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.


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.