CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Friday, 30 September 2011

Wild Mushroom Risotto

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Yes, I did eat the wild mushrooms from Saturday’s forageand lived! At least, I had them for a late Sunday lunch, because I fell into bed when I got home on Saturday and just could not manage to get up again to feed myself.

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First I fried some onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft – I like to let them get a little brown and caramelised when it’s going with mushrooms.

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Then I added 4 heaped tablespoons of Arborio rice, some chicken stock (you could use vegetable) and ~half a litre of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer slowly until the rice is done (but not overdone), adding liquid as needed.

Once the rice was cooked, I added a handful of grated cheese, a goodly knob of butter (James Martin would have approved) and a dash of lemon juice, seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste.

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Meanwhile, in another pan, I sauteed the fungi – which had first been thoroughly brushed clean and sliced where needed - in a little oil.

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Finally, slopped it on a plate and slapped the mushrooms on top. Yes, I know … ALL my risotti look like savoury rice puddings, but they taste fine. Smile

And not a magic one in sight, which is probably a good thing, maybe.

(The quantities above made 2 equal portions of the size shown.)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mushroom Hunting Expedition

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Here are a few photos from the mushroom hunting (or fungi forage) expedition I went on last Saturday in the New Forest.

It’s was a fantastic morning with lovely company and a knowledgeable and entertaining guide. It was brilliant to get out into nature again – I realised just how much my soul needs to commune with its tranquillity.

However, it’s taken me until now to find the energy to upload the pics and write these few words. Despite being chauffered and despite finding myself places to sit down while the rest of the group went off foraging, a mere 3-hour outing caused me an 18+ hour crash, where I just slept and slept.

Well, sleep was more like a coma really, because I couldn’t have woken up or functioned, even if my life had depended on it and, of course, I suffered all the usual post-exertional malaise feverish, flu-like symptoms, with, this time, the added bonus of reawakened allergies and a bevvy of bites.

At least there were plenty of opportunities to rest while folk were foraging. I’d wanted to go because I thought it sounded more interesting than merely going on a walk, but I thought about it afterwards: there is no way I could have kept up the pace or coped if it had been a walk instead.

But silly me, I forgot how *tasty* I seem to be to the world’s bug population. I could remember to take precautions against the mosquitos in Tenerife, but totally forgot that actually, the last time I was bitten really badly (allergic reaction, massive swelling and in need of urgent medical attention), was some 20 or so years ago … wait for it … also in the New Forest!

So, without repellent some now fat little beastie first had several nibbles on my neck, proceeded across my shoulder and then the saucy little sucker managed to bite my boobs (in several places) and work him or herself down my torso and legs, supping at regular intervals. Well, unless there were several of them. And I still can’t calm the incessant itching.

Still, enough of the winging and on with the show:

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You’d easily dismiss those orange spots as fallen Autumn leaves, but they’re mushrooms. Don’t ask me what kind. If there’s one important lesson I learned about mushrooms it was to leave the identification to the experts!

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Very pretty, but there’s a good reason the colour RED signifies DANGER. That’s one you don’t want to pick, even if it does look super-cute.

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Trees. Forests tend to have quite a lot of them. Smile 

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Bracken beginning to turn an autumnal brown.

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A nice little mushroom crop (I’d already harvested some before I remembered to take the photo) growing in the moss-covered base of a fallen tree.

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The sum total of the harvest – and, to be fair, I only foraged around half of those myself – of mostly Hedgehog Mushrooms and Chanterelles.

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