Family Lunch at Delfina Foundation – bringing together our residents with the wider art community. Photo Tim Bowditch.

Friday 17 April 2020

Part 1 | The Welcome

Aaron Cezar: Our decade-old tradition of ‘family lunches’ at Delfina Foundation bring the participants in our residency programmes together with the wider art community based in London and beyond. These regular convivial gatherings offer a delicious, home-cooked meal and an intimate space to connect and discuss what’s happening in the world through the work of our resident artists, curators and collectors.

Since we are unable to host people at Delfina Foundation now due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are pleased to deliver a virtual taste of our Family Lunch to you. Following its typical format of nourishment for the body followed by nourishment for the mind, this first ‘home delivery’ of Family Lunch contains a recipe from Irem Aksu, one of our associate chefs, which you can prepare and enjoy while taking in a presentation from Yu Ji, one of our artist-alumni. Yu Ji was in-residence at Delfina Foundation in spring last year, overlapping with her participation in the 58th Venice Biennale, and out of this experience she will be staging an exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, now rescheduled for 2021.

Part 2 | The Food

Fennel and orange oven-baked beans – by Irem Aksu

Irem Aksu, one of our associate chefs, shares her memory-rich recipe for fennel and orange oven-baked beans: a ‘true comfort food’ made with easy-to-find ingredients.

This dish is true comfort food made with easy-to-find ingredients. I love cooking vegetables and pulses with orange as it always gives a tangy, zingy flavour to the dish. For me, olive oil based dishes are synonymous with spring and summer. During this time my mum used to cook a huge variety of pulses and greens with olive oil, together with lots of onions and a squeeze of lemon. If it was summer, tomatoes too were a must. This spring I am remembering “home” – my memory-rich zone – from my London home under lockdown.

Serves 2

90g dried butter beans – soaked overnight and drained -OR- 400g can of butter beans
Half a fennel bulb – sliced
1 medium brown onion – sliced
1 celery stick – chopped
1 orange – zest and juice
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1tbsp for finishing
2-3 strands of fresh thyme (use dried if you can’t get fresh)
1 carrot – grated
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
A good handful of kalamata olives
30g feta, crumbled (can be substituted with ricotta)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste

If you have chosen to use dried beans for this recipe, place a small pot on a low heat and add these soaked and drained beans with 3 times their volume of water. Cook for around 30-35 minutes until they are soft but not mushy. The cooking time can vary depending on the origin of the beans, so it is best to check them after half an hour. (You can skip this step if you are using canned beans.)

Place an oven-proof pan on a medium heat. Add the olive oil and when heated, add the onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add the fennel and garlic and continue cooking for 5 minutes until they become soft and tender. Then add the carrot and celery and stir for around for 2-3 minutes then add the orange juice.

Next add your beans to the pot with around 250g and 150ml stock (or just reserve from the water you cooked the beans in), or if you are using canned beans, just add these straight to the pot together with their water from the can. Finally add the olives.

Season with salt, pepper, a touch of nutmeg, thyme and the orange zest. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, then cover the pan and place it in the oven at 170C/gas mark 4. After 40 minutes remove the lid, add the crumbled feta and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Turn off the oven and wait 2-3 minutes before taking the pan out. The feta should now be soft and it can be stirred through the dish to give it a creamy consistency. Add the chopped parsley (if desired) and a glug of olive oil to finish. Serve warm.

Part 3 | The presentation

Yu JiDelfina alumni artist, 2019

From her isolation home, artist Yu Ji introduces her practice and discusses her (rescheduled) Chisenhale Gallery exhibition, which emerged from her Delfina residency last year.

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