Chriskitch Café: May recipe

For the first of a new column, Bibi at Chriskitch Café in Muswell Hill shares her story and celebrates May’s culinary offerings

In 2013, I and my husband chef Chris opened Chriskitch Café on the site of a former chocolate factory. We wanted fresh, fabulous, and affordable food to be the focus — food that is prepared, shared, eaten and enjoyed with relish.

We cook and bake the daily changing menu every day from locally sourced produce. Colourful salads jostle for space with main courses, the scent of freshlybaked breads hangs in the air, whilst locallysourced artisan coffee beans rattle in the machine. There is no menu – what you see is what you get (well, besides the delicious soup offering of the day which isn’t on display). We cater for everyone – meat/fish-eaters, vegetarians, vegans, gluten free – and take inspiration from seasonally-changing produce we find in local shops which we aim to support.

We want Chriskitch to be a space to socialise with friends or colleagues during a work break, to show and view local art, connect with people and enjoy cookery classes. We want to make customers feel like they were eating in someone’s home. The food counter is an old joiner’s bench sourced from Poland, the one in the service area came from a previous paper mill in Essex. Even our floorboards were reclaimed from a former textile factory in Islington and the main dining table is a well-worn butcher’s block from France. The food is served on a variety of antique platters and cake stands – some used to belong to my Polish grandma!

Our favourite thing to make in May is a green seasonal salad: boil water in a large pan. Add salt and 150g green fine beans, 150g sugar snap peas, 150g mangetout, 50g frozen soya beans and 50g green peas. Blanch for 30–40 seconds then drain and transfer to very cold water. Drain well. Put all the beans, peas and soya beans into a large bowl. Add the zest of two lemons, one bunch fresh mint, 50ml extra virgin olive oil or garlic oil, half a red chilli thinly sliced, salt, pepper and herbs for garnish (can be dill, parsley and coriander). Transfer to a platter to serve.

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