Fungal Foray

Sunday saw another foraging trip arranged by the Cail Bruich restaurant and led by the Galloway Wild Foods forager Mark Williams. Unlike the previous foraging expedition this time we headed out of city to the Mugdock Country Park and instead of drizzle and grey skies we had brilliant sunshine all day! This being the end of September we were of course in search of fungi and while we would have gone very hungry if we had been dependent upon the fungi we found in the woods at Mugdock we did find a variety of fungi ranging from the eminently desirable cep right through to the far less attractive stinkhorn and brown roll rim toadstool.

The following pictures are a selection of snaps from the day:

Forager Mark Williams models the 2014 spring season Eco-friendly Red Nose range while the judging panel look on!Forager Mark Williams models an number of different versions of the 2014 eco friendly Red Nose while the judging panel look on!

We found lots of brown roll-rim toadstools, Paxillus involutus  in the woods but unfortunately while they were eaten in the past they can cause a fatal auto immune response which may happen very rapidly or only after eating them for several years. So unless Russian Roulette is something you fancy they should be left strictly alone!

Not all mushrooms grow on the ground. The hoof fungus, Fomes fomentarius, is commonly found growing on birch trees in Scotland and although not edible it has a variety of interesting uses. To learn more start with a look at Wikipedia.

Not all fungo grow on the groundYet another inedible fungus; the stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus and given the vile smell not something that you would like to eat! This foraging business is hard work still no sign of any food!

Stinkhorn!Mark points out the finer points of the stinkhornAt last. Real food! Fortunately both Mark and Cail Bruich chef/owner Chris Charalambous brought along some mushrooms foraged from elsewhere.

A feast of different mushroomsChris made a dish in which venison chorizo (from Great Glen Game), chanterelle and winter chanterelle were the star performers.

Channterelles and Venison CCommon chanterelle and winter chanterell being sauteed with venison chorizoTasting elderberry vinegar. One of the rave discoveries of the last foraging trip and despite initial reserve it made another batch of converts here too. I am half way through making a batch of vinegar, to see progress so far visit my Flickr Photostream

Tasting Elderberry VinegarTasting elederberry vinegarMark’s mushroom extravaganza! How he managed to get all of this

Mushrooms ready for cookinginto this and then saute it without letting any escape I don’t know !

Mixed mushrooms ready to sautee

Many thanks to Mark and Chris for a truly memorable day out!

For more information about the Cail Bruich restaurant and Galloway Wild Foods please follow the links.

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

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Pasta With Love

Tagliatelle by “Pasta With Love”

Given that tomorrow is Valentines’ Day the title of this post my be regarded as a little contrived, however, the title has made itself in that it is the name of a small startup company which has been making a big impact on the farmers market scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh ever since they first started business a little under a year ago. “Pasta With Love” is the work of a young couple, Duncan and Ness Fildes, who are clearly on a meteoric trajectory after winning a Great Taste Gold Taste Award for their linguine only three weeks after they started to trade!

“Pasta With Love” are to be found at the Mansfield Park Market in Glasgow every second and fourth Saturday each month and they also attend the markets at Queens Park, again in Glasgow as well as at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market. For more information visit their FaceBook page and see also Caroline von Schmalensee’s excellent article about “Pasta With Love” in her blog the “Edinburgh Foody”

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Tagliatelle with cheese sauce, tomato, mushrooms and bacon

This is a simple and quick dish packed with wonderful flavours and makes a perfect meal. For an even easier version use smoked Bavarian ham (Lidl) instead of bacon, a great taste and no need to cook it, though it is fantastic on pizzas!

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Serves 2 ready in 15 minutes.

Switch on the oven and set to 190oC, put a large pan of water, half full, on to boil, adding a glug of olive oil to the water; extra virgin (Is there any other? This will help stop the pasta sticking together once it has cooked). Wash a dozen or so freshly plucked basil leaves and 4 to 8 ripe tomatoes, depending on size, before slicing the tomatoes; crossways is best and leave to one side. Place 4 or 6 rashers of smoked bacon (pancetta or streaky bacon is fine too) in a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil and put in to the oven. Take 6 or so chestnut mushrooms, brush off any dirt and cut off the base of the stems before slicing vertically and placing in a frying pan with a good glug of oil and sauté. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, remove the saucepan lid and add the pasta, approximately 300g will be ample and boil for 3 to 4 minutes (4 to 5 minutes if cooking from frozen). While the pasta is cooking finish off the mushrooms by adding a dash of dark soya sauce and stir well. As soon as the pasta is ready tip it into a colander and allow to drain, covering with the saucepan lid. Return the pan to the stove and tip in 250ml of four cheese sauce (widely available from most supermarkets, alternatively make your own but we are keeping things simple!), reduce the heat to medium, tip in the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Put the plates in the oven to warm, (pasta hates cold plates!) while removing the bacon. Cut the bacon into stamp sized pieces and together with the mushrooms add to the pasta – cheese sauce mix and stir in. Take the plate from the oven and plate-up not forgetting to add the sliced tomato and basil! Season to taste and enjoy!

