Friday 5 June 2020

Part 1 | The Welcome

Aaron Cezar: The geographical span of our work at Delfina Foundation means that we are affected by events that happen locally as well as globally. Over the years there have been numerous occasions when our staff and our international family of artists, curators and partners have been shaken by events occurring here or abroad. During these crises, our Family Lunches have brought us together as a community to support, listen and reflect. Now, however, the nature of COVID-19 requires us to be physically apart, but through our ‘home deliveries’ we hope to continue this ethos of Family Lunch.

The pandemic has forced us all to take a deep look at ourselves and our society. Pre-existing inequities and injustices have been exacerbated and brought into ever-sharper focus. In the same week that a belatedly-published UK government report attested to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, we watched the memorial service of George Floyd, whose murder in the US has sparked the largest protests against systemic racism and police brutality since the Civil Rights movement. My grandfather, who was active in this movement in Louisiana, paid heed to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to march in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Fifty-five years later, I am now marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. These times call on us to speak out, volunteer, donate, listen and engage in difficult conversations about racial injustice and inequalities at large. Let’s all do our part to emerge from this pandemic and define this “new normal” era as a fair and just one for all.

For this third ‘home delivery’, we take you to Tuscany where artist Leone Contini, a frequent contributor to our Politics of Food programme, emerges from Italy’s strict lockdown to discuss his work using food as a means to develop mutual understanding between different cultures. To nourish your body while nourishing your mind, Irem Aksu, one of our associate chefs, shares with you her recipe for a sun-dried tomato, courgette and barley stew – a perfect dish to celebrate the coming of summer and the potential that each new season can bring.

Part 2 | The Food

Sun dried tomato, courgette and barley stew – by Irem Aksu

Summer is here. For us humans, that was a very unusual spring season, but for nature the clock was ticking as usual. It is at this time of year that we start seeing an abundance of beautiful fresh fruit and veg. This recipe is a type of ratatouille, or türlü as we call in it in Turkey; a summer casserole, often including aubergines, courgettes, fresh tomatoes and green beans. You can add all these varieties to your pot for this recipe. I went quite untraditional in this version, using sun-dried tomatoes, but feel free to substitute with fresh ones if you have some tasty ripe ones at home.

Serves 2

10 sun-dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1tsp tomato paste
80g pearl barley*
5tbsp olive oil
1 medium brown onion – diced
1 celery stalk – diced
2 spring onions – sliced
1 courgette – cut into 3cm thick chunks
100g peas
Basil 5-6 leaves with stalks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping
A few leaves of basil, parsley, dill
Walnuts (optional)
1 Lemon
1tbsp olive oil

* Note: You can add rice or orzo pasta instead of barley. No need to pre-cook. Add it just a few minutes before the courgettes. The liquid consistency might change due to the grain/pasta type, so just check if it needs more water when cooking the stew.

First, in a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic cloves and tomato paste and blend to a chunky paste. If you don’t have a food processor you can finely chop the tomatoes and grate the garlic in. Keep aside.

Next, place the barley with a pinch of salt in a small pot and add 3 times the barley’s volume in water. Boil for approximately 13-15 minutes, then drain.

Place a medium pan on a medium heat. Add olive oil and when it is heated add the chopped brown onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until transparent. Add the celery and spring onions and cook whilst stirring until soft. Add the courgette and sauté for a couple of minutes. Next add sun-dried tomato paste you made earlier and stir around 5 minutes. Add 250 ml of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for a further 10 minutes. Once the courgettes are softened, add the peas, pre-cooked barley, basil leaves and chopped basil stalks. Cook for 5 more minutes with the lid on. Then turn the heat off, drizzle a tbsp olive oil and rest it for 10-15 minutes with the lid on.

For topping, in a small bowl, mix your fresh herbs with a squeeze of lemon, lemon zest and olive oil. Add some walnuts crushed by hand, if you desire. Add the fresh mix on top the stew before serving.

Part 3 | The presentation

Leone Contini – Artist-in-residence, winter 2014 and summer 2015


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