Simplicity and green fingers are what’s required in the kitchen of top chef Stevie Parle
About two years ago we left east London for Kent. We wanted more space for our kids and we found this house – it’s quite unusual. Set in a acre of land inside a nature reserve, it is low-impact and environmentally friendly. Parts of it are very old, as it used to be the park ranger’s home. We have loads of solar panels, and bring water up from the ground, so the house is off-grid. And the inside is thoroughly connected to the outside, with a door on to the outside from every room. It’s really nice to be in the woods.
There is a large open-plan space, which comprises the kitchen, dining and living room. Large black stone tiles on the floor, with a colourful rug we bought at a market in Morocco, and very high ceilings with wooden beams painted grey. The walls are mostly white throughout the house, although we do like splashes of bright colour – all the doors are yellow, and one of the rooms off the kitchen is bright, bright blue. That’s where our two dogs sleep – a lurcher called Otto, and this Irish wolfhound (1), Molly. She’s so sweet and gentle. And big … I’m extremely tall, so it’s nice to have a dog in scale …
I don’t have many gadgets – I’m not even sure I have a blender. We have a woodburning stove (2) and a gas range. I like simple things: pestle and mortars and pasta machines. I’ve just opened a pasta restaurant, and I’ve been doing a lot of the development at home. So I have these two pasta machines right now – a simple, straightforward one (3), and an extruder (4) pasta with semolina, and pushing it through a bronze die. I’ve been combining British grains with the traditional Italian semolina, for extra flavour. I love the experimentation.
My mother is a doctor, but she does a lot of pottery. This white earthenware onion and garlic jar (5) is one she made. She also made a fermenting crock I use a lot – I do all sorts in there.
We grow our own veg. We also have six apple trees. And we have pigs and all sorts of rare-breed chickens.
Netherton Foundry makes excellent saucepans. This black one (6) is brilliant for slow cooking. Just chuck in a pork shoulder with vinegar and herbs, stick it in the oven and ignore it for a day.
It’s really nice to have a chilli plant (7). I’m obsessed with chilli. And I love growing things. It gives you an understanding of the amount of work that goes into food, and it makes you less inclined to waste anything.
I grew those dahlias (8), too. And that air plant (9) has been going for a while. I just dunk it in water every couple of weeks. It seems super happy.
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