12 Nov 2011

Saturday Snap: Mushroom magic

So here we are, getting on for mid-November: recent days have been damper and darker, with indoor lights needed by half four in the afternoon. Never mind, it's less than 6 weeks until the winter solstice when it all starts going in reverse and the days gradually lengthen. Looking at things that way, it doesn't seem too bad to my mind. Time to close the curtains and settle down with a good book and mug of tea.

At the moment, I'm reading a recent cookbook purchase of Veg Every Day, the latest from River Cottage. I've cooked up some wonderful meals from it, last night enjoying Mushroom Risoniotto, (riso being a tiny rice shaped pasta) a pasta affair with mushroom, fresh herbs and creme fraiche which was utterly delicious. Of course, I had to buy the mushroom ingredients but I did wonder, fleetingly, if I could have eaten any of these beauties found in the Veg Patch gardens - prompted by Hugh F-W recommending the use of "dark and flavoursome mushrooms ... include a few wild mushrooms if you have some to hand". (Nooo, I didn't; even I wouldn't be that silly! I haven't got a clue about mushrooms, unless they're store bought.)

Obviously the warm, damp weather conditions are just right for fungal growth in the grass. Apparently the presence of mushrooms means the grass is healthy; the fungi thrive by feeding off old plant debris under the surface and leave the soil in a better condition.  I was amazed at finding six different mushrooms in one patch of grass less than half the size of a cricket pitch.  Anyone know what these are?

Mushroom 3

There's something so magical about mushrooms (leaving aside references to Timothy Leary, any psychotropic happenings of the 60's and purported peddlings in good ol' Camden Market). For me, mushrooms springing up overnight will always remind me of misty dawn childhood expeditions with my siblings and my Dad, hunting for mushrooms on the airfields of Culdrose in Cornwall. The thrill of finding field mushrooms to take home for breakfast!

Mushroom 1
Mushroom 4   

Mushroom 2 Mushroom 6 Mushroom 5

And, seriously, if anyone can shed any light as to what sort of mushrooms these are, please let me know!

9 comments:

  1. I've got lots of fungi growing in my grass at the moment, they're springing up everywhere. I envy those who are knowledgable enough to forage for mushrooms, I wouldn't trust my identification skills and would probably end up poisoning myself.

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  2. A fascinating subject which I know very little about!
    I'm sorry that I can't throw any light on what they are. Flighty xx

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  3. Jo, I with you on that sentiment! I think, in my case, they're best left alone.

    Flighty, I'm happy just to find them growing in the grass and maybe one day I'll find time to learn more about them.

    Caro xx

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  4. What fabulous fungi, though like you would not have the nerve to pick and eat any, however much they looked like pictures of edible ones. That cookery book is on my wishlist, I am really enjoying the tv programme.

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  5. As you know I am a big mushroom forager but only pick the ones I am sure about - the bottom picture look like field mushrooms. I found some Blewitts today which are definitely edible.

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  6. I'm getting the River Cottage book for Christmas, so really looking forward to it. Picking mushrooms to eat is a bit dicey. There are so many and they can look so similar. They are amazing to look at though.

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  7. Janet, I can vouch for the cookbook, It's packed with meals that I can't wait to try and the ones I have made have been very successful. I love the way Hugh F-W presents; I hear his voice when I'm reading through the book!

    Elaine, I was rather hoping you'd be able to identify them for me! I'd have to learn how to forage with confidence before I eat any of these!

    Wellywoman, how reassuring to know you're getting something you want! I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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  8. Hi Caro

    About raspberries (on Out of MY Shed). I had spectacular results from my Autumn Bliss by cutting half the row to ground level last November and the other half to 50cms. I was cropping for about ten weeks. We ate some last night from the freezer where I have pounds more.Excellent flavour and they had kept their shape. Worth a try?

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  9. Hi Back Lane (so odd calling people by their blog names!), I really like your suggestions of cutting back the raspberries to different heights. Definitely worth a go, plus Joan J has been suggested as a good variety to try. Bring it on!

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Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

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