by The Feature Kitchen’s Jacob Fodio Todd
I grew up in Mozambique, then Swaziland, then Tanzania; my family moved around quite a bit until I was 13, when we came to England, to Lewes. After I finished school, I went to Paris for two years and worked in the Rose Bakery there. Then I moved to London, where I started a food enterprise with some friends called The Groundnut, a project looking at African food. We did a lot of pop-up restaurants and we published a cookbook.
When I moved back down here, I wanted to do something to increase the diversity of cuisine available. There are a lot of takeaways, but they tend to be the traditional Indian, Chinese, Thai places. The idea of The Feature Kitchen is to create a platform for chefs and food enthusiasts to come in and cook. They don’t have to worry about anything except the food; the packaging is taken care of, the marketing, the logistics. We work on a menu together, talk about it, cook it, taste it, and once that works well they just pitch up in the kitchen and start cooking. I often kitchen assist, but otherwise it’s up to them.
We work from the Community Kitchen in Lewes. I hire it for a day, pay the chefs a fee and get some drivers to come and distribute the food around the town and into Brighton. We don’t have our own permanent space, so the business is kind of fluid.
The menu changes each month. The first was Ethiopian, the second was Caribbean, then Trinidad and Tobago, Thai… all over the world. And the experience of the chefs really varies. Genet, who did the first month, used to cook back in Ethiopia so she’s very experienced, just not so much in the UK market. Omolola is a doctor and she was taking a sabbatical, so she wanted to take some time to explore her passion for African and Caribbean food.
This recipe is actually from a friend, who’s from Sierra Leone. It’s a peanut-based dish which is common across West Africa, with similar variations throughout Africa. Serves four.
2 tins of black-eyed beans
2 onions (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
fresh chilli (finely chopped)
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
2 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter
½ teaspoon of white pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a little oil in a pot. Add the onions, one of the cloves of garlic and the chilli (I used a quarter of a Scotch Bonnet, but adjust according to taste). Cook that all down until the onions turn golden brown. Add the white pepper and tomato purée and cook until it starts to burn slightly.
Put the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the garlic into the pot with the black eyed beans and add stock to just cover. Stir in the peanut butter and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. This goes really well with rice, bread – any staple really – and then a nice salad.
This month Seven Sisters Spices will be taking over the kitchen. Their menu will be available (Fridays and Saturdays only) on the weekends of the 9th, 16th and 23rd of March. See thefeaturekitchen.co.uk