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.


We spent St Valentine's lunch with a  large group of friends, so we prepared these for dessert.

You need:
- 200 gr plain flour
- 100 gr sugar
- 100 gr butter (room temperature)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- a teaspoon of baking powered
- a pinch of salt

And for the icing:
-250 gr icing sugar
- 2-3 table spoons of boiling water
- red colouring paste

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar until they get a pale yellow colour.  Add the eggs, then the vanilla. Finally mix the flout, baking power and salt and add it to the mixture. You can do this all in a food processor. Wrap the cookie dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Put the mixture over a large rectangle of cling film. Cover it with another large rectangle and roll it until you get a pound-like thickness. Cut the cookies with a heart shape cutter and put them on a baking tray covered with a silicon mat or baking paper. Cook them for 13-14 minutes (you may meed to cook them in two batches). Get the cookies out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack so that they get cold before you ice them (this takes 10 minutes more or less)

For the icing: sift the icing sugar and add the water (a little bit each time) until you get a thick glossy paste. Do not make it too liquid. Add the red colouring, while reserving a bit of the white mixture for decorations. Cover the cookies with the red colouring using a spatula. Then put the white icing into a piping bag with a small nose and decorate the cookies. As you can see in the picture my sons do not have steady hands for decoration and mine are not any better (I did the white decorations with mixed results…) but that did not stop our friends eating them.

Needless to say you can use this recipe for any other kind of shape, colours, etc…



One of my sons is taking the cooking rather seriously, so Santa brought him a small 'chef kit' for Christmas when we were in Spain. The kits are from HomeChef and they are great as they are both entertaining (it is like a chemistry experiment, really)  and cheap. The spherification is a technic that comes from the Spanish chef Ferran Adria. The yogurt spherification is probably the easiest one as it does not require any additional calcium.
You need:
- 100 g full fat yogurt
- optional: icing sugar  (to sweeten the yogurt to your taste- if you use a favoured yogurt you will not need any)
- 1 l of water
-7 g of sodium alginate (HomeChef does not seem to sell in the UK, but Amazon sells alginate for around £7)

Mix the water and alginate with a blender and wait for at least 20 minutes (even better if you wait overnight). Drop small spoonfuls of yogurt into the alginate mixture. You may need to discard the first ones as they make come in weird kidney-like shapes, but once you do two or three it is easy to get the hang of it. Wait for a couple of minutes and you will see that a thick membrane has formed on the outside of the yogurt. Remove the yogurt balls carefully from the alginate solution and 'clean them' by dropping them in a bowl with clean cold water. Remove them from the water and put them on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess moisture. That is all.

We decorated them with pomegranate, honey and mint. We are not really into 'nouvelle cuisine' but the result is interesting as the balls 'explode' in your mouth and whole thing looks like 'edible chemistry' to the kids, so it is fun to make.

You can also do this with fruit or vegetable purees (though you need to add calcium to the puree first) but we have not tried this yet…


The only problem for this recipe is that you need really good clams  - basically the rule is this: the worse the ingredient, the more you needs to process it, add to it and make the recipe  'full packed of flavours' as many chefs now say…but when you get hold of a really good ingredient the less you do to it the better.

You need:
- 750 g of good clams
- olive oil
- two cloves of garlic
No need to add salt.

Clean the clams either by hand or by putting them in a  big bowl of water and salt for at least two hours. Fry two cloves of garlic in three table spoons of live oil, when the garlic is soft, add the clams. As soon as they open up they are done. It should only take 3-4 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open up. Eat immediately.

The children find it interesting to see show the salty water makes the clam loose any sand, and also watching the clams open up.