Menestra de verduras often served in littles bowls in fashionable Madrid bars, but probabaly the best I have ever had was made for me by Raul Domingo, when I stayed with him and his family in the city. Raul is a history lecturer, his wife, Carmen, a photographer, lecturer and archivist, and their student daughter Livia is a jazz and classical violinist. The shelves of their home groan with incredible books and the walls are covered in extraordinary paintings, and when it comes to food, Raul is in charge of the kitchen and his cooking is excellent. While I was writing up recipe notes he brought me a Madrid tapa of fine crisps and escabeche mussels (see page 111) and then a little bowlful of this light, delicious, nutritious menestra.
Sunday the 15th of March sees Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate every single thing your Mum has done for you. Whether it’s something as basic as your washing, as unconditionally kind as coming to collect you from the train station when you’ve missed the last bus and don’t want to shell out for a cab, or telling your dad that he really ought to respect your life choices (even if it means you’ll be out of work for a year until the green grows out of your hair), Mum has your back, and Mum’s are the best. And, in some cases, let’s not forget that Mum has to be Dad too. To help you give your Mum the very best gift possible, we’ve paired some of our brilliant Mum-friendly books with some especially Mum-friendly presents. Spoil her rotten this Mother’s Day.