Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dried Ceps/Porcini/Penny Buns/Tentullos

Once you have cooked and eaten, or sliced and frozen the most perfect small, tight, pale specimens, it's time to deal with the imperfect mushrooms; those ones that have gotten too big, have looser pores and imperfections. 

They are perfect for drying. We place them on racks over the iron range, with the temperature set to low. They will be dry in about 5 hours, or if really soggy,  after rain for instance, allow them to be there overnight.  Once they are completely dry, bottle them into airtight jam jars. They're the perfect Christmas gift for foodie friends.

Amanita Cesaria/Ovuli/Oronges/Caesar's Mushroom/Kaiserpilz

 One of the most delicious mushrooms we find at this time of year is Amanita Cesaria, known locally as La Tana. It bursts through the ground in a white caul, and it's inadvisable to collect it at this stage as it could be confused with other deadly Amanitas which start out in the same way, but do not reveal the brightly coloured head. The mushroom should catch your eye like a piece of discarded tangerine peel, but it often hides cunningly amongst autumn foliage.
 To prepare the mushrooms, wipe the cap with a damp cloth, and peel back the caul from the stem, which is revealed as  lemon yellow. Cut off caul at base.
 When you have your mushrooms cleaned, slice through them thinly. You will see the delicate structure of the yellow gills, and the stems are creamy  white inside.
 One of the ways to enjoy them and their delicate flavour, is simplicity itself. Get a fresh organic lemon.
 Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon over the mushrooms slices.
 Pour on some light virgin olive oil
 Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Toss and eat.
Alternatively, fry your slices up in a little olive oil and butter, with 2 cloves of garlic sliced into 4 chunks each. Season to taste when they are cooked, and serve in a small dish for tapas, or on toast.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Porcini Schmorcini

3 more kilos of mushrooms this morning, so after lunch we had to chop and prepare porcini sauce with onions and cream and parsley, so that it can be kept in the deep freeze for use when the mushrooms have stopped coming.

This morning started cold, 11ºC, but by this afternoon the sun was blazing  and we were up once more into the mid twenties.

We now light the fire in the evening, and no longer dine in the patio unless there is a freak heatwave, which is still just possible.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn Photography, the Mushrooms are here!

My goodness, but I've been slack about posting.....forgive me, all two followers (me and my dog). This year has been hectic as we've been working on the Buenvino Cookbook, about 200 pages of life, laughter and deliciousness. It's been hard work, but a blast, as Jeannie and I remembered events from years past. For more images go onto Tim Clinch's photography page and click on the image of the dish of scarlet prawns.

After a heavenly, hot summer, autumn has arrived, with balmy days, cool nights and enough dew in the early mornings to encourage the funghi porcini, or Tentullos as they are known here.  Even as I write there are shrieks of delight, and someone has come in from the forest with another Kilo of them.

Extravagant breakfast:  Slice up a few Boletus mushrooms to the thickness of a 1 Euro coin. Put lots of butter in a pan with a little olive oil, and heat until the butter has melted and is beginning to froth a little with the oil. Add the mushrooms, only so many as will cover the bottom of the pan. They will shrink a little and allow space for further additions as you cook them. Sprinkle with sea salt. Fry on a medium heat until golden on one side, flip, and warm through the other side. 
Now prepare soft poached eggs, two per person. Golden mushrooms on top. A grind of pepper and you are ready to go.

Of course, you could always go completely over the top, like our Milanese guests, Massimo Volta and Rebeca Willig, (who you can see here in Massimo's short film "Muse in Chains") . They insisted on a little jamón de bellota to go with it....¿porque no?