My fridge is a wondrous place. It nurtures all sorts of plant - and occasionally animal - life. Lemons turn bitter, tomatoes get squishy and garlic becomes brown and pungent. Once in a while a vegetable emerges that I'm quite sure I purchased in a previous calendar year. Or maybe in my last life. But yesterday I discovered a solution to all this and it's worked like a miracle. If you try it out be aware that I sometimes exaggerate, and that your health is your own responsibility. Equally, you should know that I didn't fall sick after eating it.
Ingredients: Old things lying around in your kitchen. Specifically:
1. Part of a cauliflower (gobi), yellowing with age.
2. Some green peas, coated with frost, from the bag in your freezer.
3. A cucumber that was once green, now pale cream and slightly bitter. Preferably still firm.
4. An onion.
5. A potato. The first one I picked up was rotten and I threw it away (there are things too rotten even for me!). I used the second potato, antique but fairly respectable.
6. Two small green chillies from that little tin with holes in it that's supposed to keep chillies fresh but in fact lets them dry out and wrinkle in just over a month.
7. A little water. I used water that's been sitting in a bottle for at least two weeks. If that's not available then you can try it with new water, but your mileage may vary.
8. Salt. In Bombay you get delightfully stale, soggy salt but in Pune the weather is so good that you only find fresh salt. Tough luck.
9. A few cubic centimetres of cheese. I bought it in Dorabjee's supermarket at the other end of Pune. It smelt strong even on the day of purchase, many moons ago.
10. Milk. Boiled three days ago and unlikely to last much longer.
11. Butter. For me this is a sacred item. It really should not be rancid.
12. Freshly ground black pepper. The peppercorns can be old but the grinding process should be new, if you get what I mean.
You might be wondering about quantities. The answer, in all cases, is "a little, not too much". Now please be quiet while I tell you how it's prepared.
Mix ingredients 1-8 (chop into large chunks first if necessary) and place in a pressure cooker. Cook for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slowly. Put contents in a blender and puree into a thick slush. If you get a thin slush, give up and go out for dinner. It happened because you used too much water to start with. Coming back to the thick slush: place it in a large strainer and stir vigorously with the back of a spoon till most of it goes through. Add some milk to thin it down to the consistency of soup, a pat of butter when no one is looking, some black pepper and the grated smelly cheese. Warm slowly, or else the milk may curdle. Or the cheese could explode. Eat with crisp toast made from those end-slices of bread that you haven't thrown away for ages.
This is the most delicious soup in the world. If you don't believe me, just collect all the ingredients, leave them in your fridge for a month or two (or a year or two) and then try it yourself.