Our home town of New Mills is fairly buzzing at the moment while the Festival is on. Two weeks of fantastic arts, music and other events really put the place on the cultural map. This weekend is especially busy for us as we always do the catering for the popular Arts and Crafts Fair ‘Made in New Mills’ which takes place this Saturday 22nd September from 10am – 3pm. Wild Mushroom toasties anyone?
Then on Sunday afternoon it’s the first of our Fungus Forays, through the fields and woods of New Mills, ending at the White Hart Pub where we’ll examine our harvest and have a taste of Winter Chanterelle mushroom soup. It’s going to be exciting seeing what’s growing around here this year – last year we found a nice selection of porcini and ceps, waxcaps, and russulas for instance. Both dates are fully booked now and we’re always really pleased that so many are interested in learning more about beginners edible mushrooms – apologies to all those we had to turn down, hopefully we will see you next year!
For more information about New Mills Festival click here.
We had a great week with some guests from the UK on their first trip to Sweden. The weather gods smiled on us and we picked and sampled a good range of delicious edible mushrooms including chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms, winter chanterelles, ceps, and russulas, both on their own and in some very tasty dishes such as mushroom risotto and Schnitzelled Hedgehogs – recipe to follow! Bengt wasn’t joking when he said at the beginning of the week that there would be a little test and we were very proud of our students who successfully managed to identify three main characteristics of five of the beginners mushrooms we’d found. There are photos and updates on our Facebook page if you want to read a bit more about our outings, and do get in touch if you want more information about coming to Sweden with us to gather and cook your own mushrooms!
While on a short trip to Stockholm we took the chance to explore the forests of Södermanland, a beautiful county stretching from the coast around the capital city inland westwards. Woodland there is both extensive and mixed, with deciduous and coniferous trees hosting a great diversity of wild funghi, and we weren’t disappointed. Within minutes of stepping under the canopy of trees we started finding chanterelles, some up to 15cm in diameter, and managed to pick 6 kilos in a very short time. But the best was yet to come, in the form of a large swathe of Horn of Plenty mushrooms, dramatic looking black trumpets nestling among the undergrowth, also known by its French name Trompette de Mort. This mushroom is highly prized and is delicious both fresh and dried. We lightly fried some in butter and garlic, then stirred in to egg tagliatelle with olive oil, salt, black pepper and a little finely chopped parsley – quick, simple and extremely tasty!
We’re happy to be back on the beautiful West Coast of Sweden enjoying the sunshine and sea air and of course having plenty of excursions into the woods to see what’s growing. We’ve found a fair few Porcini or Penny Bun to give it it’s English name, some lovely Chanterelles and Hedgehog Mushrooms, and even some large Winter Chanterelles which don’t usually appear this early!
For more pictures of the mushrooms we found have a look at our Gallery page.
As part of the fantastic New Mills Festival Bengt will be doing two accompanied Fungus Forays again this year. Last year the event proved to be so popular an extra date had to be fitted in! The walks will take place on Sunday September 23rd and Sunday September 30th, last approximately 2-3 hours and include a taste of a wild mushroom dish at the end.
Tickets are £5, concessions £3 and children free.
For more information and details of how to book a place go to the Festival Website:
I’m delighted to have Angela Leighton’s permission to reproduce her beautiful poem, featured in the Review section of the Guardian last Saturday.
L’incanto, se non il canto. Montale
Apricot flesh, a fluted neck,
leaf-mould grown to a perfect ear-lobe,
cocked, a queer hat, horn of gold,
a honeycomb on its own foothold,
and light-lorn in a trash of leaves
this fat of the earth, sumptuous geste,
thumbing its right to stop my step,
trusting a name to sing of itself:
and ‘sing’ is exact – a top-string A
pitched in thin air, as clear as day,
draws out the chant in enchantment’s weather,
and makes a sound, a little singer.
• from The Messages by Angela Leighton, published by Shoestring Press at £9
It’s the most exciting part of the year now for us mushroom pickers, as more and more mushrooms start popping up in the forests and fields. Keep an eye out for chanterelles, or Forest Gold as they’re often called in Sweden. We were out in the Peak District yesterday evening and found more than enough for breakfast. They are classed as a beginner’s mushroom, easy to identify and with no nasty lookalikes. When you’re picking wild mushrooms it’s best to cut the bottom of the stem off while you’re still in the woods to avoid getting soil on the rest of your harvest, and blow or brush to clean them. Keep refrigerated when back home, and fry until soft in butter before using them in omelettes, soups or sauces or au naturelle of course!
We found a beautiful Chicken of the Woods out in the Peak District last Sunday, growing on an Oak tree. Avoid them if you see them on conifers or yew because they absorb toxins from those particular trees. The younger the specimen the more vivid its colour is, a gorgeous orangey yellow. As the one we found was getting on a bit we cut it in strips then blanched it first before marinating and frying in olive oil – delicious! It has the texture of tofu (or chicken) and absorbs spices well but still has a lovely mushroom flavour.
I’ve added Get Funghi’s details to the Free Range Review (www.freerangereview.com). This website is linked to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage site, and is there to promote local food producers and suppliers. You can search by postcode and check out and review what’s available in your local area. Do have a look and feel free to review us if you’d like to!