Mad About Mushrooms!

Put on your apron and cook up one of our delicious mushroom recipes

Foraged food is delicious, all the more so because it’s been picked by you, leaving stained hands and scratched arms.

Some foragings are easy – blackberries, elderberries, stinking elderflowers that somehow transform into delicious cordial, wild garlic in the Spring, glorious gorse flowers.

Some are not. Mushrooms are definitely not. Even the edible ones look like they should kill you and, if a simple mushroom took out Claudius in AD 54, you’d better take care.

Dark and pungent as a forest floor, or light and ethereal, mushrooms come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes. And their names are there to conjour with: False Deathcap, Destroying Angel, Club Foot, Drab Tooth, Powdery Piggyback, Weeping Toothcrust and Wet Rot could surely form an army to populate the bleakest recesses of the underworld. Whilst Pearl, Oyster, Enoki, Puffball and Pink Disco beat the drum for goodness and purity.

But beyond such flights of fancy, how not to be scared of a mushroom? Simple, eat them, simply.

Eat mushrooms on toast at least once a month.

  1. Fry your selection of fungi in a little olive oil on a low heat. Never cover the pan otherwise all the moisture they release will make them soggy.
  2. Once the liquid has evaporated, add a knob of butter and turn up the heat.
  3. I like to add salt, chilli and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Try a crisply fried egg on the side.

Mushroom Soup

I love this soup. It’s dark and rich and just sensational. Plus, if you don’t use the butter, it’s fat free!

4-5 Portobello mushrooms, as dark as possible. The darker the mushrooms, the darker your soup and that adds to both flavour and drama. Peel off the skin and coarsely chop the mushrooms, stem included.

2-3 slices of brown bread, blitzed to a crumb. Use good bread, but not seeded as this will make your soup granular.

500ml good quality stock. I use chicken but vegetable is fine.

Generous knob of butter, optional.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Flat leaf parsley chopped.

Cooking time 20 minutes.

  1. Add your Portobellos to a pan with your butter or, if not using butter, with a splash of stock. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes to allow them to release their juices.
  2. In a jug, soak your breadcrumbs in the stock. The breadcrumbs work as a thickening agent.
  3. Add the stock and breadcrumb mixture to the soup and cook for a further 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to season. Maybe a grate of nutmeg or chilli? Blitz in a liquidiser and taste again.
  5. To serve add finely chopped flat leaf parsley or a swirl of luxuriant cream. If you prefer a less bold flavour, let down the soup with a bit of milk.

Mushrooms are wonderfully easy to grow at home. Don’t they look pretty under a glass dome? Perhaps they will be the terrariums of 2017?


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