Entry 23: Get Stuffed

Hello Koala fans! First post of the new year and a happy 2014 to all my readers, both old and new. ^_^

As only to be expected, Christmas has kind of put me off sweet things for a bit, so this week we’re doing a savory dish. What makes this one particularly challenging is that I’m not working from a fixed recipe; I’m using some of the ingredients in my fridge and kitchen cupboard to see if anything inspirational comes to mind.

"What he actually means is that this is a recipe he tried ages ago and then forgot the details."

“What he actually means is that this is a recipe he tried ages ago and then forgot the details.”

And a happy new year to you too, fuzzball.

Either way, while the basic idea of the recipe was firmly in my head, the ingredient quantities were very much “play it by ear”. Stuffed mushrooms are pretty forgiving as recipes go and are pretty light on the washing up too. They’re also very versatile; you can swap the feta out for mozzarella, the spinach for rocket, add chopped hazelnuts…whatever you fancy really.

For this one, it was going to be a light dinner for one person and one koala, so I went with two mushrooms for the base. The larger portabello mushrooms have a good texture and flavour to them, plus the wide base means you can pile plenty of filling on the top. I set my oven to 180*C, which according to Google comes out at about 350*F. Not quite enough to fry a book then…

I recall the recipe had a little onion in it and provided it’s been fried well,  it goes well with garlic and salad leaves. I went with a quarter of an onion in the end:

If the blog didn't take off, he could always find work as an anime character.

If the blog didn’t take off, he could always find work as an anime character.

I remembered from the stroganoff I made a few weeks ago that onion needs about ten minutes to cook properly; much longer than the garlic and salad leaves.

I would make a joke about the Koala being a fun-gi but there isn't mush-room in these comment boxes.

I would make a joke about the Koala being a fun-gi but there isn’t mush-room in these comment boxes.

After washing the mushrooms, I removed the stalks and diced them up, so that the stalks and the onion were both frying on a medium heat for about ten minutes. When the onion started to turn golden brown, I added two teaspoons of Very Lazy Garlic, which works out at roughly a clove’s worth.

I'm typing this on a computer about half a mile from home, 14 hours later and I can still smell garlic. Oo

I’m typing this on a phone about half a mile from my house, 14 hours later, and I can still smell garlic.

This…may have been a teensy bit too much. If you’re going to give this a try yourself, just stick with half a clove or one teaspoonful. Rapidly losing faith in my ability to judge correct amounts of ingredients, I turned my attention to the spinach.

I'm pretty sure Popeye would have been even stronger if he'd eaten fresh greens instead of canned.

I’m pretty sure Popeye would have been even stronger if he’d eaten fresh greens instead of canned.

There’s about 80g of spinach on the scales, or two large handfuls. The nice thing about cooking with green leaves is that they reduce down nicely in size even after a minute or two in the frying pan.

Almost there but there's something missing....

Almost there but there’s something missing….

So we’ve got green leaves, garlic, mushrooms, onions…this is all far too healthy. In order to restore balance to the universe, I crumbled some feta cheese over the top. Feta is an absolutely amazing cheese – salty, creamy and utterly delicious. Pro tip – if you need a good snack, try some hot buttered toast with feta crumbled over it and add some flat leaf parsley.

The finished mushrooms.

The finished mushrooms.

The mushrooms needed about 20 minutes in the oven, after which they came out perfectly. Despite working blind, these turned out really well. The spinach was soften to just the right amount but not to the point where flavour was lost. I’d scale back the garlic certainly and maybe add more feta before putting the sauteed ingredients on the top. Although they aren’t pictured in the photo, I had some steamed veggies on the side with the mushrooms and it was nicely filling.

****

It was a really fun experiment working without a strict recipe sheet. If it had been with ingredients I wasn’t quite so familiar with I don’t know if it would have turned out as well. It’s definitely something I’d try again though. ^_^

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