thickens. If you get lumps of flour, just get the mixture into a blender and which for a few seconds. Mix half of the sauce with the tuna and reserve the other half.

Take the peppers out of the tin. Put the tuna mixture inside the peppers. Arrange the peppers on a baking tray, cover them with the remaining béchamel sauce and put them under the grill for a few minutes until the béchamel gets golden (you can add little bits of butter before you put the tray under the grill to make the dish look prettier if you wish)

Children seem to enjoy filling in the peppers, but you will need to wait for a while unit the béchamel sauce cools down.


This is a very simple dish that works well for lunch with a salad or as garnish for most meats.

You need:
- one tin of chickpeas
- 150 gr of serrano ham ( or any other fired ham; you can also use bacon if you prefer it)
- one clove of garlic
- a little bit of parsley
- olive oil
- salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan (medium heat). Add the garlic chopped into small bits. When the garlic starts getting golden add the ham. Wait for two or three minutes. Take the ham out and reserve. Add the chickpeas, let them fry for 5 minutes, add salt if needed (be careful as the ham is naturally salty) add the ham back, sprinkle with the parsley and done.

You can also add a tablespoon of vinegar as you are frying the chickpeas.


This is a delicate soup. It is the kind of soup that Spanish mothers used to prepare for festive meals or on the occasional Sundays. My mother prepares it often for my children and they love it.

You need:
- an onion
- a stick of celery
- 1 clove of garlic
- half a red pepper
- half a yellow pepper
- 1 carrot
- a potato
- salt
- olive oil
- a fillet of white fish ( haddock, monkfish, cod, hake... )
- a handful of prawns
- one squid ( frozen squid is normally very good if you cannot find fresh ones)
- a handful of clams (this is optional, as many children do not like them - mine just do)

Put a pan on the heat. Add the olive oil. Then add all the vegetables cut into cubes. After 5 minutes (when they start getting brown) lower the heat so that they soften. When they are soft ( after another 5 to 8 minutes) add the white fish. Let the fish fry with the vegetables for 3-4 minutes and then take it out and reserve it. Add the salt, parsley and the bay leaf. Add 500 ml of water, bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Take the bay leaf out, add the fish back to the soup and liquidize it all with a hand held blender (or in a food processor) until you get a smooth soup.

Separately heat a flying pan. Cut the squid into smalls squares, add them to the pan (without any oil) and as soon as they harden (after 1-2- minutes) take them out and add them to the soup.

Then cut the prawns into small squares. Add a tiny bit of oil to the frying pan and add the prawns. Wait for one to two minutes until they get a coral colour and add them to the soup too.

Finally, add some water to the frying pan ( half a glass should do) Add the clams and wait for a couple of minutes until they open up. Discard any clams that have not been opened. Take out the molluscs (discard the shells) and add them to the soup. Then get the liquid of the clams through  colander ( in case they have spelled any sand) and add the liquid to the soup.

The children helped with all of it and enjoyed seeing the seafood changing its texture with the heat. Otherwise I am afraid they found preparing the soup a bit boring.