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.


My middle son has been asking me to do this ever since he tried this dish at Wahaca (great place by the way). Since in Year 3 he did a project at school on a Mexican village called Tocuaro, he has a fascination with all things Mexican. In fact Tocuaro is a village of 600 people, so after a couple of weeks doing the project it felt as if we all knew by heart the name and family name of every single inhabitant  of Tocuaro.

You need: (for two quesadillas)
- a packet of Mexican tortillas (they sell them in all supermarkets)
- 100 g of black or red beans
- an onion
- a bay leaf
- a clove of garlic
- half a teaspoon of cumin
- half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- half a teaspoon of origin
- two handfuls of grated cheese
- coriander (around a teaspoon of chopped coriander)
- salt
- water
-two tablespoons of olive oil

The night before you are going to cook the quesadillas put the beans in a bowl and cover them with water (if you bought the beans some time ago add a pinch of bicarb or salt). Leave the beans in the water overnight. The following day get rid of the soak water and put the beans with a couple of glasses of (new) water in a pan. Add the bay leaf, salt and half an onion and boil it first at high heat and then lower the heat and let it simmer for 1.5-1.45 hours. We did this in the pressure cooker so it only took half an hour. In any case, drain the beans and discard the onion and bay leaf.If you want to skip this step altogether just buy a tin of red beans (in fact I only did this process to show to my son how to soften the beans so don't bother with it)

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Chop thinly the remaining half onion and fry it (under low heat so that it becomes soft and translucent). After 3-4 minutes grate the garlic and let it fry for 3 more minutes, then add the cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano. Then after one more minute add the beans and two table spoons of water. Mash the beans a bit with the back of a fork or with a potato masher. Increase the heat to maximum and after two or thee minutes (when the water has evaporates) the beans are done.

Heat a non-stick pan. Put a tortilla on top of the pan (no need to add any oil). Add half of the beans mixture, then put a handful of grated cheese on top of the beans and finally sprinkle with coriander. Put another tortilla on top. Wait for 2-3- minutes until the bottom tortilla is golden and turn it around (with the help of a turner or a spatula). Let it get get golden on the other side (a couple of minutes) and serve it  (cut it in fourths).

It is very delicious especially if served with guacamole or salsa.


Roast fish is one of the two best ways to eat a good whole white fish (the other way is to roast it covered with salt, but we will show this to you another day). Our sea bass was too big for our tray, so we had to chop its head off - surprisingly my children were fine about doing this (though they were seriously relieved to see that the fish had already been gutted).

The main thing is not to overcook the fish - fish is expensive, so don't ruin it by overcooking it.

You need:

- one whole fish (is actually better to leave the head on)
- four potatoes (cut them into one pound thickness slices)
- one tomato ( peeled and cut into think slices)
- one onion (into thin slices)
- salt
- a lemon
- a glass of white wine
-olive oil (three tablespoons)

Preheat the oven at 220 degrees.

Put the potatoes, tomatoes and onion on a roasting tin. Add the olive oil and a bit of salt and let this roast for 25 minutes. Then add salt to the fish (including on the inside) and put it on top of the potatoes. Add the white whine and the juice of the lemon, sprinkle some parsley on top and roast for 20 minutes.
You can see whether it is properly cooked by making an incision with a knife along its thickest side. If  the flesh is white (i.e. not translucent) it is done.

We have take two pictures. As you can see the fish is full of moisture, so you do not need any additional sauce. We also tok a picture of the whole fish (which was a bit ruined as one of my children make too long an incision to check whether the fish was cooked - we tried to cover it up with parsley but it does not look too pretty) Still, we wrought it would be useful to you to see how the whole fish looked.

And one more thing. Fish like this has bones, so ask the children to be careful when they eat it. It is good for them to learn how to eat fish with bones. After all this is how fish was always meant to be...


Mayonnaise contains raw egg so you have to be really careful to avoid food poisoning. Making the mayonnaise with milk instead of eggs is a good trick if you are using it for a picnic on a sunny day or if you want it to keep for two or three days.

You need:
- 200 cl of sunflower oil
- 100 cl of milk
- a pinch of salt
- a teaspoon of vinegar
- a hand held blender

Put the sunflower oil and the milk into a tall beaker. Put the handheld blender into the beaker and switch it on. Keep it running for a minute or so without moving it at all. Do not get worried if it looks like if the sauce has split. After about a minute start moving the bender up very slowly. You will see how the thick sauce starts coming up. Once all the oil and milk has mixed up add the salt and vinegar and mix it all.

You can try variations of this sauce with the children:  add some mustard (though my children prefer the mayo without mustard). Or add half a clove of garlic and bled it all together so that you get 'ali-oli' sauce (which goes well with fish or rice). Or add a tablespoon of tomato sauce, a few drops of tabasco and two tablespoons of orange juice and it becomes a cocktail sauce (to be eaten with cucumber sticks or prawns). Or add very thinly chopped pickles and capers and becomes a tartare sauce (with fish) Naturally you can also do this with proper egg mayonnaise (see our recipe)