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Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Scallops are one of my all time favourite things to eat, or at least they are when they are cooked well and until recently that has been a rather hit and miss affair when it came  to my own cooking; all too often they ended up being boiled and not seared, which is something that should never be done to these wonderful delicacies. However, I have always taken comfort in that even professional chefs can sometimes also fail in cooking them, I especially remember some rather mean sized scallops being served to us in Rye but it was not so much their small size that we took issue with but the fact that they had been seriously overcooked on both sides giving a whole new meaning to the word seared, perhaps burnt would have been a better description! On another occasion we went to one of the restaurants on the edge of London’s Borough Market and while the scallops were perfectly cooked they were stone cold. On the first occasion we crunched our way through the scallops rationalising that as it was only one of a number of starter dishes that we had ordered it simply wasn’t worth the fuss and the inevitable delay if we complained. On the latter occasion we did complain only to be told that the dish was cold because we were sitting at the entrance to the restaurant and it was cold there! However, we persisted with our complaint and eventually we were grudgingly presented with a fresh serving on red-hot plates – all of which shows that professional cooks are fallible too but it does seriously beg the question how can dishes which are so obviously wrong ever be let out of the kitchen? I would love to hear about your experiences when you complain about a dish in a restaurant. And of course for all the “bad” dishes there have been many good ones and occasionally some really excellent ones: such as the small plates of scallops that you can buy as a take away from one of the fish stalls in Borough Market or here in Glasgow where Crabshakk serves bowls of sizzling scallops which are so fabulous that I have problems in ever ordering anything else when I visit the restaurant!

So what is the secret to cooking scallops? Well it’s two-fold, the scallops need to be fresh and as dry as possible and the pan needs to be really hot before you add the oil immediately followed by the scallops and they only take a couple of minutes to cook on each side. There are many ways to cook and enjoy scallops but as is so often the case with seafood the simpler it is the better it tastes and this dish is simplicity itself.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms with a green leaf salad and a side dish of french fries

Total time 20 minutes, serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 large king scallops with coral (there is an increasing tendency to sell scallops without their coral which I think is a great shame given the contrast in colour, taste and texture that they give) On this occasion I used vacuum packed scallops from MacMillan’s at the Partick Farmer’s Market which have the advantage of having a longer shelf life, up to one week (though I always use them within 2 days), compared to lose fresh scallops.
  • 6 to 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • green leaf salad (in this case a ready-made Florette “Duo” Lambs Lettuce & Ruby Chard)
  • oven french fries (McCain Crispy French Fries)
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • olive oil
  • dark soya sauce
  • salt (Maldon)
  • freshly ground pepper (try grinding some pepper corns in a pestle and mortar for a real pungent blast of pepper. Don’t over grind or you will end up with dust and a totally different taste experience!)

Chestnut mushrooms ready to  sauté

Method.

  1. Switch on the oven and turn it up to 190 degrees Centigrade and place a shallow sided baking / roasting tray in the oven and leave to warm up
  2. Meanwhile  rinse the scallops under cold running water, cut off the hard piece of muscle that you will find on one edge of the scallop and discard. If the scallops are especially large you may want to cut them in half but don’t try to cut the coral in half, leave it attached to one of the two discs that you have just created and pat the scallops dry with kitchen towel and leave to one side.
  3. Place the salad in a colander and rinse under the cold tap (I know that the salad is supposed to be ready to eat straight from the pack but old habits die-hard!) shake off any remaining water and set to one side.
  4. Prepare the mushrooms, cutting off the end of the stalk and brushing off any dirt from the cap, then slice using a sharp knife and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Once the oven has got to temperature remove the baking tray from oven and tip the fries into the tray ensuring that they are evenly distributed over the tray and place in the oven.
  6. Place a frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and once the pan is a hot tip in the sliced mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms moving them around the pan with a wooden spatula, ensuring that they are cooked on both sides. If required add more olive oil but don’t over do it we are not trying to deep fat fry them!
  7. While the mushrooms ar cooking place another non stick frying pan on the hob over a high heat and take the opportunity to give the fries a shake.
  8. Once the mushrooms are nearly cooked add a dash of dark soya sauce and work the mushrooms around the pan to make sure that they are all uniformly coated with soya sauce which will not only give them a lovely brown colour but will also give them an extra rich, meaty taste.Sautéed chestnut mushrooms
  9. Once the pan for the scallops is hot add a glug of olive oil (not too much!) to the pan followed by the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Shiggle the pan occasionally to ensure that the scallops don’t stick (I have yet to find a pan which is truly non-stick!). Once the scallops have been cooking for a couple of minutes they will be nicely browned on the lower side and they should be turned over, seasoned and cooked for a further 2 minutes (you may need to turn the heat down during the course of the cooking to make sure that the scallops are browned and not burnt!KG121209017aWeb1
  10. As the scallops finish cooking place the salad on the plates, drizzle with the oil and vinegar dressing and add the mushrooms and finally the scallops while placing the fries in a bowl as a side dish.

