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 one of the most popular tarts in Spain and it is decorated with the cross of the Order of Santiago.  It comes from the spectacularly beautiful region of Galicia and it is a truly simple tart made with very few ingredients.

The tart takes its name from the patron of Galicia, the Apostle Santiago, who came to Spain from Jerusalem to spread the Gospel in the Iberian peninsula. The route that Santiago took is now the famous 'Camino de Santiago', a popular pilgrimage path that crosses the north of Spain from Roncesvalles, in the border with France, to Santiago de Compostela, around 35 Kms beside the Atlantic Ocean. The Camino is open to people of every age and physical condition - it is also open to those who are not catholic - and it is meant to be one of those occasions where you can 'find yourself'. If you are catholic it also has an added incentive as doing the Camino means that when you arrive at the stunning Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela all your sins - all!-   will be forgiven. Doing the Camino is indeed one of the outstanding points of my personal 'to do' list before I die - though I will probably need more than one Camino to be forgiven for all the swearing I am doing lately when I see some Prime Ministers and Presidents on television!

You need:
- 250 gr sugar
- 250 gr ground almonds
- 5 eggs
- zest of half a lemon
- a (small) pinch of cinnamon
- icing sugar
- a greased and lined tart mold

Preheat the oven at 174 degrees. Put the ground almonds on a tray and let them roast for 5 to 10 minutes until they get a bit golden. Then separately mix the eggs and sugar (with a fork) add the almonds and then the zest and cinnamon. Put it all into the greased and lined mould and bake for  50 minutes (still at 175 degrees)

When you take it out of the oven let it cool down. Then put the shape of the Cross of Santiago on top of the cake (I have an old metal shape, but you can just draw it on paper or simply print it from the many pictures on the internet) and dust the tart very generously with icing sugar. I do not know anybody who does not like this.


This is a typical Maltese dish. I came to look into food from Malta after a prominent member of the UK Conservative party insulted the Maltese by saying that their  Prime Minister 'should go back to his tiny little island'. How sad is it that members of the UK governing party now feel free to insult other Europeans gratuitously like this - and without the government offering any apologies for it?

On the positive side this has led to me talk to the children about Malta, its geographical position, history, size and culture. It has not been difficult because my bother was on holiday there a few months ago and he could not stop praising the island. We have looked into Maltese recipes, which are great. I have found many good blogs, including a superb one called www.amaltesemouthful.com. So utterly yummy. I tell you, the island may be small...but boy they know how to eat well!!

Best is obviously to follow the authentic recipe in any of the numerous blogs. The best we saw is here: http://www.amaltesemouthful.com/octopus-stew-stuffat-tal-qarnit/ But we  made a few changes as we went along. You need:

- an octopus, cut into mouth-bite chunks. If the octopus is fresh you need to tenderise it by hitting it everywhere many times for 3-4 minutes. This is a bit off putting, because normally octopus are sold with their eyes on, so you risk looking like a sadistic person while the eyes of the octopus beg you to stop. The easier alternative is to freeze the octopus when you buy it (when it freezes the muscles contract and then let go, so it becomes tender and there is no need to torture the poor octopus anymore)
- 3 onions, chopped thinly
- 4 garlic cloves (grated)
- 1glass of tomato sauce (see our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2011/03/tomato-sauce.html- alternatively used a good passata, or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes )
- 2 handfuls of olives
- 2 teaspoons of small capers
- lemon zest and juice of a lemon
- a glass of white wine
- a tablespoon of parsley, a tablespoon of basil, and the leaves of three springs of thyme.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt
- a glass of frozen peas.
- more parsley and basil to garnish
- a tin of chickpeas (drained)

Fry the onions in the olive oil under low heat until they are tender. Then add the garlic and after a minute or so the tomato sauce. Then add the octopus, increase the heat to medium and wait for 15 minutes and add the olives, capers, lemon zest,  wine and lemon juice. Add the salt, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let it summer for 40 minutes. Add the peas, let it cook for a further 10 minutes, and finally add the chickpeas, wait for a further 5 minutes, sprinkle the basil and  parsley and serve.