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 my favourite dessert of all times. So much so that we served it as a wedding cake when Nick and I got married. It is very filling, so all you need is a tiny square of it. But it is divine. Definitely a dessert for big celebrations. I made it for Christmas Eve (which is what we celebrate in Spain)
and it was a huge success.  

If you happen to be in Segovia (which means you are lucky because together with Seville it is  - in my view- one of the two most beautiful towns in Spain) then buy one of these at the bakery El Alcazar by the Plaza Mayor. Or just ask for it as dessert after a meal of lamb or sucking pig (one of the two culinary specialities in Segovia) in El Parador or the restaurant Jose Luis. Just the thought of these places makes me happy.

This recipe serves 18-20  people. You need:

For the cake:
- 6 eggs
- 200 gr sugar
- 45 gr plain flour
- 90 gr corn flour

For the whisky sirup:
150 ml sugar
150 ml water
60 ml whisky (if in Spain do it with whisky Dick, which comes from Segovia)

For the cream:
- 10 egg yokes (which seems a huge lot but remember it will be shared between lots of people)
-190 gr sugar
- 100 ml water

For the marzipan:
- 250 gr icing sugar
- 250 gr ground almonds
- 1 egg white

And more icing sugar for the top of the cake.

Start with the cake. Preheat the oven at 170 degrees. Mix the eggs and sugar and beat them well for around 10 minutes until they become very fluffy and double their size. Then mix the flour with the corn flour - sift them together and add them to the eggs and sugar mixture folding them carefully so that you do not loose any air. Divide the mixture between two swiss roll tins lined with baking paper and bake them for 15 minutes. When you take them off the oven let them cool down for 5 minutes and them flip them over a (clean) kitchen towel sprinkled with caster sugar.

While the cake is baking in the oven, prepare the syrup: just boil the water and sugar for 8 minutes and then add the whisky. Let it simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Now the cream: boil the sugar and water for 15 minutes first over high heat and as soon as it boils, over low heat. Put it aside and let it cool down for 15 minutes. Beat the egg yokes and add the boiled sugar with water to the egg yokes very slowly while you keep beating. Put it all in a pan over low heat for a further 5 minutes while you keep stirring constantly. Let it cool down completely (better in the fridge).

 And finally the marzipan:  just mix well the almonds, egg white and sugar. Make a ball with the resulting paste, cover it with cling film and let it cool down in the fridge for an hour.

To assemble the cake put a cake lawyer over a serving tray. 'Paint it' with half of the whisky syrup. Spread half of the cream on it. Then add the second cake lawyer. Paint it again with the remaining syrup and spread the remaining cream on it. Put the marzipan between two cling film sheets and roll it until it is very thin (as thin as possible). Put the marzipan layer on top of the whole cake (the easiest way to do this is to flip the cling film with the marzipan on top over the cake with the help of somebody else). Cover the top of the marzipan generously with icing sugar. Take a spaghetti or a skewer and draw parallel lines to make a rhomb pattern on the icing sugar  (see the picture) Then get a blowing torch and caramelise the lines and also the sides of the marzipan. Let it cool down for at least 30 minutes.

And this is the impressive Roman aqueduct in Segovia:


This is a really nice cake for for the Christmas holidays. Really simple to make and properly seasonal. We also make a version of this with pineapple when it isn't Christmas.
You need:

- one and a half oranges
- 2 handfuls of brown sugar
- 150 gr brown sugar
- 150 plain flour
- a teaspoon of baking powder
- 150 butter
- 2 eggs
- grated zest of and orange

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

Take a round cake tin. Sprinkle the 2 handfuls of brown sugar over it. Slice the oranges thinly (the thickness of a pound coin or a bit less) and arrange them nicely over the sugared tin. Separately beat the sugar and batter, then add the zest and eggs and keep beating it. Finally add the flour and baking powdered and fold it into the mixture. Put this batter over the oranges - the batter is a bit thick to absorb the water of the oranges, so you may need to spread it a bit to cover the whole tin. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

When you take it out of the oven wait for 5-7 minutes, run a knife around the edges and then unmould it carefully. It  should come out easily. It is very nice with unsweetened greek yogurt.


We make these every year to decorate the Christmas tree. If you are in a 'being a good person' phase, just follow the recipe and use nicely flavoured sweets to make the transparent glass. The risk is that  your children will eat the biscuits as soon as you look the other side, just as my 3 years old niece did last week (the results of which you can see in my instagram account miriamgonzalezdurantez) If you are in a 'fed up of being a good person' phase, then add four generous teaspoons of ground black pepper to the mixture and use strong mint flavoured sweets - you can be sure the children will not mess around with your tree.

