Thursday, 25 November 2021

Nobody Died...

I made foraged mushroom soup. Andy always gets a little nervous when I do this. I used to go mushroom picking with my uncle when I was a child but only because he was a man of wide girth and couldn't be bothered to bend down and pick them himself. He held the basket, pointed and said, "That one". I would bend down, cut it with a penknife and pop it in the basket and so it would go on until the basket was full. We picked field mushrooms and parasol mushrooms. We used to see shaggy ink caps but he didn't like the texture of them when they were cooked so we always left those. I am no expert, I know the ones I know.

When they are curled round they are fresh

and as they open out they become a bit more soggy as you cook them. Parasol mushrooms have a loose ring around the stem that you can slide up and down.

You can't wash mushrooms; they just go soggy. I wiped each one with kitchen towel.

Mushroom soup is not the most glamorous soup to photograph but boy was it delicious. Parasol mushrooms give a very subtle flavour; not the more harsh taste you get from a nearly black field mushroom soup.

My mum visited in the afternoon and we both had a taste. When I presented it to Andy later, he asked his usual wary question, "Will it be alright?" I replied, "Nobody died!" I picked 1.5Kg of mushrooms and batched up the soup for the freezer. It has been lovely as our latest Saturday soup.

Foraging has been the late autumn choice of activity. I bagged the last of some windfall cooking apples from a neighbour, mixed them with a couple of handfuls of my crab apples and four eating apples to make an apple wine brew. It had a great smell because you also added lemon zest. It is a bit cloudy at the moment but ready for its first rack now that the bubbles have stopped. Racking is when you sieve the wine into a clean demijohn to keep removing the sediment. You might need to rack a wine two or three times over a few months before you bottle it.

The damson wine has been racked and is looking ready to bottle then lay down for 6 months. Damson is one of my faves. You don't drink this wine like table wine - you would fall over quite quickly! Instead you have a double shot of it like a spirit. 

 Sloe Gin is always on my Autumn list. I like to give little bottles as presents. If you spot any, wait until there has been a frost, then pick them on a dry day. I use a rule of three: one part gin, one part sugar, one part sloes. You have to put the gin in last to visually gauge this. The girls helped me prick the sloes to release the juice. Shake it every day. The longer you leave it the better it is. 

I also like to do a little supermarket foraging too. These wastenot boxes are £1.50 and a lot of fun to cook with, albeit that the cooking has to happen on the same day! I made dauphinoise potatoes; a soup with carrots, swede onion and potatoes; roasted pepper pasta sauce and a beetroot and cottage cheese side dish to have with fresh mackerel. The two apples went in a fruit salad and the tomatoes went in the pasta sauce. Yum! 

The limes? I grated the zest into my Christmas cake bake up. There is a small one for my brother-in-law, a round one for grandparents and a medium one for Heidi and me.

Hoping you have all had a good week. Jo xxx


  1. You have been busy cooking. I keep seeing those boxes of bargain veg in peoples posts but I never see them in the supermarkets. x

  2. I am a Monday morning shopper - that might be why.

  3. I think they maybe are randomly made up according to what stock they have going out of date . I shop same time Friday morning but the boxes aren’t always there … but when they are my heart skips a beat !!! Always excellent value. My only gripe is they are always on the counter you pass after paying !! Be better to put at front of shop!!

  4. Wow those mushrooms are something else aren't they.
    Wastenot boxes are such a good idea and you made some great things with your one Jo.
    Cake looks good too x