Probably the weirdest thing about being in your final year of uni is the knowledge that, in a few months time, you could feasibly never see some of your friends again. Probably the worst thing about being in your final year of uni is that you're all too busy with deadlines and exams and job applications to truly appreciate the time you do have together. But then, maybe the best thing about being in your final year of uni is that it makes the times you do spend together all the more special - even if it's just grabbing a cup of god awful coffee in the library between studying, briefly stopping to say hello on the street before class, or making a hasty, simple, delicious dinner together before chatting the night away. I'm lucky enough to have made a number of really great friends here, and to have lived with most of them too, so last night my good friend Jillian - who I lived with last year, and who I miss, a lot, this year - came over to cook dinner with me, which is obviously one of my very favourite things to do with people I care about.
We met in Tesco to buy ingredients, though neither of us could really decide what we fancied. Having eaten a giant dirty diner meal of burger, chips & a milkshake for lunch I was in the mood for something pretty light & relatively healthy, and Jillian's like, the queen of spinach & other healthy foods, so we ended up settling for fancy mushrooms on toast. Super simple, cheap, easy & delicious - the perfect thing to cook together & to shovel into your face in the brief respites between chatting. This really is ridiculously easy whilst still being wholesome & delicious, & I've eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the past 24 hours. The key is to get yourself some nice, fancy bread - I've gone for brown walnut bread, but sourdough would be lovely here as well - and not scrimp on the ingredients, since there are so few. It shouldn't cost you more than £5, is ready in ten minutes, and is the perfect food to share with friends. But then, I suppose that's true of most food.
To feed 2, you will need:
- A few handfuls of chestnut mushrooms.
- A few handfuls of baby spinach.
- Two cloves of garlic.
- A tablespoon of olive oil.
- Smoked cheese - applewood, gouda, etc.
- 4 slices of bread.
- Salt & pepper.
1. Preheat the grill to a high heat.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat for a minute or so, then peel & chop your garlic and add it in to the pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, until it starts to change colour.
3. Chop your mushrooms, then add them into the pan as well. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how you like the texture of your mushrooms. I don't really like mine too well done, so about 5 minutes is perfect for me.
4. Meanwhile, place your 4 slices of bread underneath the grill until one side has toasted.
5. Add in the spinach to the mushrooms & cook together for about 1-2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted down.
6. Take the pan off the heat & remove the bread from beneath the grill.
7. Pile some of the mushroom/spinach mixture on to the untoasted sides of your bread, and top with a handful of smoked cheese - as grated by your glamorous assistant.
8. Place back underneath the grill & toast until the cheese is completely melted.
Comforting, filling, cheap & delicious. Enjoy.