You need:
- 1 egg
- 100 gr sugar
- 100 gr butter at room temperature
- 275 plain flower
- half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
-  half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
For the decoration
- and egg white
- 225 gr icing sugar
- 6 boiled sugar sweets (any colour you like)

Preheat the oven at 190 degrees.
Beat the sugar and butter in a food processor. Add the egg, then the cinnamon and vanilla and finally the flour. Wrap it all with cling film and let it rest for 30-45 minutes in the fridge. Then roll it out to the thickness of a pound  (or a euro - almost the same thickness and on the way to being the same value!) and cut the biscuits in whatever shape you wish.

Put the biscuits on a tray lined with being paper. Remember to make a hole at the top of each biscuit. And if you want to get a transparent effect then cut a shape inside each biscuit and put a sweet (or half a sweet) inside each shape. Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes ( we got 24 biscuits, but it depends on how big your cutter is)

Let the biscuits cool down completely. Then prepare the icing by just whisking the egg white and icing sugar for 5 minutes. You need a pipping bag with a very small nozzle to decorate it with whatever shapes you wish. Though they also look good if you just cover the biscuits in icing with a teaspoon.


This cake has been branded the 'best-est' cake by my kids. It is neither wet, not dry, neither bitter, nor too sweet. Simply superb. And truly one of the easiest caked to make, to the point that when we were about to put the cake in the oven they asked 'is that it!?'.

The recipe comes from Samantha Vallejo-Najera, a very well known chef/caterer/business woman in Spain, who -together with eleven wonderful women at the top of their fields and many many more guests - helped us launch Inspiring Girls in Madrid last week. Samantha is a woman I have always admired, with a positive and fun attitude in life, a woman 'with style'. If you happen to speak Spanish, read one of her books, they are great.

In addition to the pictures of the cake you can see couple of pictures and a video Inspiring Girls event. Thanks so much to all the people, companies and media who helped us on the day and also to the hundreds of them who have got in touch to offer support since then. The response has been so overwhelming that, though there was a bank holiday weekend in Spain, our team had to cancel their holiday plans to be able to answer to all those who want to join in.  We could not be any happier! You can get more pictures at www.inspiring-girls.com  or on my instagram (miriamgonzalezdurantez). And if you want to get in touch (especially if you are a woman, but we now have many men who are helping as well!) do email us. We are always looking for more volunteers and ideas for this international campaign.

For the cake you need:
- 4 eggs
- one and a half glass of sugar
- a glass of 'hot chocolate' powder: Nesquik, Cadbury's… though if you are in Spain use Cola-Cao, of course!
- half a glass of milk
- half a glass of sunflower oil
- one and a half glass of plain flour
- a teaspoon of baking powder
- a tiny bit of butter and flour to prepare the tin (we used a round one)

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.  In a bowl mix the sugar and eggs with a whisker (we use an electric one) While you keep whisking add the milk, oil, hot chocolate powder, flour, and baking powder. Grease the tin with butter, dust it with flour and bake for 60 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean) Oustanding!


And if you clock here you can find is a video of the event prepared by Yo Dona (http://videos.elmundo.es/v/0_5eij9yq8-inspiring-girls-se-presenta-en-espana?uetv_pl=yodona&count=1)


I have been thinking of making this recipe ever since I saw Nigel Farage celebrating a party at the glitzy Ritz hotel in London with a huge tray of Ferrero-Rochers. The party was full of multi-millionaire media owners, powerful journalists and people whose fortunes amount (individually) to around 800 millions pounds…800 million pounds!! God knows how a privately educated man, ex City trader, who enjoys an MEP salary and is backed by the very wealthiest part of the establishment has managed to trick so many people into making them think he is 'anti-establishment'. It beggars belief...

So here you have the recipe for fake Ferrero-Rocher. As fake as the anti-establishment credentials of Farage.

You need:
- 10 hazelnuts
- a small tub of Nutella
- 2 ice-cream cones or wafer biscuits (you can find these in any supermarket in the baking section)
- 100 gr milk chocolate
- 100 gr dark chocolate
- two handfuls of chopped hazelnuts (you can buy them already chopped)
- a small tray covered with baking paper
- golden candy paper ( you can buy this in Amazon very cheaply: 100 of them for less than a pound!)

We got the idea for the recipe from various Spanish blogs (including 'atrapada en mi cocina' which is great) but have used our own measurements and changed a little the method.

 Put the Nutella in the fridge. When it is very cold, take little spoonfuls of nutella, put a hazelnut inside each spoonful and give them a round shape with your hands ensuring that the hazelnut is fully covered by nutella. Put them on the tray and get them into the fridge for around twenty minutes.

Crush the ice cream cones and roll the nutella-covered hazelnuts in it. You may need to press a bit the crushed biscuits against the nutella balls so that they adhere to it. Put it back into the fridge for 45 minutes.

In the microwave, melt the chocolate (around a minute on full power). Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix well. Take the nutella balls and cover them with the melted chocolate. Put them back on the tray and let them cool down for one hour.

