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Right, okay, i’m up. For some reason i woke up at 6.30. After trying my darndest to get back to sleep- pressing my entire body into Callum’s spine for warmth and solace, trying to meditate by reciting what plants need to be repotted, imagining my next raw cake, nothing. Just really awake. So i’m up, sitting in our dark bedroom with an exceedingly good cup of coffee, wearing as many woollen clothes as i could pilfer off the floor. If i were to blame anything for my unusual rising time i would probably say its the plants. I think i’m worried about them.

After my first endeavour i thought the lesson to be taken was to adopt a laissez- faire approach to them. Don’t fret over them, don’t over- water them, don’t move them from pot to pot. Thing is, they look a bit sad. I feel like they’re trying to tell me i’m neglecting them. And so it is, at 9am that i have decided next week will predominantly be about taking care of them. Buy bigger pots, get some really good soil, thin them out a bit (i hate that bit, like Schindler’s List, but with vegetables) and try to make them happy.

Guilt appeased, for now. Lets get back to why you’re really here- the food…

On Thursday i perfected the “Life Changing Loaf” of bread, or as i like to call it “Wonder Bread”. I managed to resist its mystical charms all evening and all of yesterday. No, i had something great planned for it, that greatness was to become Wild Mushrooms on Wonder Toast…

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Obviously this bread is a spectacular medley of rich textures and complex, deep flavours- it can certainly hold its own in a food fight. So i wanted to serve it toasted (because it tastes even better) and pair it with something that would both complement and accentuate its wholesome, earthiness. I picked up some dried, wild mushrooms (sadly not foraged by me, but again any mushrooms experts out there, get in touch please). Not the cheapest purchase (£2) but i was feeling a bit Friday- fancy and what the heck, this bread deserves the best. I kept the accompanying flavours real simple- plain and rustic. The mushrooms have such a beautiful range of tastes that i wanted them to sing the loudest, but still be gentle enough for the notes of the toast to shine through.

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(Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter, Vegan, Gluten- Free)

  • 25g Dried Wild Mushrooms- Chanterelle, Porcini, Black Trumpet (you can use fresh i just forgot to weigh them post- soak)
  • 4 Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 3 Shallots
  • 1 stalk of Celery
  • 1/2 a Spring Leek
  • 1 large clove of Garlic
  • 3 handfuls of Spinach
  • tablespoon of fresh Thyme
  • tablespoon of ground Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Before i begin i just want to mention the seasoning. Namely, i love freshly ground peppercorns and when combined with mushrooms they take me to a very happy place. You may not be so keen (Natasha) so you can totally tone it down to your liking.

  1. Soak your dry mushrooms in nearly boiled water, leave for 20 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess water (keep the juice it makes delicious stock)
  2. In a skillet or frying pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil
  3. Roughly chop your shallots, leek, and celery
  4. Add to the pan with the salt and cook on a high heat for 4 minutes
  5. Thinly slice the chestnut mushrooms and add to the pan with the last tablespoon of oil, cook for 5 minutes
  6. As the mushrooms are starting to soften, add the garlic (finely chopped) and the wild mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes
  7. Finally, add the Spinach and Black Pepper and cook until just wilted.
  8. Spoon onto freshly toasted bread, serve with a sprinkle of Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan, and a lovely salad (i made a random, clearing-the-fridge salad that didn’t go with the dish but hey, it was good).
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