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 crazy recipe. It comes from  Juan Mari Arzak who is truly outstanding Spanish chef. One of the very best-est  - not just in Spain, but in the world. These lollies are not the kind of thing that you would like to be served every day for lunch, but children like experimenting in the kitchen and trying novelty ingredients makes the cooking look a bit more like chemistry, which they enjoy. Arzak does this with parsley, but we tried with basil.
You need:
- 400 gr goat's cheese (cut into thick slices)
- 300 gr basil
- water
- skewers
-4 gr kappa  (Kappa is a natural vegetable ingredient that 'jellydifies' extremely quickly. You can buy 250 gr of kappa for &10.95 at http://www.amazon.co.uk/CARRAGEENAN-KAPPA-PREMIUM-QUALITY-POWDER/dp/B00G0RVEOI  It has a shelf-life of two years)

Blend the basil until it becomes liquid and add water until you get 200 ml of  'basil liquid'. Mix it with the 4 gr of kappa, put it in a pan, bring it to boil and as soon as it boils take it off the heat and let it cool down for 4 minutes. While it is getting cold, pierce  each piece of goat's cheese round with a skewer (as in the picture). When the kappa is cold, coat the cheese with the basil and kappa mixture. It really is magic: it solidifies in seconds. By the time you put the skewer on top of the table it would have already become solid.

The kappa coating  has a bit of a weird texture (but there again I do not like jelly). In any case, the flavour is good and it is fun to make. We'll try a sweet red version next with strawberries, cream cheese …  and the 246 gr of kappa that we have left!


This is a good way to prepare a lunch for the family on a budget. You need:

- an onion (diced)
- a red pepper (diced)
- a carrot (diced)
- 3 or 4 florets of broccoli (cut into bite size portions)
- half a courgette (diced)
- a couple of handfuls of frozen peas
NB.-except for the onion, the vegetables above are purely indicative, just use any leftovers you have in the fridge: beans, courgettes, green peppers, yellow peppers, butternut squash…

- a pinch of saffron  (if you do not have this of cannot afford it try yellow powdered food colorant instead, which is what most Spanish people use for paellas)
- a clove of garlic (do not peel it)
- half a lemon
- a pinch of parsley (chopped)
- salt
- a bay leaf
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
 - 400 gr rice (either the '10 minutes cooking' long rice that most supermarkets now sell or the normal long rice american variety)

Heat the oil in a shallow wide pan (medium heat). Add the onion, wait for a couple of minutes, then add the peppers and carrot and toss it all for a minute more or less. Add the other vegetables and parsley, reduce the heat and let it all fry for 6-7 minutes until the vegetables start burning on the edges.  Then add the half a lemon (with the flesh side down), wait for a minute and add the unpeeled clove of garlic. Add the rice and let it all fry for a minute or two. Add 580 ml of hot water, but before you add it put a bit of the hot water in a cup and dissolve the saffron or colorant in it. Add all the water to the rice. Add the salt and a bay leaf and let it all simmer for 10 minutes if you are using the 'fast rice' variety or 20 minutes if you are using normal rice. When all the water has evaporated take the pan off the heat and cover with a clean kitchen towel for a couple of minutes so that the rice rests. Discard the lemon and open the garlic clove (which should have become a garlic paste that you can mix with the rice) before serving it. Serve it with lemon wedges and if you wish with a  bit of mayonnaise mixes with a tiny but of grated garlic (which makes a fake 'alioli').