Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Room for Shrooms

4WD was a lucky thing to have
Mushrooms have always been a perfect food for me with their earthy flavour and meaty flesh, they lend themselves so well to many menus and many cuisine styles. It had long been in my mind to have mushrooms aplenty, both home grown and freshly and wildly foraged, to add to our menu.

Drive Vista

With time and desire on our side we put into place a plan to drive off into the wilds and find us some mushrooms. The weather having been so shroomingly condusive to fungal activity with warm days and abundant rain we went our merry way hopeful of  success and baskets of bounty.

Taking roads less travelled in our trusty 4WD and our idea of camping equipment piled in the back we went mushrooming. The coast is not overly planted in pine forest, our chosen target environment, so we had to climb to an elevation and region where pine forests were cultivated and a state forest plantation had to be found.
pine plantation

In NSW it is an entirly legitimate activity to enter a state pine plantation and harvest wild mushrooms, but it is always best to know what is permitted in your own state. It is also best practice to familiarise yourself with what is and what is not edible.

Fly Agaric

Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric
A fairy tale appearance belies a potential to grave consequences should they be eaten. A dose of 15 mushrooms is estimated as potentially fatal with lesser doses, dependant on habitat, season and body weight, having effects that can range from nausea and twitching to drowsiness, low blood pressure, sweating and salivating, auditory and visual distortions, euporia, relaxation, ataxia and loss of equilibrium.

Research and tradition tells us that there were many peoples using fly agaric for shamanic and religious purpose as well as it being found in fairy tale and literary imagery.

Not recommended for eating.

Saffron Milk Cap

Saffron Milk cap
Lactarius Deliciousus

Sold in French markets, considered the best of all edible fungi in Germany, gathered and eaten on a large scale in China and represented in frescos in Pompeii this mushroom is easily the most profitable find of our adventure.

The red to orange cap with darker concentric zones and reddish orange gills reaches up to 10 cm in diametre and is easily distinguished in the pine mulch.

Tastes mild, with an aromatic smell, it is delicious when cooked slowly and well.

 Slippery Jack

 Suillus Luteus

Slippery Jack
This edible mushroom is as unattractive as it sounds with a sticky cap that attracts debris and insect larvae. Best practice is to clean very carefully to remove the debris and indulging creatures. It is brownish yellow sometimes with a purplish bloom radially streaked wit a darker hue. Reaching up to 10 cm in diametre it as pale yellow or white flesh and sponge like tubes instead of gills

With the cap peeled to remove the slimy cap skin, as this may cause stomach upset, it is best enjoyed fried or may be dried for later use in soups and stews.

Grey Knight

Grey Knight

Tricholoma Terreum

Also found in French markets this very edible mild mushrooom is best eaten fresh as the fine fragile flesh quickly spoils. The smell of this mushroom should not be mealy, but mild and fresh, as this may indicate a less edible variety. The cap can grow to up to 7cm in diametre and the flesh thin and delicate.

horse mushroom mature

Horse Mushroom

Agaricus arvensis

Horse Mushroom button
Common, prized and delicious mushroom much like the cultivated agaricus species most found in supermarkets.

The cap can be found up to 35cm in diametre with the more mature having a mild anise scent. Easily adapted for use in any common mushroom recipe.




Saffron Milk Cap Carbonara

2 cups Lactarius deliciosus, cleaned and sliced vertically
Saffron Milk Cap Carbonara
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
100 gm finely sliced leg ham

 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp good dry sherry
2 tbsp butter
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 servings of pasta cooked to instructions


Beat egg, cream, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in skillet and saute mushrooms over medium high heat until just browned. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Add sherry and ham, salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking and stirring until liquid has condensed into a sauce. Add cooked pasta to the mushroom mixture with 1 tbsp of the cooking liquid.
Add the butter and allow to melt, then pour in the beaten egg mixture. Stir with wooden spoon and remove from the heat and continue stirring until the egg mixture has thickened but not scrambled.
Divide the pasta and sauce between 2 pasta bowls. Sprinkle parsley and cheese over all and serve.

