Res­cued trea­sures

Flea mar­ket finds and gifted cook­ware find a new lease of life

The Guardian - Cook - - A Cook’s Kitchen - with Zoe Ad­jonyoh Zoe Ad­jonyoh is a chef and food writer. Her de­but cookbook Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is out now; zoes­; @ghanakitchen

I’ve lived in this ware­house in east Lon­don since 2010, the year of my first peanut­but­ter stew ex­per­i­ment, which was the be­gin­ning of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. It’s a great big space, set back from the road, su­per quiet and peace­ful and flooded with sun­light. When we moved in, it was es­sen­tially an empty white box – we built the kitchen and two bed­rooms our­selves. It’s cosy, but clut­tered. I love liv­ing right by the canal at the end of the road, and that in this lit­tle com­pound, ev­ery­one knows each other – there’s a great sense of com­mu­nity.

The asanka pot (1) is ba­si­cally a Ghana­ian ver­sion of a pes­tle and mor­tar. Beau­ti­fully tac­tile, and very heavy, it’s a re­ally ver­sa­tile piece of kit: you cook in it, blend things in it. If I’m giv­ing a lot of love and at­ten­tion to a par­tic­u­lar dish, I’m us­ing the asanka pot. This house has been en­tirely fur­nished with things I’ve found or been given: I love res­cu­ing things. At some point, a neigh­bour of mine, Kanchi, was mov­ing to Berlin just as I was com­ing back to Lon­don, and in the cross­over I in­her­ited a lot of things from her: a pink van, this retro trol­ley (2) and a few other bits and bobs.

Mak­ing cof­fee is the first thing I do in the morn­ing – I need as much as I can get in­side me be­fore I do any­thing else. I bought the pretty duck egg blue cof­fee pot (3) at a sec­ond­hand shop in Berlin. If I had the time, I would spend all of it in char­ity shops and at flea mar­kets. There’s so much lovely old stuff out there – I just never un­der­stand why you would want to buy new things.

A friend called Sarah from Har­lem in­tro­duced me to Zabars – an in­sti­tu­tion on the up­per West Side. Their gourmet de­caf blend (4) is the best cof­fee I’ve ever had in my life: this one is a sin­gle ori­gin from Ethiopia. It doesn’t feel like a de­caf; it’s re­ally po­tent. It smells of choco­late. Strong and perky as hell. I’m al­ways re­quest­ing bags of it from any­one I know who’s go­ing to New York …

I in­her­ited this big brown cook­ing pot (5) from my great aunt Mau­reen. She used to cook a lot, but this pot is like new in­side. It’s been very well taken care of. Ugly as hell, no doubt, and so retro, but I think it’s lovely. It’s my favourite thing to cook stews in. It’s rare that I have the time in the sum­mer to cook at home, but if I was hav­ing friends over for din­ner tonight, I’d prob­a­bly be cook­ing up a stew in that pot.

I have to hide my chef’s knives (6) from my flat­mates. The weight, the length of the blade, the sharp­ness – it’s all very im­por­tant. I like to have the right knife for the right task. I’ve had th­ese for a long time, they were all gifts – if any­one ever wants to know what to get me for Christ­mas, that’s it – knives.

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