So, this weekend, I finally lived out a bucket list item – mushroom foraging!
A dear friend of mine, Jonathan, has been promising to take me for year, but for one reason or another, we’ve just never got around to it. Until now!
With typical English weather, we went out in the pouring rain to look for a fungi rewards. The first, were pretty easy, as they were just around the corner from his front door, under some magnificent pine trees. These, I was reliably informed, were cep mushrooms, or porcinis. These funny, yellow squashy things were everywhere, just ripe for the picking. Of course, we left plenty for others and so they could sew their spores.
However, mushroom number two – the parasol – was somewhat trickier to gather. It involved climbing Mount Everest. Ok, so maybe not quite that, it was a hill of the South Downs, but for someone who is more out of shape than she’s care to admit, it may as well have been Mount Everest.
Again, there were plenty and they were so big. I had no idea they were going to be so huge. After gathering what we needed, it was back down the hill to a much-needed cup of tea.
Having gone to so much effort to gather such quality ingredients, I wanted to make sure they were the star of the show and opted to give a mushroom stroganoff a try. I’ve done beef stroganoff many of times, but with my meat-loving partner sharing this dinner, I wasn’t sure how well a vegetarian dish would go down.
I found this recipe, which I loosely followed – measurements went out of the window to be completely honest! It was really easy to make – just onion, garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock (could be veggie if you don’t eat meat) and of course, the mushrooms!
I served it up with some rice and dinner was ready in about 10 minutes, literally no time at all.
The mushrooms certainly had a flavour I’ve never tried before. They were pretty fleshy – even Himself said that! – and very filling.
Definitely a tasty dinner and I would do it again, but I’d probably add some beef – more at the request of Mr Meat-Eater!
Whilst I have no idea about mushroom collecting, I would go again with Jonathan. I would highly recommend going with an expert if you know someone, but please, don’t just go picking and eating wild mushrooms willy-nilly. Some of them can be quite nasty!
I have this book, which is part of the River Cottage Handbook series, in my collection and I love it, I’m just not brave enough to go out mushrooming by myself. Definitely a good read for anyone interested in the topic though.