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.


As those of you who follow this blog know, my real passion is helping girls to develop self-confidence and decide whatever they want to do in life free from gender stereotypes. 

Inspiring Girls International owes a lot to cooking - as I launched it in 2016 and expanded it to the first four countries with the money of my first cooking book 'Made in Spain'.  Since then we have grown a lot: we are now in 14 countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. And we have just launched a new Tech Tool allowing girls all over the world with access to internet to have access to female role models with just a few clicks. This is a video of how it works:

You can help all those girls with just one hour of your time per year by recording a video for our role models Hub and being available for remote talks with schools. Just Click on this link in our website so that you can to see the guidelines for the role models' videos:
https://lnkd.in/dUcX6BV  Start recording in your own language - and don’t worry about the quality of the video, the more authentic it is, the more girls will relate to it.

Upload the video directly as indicated in the web page (it may take a few days for you to see it in the hub, as we review all videos before making them available to the girls) 

This is not only for well knownwomen, or for women of certain professions only: this is for women from all walks of life. For those of you who do not know whether you make a good role model - of course you do!! There is a female role model inside every woman - girls will love to hear from you no matter what you do. 

And if you are a man, we need your help as well. There are already many men supporting our campaign. Send this to all the women you know. And we would love to hear from you whether you have had any female role models too!


This is a delicious yet really simple recipe from a friend in Washington. I normally adapt recipes that people share with me after I test them a few times - but this time I give it to you exactly as I received it: firstly, because in addition to being a great cook, she is a brilliant writer and I would not dare to touch a single coma of something written by a Pulitzer prize; and secondly because I have (finally!) found somebody who is as curt with cooking instructions as I am. This is it:

"Blend together 2 cups of flour, half a cup of sugar and one cup of softened butter (I do it in the food processor) 
Pat into the bottom of a 9 x 11 pan to make the crust.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
While it’s baking, zest and juice two lemons. Whisk together with four eggs, half a cup sugar, quarter of a cup flour. 
Pour over baked crust and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes (The bars firm up as they cool – – if I want a really stiff bar I use the longer baking time.  Shorter time just makes a gooier bar) they keep really well"

Tips for the non-American:
2 cups of flour: 240 g
half a cup of sugar: 100 g
cup of butter: 115 g
350 F: 180 C


I have been given a silicone ice lolly mould, which is such an improvement on the traditional hard plastic ones. There are countless combinations of fruit purees and yogurts that make nice lollies. One of my favourite ones is this:

- Make fresh mint tea by pouring boiling water over mint leaves (I use 'hierbabuena' which is slightly more delicate and floral than mint, simply because I grow it, which is easy because it grows abundantly and anywhere). Take out the leaves. Add a squeeze of honey and let it cool down.
- Separately mash the strawberries with a potato masher.
- Pour a bit of the strawberries on each lolly mould. Fill them in with the mint tea and let them freeze for 4-5 hours.


Been for a couple of days in Mexico, really short time, but enough to sample the delicious Mexican food. This is a sauce that works with pretty much everything: grilled chicken, grilled fish (both white and blue), salads, most raw veggies, boiled potatoes, or just as a dip with plain tortilla chunks or, as they do in La Mar in San Francisco, as a dip with chips (addictive), in which case you should make it more spicy by adding a few drops of tabasco sauce.

You need:
- two handfuls of fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)
- 200 g greek yogurt
- 200 g sour cream
- juice of one and a half limes (I love acidic flavours, but if this is two much for you just cut down on it)
- a good pinch of salt (I prefer sea salt for this, probably because it reminds me of margaritas, but fine salt works well too of course)
- one and a half green chile peppers (without seeds)
- a tiny pinch of ground cumin
- one and a half cloves of garlic
- 5 tablespoons of (not too strong) olive oil

Just put it all in a blender and blend until you get a smooth sauce. You can keep this for 5-7 days in the fridge.


And yet another lemon cake, this one with condensed milk, which gives it a really nice texture, and it means it lasts easily for two or three days.
You need:
- a small can of condensed milk (397g)
- five eggs
- 250 g flour
- two teaspoons of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of salt
- a teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 140 g sugar
- zest of two and a half lemons
- two tablespoons of lemon juice
- 275 g butter (room temperature)

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees.
Grease and flour the tin (we use a bundt cake one, but it will work no matter the shape).
Beat together the sugar with the butter with an electric whisk. Then add the eggs (one by one). Add the condensed milk, followed by the vanilla essence, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Separately mix the flour, baking powder and salt  (it helps if you sift it, but again, no big deal if you don't). Mix the flour mixture with the rest of the ingredients (folding it). Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.


Still having too many lemons - so here goes another simple and really delicious recipe with them. It takes no time at all  - I made these for some guests who were coming for coffee just forty minutes before they arrived and I still had spare time.

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees.
You need:
-210 g plain flour
- 115 g butter (room temperature)
- one egg
- zest of a lemon
- juice of half a lemon
- half a teaspoon of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of salt 
- one egg
- a teaspoon of vanilla essence

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Separately mix the butter and sugar, beat well, then add the egg, and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla essence. Add the flour mixture, mixing it all well. Put spoonfuls of the mixture on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

If you want to make these even nicer make a simple glaze with 100 g of powdered sugar and around five tablespoons of lemon juice, just mixing it all well (it helps if you sift the powdered sugar, but don't bother if you are in a rush). Just pour the glazing with a spoon over the biscuits when they are cold (I cannot stand glazing, which is after all pure sugar, so I put as little as possible and don't bother about making them pretty - in fact the more uneven they are the more home-made they look) 


There are a delicacy. Totally seasonal, so if you see them just buy them. In California where I now live you can get a big bag of them for five dollars, which is not bad (together with petrol about the only thing relatively cheap here).

