The sky is gun-metal grey, our living tree – Angus – is twinkling multi-colour in the living room, and I have an ever-growing pile of secrets under the bed.
Fa la la la la – Christmas is here!
The absolute best part of this time of year for me is all of the planning, preparing and looking-forward. The anticipation. The ticking-off of many lists, and the long moments inbetween: smelling the front door wreath, listening to the winter birds in the garden, eating chestnut cake for breakfast.
Having the time to read, write and bake for fun is infinitely more enjoyable with a cold view and a warm cardigan. But I’m a cold-season enthusiast, so excuse me while I make the most of my December reverie.
Wild Mushroom Toasts with Watercress Salsa
And so to the subject at hand: Christmas eating.
Christmas eating begins with a special – or at least, out of the ordinary – breakfast. (Unless you count vegan sausage rolls or cheese on toast after Christmas Eve drinks, which is a tradition in itself.)
The back catalogue of Christmas Day breakfasts in my life goes a little something like this:
- Bacon sandwiches, chocolate
- Scrambled eggs on toast, chocolate
- Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, chocolate, bucks fizz
- Chocolate, bucks fizz
- Bucks fizz
- Tofu scramble, homemade bucks fizz
- Tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, homemade bucks fizz, coffee
- Mushrooms on toast, booze and coffee
A little slice of life from the 90s to the 10s, from young person to not-so-young person, meat-eater to vegan.
But. As much as I love tofu scramble and tempeh bacon, it is SO FILLING. Last year, there was no room left for unnecessary chocolate, and we didn’t get around to the main event until about 7pm.
Which is why these wild mushroom toasts are perfect: they’re special enough for Christmas day, a little different, and absolutely delicious without jeopardising your dinner. They’re:
- earthy with garlic and herbs
- splashed with a little wine (it is Christmas!)
- fresh and peppery with a smashing salsa
Oh! And this delight is all ready in 15 minutes. So you can get back to the important business of Christmas morning.
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 100g wild mushrooms, washed and patted dry
- 4 garlic cloves
- Black pepper (be generous)
- Optional: 1 tbsp white wine
- Watercress Salsa
- 60g watercress
- 40g spinach
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Pinch of good salt
- Black pepper
- Bread for two
- Handful of fresh parsley
- Optional: Sauteed smoked tofu/ tofu bacon, fresh tomatoes
- Begin by making the watercress salsa. Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it comes together - this can be to whatever consistency you prefer.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan (medium-high) and slice the mushrooms and garlic.
- Slice the bread, and put it on to toast.
- Now add the mushrooms and garlic to the oil, followed by the pepper. If you're adding the wine, splash this in now.
- The mushrooms won't take more than a couple of minutes to cook, so keep an eye on them.
- To assemble, spoon some of the salsa onto the toasts, followed by mushrooms, more black pepper and fresh parsley.
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