Cover the chocolates with the golden candy paper (or if you do not have these, you can do a silver version of these with normal kitchen foil)

If you manage to forget about the Farage connotations, these are actually really-really nice.


If you have not heard of tiger nuts you better start reading about them because they are the new miracle food (together with goat… yes, really). Luckily they are actually very nice, unlike those horrendous chia seeds (centuries ago Columbus brought from America tonnes of new goods:  tomatoes, pineapples, squash, vanilla, potatoes, cocoa… why do you think he left behind the chia seeds??!!)

Anyway, back to tiger nuts, in the Spanish Levant (Valencia) they have been using tiger nights ('chufas') forever in a drink called horchata, which is to die for in a hot summer day. I actually like the tiger nuts as such and eat them as peanuts. But making them into this horchata milk is a good way to get the children to eat them.

You need:

 - 200 gr of tiger nuts (only way to buy these in the UK as far as I know is to buy them dried through Amazon where you can buy a kilo of tiger nuts for £12.95. If you buy them like this you need to re-hydrate them, for which you need to leave them in water for a whole night. But in Spain and other countries you may find them fresh)
- 800 ml water
- sugar: see how much you like, I try to put as little as possible (none at all or a couple of spoons max, but in Valencia this drink is very sweet, so to make the original recipe you would need around 100 g of sugar)

You just need to mix the three ingredients and blend them well - that is all. Keep it in the fridge. Drink it as such or with a bit of powdered cinnamon sprinkled on top. Or with plenty of ice if you make this in the summer.


This is a truly typical Spanish dish. Very humble, and yet fierce, as it used to be made in the past with the tails of fighting bulls. Spanish food at its very best. If you are lucky to be in Andalucia you should go to Cordoba to try this dish. It is a beautiful town with one of the most stunning mosques in the world (though my favourite mosque is still the Great Mosque in Damascus) and the best 'salmorejo' and 'rabo de toro' in the whole of Spain.

You need:
- 2 kg of oxtail (chopped in thick chunks)
- a large onion (in big chunks)
- two clove of garlic (whole)
- 2 carrots (in 2 cm chunks)
- a red pepper ( in chucks)
- a stick of celery (in chunks as well)
- 2 bay leaves
- 700 ml red wine
- 300 ml water
- a quarter of a teaspoon of parsley
- salt
- plain flour
- olive oil

Salt the ox tail and dust it well with the plain flour. Heat a pan with a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat and fry the oxtail on all sides until it gets golden (this should take 3-4 minutes). Reserve it.

In a deep pan, put the same oil that you have used to fry the oxtail (I normally get rid of half the amount as otherwise the dish is very heavy) and add the onion, celery, carrots, pepper and garlic. Let the vegetables fry. After 10 minutes, add the oxtail and then the wine, water, parsley, bay leaves and a bit more salt. Increase the heat to maximum, wait until it starts boiling and then lower the heat to minimum. Let it simmer for 3.30 hours.

I usually let the dish rest overnight so that the fat solidifies at the top and it is then easy to get rid of it. However if you do not mind fat then eat it as such (the more fat, the more flavour…).

Take the oxtail off the pan. Put all the vegetables and sauce in a blender so that you get a very thick sauce.

Best way to eat this is with fried cubed potatoes.


I was in Serbia this week to start the Inspiring Girls campaign there.  Seriously impressive (and strong!) women and girls. Great discussion with MPs, leading civil society groups, top business women, actresses, former ministers, diplomats… You can see some pictures in the campaign’s website www.inspiring-girls.com

By the way, apparently Boris Johnson was in Serbia that day too (though not at the Inspiring Girls event!) despite it was the day after Trump was elected, when the new US President was failing to call the UK Prime Minister first and with Brexit falling down the list of EU priorities by the minute. An outstanding display of wisdom on foreign policy priorities... 

This is a traditional Serbian recipe. You need:
- 3 red peppers
- an aubergine
- 1 large onion
- a clove of garlic(grated)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt
- half a chilli pepper
- a tablespoon of red vinegar
- a pinch of paprika 

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Put the peppers and aubergine on a roasting tray and roast them for 30-40 minutes, until they are charred. Take them off the oven and when they are cold, peel the peppers and take out the pulp of the aubergine. Put it all in a food processor with the chilli pepper and pulse it a few times.

In a pan heat the olive oil. Add the vegetables mixture,  the garlic, paprika, vinegar and salt and let it all simmer under very low heat for 20 minutes (stir it every now and then)

We ate it with bread but you can have it as  a sauce with meat or with chicken too. The children approved.


I know I am boring you with beetroot, but I still have some in the fridge. The recipe for this dip was given to me many months ago by my brother in law, but I may have altered it as I could not remember all the ingredients by heart. The children liked-ish it, though they would have liked it even more if it did not look so pink.

