I love foraging for the same reason I enjoy looking for tracks; it slows me down. It pays to be careful where you place your feet when looking for mushrooms, as I learnt when John Rensten took us on a wild mushroom hunt, near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. We had a knowledgeable local guide in Garry Eveleigh who has foraged the area since he was young.
The bracken which covered the autumn landscape had turned a rusty colour. This same brown hue was one we were warned to steer clear of when it came to mushrooms. In general, mushrooms with rusty coloured gills or spores are likely to be inedible at best, deadly at worst.
Our first fungi encounter was with a Trooping Funnelcap on the edge of the woodland. Edible, but some people don’t digest them well. We were advised to carry out a tolerance test to avoid a bad belly before diving in to a bowl of Funnelcap soup!
There is a great abundance of fungi in the New Forest, and we found several edible species. The creamy white Hedgehog mushroom which has spines underneath smelt sweet and good to eat, and it was.
Blewits and the “Amythest Deceiver” were piled into the foraging basket, along with Winter Chanterelles, and a type horse mushroom.
Back at camp a Forager’s Feast was prepared using the harvested mushrooms. Fraser prepared a rich and creamy sauce with a slight kick from whiskey and smoked paprika, to which the Horse mushrooms and Chanterelle mushrooms were added. The “Mc-stroganoff” was enjoyed by everyone around the fire while the main course was prepared (recipes to follow).
The culmination was a wild mushroom risotto, expertly assembled with a mixture of the day’s bounty, and full of flavourful fungi. The earth had provided.
A few finely diced shallots.
A few handfuls of mushrooms.
Table spoon or two of olive oil.
Splash of Whiskey.
Dash of double cream.
Pinch or two of smoked paprika.
Sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Heat a good pan, add oil, salt, pepper and shallots, fry gently for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms, turn up the heat and add the whiskey and cream, stir and turn, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, serve and heat hot with bread or oat cakes etc.
Onion finely diced.
Garlic cloves finely minced.
Red or green chilli.
Table spoon of olive oil.
Splash of white wine.
500g short grain rice.
1.5 litres veg stock (water and stock powder ok)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat your pan, add – oil, onion, garlic and chilli, fry gently for a few minutes before adding the rice and stir all together, then add the wine, steam off the wine a bit before adding approx a third of the stock, and the chopped mushrooms, add the stock by thirds as needed to stop the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan, stir occasional until the rice is soft, but still has a slight bite. Top with grated hard cheese and serve and enjoy!
Blog from Becky.
Recipes from Fraser.