Posts Tagged ‘truffle salt’

Madame Forager and friends survive the mushrooms!

Ok, guys. Let’s get to it. It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The unveiling of the first harvest of my home grown mushrooms.

Let me remind you how they looked on Tuesday morning.

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And this is how they looked on Tuesday evening.

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I cut the biggest ones, split them in half and threw in a few shitake mushrooms I found in the fridge to bulk it up a little as there were five hungry mouths to feed. I fried them for about five minutes in a little bit of truffle butter and a splash of olive oil, until they had softened and started to sizzle. I fried for a few seconds longer then sprinkled a little truffle salt over to serve.

As there were only a few of the mushrooms, I didn’t want them to get lost in a bigger dish of vegetables so we had pea and mint soup to start, then the mushrooms were like a little post-soup novelty feature – just a small bite, given a space of it’s own in the evening’s dining. We all ummed and ahhed and made the appropriate noises to make sure all the weeks of growing had been worth it. And they were actually tasty (helped by the hints of truffly goodness). 

Then we had our main meal, a parmigiana with loads of greens on the side. More umming and ahhing and my self esteem shot through the roof. For, as I have previously mentioned (and anyone who loves cooking for and feeding others knows), it’s the praise for our food that makes us feel it is also praise for us. We feel loved when someone compliments our courgettes or enthuses about our endive.

All in all, it was a successful evening and a successful mushroom course, I’d say.

And no-one got mushroom poisoning (unlike the woman who picked some mushrooms from her garden to add to a can of mushroom soup and died).

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Well, that’s me for today. I’m off to Ham House in a mo to get my 17th century scullery maid groove on.

An Italian feast – the carb light version

On Wednesday it was Halloween. Last year on Halloween, I got some sweets in and waited for the kids to come trick-or-treating.

They didn’t come.

I ate the sweets.

Apparently the thing you’re supposed to do is put something Halloweeny in the window or somewhere visible, to show you’re in on the fun. So this year, I got a few little pumpkins, put them in the window and planned to bake some goodies, flapjacks or something.

Well, then I got cooking for dinner as I had a friend coming over and didn’t get time to bake goodies for the kids, so good job no-one knocked! (I think I might be feeling a bit offended though. Why didn’t they want my sweeties?)

So I was back in the kitchen with my favourite cookbook, Polpo, by Russell Norman. My friend and I are both ex-Dukaners so try to not to go too mad on carbs. I definitely don’t avoid them, you can’t really, when eating like an Italian, but I just try not to have loads of them.

The antipasti was the carb-heavy part but I kept it out of the mains. Here’s the antipasti plate.

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Top centre are my signature grissini sticks, wrapped in prosciutto and pickled chicory. To the left are music paper crackers. To the right is one of my favourite things in life ever, truffle butter, and just behind that, black truffle oil. In the white dish to the left is homemade basil pesto, in which I used pecorino and black truffle oil. Right at the front, the little pink squares are ham hock terrine and to the left are cherry tomatoes with a little shred of mozzarella and some torn basil on the top, then sprinkled with truffle salt. In the middle are little crostinis with ricotta, mint and broad bean on half of them and goat’s cheese, roasted walnut and grape drizzled with white truffle oil and thyme on the other.

For the mains, they unfortunately don’t photograph well so I will just have to tell you about them. I made a parmigiana with aubergines and courgettes, in which I used fresh basil and oregano where I usually use dried as the flavour is more concentrated. After having used just fresh this time, I think I will go back to using dried as the lovely oregano smells you usually get with a parmigiana definitely weren’t as strong. I also made a duck, black olive and tomato ragu which was far tastier than I expected. You spend about two and a half hours just slowly cooking the tomato sauce so the flavours are really strong and lovely. I also steamed some kale, spinach and fresh basil together as a side dish.

The dessert was vanilla panna cotta with blackberry coulis on top.

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I also made something called a chocolate salami for having with the espressos I decided were a good idea at 9.30pm.

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It is chocolate with egg yolks whipped into it, with crushed up sponge fingers, chopped dried fruit and loads of nuts. You just fridge set it until it is hard enough to cut in slices and have as little biscuits.

We then proceeded to have a super long chat about my visit to Mr Red Wine’s house. I must just add that I washed quite thoroughly, thirteen times, in between visiting Mr Red Wine and preparing this food!