Because our brief sojourn on the ski slopes was the very last word in spontaneous, I left food in the fridge at home, and when I opened its door Tuesday, I realised I had a slightly tired cauliflower and some, shall we say, piquey red capsicums on my hands. Urgent intervention was required if I was to avoid chucking the lot in the bin, something I absolutely hate doing because I can’t abide wastefulness in anything but words, which I routinely jettison in vast quantities without a second thought. Foodstuffs are another matter entirely. I get waste regret. So I oiled up the capsicums whole and chucked them in the oven. Easy. When they were done – the skin blistered black in parts – I deseeded them and the skin simply fell away, leaving the sweetest red capsicum I then sliced and mixed together with diced avocado and tomato (both from Man Town’s small but good farmers’ market – it is so exciting having flavourful tom-toms again. Remember the tomatoes of your childhood? Where did they go?) with a dash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper for a really simple but damn tasty side salad. I didn’t really have the time or inclination to follow my cauliflower and truffle oil soup recipe, so I cheated. I cheated big time. I cheated to such a degree it can hardly be called cooking. But the results were fantastic, delicious enough that I no longer think I’ll ever refer to the recipe ever again. Why would you? I skipped every step and I could swear the resulting soup was in no way inferior to the version that takes considerably more time and effort to prepare. It was such a revelation I am going to share it with you so you too can just cheat and eat.
I put an onion in the freezer. I pulled the cauliflower apart and threw it in a big stainless steel pot. Peeled two large potatoes, cut them into large pieces, threw them in the pot. Peeled several cloves of garlic, threw them into the pot whole. I removed my onion from the freezer, sliced it (no tears!) and threw it into the pot. I only had about 500 mls each of chicken and vegetable stock to hand (the recipe calls for 1 l of vegetable stock, but do we care? No. We do not.), and in they went. That didn’t quite cover the vegetables, so I added water until it did. Then I put it on the stove on a medium heat with the lid on and I left it there.
I don’t know how long I was gone, 40 minutes, maybe less. But when I returned, it was bubbling away and all the vegetables were cooked. I removed it from the heat. I liberally seasoned it, dumped in a tub of sour cream, drizzled in some truffle oil, and then blended it all together with my Bamix. How I love that thing. And then my soup was done. Rich, creamy, velvety, delicious, special seeming – quite a sophisticated looking soup, I gotta tell ya – and yet about the simplest thing to ever come out of the kitchen at Chez J. A triumph of laziness. So go ahead and cheat when your time and inclination are tested; I promise I won’t tell.