Stevie Parle’s Implement-led Recipes

In Stevie’s do-it-yourself menu, the ready-ground spices were placed on the table to be blended with pestle and mortar.


Chaat masala salad

Serves 4-6

Spice mix:
2 tsp amchoor*
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chilli
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
A tiny pinch of asafoetida
A small bunch of asparagus
A small bunch of radishes
½ cucumber
A handful of small, ripe tomatoes
¼ pineapple
2 handfuls of broad beans, podded
Juice of 1 lemon
A drizzle of olive oil
1. Chop all the vegetables so they are all the same size and place in a large bowl. Combine the chaat spices, then sprinkle over the salad along with a little salt, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of oil. Combine with your hands.

Potato bondas

Copy of OSFC-2013-3139

Makes about 20

400g potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small bunch of curry leaves
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric
200g gram flour
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2  tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Coriander leaves
1l vegetable oil, for frying
Greek yoghurt, loosened with a dash of water, to serve
Tamarind water, to serve
1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender and just falling apart, a bit longer than you cook them for boiled potatoes. Drain and leave to steam dry.
2. In a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, add the curry leaves, chilli, ground coriander and turmeric. After a minute, add the potatoes and fold them into the spice mix, breaking them up as you go so you have a lumpy mash. Season with salt to taste.
3. Transfer to a baking tray and leave to cool. Once cool, shape into golf ball-sized balls.
4. Make the batter by slowly whisking water into the other ingredients – you want it to have the texture of double cream.
5. Heat the oil for frying, ideally in a deep-fat fryer. Dip the balls into the batter then carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry for about 4 minutes until golden. Place on top of the chaat salad and spoon over yoghurt loosened with a little water and some tamarind water.

Lamb shoulder cooked in seven spice and pomegranate molasses


Serves 6-8
1 lamb shoulder, on or off the bone
Olive oil
3 tbsp seven spice mix
Approx. 200ml pomegranate molasses
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Season the lamb shoulder with salt and rub it with olive and then seven spice mix. Place in a large baking tray and add 1-2cm deep of water to the tray. Cover with tin foil and cook for approx.  3 hours until the lamb is falling apart.
2. Turn the oven up to 200C/400F. Remove the foil, then pour over the molasses (and add another splash of water if it has evaporated) and return the lamb to the oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until the lamb is slightly crisp. Keep an eye on it so the spice mix doesn’t burn. Shred with forks and serve.

Freekeh with soft herbs


Serves 10
1 packet of freekeh
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
A handful each of parsley, dill and mint, roughly chopped
1. Rinse the freekeh well. Cover in cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for approx. 60-90 minutes (the cooking times mysteriously seem to vary), until it is completely tender.
2. Drain, and while hot, season will salt, lemon juice (to taste) and a good glug of olive oil. Stir in the herbs and serve.
Grilled aubergine
Place the aubergine under a salamander or over a grill until completely blackened and gives away to the touch. Split them open and serve.

Tahini sauce

Serves 6

1/2 garlic clove, crushed with a pinch of salt
2 heaped tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
8 tbsp water
3 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
1. Combine the garlic and tahini, then squeeze in the lemon. The mix will immediately thicken. Pour in the water and oil and continue to stir, adding more water until you achieve the desired consistency.


