Ah summer, a time of relaxation and recharge, of taking it easy and…. *insert movie-esque sound of screeching brakes*
Ok, let’s try that again.
Ah summer, a time that should be all about relaxation and recharge but it seems life pays little attention to the seasons or the temperature or the shade of blue blanketing the sky, and simply keeps heaping on the demands.
Summer, at least here in Australia, is nearly more manic than the rest of the year. While we should be swapping indoor winter activities for days by the water and cheeky half-day Fridays we are instead moving even faster to get things done.
Much of it is due to the onslaught of silly season holiday parties — events booked back-to-back in an attempt for everyone to catch up before the end of the year, as if we’ll never see each other again come January. And the rest of the time is spent battling crowds at the beach or ticking items off the never-ending “must do before New Years, wait how many days till Christmas…?” list.
Somehow life appears to become more complicated, not less, when what we most need is to sit back and put our feet up.
Now I can’t help with the crowds at the beach or that to do list (although my upcoming gift guides may sort out a few things for Christmas) but I can help make mealtime and the inevitable “I’ll bring a dish” commitment a little bit easier.
I’m once again working with Australian Mushroom Growers on their Summer Mushrooms campaign, and this year it’s all about simple summer eating. I’m pretty good at quick and easy, throw it all in a bowl and put an egg on top, meals — but when it comes to recipes for other people I always feel like I need to do more.
I whipped up these quick-pickle Marinated Mushrooms with the intention of adding them into other things, I even bought ingredients for a salad. But once made they were so good on their own that’s how they stayed.
Even the usual ploughman style accompaniments were eschewed for a perfect slice of sourdough and little else.
While these mushrooms are wonderfully suited to a lazy lunch at home, they really are so simple to make that they can be whipped up on the morning of a bbq and be ready to eat by the time you’ve thrown on a sundress and driven across town.
The flavour is unreal and the added boost of Vitamin D and antioxidants are just a bonus. The big’ol dose of crazy required for an outside shoot when a perfectly good indoor one will do is my gift to you.
So on the first official day of summer here in Australia I send you wishes for more time outside and less wistful glances out non-opening office windows, beaches with open sand, truly relaxing weekends and lots of quick healthy mushroom meals.
Because at some point today you’ll realise that there are only 24 days until Christmas… maybe I’ll take my to-do list to the beach.
Quick Pickled Marinated Mushrooms
At first you think these richly flavoured morsals would make for a perfect accompaniment to all the other bbq dishes — then before you know it you’ve consumed a meal’s worth on a single slice of bread and are headed back for another serving. (They do go pretty well with salads, burgers and sausages too though)
Makes approx 3 c marinated ‘shrooms
- 500 g mushrooms (1.1 lbs)
- scant 1 Tbsp kosher salt or flakey sea salt (15 g)
- 2 cloves garlic, bruised
- 2 dry chillies
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- 1 tsp mustard seeds, toasted
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ c apple cider vinegar
- 1 c water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Brush or rinse mushrooms and trim stems. Cut into ½ cm (¼ inch) slices.
To a sterilised 1 litre jar with a lid add half the sliced mushrooms followed by half the aromatics (salt through bay leaves), remaining mushrooms and remaining aromatics.
Heat vinegar and water until mixture just starts to simmer. Slowly pour liquid over mushrooms then top with the oil. Seal jar and turn upside down once or twice to distribute ingredients evenly.
Mushrooms will be ready to eat in about an hour — once they start to float, creating more liquid in the bottom of the jar — but feel free to leave them longer. Store in fridge if not serving that day.
- Chilli: feel free to sub dry chillies with a single fresh chilli, cut in half, or a tsp of chilli flakes. Both will provide more spice.
- Filling jar: sliding a chopstick down the side of the jar as you fill it can help the liquid move to the bottom and not bubble over.
- Mustard seeds: toast seeds in a dry frying pan, swirling regularly and removing from heat as soon as they start to pop.
vegan // vegetarian // gluten-free // diary-free // soy-free // nut-free // probably paleo