Monday, 30 August 2010

Fungal Foray

The fruits of the forest floor are ancient organisms capable of so many different things. They're the re-generators of life that occasionally take one too. You have to know what you're picking and I wouldn't advise eating these. The Fly Agaric is the hallucinogen of choice for reindeer and their herders, the latter drink it through the formers urine, once all the really bad stuff has been filtered out. It was these chaps, not magic, that got Santa's reindeer flying.

I was musing on this, and other assorted nonsense, while walking through forestry near Aberfoyle. Maybe I'd got it wrong? That quasi mystical feeling that now is the time. For the past few years I've never failed, but now, whilst finding plenty of pretty specimens, my true quarry was proving elusive. Too early in the year, too late?

Then suddenly an urge to look in a different direction...

Bingo! These porcini were in pretty good nick, one almost perfect... and both smelt amazing.

Rounding a corner I bagged my next lot.

Chanterelles this time, managed to pick nearly two kilos before the hunter became the hunted. A haze of midges descended and started eating me alive. I scarpered.

Stopped off in 'The Aberfoyle Butcher' for a couple of popseye steaks from local cows. Terroir and all that. Back home sautéed some garlic to golden then threw in the sliced porcini.

After five minutes added a little stock and cream, then cooked for five minutes more. The steaks were cooked and kept warm while the pan was deglazed with a little light red wine

Then put the porcini into the same pan with a little Parmesan. Heated it all through. Served up with 'healthy' oven chips... slice and par boil potatoes for 3 minutes. Drain and lay on a baking tray to steam dry for ten minutes. Rub with a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pop into a hot oven, 210 C, for about 15 - 20 minutes. Works every time. In my excitement I forgot to photograph the wine. It was a Loire gamay from The Wine Society. £7.95 and delicious. Click here for details.

The porcini sauce was incredible and would work well with turbot too. An utterly beguiling aroma that grew from within for half an hour after eating. The scents of the forest floor just kept coming back through my nasal passages. I know that sounds weird, but believe me, it was very enjoyable and, I'm pretty certain, a hell of a lot nicer than reindeer piss.


  1. Good Lord. What a penny bun. Top work.

  2. Ah, their old English name! Thanks Jonathan, they were incredibly good, the aroma just enveloped the senses in a way that dried ones never do... it was like 'subtle truffle'!

  3. SPLENDID!! My heart pounded through the chest with this whole adventure! you have captured the essence of food on how it is meant to be gathered and prepared good on you!

    And now..the wine.

  4. Many thanks for the generous compliment Natural Selection and yes, fair point, wine!