You need:
20 courgette flowers
a tub of ricotta cheese
salt and pepper (to taste plus half a teaspoon for the batter)
a bunch of mint leaves
zest of half a lemon
75 g plain flower
two eggs
half a teaspoon of bicarb
125 ml very cold fizzy water
A generous amount of oil to fry the flowers (I use 50% soft olive oil and 50% sunflower oil)

Wash the flowers carefully so that you do not break them. Combine the ricotta, salt and pepper, mint leaves and lemon zest. Put the mixture into a pipping bag and stuff the flowers with it. Separately prepare a batter by combining the eggs, fizzy water, half a teaspoon of salt and bicarb. Heat the oil in a small deep pan (medium heat). When the oil is hot dip the flowers into the batter so that they are completely covered with it (a bit messy, but not difficult) and fry them in the oil for one to two minutes on each side or until golden. It is easier to do this in small batches of 4-5 flowers at a time.
Eat them immediately.



We are on a lemon recipes roll. This one is incredibly simple.  You just need:
- a jar of lemon curd (either make it with our recipe http://www.mumandsons.com/2015_05_03_archive.html or buy a good quality one)
- 2 egg whites
- 200 ml double cream
- 100 gr sugar (I do not like this -or anything else- too sugary, but you can add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth)

Whip the egg whites. Add the sugar (one spoonful at a time) while you keep whipping so that you get a meringue like consistency.  Separately whip the cream to soft peaks.  Add one spoonful of egg whites to the lemon curd and mix well. Then fold in carefully the rest of the eggs whites. Finally fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into individual glasses, cover with cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Take it off the fridge for 20 minutes before you are going to eat it. You can decorate it with blueberries, raspberries, lemon zest or mint.


And yet one more recipe with lemons. You need:
- 300 g plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- one and a half teaspoons of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of bicarb.
- 200 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- zest and juice of one and a half lemons
- 85 ml milk
- 115 gr butter (melted)

Preheat the oven at 175 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients but the sugar (flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb). Then mix separately the sugar, eggs, zest and juice of lemons, butter and milk. Combine both sets of ingredients loosely with a fork (do not over mix them). Put the mixture into muffin cases (10 very big ones or 12 normal ones) and bake for 25 minutes.


Made this for Easter, partly because I have a surplus of lemons (a problem I never thought I would have!) and partly because they resemble eggs. They could not be easier to make:

For the mini pavlovas you need 
four egg whites
250 gr sugar
a pinch of salt
one tsp of cornflour
250 ml double cream

Whisk the egg whites with the salt for a few minutes (with an electric mixer or by hand) until they form hard peaks. Add the sugar - one spoonful at a time while you keep whisking. Sprinkle the cornflour on top and fold them carefully over the egg whites. Put dollops of this on a piece of baking paper. Bake them on a preheated over at 180 degrees. As soon as you put the egg whites in the oven turn it down to 150 degrees and leave them for 35 minutes. Then just open the door of the oven and let it cool down completely.

For the lemon curd follow our recipe here:http://www.mumandsons.com/2015_05_03_archive.html 

To assemble them: whip the cream until you get soft peaks. Put a spoonful of cream on top of each merengue and top it up with a teaspoonful of lemon curd.


Long time since I last posted here, but setting up in a new country has taken a while.

These are called 'torrijas', an Easter dessert that is eaten all over Spain, and they are divine. Nobody in my family (by which I mean no women, because men did not cook - surprise!) made them when I was little, but once every year la señora Paca in my village would make big trays of these and give us one. They are perfect for  Easter, because they feel properly sinful after all that Lent restraint.  Think of them like the much better version of French toast: made with delicately flavoured milk, fluffy not mushy, and with a hint of honey at the very end.

You need:
Stale bread (proper crusty bread) cut in thick slices - it really has to be stale, so buy it, cut it and leave it in a cupboard for a couple of days.
250 ml milk
150 ml sugar
peel of a lemon
a cinnamon stick
a teaspoon of vanilla essence
two eggs, beaten
two tablespoon of honey
Unflavoured oil (sunflower or alike) - a very generous amount
150 ml water

Start by preparing the flavoured milk the night before you are going to make these: just bring to the boil the milk, cinnamon stick, lemon peel, 50 g of sugar and vanilla; put it in a sealed container and let it cool down (in the fridge) over night.

Heat the oil in a frying pan (over medium heat). Soak the bread properly into the flavoured milk (the bread should absorb as much milk as possible), then coat the bread with the beaten egg and fry until they are golden on both sides. Don't bother putting them on kitchen paper when you take them out of the pan to get rid of excess oil: you only eat these once a year, so 'excess' is the whole point of them.

You can prepare the honey syrup  by just combining the water, 100 ml sugar and honey and boiling it  for 15 minutes over low heat. The nicer way to do this (and indeed most other syrups) is to prepare a caramel with the sugar, honey and a teaspoon of water (just put it over low heat and wait without stirring until it becomes golden), then add carefully the rest of the water and boil for 8-10 minutes. You can also add a teaspoon of whisky or cognac to the water and caramel (before you boil it), which obviously makes the syrup even better. Let the syrup cool down a little and pour over the torrijas.

These are eaten at room temperature.