You need:
 - 2 small beetroots or a big one.
- a tin of sardines
- a pinch of paprika
- an onion (diced very thinly)
- two table spoons of sour cream
- a table spoon of chopped dill
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of pepper
- juice of half a lemon

Start by peeling the beetroots and boiling them in water (for a good 5 minutes or until tender). When the beetroots are cooled down, chop them very thinly, i.e. once you think you are there, keep chopping for another couple of minutes. Then cut the sardines in really small chunks and add them to the beetroot. Add  all the other ingredients and put them in into the fridge for at least 20 minutes so that it thickens up.

If you like dips with a kick you may want to add a teaspoon of horseradish sauce.

And you can do this all in a  food processor but then you will loose the texture of the ingredients.

The mess that children can make with beetroot is indescribable, so best if they just look rather than help…


I came up with this recipe in an attempt to deal with a surplus of beetroot in our house. My children said it was 'nice' which is a real compliment when applied to beetroot, as it is not one of their favourite vegetables or even remotely close to it. It also also very easy to make. 

You need:
- a big beetroot (or three small ones)
- a tablespoons of olive oil - plus more to 'paint' the pastry
- 8 sheets of filo pastry
- a packet of feta cheese
- a handful of pine nuts
- two teaspoons of parsley - chopped 

Peel and grate the beetroot (best is to wear latex gloves for this or you will end up with pinky fingers for a couple of days) In a frying pan heat the oil, add the beetroot and let it all fry for 10-12 minutes until the beetroot is soft (there are many varieties of beetroot so the only way to do this properly is to taste a bit to see whether it is  soft or not). When the beetroot is cooked, take it off the heat, crumble the feta and add it to the pan. Then add the pine nuts and parsley. I did not add any salt, but you may want to check whether this is salty enough for you. 

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. 
Lay a sheet of filo on top of a clean tea towel. Paint it with a tiny bit of olive oil. Put another filo sheet on top and paint it again with the oil. Keep going until you have used all the filo sheets. 
Pile up the beetroot mixture along the length of the pastry on the closest side to you. Roll it up so that you enclose the mixture in the pastry. Tuck the ends in and bake for 18-20 minutes until it becomes golden. 

As anything with filo, very delicious.


This is a very typical dish from my region: 'niscalos con patatas'. Niscalos are saffron milk mushrooms. They are delicious orange mushrooms that grow up in pine tree forests, especially amongst the 'pino albar' variety. The village close to mine, Pedrajas de San Esteban, produces most of the pine nuts for the country - or at least the non imported ones... - to the point that the whole area is called 'Land of Pineforests'  or 'Tierra de Pinares". During the months of late October and early November that is how we spend our afternoons; wondering in the 'pinares' picking up 'niscalos'.  If you get big ones you can just grill them ('a la plancha') with a touch of garlic. But if you get little ones the best way to eat them is with potatoes in a thick soup.

I bought the niscalos for this dish in the Fruteria Vazquez of Madrid as I was rushing to the airport from a meeting there. You can see the picture of the wonderful fruteria in our Instagram account (miriam-gonzalez-durantez). It is one of those traditional shops where (if it wasn't for the price) you could just buy it all in one go.

For this recipe you need:
- three tablespoons of olive oil
- half a green pepper (diced very thinly)
- a leek (chopped very thinly)
- 4 medium size potatoes (in bite-size chunks)
- a bay leaf
- a quarter of a teaspoon of parsley (chopped thinly)
- two cloves of garlic (chopped very thinly)
- 80 gr of ham  (serrano of a similar variety chopped into small cubes)
- niscalos (as many as you can get, but around 500 gr for 5 people)
- water (around 700 ml)
- half a glass of white wine

The most important thing is to clean the niscalos really well as any bit of sand will just ruin the dish (and your teeth!)

In a deep pan heat the oil. Add the garlic, leek and free pepper and wait for 3-4- minutes (over medium heat) until the vegetables get soft. Then add the niscalos (if they are big just cut them into bite size chunks). Wait for another 2-3- minutes and add the potatoes. Let it all fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the paprika, parsley and ham. Then the bay leaf and after 2 minutes add the water (it should just barely cover the niscalos). When the water is boiling (you should see the bubbles) add the wine. Let it all simmer for 20 minutes and serve. This dish is better the day after you have cooked it.

and these are the niscalos:


This is a dish that comes from my favourite tapas place 'La Criolla' in Valladolid, my home town ( you can see the picture of the main 'plaza' there below). During 'tapas time' you often have to battle your way to the counter to sample their outstanding 'tostaditas', 'calamares' and their delicious ham, - but their 'champi rellenos' (stuffed mushrooms) are their signature dish. They serve it as a 'racion' (to be shared) and make it with button mushrooms - but we have made it with portobello mushrooms so that it can be served on its own for lunch.

