I’m having a bit of a rough day. Relatively speaking. Although I am sitting here with two purring cats vying for attention (read: my lap), what I really want to do is go for a wee lie down. Maybe have a wee cry. Do you ever feel that way?
I know it might sound a tad cheesy but everyday I do some form of blessing counting. Not a formal conversation with myself, just a silent rolling recap of all the good things I have in my life.
Happily the list is mighty long, and I’m still a grateful person, but some days you just can’t shake off the glums. Maybe it is the suddenly cooler weather and return of glowering, grey skies. Or maybe it’s the maddening clusters of itchy bites received while picking black currants for jam and the freezer. The self-infllicted bruise on my cheek (don’t ask) isn’t helping much either: I frightened the postman.
I realise these are small-beer complaints, but you might sympathise with what I think I am really blue about. My Miss R is away. Not away for the day, or to some place nearby and textable. No, she is away away. To the Honduras rainforest and northern coast on a research trip, and has been for a week so far, with another week and a half to go. While her Dad and I are here pining her absence and seeking solace in the comfort of cats, Miss R is having the time of her life: counting bats, measuring lizards and SCUBA diving with (and counting) rare fish. She is undoubtedly making lifelong friendships too. An amazing opportunity for a 17-year old.
This is our only child Miss R’s third adventure away this summer, and not the first time she has been uncontactable. But somehow this feels different. I guess what I am feeling is the beginning of empty nest syndrome. One year of schooling to go and she is off. Making it all the more real and tangible is the fact that the (frightened) postman just delivered her Higher exam results. I will leave them – unopened – on her bed. Her bed fringed with pop star posters and encouraging quotes; neatly made-up, just as she left it. I might just go and have a wee lie down up there.
I apologise (a little) for the self-indulgent post – but you still get a recipe! And despite the soggy preamble today’s recipe is not glum. You do not need to be sobbing into your child’s sweetly-scented pillow to appreciate it. It is just plain good, and easy. Miss R has already given it her seal of approval. She highly recommends the homemade wasabi mayonnise too ;D Enjoy.
Track of the week: Way In The World by Scottish up-and-comer Nina Nesbitt
Shove those meaty burgers out of the way and make room on the grill for these deliciously meaty mushrooms. Bathed in a quickly-made teriyaki sauce and grilled slowly – the key to juicy and tender ‘shrooms – these ‘burgers’ deliver on taste, nutrition and ease. Slapped on a good bun, slathered with (homemade) wasabi mayo and topped with sprouts and grilled red onion…bliss. Fries, optional. Napkins, obligatory.
Makes 4 ‘burgers’ and one pot of mayo
4 tbsp soy sauce, shoyu or tamari sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR mirin
1 tbsp honey (I like acacia)
1 tbsp grated gingeroot
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
4 portobello(a) mushrooms, wiped cleaned (no washing) and stems removed
2 red onions, thickly sliced (see images)
Fresh sprouts of your choice (I used pea)
Best quality breadrolls
Wasabi mayonnaise (see below) – make while the mushrooms marinate
1. Whisk together the marinade. Place the mushrooms into a large ceramic dish and pour over most of the marinade. Toss the mushrooms and marinade with your hands. Brush the rest of the marinade over the onion slices and place the slices in the dish. Cover and leave for 15 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise, or mix good quality mayonnaise (I like Delouis and Stokes) with a little wasabi paste – to taste. If you remember, give the vegetables a turn during the marinading time.
2. When you are ready to cook, fire up a stove-top ridged griddle pan over a medium flame, brushing with a little oil. If you are grilling outside, keep the vegetables to the side of the main heat source, allowing the mushrooms and onions to grill slowly.
3. Shake off and save the excess marinade; place the vegetables on the griddle. Cook over a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes on one side, then turn down the heat a little and cook for a further 7-10 minutes. Baste with the leftover marinade or a little oil if the vegetables look in the least bit dry. Because of their sugar content, the onions will undoubtedly be cooked before the mushrooms, so rescue them before they colour too much. Dark grill marks and a shiny sugary surface is fine, but burnt is not a good look, or eat.
4. Assemble the burgers, using the suggested toppings or your own imagination – grilled pineapple or courgettes, ripe tomatoes, avocado, radishes. You could even eschew the bun altogether and wrap a large lettuce leaf around the mushroom and tuck in.
(adapted from my Chipotle Mayonnaise recipe)
1 medium organic egg
¾ tsp best Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp caster/super-fine sugar
½ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
400 ml rapeseed/canola oil
Wasabi paste, to taste OR grated horseradish (although I fancy ordering ‘the real thing’ from British the wasabi company next time)
Pop the first six ingredients into a blending jug. Using a hand/immersion blender, process a little and then start adding the oil in a slow, steady trickle. Once it starts to thicken (the sound from the blender will deepen a little), pour more rapidly until it is completely amalgamated. If you want a less stiff mayo – more of a sauce – you may not need all of the oil. At this point you can add in the wasabi/horseradish, or take some out and blend it in by hand.