Cooking With

Naive Set


by Zofia Ciechowska, food image by Carlijn Potma


Naive Set’s Mikey Casalaina grew up in a bustling American Italian kitchen where the ragù bubbled to the tune of The Beatles. Now Casalaina lives in Amsterdam where he’s discovered the delights of vegetarian fake meat and plays bittersweet pop in a band with three other band mates: Caspar, Matthias and Jan Pieter. Their debut record, Reclining Nude is out now on Subroutine Records, and it’s lovely.


‘I grew up in New Jersey with a lot of Italian American food. We ate a lot of lasagne, ragù, bean soups. Food-wise it was like The Sopranos. I even had an Uncle Vito. I try to cook like my parents and finally I’m getting their recipes right, like this Cuban bean soup my dad makes. My family would stop in Hoboken on the way to the city and became familiar with the local Cuban community’s cooking. My dad’s perfected this recipe over the years; my contribution is the addition of amazing vegetarian speck. ‘




Mikey Casalaiana’s Italian dad’s Cuban black bean soup 


1 clove garlic (minced)
1 large onion (diced)
1 package (150g) Vegetarisch Slager spekjes
(or real speck/bacon/pancetta)
2 x 400g cans black beans
500ml boiled water
1 veggie (or chicken) bouillon cube

2 bay leaves


1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp brown sugar
(optional: 1 shot of rum)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lime juice
crème fraîche


How to make Mikey Casalaina’s Italian dad’s Cuban black bean soup:

• Heat some olive oil in a pan, sauté the garlic first, then add the onions with a little salt before the garlic begins to brown. Once the onions soften, add the speck and let it brown.

• Add the beans, water and bouillon cube. As it simmers, add the rest of the ingredients.

• Once it’s simmering, you can add a shot of rum, but make sure you let the alcohol cook off, otherwise it’s the world’s shittiest drink.

• Serve with a good squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of crème fraîche, and more fresh coriander on top. Add pepper to taste. Stir in a little bit of your favourite hot sauce. I recommend Alexander Krone’s Smooth Running Gun.

Naive Set play at Bright Lights, Big City at the Melkweg on Wednesday 2 April alongside Apneu, Mühr, Klarälven, Fetter and more. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members. More info here.