This is one of those recipes where you have to use shop bought mayonnaise as the home made version simply does not work when you put it in the oven.

You need:

- a portobello mushroom per person.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- two cloves of garlic
- a handful of parsley
- 80 gr of serrano or iberico ham (diced) - you can also use parma ham
- 4 tablespoons of shop-bought mayonnaise
- a handful of fine breadcrumbs
- 1.5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- salt

Heat a frying pan or skillet (over high heat) Put the mushrooms on the pan, lower the heat and fry them on both sides (for 3-4- minutes on each side). Add some salt. Take them off the pan and put them on a baking tray.

Separately grind the garlic and parsley with a pester and mortar. When they become a paste, add the  olive oil and vinegar and mix it all well (you can also do this with a food processor, but in my humble  opinion grinding the garlic and parsley provides a better texture)

Finally heat the ham in a frying pan for 2-3- mints (without adding any oil)

Set the grill on its highest setting. Put a tablespoon and a half of the oil, garlic, vinegar and parsley mixture on top of each mushroom. Then sprinkle a little bit of the ham on top. Cover it all with a teaspoon of mayonnaise and sprinkle a tiny bit of breadcrumbs on top. Grill for 2-3- minutes until the mayo gets golden. Unbeatable!


This is not really a recipe but the leftovers of making 'membrillo' or quince paste (see our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/10/quince-paste-membrillo.html) which we made last week. The membrillo came out so well this year that I  decided to buy a quince tree (which I am yet to plant)

Do not through away the liquid from boiling the quinces. Just mix it with water (2 parts of quince liquid for 1 of water) add a tablespoon of honey for each litre of liquid (or to taste) and the juice of half a lemon. Boil it all together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool down and add some  mint leaves before you drink it. Really nice.


This soup is divine. I had never cooked it before this summer, but it has become a regular at my home.  The recipe is from Concha in Malaga, who kindly shared it with me after the Daily Mail made a fuss about my Made in Spain book and my recipe for mayonnaise there  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X ) I have actually received a recipe for a chocolate cake with mayonnaise as well - but I had not had the courage to test it yet!

Anyway, back to the soup, it is a really basic, almost humble, fish soup - the kind soup that fishermen would cook in Spanish fishing villages, with a really wholesome taste. You can make it with any white fish. We did it with monkfish, that works particularly well. But you can also try with hake, haddock or cod. My children love it.

You need:

- 2 large potatoes.
- 300 gr white fish (either monkfish or cod, hake, haddock…)
- 2 white fish bones (just ask the fishmonger for these - they will normally give them to you for free)
- a bay leaf
- an onion
- 300 gr prawns (this is optional but it gives a nice variety of textures to the soup)
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 180 ml olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- salt
- 1.5 l water

Boil the potatoes (peeled and cut in half), onion (cut in half), fish bones and bay leaf in the 1.5 l of water with salt for around 25 minutes. Seven or eight minutes before you are going to take this fish stock off the heat add the white fish. And after a couple of minutes add the prawns. As soon as the fish and prawns are cooked (it really is a matter of a few minutes only) take the stock off the heat. Take the potatoes, white fish and prawns out and reserve them (after cutting them in mouth bite chunks). Discard the onion and bay leaf, get rid of any foam at the top of the stock and pass it all through a sieve.

White the stock is boiling, make a mayonnaise with the egg and the olive oil. The easiest is to make this with a hand blender following our recipe for two minutes mayonnaise (i.e put the egg and olive oil in a tall beaker, put the hand blender into the beaker and blend for a minute without moving it at all, then move it up slowly). As soon as the mayo is ready add the lemon juice and a bit of salt.

Let the fish stock cool down a little. Then take half a glass of the fish stock and pour it over the mayo (in the beaker), mix it well with a balloon whisk. The pour this mixture over the fish stock and mix well again.  You can use as much or as little mayo as you wish - the more mayo, the ticker the soup. If you like a thiner soup (as we do) use only half of the mayo.

When you are going to serve the soup put some potato and fish chunks as well as a couple of prawns on each plate. Then pour the liquid on top.

This soup is best warm but not hot. The only rule to remember is that once you mix the mayo with the fish stock you should never-ever boil the soup. If you boil it, the mayo will split and you will end up with scrambled soup - not good!



I have finally found a way to use the chia seeds that I once bought in a moment of 'clean eating' inclination.  I am afraid I  do not get what people see in chia seeds  - that slimy texture when you mix them with yogurt or milk? definitely not good!

This is a recipe to get children to eat seeds. It has no flour, which is a plus.
The recipe (that we have edited) comes from  http://ohsheglows.com/2012/01/31/endurance-crackers/

Take any measurement (a glass or yogurt pot) and  mix:
- one measurement of sunflower seeds
- half a measurement of chia seeds
- a quarter of a measurement of flax seeds
- half a measurement of sesame seeds
- half a teaspoon of salt
-one measurement of water

Preheat the oven at 150 degrees. Mix all the seeds and water. Let them rest for 20 minutes. Extend the mixture over a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn around and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.

