Wild mushroom tart, a surprise dinner.

I ran a private fungi course in a friends wood on Sunday and we had a fantastic morning exploring the wide range of mushrooms growing there. As well as the biggest group of the deadly Death cap (amanita phalloides) I have ever seen, we also had huge array of delicious edible varieties.

  • Pied de mouton
  • Brown birch bolete
  • Bay bolete
  • Bulbous honey fungus
  • Ochre brittlegill
  • Deer shield
  • Purple brittlegill
  • Shaggy inkcap
  • The flirt
  • Amethyst deciever
  • The deciever

We returned with our laden basket only for me to find out that everyone on the course was heading to L’enclume for dinner and couldn’t take any of the mushrooms home with them.

All for me! What a treat!  But what to cook?

With beautiful mushrooms and not a lot of time on my hands decided on this tasty puff pastry tart, and it went down a treat.

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Easy Mushroom tart

Ingredientsimg_9877
85 g Breadcrumbs
100g Cheddar finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
2 cloves Garlic minced
200g Mixed mushrooms sliced
150g Puff pastry  (bought or homemade)
a little milk for glazing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Put a large saucepan over a high heat and add a large glug of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms at a high heat, if you only have a small pan then do it in batches so you can evaporate the any moisture quickly and get a little caramelisation on the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Whilst the mushrooms are cooling, roll out the pastry  to an oblong shape about 3mm thick.  Put the pastry onto a greased baking sheet, take a small knife and score a line around the pastry sheet 2cm from the edge.

Add the breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme to the cooled mushrooms and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and black pepper then pile it onto the centre of the pastry base, keeping inside your scored line.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, glaze the pastry edges with milk and bake in the centre of the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

I served this hot with a winter vegetable slaw, but it would be great cold too.

Crab apple Brandy

crab apple brandy to drink

The finished product, ready to drink!

Not just for jelly!
Deliciously tart Crab apples turn a very average bottle of brandy into a luxury tipple.

Ingredients:

1 x 70cl bottle of brandy
500g crab apples
Juice of half a lemon
50g sugar

Method:

Wash the crab apples, remove the stalks and cut them into halves. Put them into a large bottle or jar with a well fitting lid. Add the brandy, lemon juice and sugar. Swirl the ingredients around to dissolve the sugar and leave in a dark place for a month. Once a week give the brandy a gentle swish round to help extract the flavour from the fruit. After a month taste it to check for flavour and sweetness.

crab apple brandy just started

The flavour of the crab apple brandy will vary from year to year as the fruit varies. You can easily sweeten the liqueur by stirring in some caster sugar. Likewise if there is not enough apple flavour add some extra apple and leave for another week or two. When you are ready to bottle the brandy remove the fruit and strain through a very fine mesh sieve or muslin. The crab apple brandy will improve with keeping, – ideally store for a year before drinking.

Laverbread Tortellini

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I love Laver seaweed!!  My lovely wife Rose does not. I am trying to convert her and recently tried this recipe out on one of our Coastal Foraging course in Staithes. It went down really well , it even got pronounced “best tortellini ever” by some. Unfortunately I am still trying to convince Rose.

The stuffing for the tortellini is inspired by a traditional South Wales laverbread breakfast, the sauce is a rich onion stock infused with fried pancetta.

Laverbread tortellini with a rich onion and bacon stock.
Serves 4 as a starter.

For the pasta

500g ’00’ pasta flour
5 large eggs

For the filling

1 Shallot finely chopped
large knob of butter
250g Cooked laverbread (simmered for several hours). Finely chopped
1 slice of brown toast, chopped
50ml Double cream

For the stock

3 Red onions sliced
1 sprig of Thyme
3 slices of Pancetta finely chopped. Plus 3 slices finely chopped for garnish.
400ml water

Method

First make the pasta. Put the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Mix well until the dough comes together. Take out of the bowl and knead well (10 mins) until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make filling, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the shallot and cook gently until translucent but not brown. Put the toast, laver and cream into a food processor, add the fried shallot and any melted butter and pulse until smooth. If the mix looks dry, stir in an extra bit of cream  so that the filling is moist. put into a bowl and chill until needed.

