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Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe

All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe

BEANS IN SOLITUDE

Text and recipe by Frederik Bille Brahe
Video edited by Bernat Granados
Sound edited by Roger Sena

Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe
All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe

Not so long ago I had the pleasure of cooking a lunch at John and Catherine Pawson’s country place, Home Farm, in the Cotswolds in England. It was wonderful to fly from Copenhagen to London and then be whisked into the English countryside, surrounded by beautiful nature and peace, and to experience John’s architecture. What’s so amazing is that he cuts away all noise; all electrical appliances are hidden behind several layers of wood and even the sockets have been hidden away. The only thing to experience is raw material: limestone and wood, heavy steel frames on the massive windows facing the stone yard and the beautiful rolling countryside. While I was cooking in this beautiful setting I realised that I was learning something about myself, that this peace/zen enabled me to enter into a more sensitive self. I could taste the smallest little nuance of the asparagus, and at the same time my mind was calm enough to digest the flavour. Nothing could disturb me in that peaceful environment. The lunch was nice, people enjoyed it, and I felt I did very well. I felt complete.

After I returned from this journey I walked around on a cloud. I felt like a child who has a piece of candy in their mouth—in a state of enjoyment and also slightly ecstatic. I felt I had learnt something, but I was not quite sure how to translate it.

Later that evening I had to cook dinner, and I think by routine I had soaked a bag of white coco beans (Coco de Paimpol, to be precise), which I put on to boil. Without thinking, I added onions, carrots, and herbs, a little garlic, and then I started boiling them slowly. When it was dinner time they hadn’t finished, so we skipped the beans and ate greens. I left the beans cooking slowly, added a little water, and continued doing what had to be done.

Later on that evening, when Caroline and Sonya were sleeping, I sat down to write some ideas and I remembered the beans. I went over to the pot and tasted them. It was an explosion—beans, the water, the vegetables, really delicious, so I took a scoop and drizzled it with olive oil and ate them in solitude. Sitting in the quiet night with my beans I was transported back to Home Farm and the zen-like calm, and I realised that silence and calm is as important an ingredient in food as love and compassion.

Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe

INGREDIENTS

 

150g dried white beans

Water to soak

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

4 bay leaves

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

METHOD

 

Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. Next day, strain the water and cover the beans with clean water in a thick-bottomed pot. Put the pot on the stove, and when it’s boiling turn down the heat immediately to medium. Add all the vegetables that’ve been chopped into big chunks. Let the beans simmer until they are completely tender. This may take a while; what I do is I turn down the heat to 3 out of 10 and then walk for a while. It’s very important that they don’t boil at too high a heat since this will break the skin of the beans. When the beans are cooked, let them sit in the water until serving.

Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe
Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe

TO SERVE

 

Make sure the beans are reheated in their broth, pour a generous portion of beans and the cooking vegetables into a bowl, drizzle with fresh and delicious olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.

Apartamento Magazine - All the Stuff We Cooked: Frederik Bille Brahe
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