Persian Rice P


Serves 6
1l whole milk
100ml double cream
90g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2  vanilla pod and seeds
4 cardamom pods
A pinch of saffron threads
120g risotto rice
A splash of orange blossom water
1 egg yolk
2 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt
Cherries, de-stalked and de- stoned
Lemon juice
Demerara sugar
Rose water
Handful of cardamom pods
1 tbsp golden granulated sugar
1 tsp dried rose petals
1. Put the milk, cream, sugar, zest, cinnamon, vanilla, saffron and a pinch of salt in a large pan and bring to the boil. Wash the rice and soak it in water for 20 minutes. When the milk comes to the boil, add the rice, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 40-45 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. Whisk the egg yolk with the yogurt and stir into the warm rice, removing the cinnamon and vanilla pod. Add a little orange blossom water to taste.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the cherries in a bowl and add a squeeze of lemon, the sugar and rosewater. Place in a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes until just cooked. Spoon over the rice.
4. In a pestle and mortar, crush the cardamom, remove the pods and crush the seeds with the sugar to make cardamom sugar. Sprinkle over the cherries and rice, along with a few dried rose petals and serve.
* North-India souring-agent prepared from powdered dried unripe mango. Sumac is a possible substitute.

Marcia Zoldaz’s feijoada for the Brazilian dinner

Marcia says: “In the recipe for the feijoada, the meats will presented either separate from the beans or with a little bit of the beans in order to keep them moist and the beans will be in a large soup tureen. The green collards could be half and half with the oranges and the cassava flour will be in smaller bowls. The salt is added little by little as most of the meats are salted.”.

Tilson-OSFC-2013-3294 at very beginning

Feijoada tradicional

Serves 15

For the beans
2 kg black beans
750 g lean jerky beef
300 g salted fatback (pork)
2 salted pig tails, 700g
2 salted pig ears, 300 g
1 kg beef muscle
1 kg beef short loin
300 g bacon (in a single piece)
300 g thick pork sausage
500 g pepperoni sausage
300 g smoked pork loin
300 g smoked pork ribs

For the seasoning
4 soup-spoonfuls vegetable oil (not olive oil)
3 large onions, chopped in small pieces
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 sweet oranges

The day before preparations begin:
1. Soak the black beans for one night covered with cold water.
2. Wash the jerky, the tails, the ears, the salted fatback. Let them soak overnight covered with cold water.

Next day:

1. Drain the beans and cook them in a large cauldron covered with fresh water. The beans will cook untill soft, but stil  holding their shape. Add hot water if needed to keep them always covered. At this point the meats will begin to be added. The beans are only salted at the end after they are soft – otherwise they will not be soft enough for the feijoada.

2. While the beans are cooking: wash the salted meats again and transfer them and the beef short loin, the beef muscle and the bacon to a large pan, cook them covered with water until very soft, this will dissolve the fat from the meats. Then add the meats to the beans. Let the bean-mixture simmer.

3. Puncture the sausages and add them to the beans. Add the smoked pork loin and the smoked ribs to the beans. Let them cook, add more hot water if needed.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a casserole on a medium flame, stir-fry the onion and the garlic. Add 2 or 3 ladles of beans – more beans than water – mix them with the stir-fry while crushing the beans against the bottom of the pan – a mixer can be used but do not make a purée  because this will change the colour of the feijoada into a gray-ish black.  Season it with salt and black pepper – take care to taste the beans in the pan first because the meats have quite a large amount of salt.

5. Tip the stir-fry into the beans and cook for more 30 minutes on a very small flame – at this point add the oranges to soak the extra fat in the feijoada.

6. Present the feijoada with:
White rice (3 to 4 soup spoons per serving)
Green collards (thinly sliced fast braised in oil and crushed garlic – a little to taste – seasoned with a pinch of salt).
Manioc/cassava flour (3-4 soup-spoons per serving – 1 spoon is 10g)
1 / 2 peeled and quartered orange per serving.
Tabasco or any other chilli sauce on table

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Material Culture: A Review of the 2013 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery

 Dr. Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire

The focus of this year’s Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery was on the stew stove but not the stew; the knives and not the meat; the salt pots or ‘nefs’ rather than the salt; the ‘chasen’ not the tea; the plates (whether pewter, ceramic, delftware, china, silver or gold) but not their food content.