Now make the stock.  Place a pan over a medium heat and pour in a glug of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, Thyme and half the pancetta then cook gently until the onions are a deeply caramelised and brown.

Add the water cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Now check the seasoning and taste. You want a rich onion flavour and if it is not intense enough cook out a little more.  Once you are happy with the taste pour through a sieve into a clean pan and reserve.

Take the pasta dough out of the fridge and roll it out very thinly, preferably with a pasta machine, but if not, as thin as you can with a rolling pin.

Cut the pasta into twenty 10cm squares and put a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of a square. Dip your finger in a little water and run it along two edges of a square. Fold the square into a triangle, pressing the top together and then working your way along the sides.
Pinch the bottom two corners of the triangle together to form a kerchief shape (see main picture). Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on well-floured baking sheet, and cover. Repeat with remaining pasta squares.

To serve

Fry off the remaining pancetta pieces until brown and crispy.  Warm the stock through over a low heat.

Cook the tortellini in a large pan of boiling for  2-3  minutes until they float at the top of the pan, then drain.

Divide the stock between 4 warm bowls, add the tortellini and sprinkle over the crispy pancetta and if you like some chive flowers.

Serve.

****

Laver Porphyra sp.

Found at the upper end of the tidal zone, fixed to rocks in sheets. Harvest with scissors to allow the seaweed to regrow. By pulling the seaweed you may also pull off tiny bits of rock that will get into you cooked dishes!

laver1

 

Wild garlic vichyssoise, Parmesan cream and Wild garlic oil

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We are making the must of the wild garlic and the warm weather.

A cool soup for a warm day!

Wild garlic vichyssoise, Parmesan cream and Wild garlic oil

For the soup.   Serves 4 as a starter.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons butter
6 Leeks white parts only finely chopped
2 Medium sized floury potatoes chopped into small cubes
16 Wild garlic leaves finely chopped
230ml Double cream
230ml Vegetable stock

Method:

In a large, heavy bottom pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the leeks and cook gently for 5 minutes, making sure they are soft but do not take on any color. Add potatoes and wild garlic.  Cook for a minute or two, stirring a few times. Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 mins, or until the potatoes are very soft. Puree the soup and then pass it through a sieve to make it super smooth.

Return to a pan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. Take off the heat and cool, then chill.

Serve cold with parmesan cream (see below), Wild garlic oil (see below) and a scattering of Wild garlic flowers.

Parmesan Cream.   Makes more than you need for this recipe but you can store it in the fridge for a few days and use it with pasta sauces etc.

200ml double cream
Parmesan rinds, about 10 cm square in total.
These are just what you have left over after you have grated all the cheese.  I never want to throw them out but never do much with them. This proves they were worth saving!!

Put the cream and cheese into a small saucepan and simmer until thick. Remove the cheese pieces and season the cream with salt to taste.

Wild garlic oil.   Makes more than you need for this recipe but will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

100ml Olive oil
10 wild garlic leaves finely chopped

Blend oil and garlic together, allow to sit for 30 minutes and then pass through a sieve.

 

 

 

Dandelion Bhajis and Wild Garlic Raita

dandelion flowers.JPGWe have been making these lovely Bhajis for years, we have even been on Countryfile demonstrating how to do it, but the video is lost and so I am giving the recipe out on the Blog for you to try. It only takes 10 minutes to make these scrumptious golden bhajis, you can serve them with plain yoghurt or maybe a Raita made with Wild Garlic..

Dandelion flowers open with the sun and close up overnight or when it rains. On sunny April days it’s often easy to find lots of lovely open flowers and these are the ones to collect.

Dandelion Bhajis and Wild Garlic Raita

You will need a deep pan to hold the frying oil and a thermometer to keep a check on the oil temperature.

