About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Blast From The Past

Some time ago, Febuary last year to be exact, I entered into an event, hosted by Alanna from A Veggie Venture, titled Soup, Glorious Soup. It was my intention to make botvinya, a Russian soup, that relies upon a soured base for its flavour. These sour soups are common to Eastern Europe and this particular version required kvas, a sour, fermented liquid made from rye bread.

I never did get around to making the soup, for after making the kvas, the flavour was so unlike anything that was familar to me, that I couldn't get my head around making a cold soup from it. So the kvas was consigned to the back of the fridge, where it waited, forlorn and forgotten, until the other day, almost 18 months after it was made.

My wife D, finally lost patience (did I ever mention D is VERY patient) and took some of the liquid to make zurek, another sour soup of Polish origin. I have to admit to being both horrified and fascinated in equal measure, frightened that something that had been left for so long might be the death of us, but intensely curious as to how it might turn out.

The soup was fantastic, even D was impressed with how good it was. The best part though, is that we are still alive and healthy. Turns out kvas keeps very well!
  posted at 2:04 pm

At 10:11 am, Blogger Thermomixer said...

Sounds interesting. What else is in the zurek? Also, did you use a brewing yeast for the kvas or baker's yeast? Glad to see I'm not the only one to put my life on the line in the quest for interesting food experiences. Ta.

At 10:27 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi thermomixer, it was baker's yeast. Zurek can contain a lot of different smoked meats, but this one was based on kaiserfleisch, chopped into fine lardons, potatoes and flavoured with marjoram. I really was apprehensive about trying it, but my wife entertained no such qualms!

At 11:17 am, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

18 months in the fridge? You surely have a great refrigerator! The soup sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I'll try it if I have to wait 18 months from start to finish!

At 2:48 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi lydia, lol, you don't have to wait all that long! You can use kvas as soon as it has fermented, in about 2 days. I must do a recipe for zurek, it's a really nice soup.

At 7:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fermented stuff keeps us with enough bugs to kill all the nasty bugs. Pickled anything is good & cultures the world over have learned this over centuries so your 18 months in the fridge, though impressive Neil, is but a blip on the radar.
Having said this, is your fridge so huge that this item went unnoticed! Did the light go out & leave its dank recesses to those with a map & brave enough to venture there?
What other treasures did you discover?

At 10:47 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi gobbler, my head was telling me those things, but my heart...

No, it really wasn't lost, we could see it every time we opened the fridge, but you may be onto something about maps and buried treasure!

At 10:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fermentation is the most wonderful process. Why one earth we so often settle for chemical preservatives to increase shelf life baffles me. Methods like this are so healthy and easy. I bet the soup was delicious.

At 4:12 am, Blogger Gigi said...

You have inspired me; tonight the Turk and I will be savoring a lovely casserole made from the remnants of a bolognese sauce I made last winter, combined with some cabbage soup that has been fermenting in the back of my fridge since that diet I went on back in the 80's. Wish us luck! ;)

At 1:43 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi dani, it was very tasty indeed. I think that other preservatives are used because it's cheaper or more convenient for food manufacturers.

Hi gigi, wonder if I'm up for murder or manslaughter? Still there...?


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