Joan Smith discussed the ephemeral nature of food in contrast to art, echoing Barbara Wheaton’s lament that libraries and archival collections often ignore or discard what is commonest and most used. Darra Goldstein spoke of the transformative power of objects. Anthropologist Amy Trubek also underlined the ephemeral nature of food and cooking, pointing out that tradition and practices are constantly disappearing, citing the introduction of the ‘Bimbi’ food processor to the Italian home kitchen as life-changing.

David Sutton spoke of the development of table-manners as a result of the fear of being stabbed by one’s dining neighbour, which led to the development of less sharp table knives with rounder edges. In China, he continued fear of violence towards the Emperor led to the replacement of knives with chopsticks, resulting in the practice of presenting food in smaller bite-size pieces which led, in turn, to a change in the anatomical structure of the denizens of China, a change that did not occur in Europeans until the early modern period, when the use of forks became popular first in Italy and Byzantium and gradually throughout the courts of Europe.

Joan Fitzpatrick discussed the emerging distinction between napkins (literally little cloths) and handkerchiefs (literally hand cloths) during the early modern period, and their use to connote distinctions in manners, femininity and food, while the gradual use of forks, which kept the fingers clean, coincided with the publication of etiquette manuals. Another point of table etiquette in the early modern period included never discussing the food served, a rule blatantly ignored in Oxford this July during the various meals served over the weekend, which included Ethiopian, Brazilian and Middle Eastern repasts, not to forget Stevie Parle’s spice feast on the Friday evening, when guests were encouraged to create their own spice mixes with pestle and mortar.

Joan Smith discussed the ephemeral nature of food in contrast to art, echoing Barbara Wheaton’s lament that libraries and archival collections often ignore or discard what is commonest and most used. Darra Goldstein spoke of the transformative power of objects. Anthropologist Amy Trubek also underlined the ephemeral nature of food and cooking, pointing out that tradition and practices are constantly disappearing, citing the introduction of the ‘Bimbi’ food processor to the Italian home kitchen as life-changing.

Artefacts presented and discussed ranged from Len Fisher’s simple ‘spurtle’ for stirring porridge to Carolin Young’s fabulous visual presentation of silver tureens shaped like boars’ heads and other fantasies.  Subjects ranged from Mongolian milk spoons, Belgian beer glasses, Indian thali dishes, James Bond cocktail shakers, New York refrigerators, Italian food processors and 3D food printers; from picnic baskets to the New York City’s Automat; from First World War Trench Fare to Turkish Coffee; from Baghdad kitchens to how kitchen knives have become the new ‘bling’; from coconut scrapers to Bovril; from how to make solar cooking global to elite consumption trends in Georgian Ireland; from Korean folk potters to a prize-winning paper on pottery in prehistoric Oxfordshire; from sugar sculptures in Italian court banquets to equipment used by street food vendors in Istanbul; from visual evidence of table manners to tin boxes for mooncakes, cow creamers and ‘cudsters’; from magical Brazilian cookery pots to the Talmudic ‘qederah’.

Meanwhile, as supplier to the highest echelons of modernist restaurants, Jeremy Medley discussed and demonstrated anti-griddles (salt plate dipped in liquid nitrogen),  mini crystal teapots,  lavendar  spray, lolllipop-kits and bean-tins whose contents is actually candyfloss, indicating that in a world of iPhones, tweeting and blogging, the art of conversation  is already being replaced by the 21st century’s version of the medieval soteltie.

While Bee Wilson had already asked us in her introductory discussion to consider the spork – a dual-function spoon and fork or ‘jointed tool’ similar in concept to the camera-phone – another tool discussed by Ken Albala was the ‘nork’, a dual-purpose knife and fork which has proved very practical for people who have lost a limb. However, since the industrial food sector is now designing products which require no utensils whatsoever.  This, says Albala,  may well result in the loss by an entire generation of the manual dexterity required for the manipulation of all eating-utensils, plastic or otherwise, rendering them superfluous.

All this and a great deal more will be available in printed form from Prospect Books at our Symposium in July, 2014.