My life on a plate - Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

We all have a recipe that brings back childhood memories, and one to pass on to the next generation. Here, the lawyer and cookbook author shares hers with us.

My life on a plate - Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

Spanish-born Miriam González Durántez studied law at the University of Valladolid and won a postgraduate scholarship to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, where she met Liberal Democrat MP Nick Clegg. They married in 2000 and have three sons. Read her family blog at

The recipe I grew up with...

My family live in the Castilla region, in central Spain - and the summers can get extremely hot. On days like these, families across Spain will eat gazpacho, which they keep in jars in the fridge. I grew up with ajo blanco, or 'white garlic', which is a kind of almond gazpacho, and I still make this chilled soup today. I was raised in the rural village of Olmedo. My mother and brother still live in the village, and I visit every holiday. My parents were both teachers - sandwiched between them, we couldn't escape homework!

My late father taught philosophy and Latin, and my mother was a science teacher who taught in out village. She is the reason I ended up doing humanities and literature, and don't know anything about physics and chemistry. If I'd done science, my mother would have been my teacher. I couldn't think of anything less cool.

For my ajo blanco, you should use good olive oil because you can really taste the flavour in this kind of cold soup. Some people add a slice of stale bread, which makes the soup thicker, but I am conscious of carbohydrates, so I get rid of the bread and increase the oil, which gives the soup a silky texture. Normally we eat it as a starter at lunch, with some green grapes.

Try out Miriam's traditional ajo blanco as a cool and refreshing starter. 

The recipe I'd like to pass on...

Stewed lambMy mother's parents lived an hour and a half away from Olmedo in a tiny placed called Riberos - only 12 people lived there. My grandparents had a farm with sheep and they produced the best lambs. In rural Spain they do a lot of roasts - fantastic suckling pig and roast lamb - but on special occasions my grandmother used to cook stewed lamb. For me, this recipe is the essence of my 'abuela' - my grandmother - and every time we have it, I think of her. My grandparents were not wealthy, so they didn't have a range of kitchen utensils. I remember my grandmother used to stew the lamb in the same shallow blue ceramic dish. 

She cooked this dish with love; she made gestures to people with food and I do the same with my children, Antonio, Alberto and Miguel, who are 14, 12 and seven. I think it is important to continue traditions and I hope that they learn to make this recipe.

Try out Miriam's grandmother's stewed lamb recipe.

What are the recipes that remind you of home? Let us know in the comments below...

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