Booking the Cooks: Kevin Thornton’s Electric Picnic Cous Cous
The Michelin-starred chef is hosting a demo on Ethiopian cuisine at Theatre of Food in Stradbally
Kevin Thornton: when the chips are down, his cous cous is the biz. Photograph: Alan Betson
Theatre of Food returns to Electric Picnic with a smorgasbord of top chefs
Such is festival goers’ love for and obsession with all things edible that the Electric Picnic have had a whole tent dedicated to gastronomy for the past four years.
The Theatre of Food is a gathering of some of Ireland’s finest chefs, bakers, brewers and food and drink writers, who roll out a smorgasbord of cookery demos and discussions – and serve up some excellent grub.
One of this year’s highlights is the Michelin-starred chef Kevin Thornton (right), who will be hosting a demo on Ethiopian cuisine with special ingredients he recently brought back from there.
But it’s not just the food that Thornton is into. He is a keen photographer and will be showing some of his work at the festival this year. And, in common with many a chef, he finds kicking back and watching movies is one of the best ways to unwind, his favourites being Tatie Danielle, Repo Man and Pulp Fiction. But when it comes to music, it seems he has a solid ear for the classics. His top three acts are David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed. Who could possibly argue with those choices? He cites seeing Lou Reed at the National Stadium as one of the most memorable gigs and it was at Slane Castle, getting down to the Rolling Stones, that he had his worst ever bit of festival food: a brutal excuse for a burger. He has passed his love of music on to his offspring; his son Conor will be appearing at Electric Picnic with his band, Voxx.
It would be a missed opportunity for Booking the Cooks not to feature a recipe from someone who is not just an actual cook, but one of the best in the country.
Seeing as many of you will soon be hitting Stradbally, here Thornton shares a healthy meal that you can prepare before the festival that will keep for a good day or so. Balance, after all, is not just a good thing in your meals, but in life too.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 2)
150ml of hot mint tea (fresh mint leaves, infused for 10 minutes)
2 tbsp olive oil
250g green beans (trimmed, blanched and chopped)
2 fresh tomatoes (seeds removed and roughly chopped)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 lemon (juice only)
1 lime (zest only – finely chopped)
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Handful of Californian raisins
Handful of dried cranberries
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the couscous into a heatproof bowl, pour over the hot tea and olive oil and cover with cling film.
Leave it to stand for three to five minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Add the beans, tomatoes, raisins, cranberries, lemon juice, lime zest, crushed garlic and parsley to the couscous.
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well. You can add crumbled feta cheese and/or baked sweet potato to add some extra healthy protein or carbs.
The Theatre of Food is at Electric Picnic from August 29th-31st