When it comes to cooking vegetables, my mother is erratic. If she's making Chinese food, her vegetables are perfectly cooked with bright colours and lots of flavour. When she makes Western food, she tends to cook the vegetables until they're soggy. She explains this is the way they were taught in 'home economics' class. For a long time I wouldn't eat spinach and green beans because they tasted so awful. I like spinach now, although not in salads because it tastes too strong. For an easy spinach soup, buy a roast chicken from Oliver's. Remove the meat from the carcass, put the bones in a soup pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to extract the flavour, then strain the broth. Dice an onion and cook in butter, then add two to three large potatoes that have been peeled and cubed. Add the broth and simmer until potatoes are tender. In the meantime, shred some of the chicken meat (you won't need all the meat for this soup, so save the remainder for another use) and wash lots of spinach and chop it roughly. When potatoes are tender, scoop one to two cups of solids from the broth and puree in a food processor or blender, then add back to the pot. Stir in the shredded chicken and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Season to taste with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. This soup also tastes good with rice or barley as a substitute for the potatoes - if you use these, don't puree the solids. Probably the vegetable's most decadent incarnation is creamed spinach. Wash about one kilo of spinach and cook very briefly in water until the leaves have just wilted. Drain and run under cold water. Drain again and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then chop fine with a sharp knife (don't puree - you don't want a mush). Chop a few shallots and a clove of garlic and cook in about 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter until soft. Sprinkle in 1 1/2 tbsp plain flour and stir constantly over low heat until flour is pale golden and loses its raw taste. Slowly add 1 cup whole milk (or use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream), stirring constantly with a whisk - don't add the milk too quickly or it will form lumps. Stir over low heat until the white sauce has thickened. Season with salt, black pepper, grated nutmeg and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then stir in finely grated Parmesan cheese. Mix quickly with the chopped spinach and spread in a buttered gratin dish. Sprinkle with dried breadcrumbs (I use panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, available in bags) mixed with a little melted butter and grated Parmesan. Bake in 180 degree Celsius oven until breadcrumbs are brown.