Thursday, 6 October 2016

Phil's a Fun-guy!

We've recently been out foraging for wild mushrooms. At the start of every autumn we head off into the woods and onto the commons in search of free fungi.  It's one way we console ourselves with the end of summer and the onset of the colder seasons.  As well as our spirits, it keeps our vitamin D levels up; not just from the fact that we might be out in sunshine and getting our vitamin D directly, but also due to the fact that mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D.  Last year we were fortunate enough to find a wide range of interesting wild edible offerings.  This year has so far been less prolific but we have still managed to prepare a few mushroomy meals as well as drying some for future meals.

Phil is the 'fun-guy' identifier in the Driftwood household. Scooby is the mushroom 'hound' that sniffs them out and points, awaiting the verdict on whether the results would be edible, hallucinogenic, or deadly.  Fortunately our relationship is based on trust!  So far, so good!

The results have been really tasty.  There is nothing that compares to wild mushrooms. The shop bought varieties are a world away. However, here is the standard disclaimer; you have to be sure what you are looking for.  There have been times when Phil has been 99% sure of what he has identified but that's not good enough.  You have to be 100% sure unless you want to risk a trip to the hospital, or of another kind!  There are quite a few experts out there so do seek out their guidance. For instance, one such local expert on wild foraging is Jon Dale and this Saturday there is a chance to join him for a local foraging session courtesy of Sprout Health Foods in Newquay. Check out the Sprout Health Foods Facebook page for details.

On our own recent forage for mushrooms we found some Deceivers, Amethyst Deceivers, Agaricus Macrosporus, Wood Hedgehogs, Oysters, Bay Boletes, Pine Boletes, and some King Boletes.  Some of these we dried both to preserve our haul, and to improve the flavour, and some of them we cooked up for the next meal.  Risotto is one of our favourite uses of wild mushrooms as it really concentrates and enhances their earthy flavours.  Below is Fungi Phil's recipe.  If you don't find wild mushrooms then you could just use shop bought ones.

Fungi Phil's Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
Pinch black pepper
200g mushrooms (we had a mix of Amethyst Deceivers, Hedgehogs and Boletes)
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder 
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast to taste

In a frying pan saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent and then add the thinly sliced garlic clove and the pinch of black pepper.  Continue to cook for 1 minute more.  Add the chopped mushrooms and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the rice and stirring in well.  Add enough water to just cover the rice, and then the vegetable stock powder, stirring well to ensure the rice doesn't stick. From there it's a process of just adding water 1/2 cup or so at a time, until the rice is cooked but still has a little 'bite'.  Then stir in the nutritional yeast powder.

If you are wondering what the other dish in the photo is then let's call it 'Phil's Saucy Risotto Accompaniment' and here is that recipe.

 Phil's Saucy Risotto Accompaniment

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic crushed
1 red pepper
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Portuguese butter beans from our garden (or broad beans as our beans are ours!)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Fry the onion in the olive oil until it starts to brown and then add the garlic.  Add the chopped pepper and continue to fry until soft.  Add the salt, paprika and chilli and fry for 31.5 seconds :)  before adding tomato puree and stirring well.  Add beans and enough water to just cover and cook for 15 minutes, adding the balsamic vinegar just at the end.  


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