We’re all a bit basic, aren’t we? The urban dictionary defines it as an adjective used to describe any person, place or activity involving obscenely obvious behaviour, dress or action.
I’ve only recently come to the realisation that I’m as basic as they come. I fill my Instagram feed (and my gob) with photos of avocado toast. I really, really like Taylor Swift (I have the T shirt to prove it), and I’m currently binge-reading Zadie Smith’s NW because the TV adaptation aired this week. Hell, I’m even writing about basic when it’s been a thing for ages. It’s basically basic to be basic, right?
Being basic was perhaps the biggest insult of 2015 (thank you, Kate Moss), but I think we’re more forgiving this year. You may have noticed that 2016 has been a bit bleak, and for many of us basic behaviour acts a blanket for all the bad news. As the future looks increasingly gloomy (Brexit, Trump, the Toblerone crisis), we may snuggle up in these simple pleasures as a way of hiding from the shit storm that’s happening outside. No wonder you can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without seeing something about hygge.
Getting back to basics does have its merits; for a start, it’s usually simple, like an episode of The Gilmore Girls, which I hear is providing comfort for PTTD (that’s post-traumatic Trump disorder) at the moment.
No, let’s not overcomplicate things: no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen on a week night so I’ve created a very basic ‘bake’, a speedy (but satisfying) supper using parsnips and mushrooms. It takes less than 15 minutes to make and is easy on the washing up – and also on the waistline if you’re not too liberal with the olive oil.
This serves one but multiply the ingredients if you’re cooking for more people.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Take 5-6 chestnut mushrooms (or whatever you can find), rinse and dry with kitchen roll (it might sound basic, but wet mushrooms give you… soggy mushrooms) and slice. Then peel and slice one shallot – or half an onion. Add this, with the mushrooms, some thyme sprigs and a dash of balsamic vinegar, to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate one large parsnip and in a bowl, mix with one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of cider vinegar. Move the mushrooms over to one side of the frying pan and in the other half, add the grated parsnips and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so that they don’t stick to the pan. Turn off the heat and preheat the grill on a high heat, then spread the mushrooms at the base of a small ovenproof dish. Slice 3-4 sundried tomatoes and mix in with the mushrooms, adding some tomato puree if you like. Using the same bowl as before, stir 2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard through the grated parsnip and then spoon evenly on top of the mushroom mixture. Grill for five minutes – or until brown.
I’m so basic that I burnt this a little but no matter. Serve with green vegetables and relax.