03 Jul Forage and Frolic: A mushrooming adventure…
I recently embarked on a good ol’ forage through the pine forests of Macedon (Victoria), in search of some delicious wild mushrooms, as part of a field trip organised by Emma Stirling of Scoop Nutrition and Heidi Sze of Apples Under My Bed.
The hunt for these rather elusive mushrooms (it seems the recent cold weather had significantly diminished the crop of local pine, grey ghost and slippery jack species) was expertly guided by mushroom gurus Richard Ford and Jim Fuller.
These men are truly experts on anything ‘mushroom’ and provided us with significant insight into the world of these fabulous fungi.
Oh and by mushrooms we are not just referring to the white button, farmed varieties that populate our supermarkets. No, the world fungi is much, much larger!
The many faces of fungi…
In fact, mushrooms are not necessarily just an edible foodstuff. Some varieties are also used medicinally (often brewed as a tea). For example, the species Cordyceps sinensis is said to carry anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties; aiding in the management of blood cholesterol, blood sugar in addition to immunity and stress reduction benefits.
Although, making your own wild mushroom brews (ill informed) is NOT recommended. When in the wild your best to take the advice of a fungi expert as one dodgy mouthful and you may be mushroom soup (literally!).
Of course one does NOT generally rise early on a Sunday morning to simply hang in a freezing cold forest…right?! Well, yes…but rest assured that the thought of our post-forage three-course mushroom inspired feast (to be cooked by talented Canadian Chef Mark Renaud and team at Olive Jones restaurant) provided the perfect motivation!
Our delicious three course meal was enough to turn any mushroom ‘hater’ into an absolute ‘lover’. Think creamy mixed mushroom veloute with blue cheese crouton; slow cooked beef braised with a selection of mushrooms, and for dessert a bread and butter pudding featuring Candy Cap mushrooms (pictured below), which gave the dish an unimaginable maple flavour!
If you currently despise mushrooms then it may be because you are cooking them wrong. Yes, it seems there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to cook the stock-standard white button mushrooms we are all familiar with.
Stay tuned as I will be sharing a few of the recipes and tips/tricks of our mushroom gurus in the coming weeks…
Thanks to the fellow foodies and mushroom enthusiasts whom made for an amazing day out in the great outdoors. Inhalation of some seriously fresh, clean air was just what this city girl needed!
Now I have a question for you. When was the last time you went on a field trip?
Getting to know where our food comes from is SO important and talking directly to your local food producers, experts and farmers is one of the best ways to achieve this. They are the true ‘foodies’ AND provide a wealth of passion and knowledge…an untapped resource!