The taste is actually Ok… but give me Ryvita any day.


You may be fed up - with reason - to see roast cauliflower everywhere. But it has to be recognised that it tastes good. And while most children despise boiled cauliflower they seem to enjoy it roasted.

You need:
- a cauliflower (broken into florets)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- a handful of pumpkin seeds
- salt
- 5 tablespoons of greek style yogurt
- haft a teaspoon of turmeric
- a teaspoon of tahini
- a tablespoon of lemon juice
- half a clove of garlic- grated

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Put the cauliflower florets on an oven tray, salt them  and coat them with the olive oil (just by tossing them with your hands). Put it in the oven and wait for 25-30 minutes.

As soon as the cauliflower is ready toast the pumpkin seeds on a frying pan over medium heat   it should take just a could of minutes, but be careful because some of them 'explode' when they get hot and the children can get burnt)

Mix the yogurt, turmeric, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Taste the sauce as you may need a tiny bit of salt.

Serve the cauliflower with the seeds on top and the sauce on the side. 


This is a very easy dip to make.

You need:
- two tins of sardines
- five tablespoons of Philadelphia
- a pinch of salt
- a small pinch of paprika
- a tablespoon of lemon juice

Just put all the ingredients in a food processor (including the bones of the sardines, which are meant to be very good as they are full of calcium) and blitz it all for a minute. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and serve.


This is one of my favourite recipes ever.  It comes from my grandmother Maria and is a sort of 'escabache' but without the sharpness of it. The fatiness of the blue fish goes really well with the acidity of the vinegar. It is best prepared with whole rather than filleted mackerel. The downside to that is that mackerel has many bones (and some of them very thin) so you would have to ask the children to be really careful eating it (and be very careful yourself!)

Talking of fish bones, I am being told a female journalist was outraged during the summer because I had said that one of the main differences in eating habits between the UK and Spain is that in Spain we are used to eating fish with bones while in the UK most of the fish is filleted. Though she chose to take  it as an insult, I am afraid this is a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion. Her main counter-argument apparently was that British people have been eating fish with bones for many years…now, wait for this…  in the River Cafe!! Oh yes. And then they say it is politicians who are out of touch…

You need:
- a mackerel per person (ask the fishmonger to cut the head off and gut it)
- 100 gr flour ( for five mackerels)
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- two bay leaves
- 7 cloves of garlic (sliced)
- 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley
- a third of a glass of red vinegar
 - a glass of water
- salt

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Salt the mackerel and dust it with the flour on both sides. Fry it for 3 minutes or so on each side (over medium heat) until it is golden on both sides.  Put the mackerel aside in a shallow pan.

In the same oil where you have fried the mackerel add the garlic and fry it over medium heat for a couple of minutes until golden, then add the bay leaves, a teaspoon on parsley and the vinegar, wait for a minute while the vinegar gets hot and bubbly and then add the water. Wait for another minute and pour all this over the mackerels. Let them simmer for 3 minutes.

You can either eat them at this point or leave the in the fridge until the following day ( this dish actually improves over night). Sprinkle the other teaspoon of parsley on top just before you are going to serve it.


This is a healthy yet tasty starter to say goodbye to the summer.

You need:
- sourdough bread ( a slice per person)
- a clove of garlic
- 12 walnuts
- 30 gr manchego cheese ( or any over hard cheese)
- 4 tablespoons of good olive oil and a bit more to drizzle the toast at the end
- 3 handfuls of parsley ( I always use flat parsley but curly is good too)
- tomatoes (we used different varieties simply because we had them, but any kind of tomatoes works well)

Put the cheese, walnuts, parsley, garlic and oil into a blender and blend it all until you get a smooth paste.

Toast the sourdough. Put the parsley paste on top. Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on top of the parsley paste. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and add a drizzle of olive oil on top.


AT LAST we have gone over the £60 threshold that we had set to ourselves. In fact we have gone comfortably over it. My children are keen we keep writing the blog though, as it has become part of our weekend routines. As I am going through a particularly indulgent time, I have agreed to go on. So you will keep getting our weekly recipes, at least for a good while.

The recipe today is 'quesada', a very plain but very delicious cheesecake from the region of Cantabria in the north of Spain. It brings fond memories to us because this summer we had the chance to try the quesada of Ana, the 'queen of quesada', in the Casona de los Villa in the stunning village of Santillana del Mar. If you click in our instagram (miriamgonzalezdurantez) you can see a picture of the village there, but in any case, if you go to the North of Spain, Santillana is a village you should not miss.

