Autumn is coming. We know this because our Gazebo blew away last night. It took with it a sprinkling of leaves from the surrounding trees, deftly signaling a change in season.
Another sure sign was stumbling across beautiful, wild Parasol Mushrooms whilst taking Oscar and Alfie for their daily walk.
We are some of the lucky ones because we live in a National Park. In fact we live in the only National Park to be designated ‘primarily because of its spectacular coastline’. Oh, and it’s got great mountains too, which is where we were.
As I say, we are ‘Dead lucky’ as Josh describes it. But you don’t have to live in a National Park to find these National Treasures, you can find them all over the country if you keep your eyes peeled.
We love a forage. We love making the most of nature’s bounty. Also, do you know how far away the nearest supermarket is? Google map us, I dare you. So anything we can forage is a gift as it means less trips to the shop, so we harvested a few of these gorgeous Parasols and spirited them home.
We probably haven’t mentioned yet that Josh and I both spent a few years working in Asia, Singapore in particular, and Josh has been particularly inspired by asian cooking; the ingredients, the combinations of spices, flavours and methods. So having been doubly inspired by some spontaneous mushroom foraging, he knocked up a stunning yet simple fried rice for which you can find the recipe below. No picture of the finished article though sorry, dog walking in the fresh mountain air made us hungry.
A little bit of foraging is great for the soul, it reminds us of how amazing nature is so we do encourage it. However, a few things to heed. Firstly it is very important to be 100% sure that whatever you are foraging is edible. Have you seen “Into the wild”? Thats a recommended watch if you haven’t seen it already, highlighting the importance of correct identification. Secondly, remember to leave enough for Britain’s wildlife. Bambi and Terry Nutkins will thank you for it. Happy foraging!
Josh’s Wild Mushroom Fried Rice
Long grain rice
Garlic (I used smoked)
Cracked black pepper
Pembrokeshire sea salt to taste
Begin by boiling rice, approximately 75g per person/ portion. While it is cooking, lightly toast about a heaped tablespoon full of pine nuts in the pan you’re going to cook in, keep an eye on them while continuing to prep the other ingredients, they will only take a few minutes. Once done remove from pan and set aside.
Slice obliquely (at a 45 degree angle in Laymen’s terms ) 2 or 3 spring onions pp
Total mushrooms pp= ~50g roughly chopped. Depending on how much wild mushrooms you can forage substitute with any shop bought varieties as required. I found large parasol mushrooms and added shitake and button mushrooms to the mix. Remove all stems and set aside for a stock, some of the smaller mushrooms could be left whole (no stem).
Crush 2 cloves of (smoked garlic) and finely dice about the same amount of ginger
Finely chop about half a handful of coriander and basil (don’t be shy).
When the rice is cooked, rinse thoroughly with hot water and set aside to drain.
Gently fry the spring onions in fat (I used home-collected pork fat, but any fat or oil will work), add the button mushrooms, allow to cook through a bit then add the shitakes, once nearly cooked add the remaining wild mushrooms (parasols have delicate flesh and do not require too much cooking) along with the fresh herbs and a sprinkling of black pepper. As the herbs wilt, add the cooked rice to the frying pan, with a splash of soy sauce, and mix together well.
Serve in a bowl and eat with chopsticks, adding seasoning of Pembrokeshire sea salt (we used Wild Garlic) to taste.