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 a very simple (and very cheap) Basque recipe. This is its vegetarian version, though it is even better is you add salt cod to it (not easy to get it in the UK)

You need:
- 5 leeks (in thick slices)
- three potatoes (in medium size chunks)
- 3 carrots (in thick slices)
- half an onion (chopped thinly)
- 750 l water
- a pinch of sweet paprika
- olive oil (2 tablespoons)
- salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Fry the onion (low heat)  for 5 minutes until it is translucent. Then increase the heat to medium and add the leeks. Fry for another 7 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and continue frying it all for 8 more minutes. Add the salt, paprika and then the water and let it all simmer for 25 minutes (do not stir it or you will break the potatoes).

Do not be tempted to add stock as the whole point of this is that you taste the leeks. This is actually something good for the children to learn: a tomato soup should taste of tomatoes, a leek soup of leeks, a potato soup of potatoes, not of chicken or any other vegetables…the current obsession to add stock to everything and make it 'packed full of flavours' is fine for a special meal at a restaurant but absurd at home. Keep the flavours clean and they'll learn to recognise what they eat.


This is not for the children, it is for you. You know that time when you come home seriously late with friends after a drinking and dancing night desperate for food before you call it a day? This is what 'migas' are for - the most wonderful combination of carbohydrates and fat ( and if you have been dancing all those calories are OK for once). I promise you they can cure any hangover (I even had to give a speech the morning after my last night out and it went perfectly fine) They are so good that I made them again this weekend with the children.

Originally they were shepherd's food from the main plain in Spain, though some posh Spanish restaurants serve them as a starter now.

You need:
- 4 handfuls of cubed bread. Best is the white bit of baguettes that you can break down with your fingers, but cubed loaf bread is fine.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- two garlic cloves
- half a red pepper ( or even better a dried Spanish pepper called 'nora')
- a pinch of paprika
- a quarter of a glass of water
- a quarter of a teaspoon of salt
- 60 g of cubed bacon or pancetta (they sell this already cubed in supermarkets)
- 60g of cubed chorizo (they also sell it already cubed in supermarkets)
- a handful of green grapes (cut in halves)

Dissolve the salt in the water and sprinkle it (not too much) over the cubed bread. Put it on a kitchen towel and press firmly so that you get rid of the excess moisture.  Heat the oil in a big frying pan. Fry the garlic cloves and peppers for 5 minutes (low heat). Discard the garlic and peppers. Fry (in the same oil) the bacon and chorizo for another 3-4 minutes, then add the paprika and finally the bread. Fry it all over medium heat for 8-ish minutes until the bread is golden. Take it off the heat and add the grapes (I know it is a bit weird to add grapes but it really works well)

My 11 and 13 years old sons though this was: easy, seriously good, and also very cool, though the latter is only because I told them this is a good dish to know for the  times when they will go clubbing when they are older. Probably not too good parenting skills - but it is never too early to learn about the important things in life...


I am afraid we made a bit of a mess with the green icing. But we thought it would still give you some ideas for decoration. The cake is the same recipe that we used for the football birthday cake (http://www.mumandsons.com/2014/02/kids-birthday-cake.html) It is indeed a very versatile cake-base. We have cut it into two layers and used buttercream - this helps to keep it moist so that you can prepare it the day before the birthday takes place. The figures are done with shop bought icing - it is a bit fiddly for the children, but at the end of the day it is like playing with plasticine.