It's mushrooms fever time


I have been keeping my eye on the weather forecast for two months straight. No kidding. Why? Because arguably one of the best produce to forage is about to come out, suddenly, out of a dark night: Mushrooms!

The east coast of Australia has lots of pine plantations, and in it, at this time of the year, there is a bounty of edible mushrooms. The most commonly known are Saffron Milk Caps (Lactarious deliciosus) and Slippery jacks (Sullius spp), enjoyed by many but most famously prised by folks of eastern european and mediterranean background.

The practice is so wide-spread that if you travel to some of the hot spots during the Easter festivities you would find big extended families camped in pine plantations, gathering and feasting on the readily available produce.

So you can imagine how eager was I to see this information popping up on my phone: rain!

Hehehe, yes! Finally!

Yep, this year's season is late. Some say very late. We have been waiting for the rain for months, and also for the temperature to drop, as it has been a surprisingly warm Autumn. 

To be aware of seasonal variability is important, but that is not the only skill you need to master before going out mushrooming, as incorrect identification might cause you a sorry state.

I have been running foraging workshops in the state forest from a few years by now, and this year I will be collaborating with the guys behind Studio Neon for a set of very special events, where you will learn the do and don'ts of pine mushrooms from me while Aaron and Richy cook up something truly special for us all to feast on. So good.

To give you an idea of the chef's philosophy and why they forage themselves have a look at this video below.

Aaron Teece and Richard Robinson are important practitioners, who not only advocate for a better understanding of seasonality and locality, but also stress the importance of educating the public steering the industry towards a new dogma of sustainability and nutritional relevance: eat local because is better for you, the environment, the economy, your network and the future generations of earth stewards

Yep, food is politic, whether you like it or not. But believe me, when a chef cooks it you would all agree ;)

If interested in joining us there is a set of bus leaving at 7am in the morning. Some with outstanding chef's catering and others just for the knowledge. Jump on board, the season has been fickle, might not last long this year. See here for details and bookings> 


Pine Mushrooms Recipes>> Confit and Pickling are great ways to preserve your mushrooms and have them on hand all year round.


Confit mushrooms 

Ingredients
 
·      250g pine mushrooms
·      4 cloves garlic
·      2 bay leaves
·      1 rosemary
·      1 tsp. caraway seeds
·      1 tsp. coriander seeds
·      1 tr light olive oil or grape seed oil
Method
 
·      Place all ingredients in a deep baking dish, make sure the mushrooms are under the oil, and place in the oven on the lowest setting around 80c, cook for 2hrs.
·      Meanwhile take a jar, and sterilise, you can do this by boiling it in water or by putting in an oven at 130c for 15mins.
·      Let jar cool
·      Place the mush rooms and liquid in a jar with a tight fitting lid preferably a kilner jar, make sure the liquid reaches the top of the jar and the mushrooms are submerged.
·      Place lid on tight and cool in the fridge.
The mushroom will keep for at least 6months in the fridge as long as the mushrooms stay under the liquid.


Pickled mushrooms

Ingredients:
•    250g of mushrooms (pine mushrooms)
•    2 bay leaves
•    5 black pepper corns
•    2 juniper berries
•    3 glove of garlic 
•    1 sprig if thyme
•    1 sprig of rosemary
•    200ml of sherry vinegar 
•    100g sugar
•    200ml water
•    50ml olive oil

Method 
•    Place all ingredients (except mushrooms) in a pan bring to the boil.
•    Add mushrooms and simmer for 1min.
•    Let cool at room temp
•    Meanwhile take a jar, and sterilise, you can do this by boiling it in water or by putting in an oven at 130c for 15mins.
•    Let jar cool
•    Place the mush rooms and liquid in a jar with a tight fitting lid preferably a kilner jar, make sure the liquid reaches the top of the jar and the mushrooms are submerged.
•    Place lid on tight and cool in the fridge.
The mushroom will keep for at least 6months in the fridge as long as the mushrooms stay under the liquid.

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