Serve and enjoy!

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Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Autumn Gold: butter sautéed chanterelle on toast

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Summer is well and truly over and indeed for many of us it never seemed to arrive! However, there are upsides, not the least of which is that this is the only time of year that you can get fresh chanterelle, which for me are the very best of all of the mushrooms and while they are expensive their rich flavour means that they will go a long way. I am always excited to see a dish on a restaurant menu which claims to include wild mushrooms but I guess that I never learn or perhaps it is more a case of always travelling in hope, more often than not I am bitterly disappointed by the same old bland mix of mushrooms which have never seen a forest floor. However, chanterelle, also known as golden chanterelle or girolles never fail to delight and with their liberal coating of pine needles and bits of moss their wild credentials are never in doubt!

The first time that I had chanterelle was when I was a student and I had gone to Nova Scotia in Canada to do some research over the summer (the year before the tomatoes and bacon meal described in the previous blog) and I ended up spending a weekend in the woods with four or five other students, including two incredibly beautiful twin girls, blonde hair, blue eyes, long tanned legs and cut-off denim shorts, I am sure that you get the picture; unfortunately their nanny came too! (Is this a record, still having a nanny at 21?) The nanny was a rather forbidding women with a strong German accent but she knew her mushrooms and she had us collecting vast quantities of chanterelle which sautéed together with crispy Canadian bacon and scrambled eggs made a wonderful breakfast the following day – although the nanny was late for the meal, returning with wet hair and a towel around her shoulders to announce that she had been “How do you say? Skinny dipping?” Well life is full of surprises and as far as the twins went disappointments as well! Later I became reacquainted with chanterelle but not the beautiful twins or the nanny when I lived in Stockholm. Again you could forage for them in the forests or more easily and reliably go to the city’s wonderful Östermalms Saluhall market – as close to heaven as any place that I know! Out of season the Swedes even have canned chanterelle in their supermarkets and they are now available here in the UK too at the Scandinavian Kitchen but unfortunately it is not so easy to get the thin shavings of reindeer or elk which when cooked in a rich cream sauce made a wonderful accompaniment to the chanterelle. Anyway enough of the reminiscences and back to the here and now! Chanterelle are beginning to appear regularly in my favourite Glasgow green grocers, Roots and Fruits and of course as soon as I saw them I was sold. Without elk or reindeer that dish was off and while perhaps the very best chanterelle that I have ever had was in Germany, a simple tossed salad mixed with pfifferling (the German name for chanterelle) I thought that on this occasion I would try something even easier, especially as I wanted to photograph the mushrooms, so chanterelle on toast it was! Ideal finger food!Chanterelle other wise known as girolles are the best of the autumn mushroom harvest and have a strong somewhat peppery taste. Cooking chanterelle couldn’t be easier:

  • Use a stiff short haired brush to remove any pine needles and other detritus (DON’T WASH them!) Cut off the base of the stems and discard and then cut the larger chanterelle in half lengthways, this not only makes them easier to cook but also makes it look as if you have twice as many chanterelle as you originally stared with!
  • Melt some butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, (the pan wants to be large enough to take all of the chanterelle in a single layer) then tip in the chanterelle, season to taste with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.

Taste sensation: freshly fried chanterelle mushrooms..

  • Gently move the mushrooms around in the pan so that they are uniformly covered with butter and continue to sauté for another five to ten minutes
  • Meanwhile prepare the toast and warm the plates.
  • When the chanterelle are done remove them from the pan and place them on some kitchen towel in order remove excess buffer and then arrange on top of the toast.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Chanterelle on toast