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.


I am still trying to recover from the shock of reading in the FT earlier this week that a current British minister has voiced support for the UK having a relationship with the EU similar to the one of Albania. I had images in my mind of thousands of British people rushing to Wikipedia to check where Albania is. Clearly neither whoever wrote the speech for the Minister nor the Minister himself had bothered to check Wikipedia or they would have immediately realised how plainly absurd that comment is. 

Albania  is a country that is trying to become a member of the European Union and is therefore working on reinforcing the rule of law and the transition towards a full market economy. It is also beautiful place. I have never been there myself but have friends and family who have and they say the food is superb - excellent vegetables and filo-based pies and also a very nice traditional lamb dish. We have tried one of their traditional recipes (a vegetarian fergese) from the blog www.myalbanianfood.com and it is great.

You need:
- a large onion (diced)
- four tomatoes ( diced)
- 6 peppers (first roast them in the oven at 220 degrees for 30-35 minutes; then tear them into bite size pieces)
- a tablespoon of chopped basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt
- 20 gr butter
- 20 gr plain flour
- 150 gr feta cheese
- four tablespoons plain yogurt
- chilli flakes (we did not have any so added a pinch of hot paprika instead)

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees. 

Put the onions in a pan with a tablespoon of oil and let them soften for 10 minutes. In a separate pan add the other tablespoon of oil, the diced tomatoes and the basil and let it fry for 10 minutes under strong heat. Mix the onions and peppers with the tomatoes and fry for a further 8 minutes until there is no moisture. Put the vegetables mixture on a clay or ceramic tray. 

In a different pan melt the butter, add the flour and mix well, let it fry for 2-3 minutes while you stir it so that it does not get burnt. Crumble the feta cheese and add it to the pan. When the feta melts (a couple of minutes) add the yogurt. Mix it well and pout it over the vegetables, mixing it a bit. Add salt (not much as the feta is salty) and the chilli flakes (or paprika). 

Bake for 30 mints. 

All except my youngest approved of this dish. It is almost like a dense chunky dip. Very nice on its own for lunch with bread and a salad. Or on the side of beef or lamb. 


This is a great way to eat salmon. We got the recipe from the Henderson's Relish website and altered it a tiny bit. The salmon is cured outside but still succulent and mild inside and the marinade makes what is normally a rather dull fish nowadays into a really interesting combination of flavours. You need:

3 thick salmon steaks (without any skin) 
50 gr sea salt
50 gr sugar 
a teaspoon of crushed red peppercorns
juice of a lime, a lemon and an orange
200 ml henderson's relish (it may be our Sheffield bias, but I have tried this with Worcertershire sauce and it is just not the same)
80 gr sugar
2.5 tablespoons of black treacle

Mix the sea salt, sugar and crushed red peppercorns. Cover the bottom of a  flat deep tray with half of this mixture. Put the salmon steaks on top and cover with the remaining salt-sugar mixture. Cover with cling film and let it all rest in the fridge overnight.

The following day wash the salmon steaks to get rid of the salt and sugar. Mix all the other ingredients whisking them well. Put the salmon steaks in  a deep container and pour over the liquid. Let it rest for 12 hours (in the fridge) on one side, then turn them around and let them rest for another 12 hours (if you leave it in the marinade longer the marinade flavour becomes too powerful) . Cut it into thin diagonal slices when you serve it. 

I normally serve this with an endive salad with red peppercorns and dill sauce, though the children fish out the peppercorns. I am afraid the sauce in the picture is shop bought as the day we took the picture we were in a bit in a rush, but I sometimes make it myself and will post the recipe soon. By the way, the best shop bought dill sauce in the market is from Ikea – in fact it is even better than the home made one.


Have recently spent a few days in Miami and, as always when I go to the US, I have lived on cobb salads. Not the healthiest of choicest, but difficult to find a nicer combination of textures and flavours…and then there is that killer ranch sauce of course…

You need (for two people)
- 2 gem lettuce or a quarter of an iceberg lettuce, chopped very thinly
- 1 avocado (in small cubes)
- 60 gr of bacon (in small cubes)
- 1 egg (in small cubes)
- 2 tomatoes(deseeded and chopped in to small cubes)
- 60 gr blue cheese ( in small cubes)
- 80 gr chicken (in small cubes)

And for the sauce:
-two table spoons of mayonnaise (either our 'two minutes mayonnaise sauce or any shop bought one)
-  clove of garlic (minced)
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of chopped parsley, a pinch of chopped dill and a pinch of chopped chives (or any combination of these)
- a tablespoon of sour cream
- 200 gr of buttermilk ( of 75 ml of greek yogurt mixed with 125 ml of milk - if you want it runnier add more milk)
- a teaspoon of lemon sauce
- pepper

Mix all the salad ingredient. Separately mix all the sauce ingredients. Pour the sauce over the salad, mix well and eat.

My children often complaint when I serve salad.
Let me rephrase that: my children often complaint, period.
When it comes to salads, they  tend to eat it better if they help to make it.
Blue cheese is one step too far though.