Normally quesada is made with curd milk or fresh Spanish cheese, but when we were there she had made it with ricotta, which works well for making this recipe in the UK where it is not possible to find fresh Spanish cheese.

You need:
1.5 tubs of ricotta (250gr per tub, i.e 375 gr in total)
1 measurement of the tub of plain flour
2 measurements of the tub of sugar
2 measurements of the tub of milk
3 eggs
the zest of one lemon (grated)
a pinch of salt
a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Blend all the ingredients together (we do this with a hand blender) Put the mixture on a shallow tray previously greased with butter ( we use a swiss-roll one but if you like the quesada thicker then use a smaller tray) and bake for 45 minutes. Wait until the quesada is completely cold. In Spain it is normally eaten on its own, but it is also nice with berries (especially raspberries) on the side.


This is a dish that brings most Spaniards back to their childhood. In the villages our grand-mothers used to prepare it with home grown chickens (pollos de corral) and sun ripen tomatoes and then in the seventies, on the account to modernity, our mothers did it with 'factories' chickens' and shop bought passata. The recipe below is a compromise between both.

You need:

- a chicken thigh per person (buy the best quality chicken you are able to afford)
- a large onion
- a tin of tomatoes
- half a green pepper and a quarter of a yellow red pepper
- a clove of garlic
- a glass of wine
- a glass of water
- a bay leaf
- a quarter of a teaspoon of chopped rosemary (if you do not have rosemary do it without it as it is not worth buying it just for this - I always have a have a rosemary plant in my kitchen, which is good for cooking and in Mediterranean culture is also meant to bring good luck, though only if somebody gave you the plant as a present)
- olive oil
- salt

Salt the chicken. Heat a bit of olive oil (4 tablespoons more or less) in a frying pan and fry the chicken on both sides (2-3- minutes each side) until it becomes golden. If you do not mind carbohydrates you can dust the chicken thighs in flour before you do this and as a result you will get a heavier sauce at the end. When the chicken is golden on both sides take it off the pan and reserve it .

In a large pan add a bit of the oil that you have used for frying the chicken. And the onion (diced)  and peppers (also diced) and let them fry over low to medium heat for 4-5- minutes. Then grate the garlic, add it to the pan and wait for another 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat to maximum hight. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, add the tin of tomatoes, the glass of wine, water, bay leaf and rosemary. Let it all bubble for a couple of minutes and then lower the heat and let it simmer for a good half an hour.

I do not want to enter into the polemic about deep-fat- fryers that seems to have gripped parts of the country, but the most authentic way to eat this is with fried cubed potatoes or french fries.


Courtesy of my sister, who has been a few days in Greece. And a good way to use the many cucumbers that are in full supply in Spain during the summer.

You need:
- two cucumbers
- 8 tablespoons of greek yogurt
- a clove of garlic
- a tablespoon of chopped dill
- a tablespoon of salt
- a tablespoon of lemon juice
- a tablespoon of olive oil

Peel the cucumbers, get rid of the seeds, grate them coarsely, sprinkle salt on them and put them on a colander for at least 30 minutes. After that, dry them with kitchen paper or a teacloth.

Grate the garlic, mix it with the yogurt, chopped dill, and lemon juice. Mix this sauce with the cucumbers.  Serve it in a bowl,  drizzle some olive oil on it and sprinkle a bit more drill on top. You may want to add a black olive on top.


This is how to prepare prawns, shrimps, langoustines, or any over similar sea food so that the flesh stays terse rather than mushy:

Boil water (without any salt) in a large pan. Separately prepare a bowl with very cold water and lots of ice and throw a handful of coarse sea salt in  (a handful of salt for a kilo of prawns). Throw the shrimps or langoustines into the boiling water. Wait for a minute or two until they turn pink (the precise timing depends on the size of the prawn). As soon as they are pink take them off the boiling water and throw them into the salty icy water. Wait for a couple of minutes and serve them  ( or keep them in the fridge covered with a damp tea cloth).  They come out perfect.

According to my foodie brother then reason this works is that you create a process of osmosis with the salt and ice. My physics teacher mother agrees. If my mother says so it must be true!


Just because I cannot contain my excitement, this is the Inspiring Girls webpage. Still without content, but it gives you an idea of how it will be when content will be added in September.

First countries to go live will be: Italy, Spain, Zambia and Serbia. If you know any women in those countries who may want to become part of the camping - or indeed know women in other countries who may want to launch in elsewhere - get in touch with us!

click here for inspiring girls


Grilled courgettes are delicious. These ones are home grown and taste divine. We cut the courgettes in half and then vertically (simply because the courgettes from my uncle's far, are huge, but if you have normal size courgettes  just cut then vertically in pound thick slices). Heat a grilling pan .  Put the courgettes slices on top. Let them grill for 3 minutes until they are golden, turn them around, add a drizzle of olive oil on top, wait for another couple of minutes until they are golden on the other side and then take the courgettes out. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and serve immediately.