Dandelion Bhajis – makes approx 15

  • 200g gram flour
  • ¼ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 45 large dandelion flower heads
  • 1.5 litres sunflower oil for deep frying

Put all the dry ingredients except the dandelions in a bowl and mix. Stir in approximately 100ml of cold water to make a thick batter, now put the dandelions into the batter and mix well to coat.Dandelion bhajis

Heat your deep frying oil to 185 degrees C and then gently drop spoonfuls (about 3 flowers) of the batter covered flowers into the oil. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes until golden, remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and serve seasoned with salt.5 Dandelion BhajisWild Garlic Raita

  • 400ml soured cream/crème fraiche
  • 1 bunch wild garlic washed and chopped
  • 5cm piece of cucumber chopped very small
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

 

 

Wild Garlic and Vegetable broth

IMG_6390.JPGSimple Healthy and Delicious: Once you have found a few Wild Garlic leaves this broth only takes 20 minutes to make. You can vary the vegetables if you like and serve it with crusty bread and butter. I have made this for quite a few people now and they all love it – young and old – even my Dad who doesn’t like garlic! He thought it was cabbage… hmmmm  One Day Foraging Course

Wild Garlic and Vegetable Broth Serves 3IMG_6387

1 small onion

1 stick of celery

1 carrot

2 small potatoes

A hand full of green beans

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 vegetable stock cubes

5 Wild Garlic leaves

Salt and Pepper

Peel and chop the vegetables in to very small dice. In a large pan heat the olive oil and saute the onion and celery gently for 5 minutes, add the carrot and potato and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Dissolve the stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water then add this to the pan. Add the chopped green beans and simmer for 10 minutes, until the veg is just tender. Wash the Wild Garlic leaves and cut into small ribbons, add this to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photographs from the Cooking with Fire course on Saturday

Rhubarb, Gorse Flower and Mascarpone Cake

3 Rhubarb and Gorse flower cake

If you’ve never tasted Gorse flowers and you see some, pick a couple of handfuls and celebrate Spring with this fabulous cake

This is a Victoria sponge made extra special by the addition of fruit, flowers and cream cheese. A decadent indulgence for a special occasion. Gorse flowers have a fragrant, almost tropical taste that really complements the acidity of rhubarb.

      Cake

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Filling

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 250g softened butter
  • 280g cream cheese
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g icing sugar

Decoration

  • 2 hand-fulls of Gorse flowers
  • 1 egg white
  • Caster sugar

First wash the Gorse flowers if necessary, gently pat dry and lay them out on a tray so that any insects fly away.

2 Rhubarb and Gorse flowers

Then start making the cake. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C, then grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake tins. Sieve the flour in to a bowl with the salt and mix together. In a separate bowl or food mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy (about 5 mins). Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg. Add the rest of the flour and vanilla extract and fold in with a metal spoon. Add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff then divide it between the tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until springy on top. Leave to cool in the tins.

Wash and cut the rhubarb in to 5cm lengths. Put it in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water, 100g sugar and 15g butter. Heat very gently to poach the rhubarb, carefully turning it occasionally, after about 20 minutes it will be tender. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool and drain. Save the poaching syrup to serve with the cake.

To crystalize the Gorse flowers, first prepare 2 drying trays by laying greaseproof paper on to baking sheets and pour some caster sugar in to shallow dish. Now put the egg white and a teaspoon full of water in to a bowl, mix with a fork to loosen then add the flowers. Mix well in the egg white, then remove the flowers squeezing well to remove excess egg. Coat the flowers as thoroughly as possible in caster sugar then lay them out on the drying trays. Dry the flowers in the oven on the coolest setting or in another warm airy place. They take around 2 hours in the oven. When you think they are dry squeeze one to check that is not moist in the middle. When dry store in an air tight container.

1 Crystalizing Gorse flowers

To decorate the cake

Beat the softened butter then add the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract   mix well then the sieved icing sugar and mix again. This filling will go inside the cake and coat the sides and top. Assemble the cake spreading some filling inside and half the rhubarb. Then coat the sides and top with the remaining mix and top with rhubarb. Blitz up most of the Gorse flowers in a spice grinder or food processor (saving some for decoration) Just before serving sprinkle the Gorse powder on the top and sides of the cake and put the whole flowers on the top.