Taking Stock

Field Soup Recipe For Joe and Rosa

The Stock:


1 Tablespoon of olive oil (not extra-virgin)

3 Aubergines

2 Medium onions

2 Potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 bunches of chard, washed and chopped, discarding the last centimetre of the stalks

5 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped


1. To prepare the stock, first clean and then slice the aubergine into 1 cm sections, discarding both the stalk and the nub at the other end. Put the aubergine slices in a sieve and sprinkle salt on them; place a plate upside down on top of the layer of aubergine and weigh that down with anything to hand. Set aside for 30 minutes. This will remove any bitterness from the aubergines.

2. Peel and chop the onions, without worrying about making them too fine. Pour the oil in the pan and, once hot, add the onions and follow them with a pinch of salt. Fry the onions over a medium heat, stirring regularly to avoid sticking, for 15 -20 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown.

3. Take the aubergines from the sieve and pat them dry using a kitchen towel. Add the aubergine slices to the fried onions and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

4.  Add the potato chunks and the tomatoes sautee for five minutes, stirring quickly.

5.  Now add a litre of water to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the chard, lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

6. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly before straining into a bowl (or another pan) through a sieve, pressing down on the vegetables with the back of a fork. The vegetables can be placed on your compost heap.

7.  You can make the stock first thing in the morning, cool it and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to make the soup for tea.

The Soup:


1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of soya sauce

6 okra, topped and tailed

1 medium onion

6 small tomatoes

2 small green peppers

4 potatoes, peeled, sliced and left to stand in a bowl of cool water (this will help remove their starch and bring out their flavour)

4 bunches of chard (any greens will do, even spinach), washed thoroughly and sliced (discarding the very bottoms of the stalks)




Spring onions, sliced very finely


Salty organic yoghurt

Zest of half a lime


1. First boil the trimmed okra in a pan of water for 7 minutes to soften them, then drain and slice into small sections.

2. Peel and slice the onion, then fry over a medium heat, stirring vigilantly, until the fine slices are just beginning to bronze.

3.  Slice the tomatoes into rough thirds and add these to the onions.

4.  Cut the peppers in half, discard the stalks, the seeds and the ridged flesh that holds the seeds. Dice and add to the pan.

5.  Add the okra, continuing to stir so that nothing catches.

6.  Add the stock to the sauteed vegetables and bring slowly to the boil, then plop in the potatoes and the chard.

7. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.

8. Drain soup through a sieve and retain the liquid, catching it in another pan. Chop the vegetables as finely as you would like them and, once satisfied, return to the pan with the liquid. Taste and add the soya sauce and a grind of pepper.

9.  Cover again and cook for a further 20 minutes, taking the lid off for the last five.

10. Serve garnished with chopped spring onions or float a small amount of salty yoghurt on top of each serving bowl and sprinkle that with the lime zest.


After the first few days filming and recording near the perimeter of the site, trying to find ways to represent the relations between the cultivated land, the architecture of the airport (lights, walls, distant buildings, the viewing platforms) and the planes themselves, we have been moving slowly closer to the actual work of the farm. We have, in our own small way, fallen into something of the rhythms of cultivation and distribution here in Toho. Getting up in the morning with the first 6 o’clock jet and walking down to the fields to see and hear how the Shimamura family harvest their organic crops. After breakfasting on coffee, fruit and toasted rye bread, we’ve been following the cleaning, weighing, wrapping and sorting of the produce into boxes ready to be sent out to customers near and far. And then we’re up in our anti-control tower, editing files, naming files and making duplicates of files before going off out again after lunch.

This morning, watching the vegetables being plucked from their plants, hearing the high snip of secateurs, and the duller impact of the vegetables being placed in the plastic boxes stacked on the wheel-barrow, I really wanted to go back to our temporary home and make some food. So I made this soup, using the vegetable box the Shimamuras had given us. And it wasn’t so bad.


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