Winter in the kitchen, and tonight surrounded by freezing fog : slow fermentation under a massive pebble that the children once brought me back from a seaside they had gone to without me. Chillies, garlic and salt : garlic turns bright green and I had to use my favourite search engine, namely duck duck go, to be reassured that nothing untoward was happening (from what I read fermenting or pickled garlic may also turn blue like the tip of my grey hair). This will sit around on the counter top for nine days until it will be processed into a lovely spread.
Meanwhile I just used up another fermenting potion to make one of my favourite soups which, when cold, looks remarkably like dirty wallpaper paste : Żurek. Rye flour mixed with warm water (to be perfectly honest I often start with rye sourdough) with a clove of garlic added. It sits around for a while forming a rather scary-looking skin which, if allowed to come into its own, may be actually lifted in one go and turfed into the compost. A broth is made with celeriac (or Hamburg parsley root), carrots, celery, onion… while forest mushrooms are soaking in warm water. Vegetables are removed (they can be cut into chunks, mixed with mayonnaise and become a salad as is the tradition). Mushrooms and mushroom water are thrown in without the grit and cooked. The fermented flour is added, alongwith marjoram, pepper and salt, and also perhaps sausages or/and strips of cooked bacon. As most soups it likes to sit overnight and be reheated. It is then served with hard-boiled eggs halves floating in and a slice or two of generously buttered (sourdough) bread. It heals and warms my heart, hugs my body and soothes my soul. In one word I recommend it. It is a Polish soup and if you do decide to give it a go herewith (oh yes !) is the lovely song you may like to listen to while devouring it for appropriate resonance.