Here’s something to get your heart racing: I’ve been thinking about freezers quite a lot recently. Not for any particular reason but they just seem to keep on cropping up (OMG get a life). Unlikely though it may seem; it all began with a date (I know, just call me Carrie Bradshaw). And it all ended with me sitting on the floor, weeping tragically after a battle with said appliance. Think Sex and the City meets Nigella. Except Nigella never mentions her freezer (maybe because a freezer is the possibly least sexy of kitchen appliances, if such a scale exists). And Carrie obviously doesn’t need one – she’s way too cosmopolitan.
Anyway. Back to me, yeah? This date was the worst date in the history of mankind. It may be in part have been due to the fact I agreed for it to be published in The Guardian, but I think it was largely because I went on a date with a weirdo. Not a massive creepy loony, just a dude who was as opposite to me as you can possibly get; if that’s not weird I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. (But seriously, he was actually quite weird.) It was also the most hilarious night of my life, if only in hindsight, for exactly the same reasons.
Levi looked, at quite a generous push, (a bit) like Matt Smith (a.k.a. the one who used to be Dr Who but who isn’t any more). Actually, he looked like Matt Smith after not having been to bed for two weeks who then got dressed in the dark. Or like Creepy Thin Man in Charlie’s Angels (my 90s chicks – you know where I’m at). He met his best friend on MySpace. He once got stuck in Morocco because he’d used his passport to write shopping lists (ummmmm….???). He used to be homeless. He used his spoon to cut his spaghetti*. And he was particularly partial to frozen ready meals, especially those from Iceland (apparently it’s not just mums wot go to Iceland).
*When I tell people this they think I’m overreacting. ARE YOU FCKIN KIDDING? THAT IS THE WEIRDEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD OF. Nobody in the history of the world has used a spoon to cut spaghetti, not least when there is a perfectly well-functioning knife just next to it.
The freezer thing kind of stuck with me (nearly as much as the spoon thing). I totally get both the convenience and the thriftiness of an Iceland mac & cheese. But eating it out of choice? When you could have pasta? Or beanz meanz Heinz? Or a perfectly un-frozen, fresh-from-the-fridge mac & cheese? Admit that’s a bit creepy.
And then this week I spoke to someone else obsessed with their freezer, albeit for totally different reasons. Lucy – my very pregnant cousin/friend/neighbor – is, in the final few moments before she gives birth, manically filling her freezer in preparation. Fishcakes, lasagnas, pies and stews; you name it, she’s made it and if it freezes, she’s frozen it. And then stuck a supremely organized label with date and contents and maybe even an adorable little picture on it. Quite cute! (And only a little bit mad!!!)
After seeing her yesterday I went home for lunch and – poor as I am, sir – decided that instead of going shopping I would be frugal and look in my very own freezer. Since I am not about to have a baby (me and Levi didn’t hit it off, in case ya didn’t know), this activity did not bring much joy. Among a number of hideous things (and don’t for a second pretend your freezer isn’t like this), I found:
– 6 very old prawns that had fallen out their packet
– some meatballs that I made far too long ago for me to still think them interesting
– a number of the discarded endy-bits of bread
– a tub of ice cream, slashed after I went at it with a knife last weekend
– and a cracked bottle of wine that I once tried to cool and then forgot about
– a lot of frozen peas, mostly not in their bags (the little buggers)
Taking the thinking man’s approach I tried the fridge. Here: marmalade, “French-style pate” (WTF is that), half a nearly mouldy onion, a packet of shredded ham hock and last week’s bread sauce. I also noticed a HUGE slab of ice stuck to the back wall. Speaking to my aunt I learnt that I had to defrost the fridge & freezer.
Whuuuuuut. Defrosting the fridge is a job which, in my head, lives in the same box as cleaning the oven, bleaching the loo, cleaning windows and unblocking drains – the box known as Shit I Know Has To Be Done But That I Don’t Need To Do. Or at least it was called that until about the same time I realised that I should probably brush my hair more often and that leggings are not an acceptable replacement for trousers. And so now it’s called Shit I Need To Do Because I’m A Grown-Up.
I tried. I did. A lot of ice got onto the floor and it turned into a lot of water. I cried. And then I thought that I should do that thing that people do when they defrost their fridge-freezers: eat everything up. Since there wasn’t much, I made the easiest soup in the world – delicious pea & ham (obv make it vegetarian if you wish). And then I thought, as every gal should (if she ever wants to make the wrong decision but remain glamorous at the same time), what would Carrie Bradshaw do? So I turned the freezer back on, shoved everything back in and went to Sainsbury’s (Iceland’s closer but, I mean, really?).
Pea & Ham Soup
- a knob of butter
- olive oil
- half an onion or one small leek, finely chopped
- 1 smallish potato, peeled and diced, or some leftover boiled ones (if you have it. I didn’t but I wish I had done)
- 500ml hot veg stock
- about 300g frozen peas
- A few good handfuls of shredded (good quality) ham
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan with a splash of olive oil and add the onion. Gently sauté until soft.
- Add the potato and and stock. Simmer until the potato is cooked.
- Add the frozen peas and boil. Remove from heat when the peas have risen to the surface and taste done. Remove from the heat, whizz with a stick blender (or similar) and add the ham. Return to the heat to warm through.