In Spain we serve these as a starter on their own. But they go well with any grilled or roast  meat or grilled blue fish.


This could not be simpler and is an easy way to get children to eat more fruit.
You need:
- half a watermelon (get rid of the pips)
We did this with a really sweet watermelon in Spain, so there was not need to add anything else. If the watermelon is not sweet you may want to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar and the juice of half a lemon.

Blend the watermelon. Pour the juice on the ice lollies moulds. Wait for 4 hours… and eat.

You can do this with orange juice, melon, peaches, strawberries, kiwis…you name it.


Empanadillas are little fried tuna pies. Perfect for children's suppers. If you happen to be in Spain you can buy empanadillas pastry rounds in any supermarket.  If you are not in Spain you can use wonton's pastry (though that makes a triangular empanadilla rather than a semi-circular one). Or you can also make the pastry yourself (a bit of a bother, really, but you can find the recipe below)

For the pastry
- 90 ml water
- 80 ml olive oil
- 330 g plain flour
- a generous pinch of salt

Mix the water and olive oil. Heat it gently for a couple of minutes. Add it to the flour and salt (in one go). Mix well and let it rest for 30 minutes. Knead it a little to get rid of the air. Then cut thin circles of the pastry and put them in between baking paper squares so that they do not stick to each other (this is how they sell them in Spain).

For the empanadillas you need:
- two boiled eggs (chopped very thinly)
-20 green olives ( chopped very thinly)
- 2 small tins of tuna
-a tablespoon of red vinegar (this is optional, but in Spain we often make this with tuna in 'escabeche', which is difficult to find here, so the vinegar helps to get that 'escabache' flavour)
-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce or good passata
- a pinch of salt
- lots of olive oil

Mix the chopped boiled eggs, chopped green olives, tuna, vinegar, tomato sauce and salt until you get a thick paste (do not over-mix it so that you can still see each ingredient). Put a teaspoon and a half of the mixture on each round of pastry. Fold the pastry over and press down the sides with the teeth of a fork so that the empanadillas do not open up. At this point you can freeze the empanadillas if you wish.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the empanadillas. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until they get golden. Be careful because they can burn in seconds. Once they are ready put them on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil.


And this is the webpage of the global Inspiring Girls campaign (click here for the webpage) that we are launching this Autumn.  Isn't the logo super-cute? There are now four countries ready to go - cannot wait to see the campaign properly launched...

Thank so much to all of you who are contributing, including those who are helping me finance this transition period from the national to the international campaign by buying the Made in Spain book.

And if you have good ideas on this or would like to be involved send us an email at  hello@inspiring-girls.com.  Every woman - and man - is welcome!


This is a great Spanish Dish.

You need:
- 2 jars of piquillo peppers
- 400 g beef mince meat
- 2 onions (diced thinly)
- 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
- 500 ml milk
- 30 gr of butter
- 8 tablespoons of tomato sauce ( or good passata)
- 80 ml of white wine
- half a glass of water
- a teaspoon of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt

Put the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion for 8-10 minutes (low heat) until it is soft. Then add the mince meat and salt,  increase the heat and let it all fry for another 11-15 minutes stirring from time to time until the meat is brown.

Separately, heat the butter in a pan. Add the flour and let it fry for 3 minutes while stirring it. Then add the milk. Put the heat on medium, and keep stirring until you see that there are bubbles. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes until it gets thick and smooth. If you are not confident preparing the béchamel sauce, blend the mixture with a hand held blender as soon as you add the milk to the butter and flour - it always comes out perfect this way.

Add a bit of salt to the béchamel, mix it with the meat and let it cool down a little.

Take the piquillo peppers out of the jar discarding the water. Stuff the peppers with the meat and béchamel mixture. Put them on a shallow pan. Then pour the tomato sauce on top. Heat it until you get bubbles on the tomato sauce. Add the wine and water and let it all simmer for 10 minutes. Before serving it sprinkle the parsley on top.


Three times – three- has the Mail group put words in my mouth that I have not said and in just three days. All in relation to people from the Tory party – surprise! Luckily my words are in writing in my Made in Spain book. So here is the thing: you are going to have to buy it (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Spain-Recipes-stories-country/dp/147363900X) to see how wrong they are…though I suspect you already know…  Oh, come on, it is a really fun book and for a great cause!

Perhaps if the Mail stopped obsessing about women’s thighs and breasts and focused a tiny bit more on our brains, they might actually manage to listen and report accurately what we say.

This is a Breast Cheese (‘queso de tetilla’) from the beautiful region of Galicia in Spain. One of the few breasts worth obsessing with (Paul, take note!) Creamy, tender, soft… a pure delight. Eat it with membrillo or just a bunch of grapes.