St Georges Mushrooms

St Georges Mushrooms: Foraging for wild mushrooms

St Georges Mushrooms

St Georges Mushrooms

How do you feel about wild food foraging? I think a lot of people are comfortable with picking wild blackberries or maybe some elderflower. But what about mushrooms?!

Understandably mushroom foraging is a scary thing as there are some deadly mushrooms out there but what if you knew what you were looking for? I went on a food foraging day a couple of years ago and was extremely taken by the idea of mushroom foraging. I love mushrooms and wild mushrooms are especially delicious, but can be difficult to source in local markets.

St Georges Mushrooms

St Georges Mushrooms

Luckily for me these St Georges Mushrooms are readily available on the parkĀ outside my house, however it is sometimes a game of Russian roulette trying to ensure you get them before the grass gets cut!

I have a little mushroom foraging guide book to help identify mushrooms but I only really eat these ones as they are so easy to find. I came across this website that gives lots of useful information too.

The best time to pick the mushrooms are in the morning after there has been some rain. They only need to be brushed down or wiped with a damp cloth to clean (make sure they are growing in a spot where there is little chance of contamination!).

To cook, keep it simple to maintain the fresh ‘mushroomy’ flavours! I like to stick to lightly stir-frying them a simple garlic butter and serving on toast (made from home made bread of course!)

Garlic Butter Wild Mushrooms

Garlic Butter Wild Mushrooms

Garlic Butter Wild Mushrooms on Toast

Garlic Butter Wild Mushrooms on Toast

Would you want to try mushroom foraging now? šŸ™‚

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Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Wintery weather equals warming soups. I made a version of this soup over the Christmas period as I had a massive bag of carrots to use up, but it ended up tasting lovely so I’ve made it again today with a couple of adjustments. You’ll need one large and one medium sauce pan. a blender and a wooden spoon.

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Recipe:

  • Toor Dal (2 handfuls)
  • Carrots (500g or about 9 medium ones)
  • Oil (around 1 tablespoon)
  • Crushed garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • Small red onion (use white or shallots, whatever you have in)
  • Spices (I used mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne pepper and garam masala- about a teaspoon of each or more if you like lots of spice)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Lime (optional- I had one so used it up)

StepĀ 1) Blanch the dal until al-dente in the medium saucepan (I used a pressure cooker). Drain and set to one side.

Toor Dal

Toor Dal (blanched)

Step 2) Chop carrots into small pieces, put into the large pan and cover with enough water so that all carrots are covered. Boil until cooked through (again I used the pressure cooker)

Step 3) As the carrots cook, fry whole spices in oil in the smaller pan and add garlic and onions when the whole spices are fragrant. Once onions and garlic are softened, add powdered spices and salt (I used about 1.5 teaspoons of salt)

Spices, onions and garlic

Spices, onions and garlic (fried)

Step 4) Add the spiced garlic and onions to the cooked carrots (still in the cooking water). Then blend the carrot mixture until smooth. I had to do this in two batches as I only have a jug blender.

Step 5) Put the blanched lentils into the smaller pan that you cooked the spiced onion and garlic mix in, and then add the blended carrot soup. Stir it all up and taste to see if there is enough seasoning. (At this point I added the juice of one lime as it needed to be use up and the soup tasted very sweet, so the lime helps to cut through the sweetness a little).

By keeping the lentils whole and al-dente, it gives a nicer texture to the soup. It has more of a bite and keep you fuller for longer. The Toor Dal I used has an extra earthy flavour which I think adds an extra dimension to the taste, but any lentils can be used! I also used whichever spices I had to hand, so feel free to mix and match the recipe. I’ve also got some cream in the fridge, so may add a sneaky dollop in to add extra richness. šŸ˜‰

I have portioned up this wholesome spicy soup for office lunches. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the more the flavour develops. This soup took me less than an hour to cook, wash the dishes and eat for lunch today! šŸ™‚

Fun With Bread: Stuffed rabbits and garlic dough balls

 

Bunny Rolls with Garlic Dough Balls

Bunny Rolls with Garlic Dough Balls

It is a well known fact that we eat with our eyes first. Food should look appealing as well as taste good, but it is also important to get the balance right.

I regularly go to my sister’s house at weekends for dinner. She’s a mum and works full time so I try and bring something along to ease the burden a little. This weekend she made a very complicated but deliciousĀ fish lasagneĀ recipe, from one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. I offered to make theĀ garlic dough ballsĀ to go on the side.

The weather in the UK has turned for the worse. It’s rainy, windy and generally pretty miserable out. This has had a pretty drastic effect on my bread making. Having decided to make the dough by hand, it just wasn’t rising during the proving as the kitchen was too cold. As a last resort I had to stick it into a warm oven which helped a little but I think it was a little too late as the dough still refused to rise much.

 

 

Garlic Dough Balls with Parmesan Cheese

Garlic Dough Balls with Parmesan Cheese

Bunny Rolls with Garlic Dough Balls

Bunny Rolls with Garlic Dough Balls

To make the dough balls taste a little more exciting, I made half the dough into dinner rolls but stuffed them with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Looking a little uninteresting, I decided to snip in a couple of ears of poke in a couple of eyes to make them into cute little rabbits.

Now you would think that my two and a half year old nephew would love these little rabbits, since he’s completely obsessed with animals! However he seemed pretty indifferent and slightly bemused. He was however much more interested in the garlic dough balls, ploughing through the bowl one by one.

It may be true that you eat with your eyes but at the end of the day its the taste that really counts. Since the ‘rabbits’ could easily have been ‘cats’ or ‘mice’, I think I only passed the taste test on this one!