Saffron Milk Cap Stroganoff

Saffron Milkcap Stroganoff
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small red chilli, finely diced
1/2 tspn fresly ground black pepper
2 pinches paprika
400gm beef or veal mince
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp pickled nasturtium pods, finely diced
(can use capers if you don't pickle your own nasturtium pods)
3 cups saffron milk cap, sliced
1 cup shredded spinach
2 tbsp butter
125gm soured cream
salt to taste
1 cup rice cooked to instructions


Saute the onion, garlic, pepper, paprika and chilli until the onion is translucent then brown off the mince. Add the red wine and the pickle and allow to reduce slightly before adding the sauces.
Add the mushroom and stir gently then cover and simmer until the mushroom is tender.
Add the spinach, butter and soured cream and stir until a creamy sauce forms, the spinach is just wilted and season to taste.
Serve with cooked rice

Mushroom Pate

Mushroom Pate

500 g horse mushrooms
90 g butter
chopped leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
salt & pepper


Sauté sliced or chopped mushrooms in 30 g of butter until soft. Lower heat, add thyme and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes until liquid has all evaporated and mushrooms are fragrant. Puree in a processor with seasonings and remaining 60 g of butter.
Pour into small pots or a serving dish , cover with enough additional better melted to cover in a good layer and chill.

I have set some nasturtium petals in the butter

Saffron Milk Cap stuffed Potatoes

Saffron Milk Cap stuffed Potato

2 large potatoes, srubbed clean
1 tspn butter
2 30cm sq pieces aluminium foil (or sized to fit potato)
1 tbsp butter
4 small saffron milkcaps finely sliced
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 pinch cumin powder
1 pinch freshly groound black pepper
salt to taste


Smear 1/2 tspn of butter in the centre of each of the pieces of foil and wrap the potatoes firmly and place into a hot oven away from the heat source for appoximately 40 minutes turning half way throug te cooking time. Test they are cooked by using a scewer to test that the centre is very tender.

Saute the onion and garlic with the cumin and pepper in the remaining butter until transluscent and add the mushrooms and cook until tender.

To serve cut an "X" in the foil where the butter was smeared and using some heat protection push into the bottom of the potato forcing to top to flower up and open the centre of the potato. season with salt and put 1 tbsp of the sour cream in each and share the mushroom mixture between them and serve as a side or a substancial snack

Wild Mushroom Omelette

Wild mushroom omelette

4 saffron milk caps, sliced
2 horse mushrooms, sliced
2 slices of bacon, finely sliced
6 free range eggs
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic
1 pinch pepper
50 gm tasty cheese, grated


Saute the bacon in the butter and oil until almost crispy ten add the garlic and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are tender. use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and mushroom mix to a plate and reserve.

Whisk the eggs and cream until well combined and add to the well oiled and buttered pan and reduce the heat. when the egg mixture is almost set add the bacon and mushroom mixture to half the egg and top with cheese. Use an egg slide to lift the unfilled side and fold over the filling. place the fry pan under a grill for 2 minutes, cut in half and serve.

Saffron Milkcap, Leek and Cacciatore Risotto with Wild Sorrel


Saffron Milkcap, Leek & Cacciatore Risotto with Wild Sorrel
2 cups Saffron milkcaps, sliced
1 cup Saffron milkcap buttons
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 cup cacciatore salami sliced into batons
2 tspn extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (or mushroom stock)
1/2 cup sorrel leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 pinch salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Sweat the garlic and leek gently in the oil and butter with the cacciatore and gently cook out the salami fat.
Add the rice and gently cook stirring until the rice becomes translucent.
Slowly introduce the wine and stir until completely absorbed and the caramelisation deglazed from the bottom of the pan, this should take 20 minutes to complete. Add the stock slowly and allow that to be absorbed while stirring. Add the roasted mushrooms and allow the risotto to begin to slightly catch to the bottom of the pan.
Add the finely sorrel and parmesan and stir off the heat, season and serve.
Garnish with shreds of parmesan and a few baby leaves of sorrel.



  1. It was great fun, have not been collecting mushrooms in years!

  2. Thanks for the great recipe! I featured it on today's round-up :)
    It's the season for saffron milk caps!

    1. looking forward to autumn for more saffron fun ... only 6 months to wait