slut n. a slovenly or promiscuous woman.
fridge slut n. any dish that is fashioned from various and usually unconnected ingredients found in the fridge. Most often encountered in student digs or my grandmother’s kitchen.
I am moving to London this week, and so as a flat we have taken it upon ourselves to eat the entire fridge and freezer. It’s a gargantuan task, and one that is not free of surprises. Some things should have been chucked out long ago – the indiscernible mayonnaisey thing that appears to have anchovies in, though I don’t remember having used anchovies in the last 3 months (alas! fussy flatmates); the handful of tiramisu, saved with good intentions but that, realistically, was never going to get eaten unless by someone ravenous yet miraculously lucid at 4am, tucked as it was at the back of the fridge behind a jar of gherkins; the thai green curry paste that ought really to be edible still, yet whose odour is ever-so-slightly rancid, the coriander discoloured and the fish sauce just a little higher than is desirable.
The freezer houses further delights – a small zip-lock bag of crumble mix left over from Lydia’s (10/10) rhubarb crumble a while back, hanging in there optimistically but with little chance of employment (ah, the poetic similarities between myself and that little bag of crumble); a plastic bag full of rhubarb from home, whose marriage to the crumble would have proved so perfect, so serendipitous, and yet whose consummation was just a bridge too far during exams; another zip-lock bag of burgers, purloined furtively from the freezer at home – wasted, it transpires.
Last night’s supper did manage to make a dent, if only a small one, in the vast quantities of food that we have somehow amassed over the last couple of weeks. A Caesar Salad made with some roast chicken legs, baby gems, tomatoes, frozen peas, basil, and parsley, and humming with tabasco and English mustard, was a good, light Sunday night supper after sitting in the sun all day – Lydia had put on a Bollywood festival, a joyous end to the year, and so we’d spent the afternoon idling on the grass, drinking cider, watching some magical outdoor theatre, and wolfing down curry from Bristol’s Thali Cafe.
I ambitiously defrosted some fish stock that I had made with some crab shell swiped from the Albion – it seemed to be the last thing that would get eaten, and yet I was adamant that it would. We had so many wonderful green vegetables, some leftover noodles, and, controversially (for the Asian purists), some smoked bacon from home. There was only one thing for it – fridge slut. And quite a slut it was too – spring onion, celery, courgette, pak choi et al were hoyed into a saucepan and simmered for a matter of minutes in the stock before being slurped up greedily for lunch.
Fridge slut soup
Some smoky bacon – 8 rashers or so
A bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
4 sticks of celery, sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
A pinch of chilli flakes
2 large courgettes, diced
White wine, a glass or so
1 1/2 litres of hot fish stock (chicken stock would do)
2 pak choi, sliced, the smaller ones left whole
Some noodles (optional)
Slice the bacon into thin strips and fry in a little oil until crispy – you’ll need to stir them every now and then. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl, and pour off most of the excess fat. Return the pan to a moderate heat and add the onions and celery. Season with salt and pepper and soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, while you crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar. Add these, along with the cayenne and chilli flakes, to the onion and celery, and stir for another minute. Increase the temperature and add the butter, stirring it until it coats the vegetables and they start to think about changing colour. Add the white wine and boil for 30 seconds, then add the stock. Bring to the boil and add the pak choi, most of the bacon, and noodles if you’re using them. Simmer for 3 minutes and serve sprinkled with crispy smoked bacon.