The pox continues. This time it is airborne, and ubiquitous: The Haze is in town, all guns blazing. When I mentioned it before, I think the pollution reading was at 150 or similar. That’s in the “Unhealthy” range. To give you an idea of how bad it’s been, it is currently at 202, and having been exposed (literally) to readings of over 400 at the weekend (300+ is “GET OUT OF TOWN”, so I imagine 400 is “Would you prefer cremation or burial?”), I am now, like most people, totally blasé about todays’ reading. 202? Ha! I SPIT IN YOUR UNHEALTHY FACE. (Well. I would spit, if my mask had a spitting hole in it.)
Apart from the hassle of poisoning yourself every time you breathe, the Haze brings with it a far greater discomfort: Schools are being shut down. Egro, children are at home – All. The. Time. Add to this mix: sickness, a travelling Man, and just constant, never-ending parenting – and I was feeling quite a bit sorry for myself last weekend. (I heard of schools which remained open, but gave parents the option to keep the kids at home– which some parents chose to do. Nothing short of napalm would stop me from depositing my children off for the day. And then, only if it was a direct hit.)
Anyway, I have found through my many years of self-sorrow and parenthood (generally hand in hand) that there is little which a dish made almost entirely from cream and butter won’t resolve. I put this to the test the other night, and am pleased to say that, coupled with a glass of red wine, the world lost its noxious Tupperware sheen, and the stars shone brightly. At least in my head.
Creamy Mushrooms on Toast
(If you’re feeling fancy you could serve this on brioche or some sort of posh bread, but this is Singapore, so let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Alternatively, I seem to recall a similar River Cafe recipe involving wet polenta, but cf ref to Singapore (and also toast is so much quicker and easier, and involves a lot less stirring.) You could of course just eat it in a bowl all on its ownsome, but you need something soft and bready to mop up the puddles of creamy deliciousness which linger at the bottom of the bowl. And now my mouth is running.)
You need: for 1 (dressed in pyjamas, or some sort of unattractive “leisure-wear”. Because your spouse is away and you’ve been indoors all day, and you haven’t got the energy for things such as grooming or dressing)
- A couple of handfuls of regular garden-variety mushrooms, wiped clean
- Olive oil and a large slab of butter (at least a tablespoon’s worth)
- A small clove of garlic
- A splash of wine (or water, if your lifestyle does not necessitate post-kiddie-bedtime pain-relief)
- A glug of cream (any type, the thicker and fresher, the better)
- A handful of chopped parsley
- Buttered toast.
Put a slug of olive oil and the slab of butter in a saucepan and put over a low heat.
While it’s melting / heating, roughly chop the mushrooms.
Add to the pan, stirring to cover in melted butter.
Increase heat until they start to sizzle, grate or crush the garlic clove directly into pan, then cover and set heat to low. Leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
Add a slug of wine or water – most of it should evaporate, but you want some to remain. When it starts to bubble slightly, add the cream – how much depends on how creamy you want the sauce to be, I used about 5 tablespoons’ worth - and stir.
Turn the heat off, add the chopped parsley, and stir through. Taste – if you think it’s missing something or it seems overly rich (HOW??), add a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Pile onto hot buttered toast, pour yourself a generous glass of wine, grab a book, and somehow arrange all three* and yourself on a sofa, without spilling a thing. Drink a toast to absent spouses and sleeping children. Remove mask and tuck in.
(*Put the toast / mushrooms on a plate, maybe.)