I love love love mushrooms of any kind. I usually stick to regular field mushrooms, as the fancy ones are usually pretty expensive. Mushrooms are a fantastic source of vitamin D, are low in fat and carbohydrates and provide texture and a great savoury kick for vegan dishes.
Due to the recent lockdown I was able to buy a mushroom block from a grower who normally supplies restaurants.
Two days after I ordered it a large lump of compressed saw dust wrapped in plastic arrived. I was a bit sceptical, but my love of oyster mushrooms spurred me on. I hate gardening and pretty much kill every plant I come in contact with. But these were super simple, basically it’s a stump of pressed sawdust impregnated with fungi spores and it just needs sprayed with water once or twice a day.
In less than a week later I had my first crop, and it’s still going. Like most mushrooms these can be added to pretty much anything. My favourite way to eat them is just fried in a little butter.
If you love mushrooms and want to give your loved ones a gift idea I would definitely recommend trying this. It’ll bring out your inner nerd and you will love it. It’s also a great project with kids and helps them understand where food comes from.
I was inspired by another food blogger, Damned Delicious in this recipe, I prefer to use rosemary as a seasoning because I think it works well with mushrooms, but use what herbs you like the taste of.
I liked this recipe because it used a premade pizza base. This was a relief, I have a bit a chequered past trying to make pizza bases from scratch. Using a premade base also makes this recipe probably as quick as calling a pizza, and significantly cheaper (most take away pizzas have a 900% mark up).
Cheese, garlic and mushrooms are one the best flavour combinations ever and the only problem with this pizza is that fights over the last piece can get mean.
Makes 1, 12 inch Pizza
1 x 12 inch Pizza base
125 Grams Mushrooms (sliced)
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
200 grams Mozzarella
50 Grams Ricotta
1/2 Tsp Rosemary (Rosemary can overwhelm everything else if you use too much, if you’re going to use other herbs you can use a bit more)
1 Tbsp Butter
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees
Melt butter in a pan, and add the mushrooms rosemary and garlic and cook for 5 minutes (don’t stir too often)
Put the pizza base on a baking tray and top with slices of mozzarella, the mushrooms and garlic, and dollops of ricotta. Give the pizza a light sprinkling of salt
Bake for 15-20 minute, until golden brown and damned delicious
A bit more “rustic” than I planned, but I put it down to me trying to make pastry with nuts in it. Save yourself the time and energy and use shop bought short crust pastry. It’s what I plan to do next time. This recipe might be best saved for the weekend, as it’s a bit more labour intensive, but it’s well worth the trouble, (I had to stop myself eating half of it).
If you’re a vegetarian cooking for meat eaters, they’ll love this. The rich and unctuous filling feels really meaty, and unlike a lot of tarts isn’t too eggy. This is delicious hot or cold.
1 Sheet of ready made short crust pastry
2 Onions (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp Chopped rosemary
3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
25 Grams Dried porcini mushrooms, (soaked in 50 ml of hot water)
200 Grams Button mushrooms (sliced)
50 Grams Gorgonzola (sliced)
50 Grams Hazelnuts (chopped)
150 Ml Double Cream
Salt and pepper
Grease a 23 cm loose based flan tin, roll you pastry until thin and line the tin, (chill in the fridge for 30 minutes)
Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl with 50ml of warm water and allow to soak
Take your flan tin out of the fridge and over the base with grease proof paper and add baking beans on top, (I use old lentils that had been hanging about). Bake blind in an oven heated to 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the grease proof paper and baking beans, and bake for a further 5 minutes, before removing from the oven
While the pastry is baking add the olive oil and onions to a large heated frying pan. Turn down the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes
Add the button mushrooms, garlic and rosemary to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the porcini mushrooms and the water they were soaking in to the pan. Cook over a medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated, and leave to cool
Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat (the temperature should be 180 degrees again)
When the mushroom mix is completely cool, spread it evenly across the pastry base
Distribute the gorgonzola on top of the mushroom mix
Beat 2 Eggs, and add to the cream, season with salt and pepper, pour into the tart case and sprinkle chopped hazelnuts across the top
Put the filled tart tin on to the heated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the centre is set
Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before cutting
I had these for the first time in New York, with a cocktail in an air conditioned bar which felt like I’d arrived in heaven after pounding the streets on a hellishly warm day.
These make a great
little starter, or are divine with a glass of wine or a cold beer.
If you are
organised enough to have made the mushroom risotto a day or two before then
these are pretty quick and easy. Some
people like these with a marinara sauce, but I think these are delicious enough
on their own.
500 grams Mushroom risotto
100 grams Mozzarella
(dolcelatte also works really well)
2 Tbsp. Plain
*100 grams White
breadcrumbs (See food hack)
Olive oil for deep
Salt and pepper
the mozzarella into 1.5 cm cubes, or you can use the little mozzarella “pearls”
you can buy in some super markets
a tablespoon of the cold risotto mixture in your hand and flatten it. Add a small piece of cheese and form the
risotto around it to make a ball. Do
this until you have used up all the risotto (it’s useful to have a bowl of
water handy to wet your hands and stop the risotto sticking.
and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat
the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper, which the eggs in a
separate bowl, and add the breadcrumbs to another dish
Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat
Role the risotto balls in flour, then beaten
egg, and finally the breadcrumbs
Add the breaded risotto balls to oil and fry
until golden brown, remember to drain any excess oil on kitchen paper and
season with salt and pepper.
* Food Hack – When you’re shopping pick up bead that has been reduced because it’s going stale. When you get home, take 5 minutes and whizz the bread up in a food processor until it’s crumbs. Put these breadcrumbs into a large freezer bag and keep in your freezer. Bread crumbs are an amazingly versatile ingredient, that you can use in everything from gratins, deep fried crusts, stuffing or even thickening sauces.
This is a big batch, but there is
method in my madness.
Firstly this risotto is really unctuous and yummy so you’ll have to fight with yourself not to keep spooning it into you plate. But if you can resist eating it all, the left over risotto makes the most amazing risotto balls or arancini (if you’re feeling posh).
A lot of people are purists about
the type of rice to use whether it’s Arborio or Carnaroli, and to be honest I
haven’t found much of a difference. So
use whatever you can find and what you prefer.
500 grams Carnaroli or Arborio rice
2 Tbsps. Olive oil
1 Large onion
500 grams Mushrooms
4 Cloves of Garlic
3 Tbsps. Dried porcini mushrooms
1.5 Litres Chicken or vegetable
stock (made with stock cube/s is fine)
1 Glass of white wine (this is optional,
I usually prefer to drink wine than cook with it, but it’s also the perfect
excuse to open a bottle)
Grated parmesan (you can also use
Grana which is similar to parmesan, but is a bit cheaper)
Herbs to finish, again this is
optional but it does add another layer of flavour
the porcini mushrooms in enough warm water to cover them
the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan.
Finely slice the onion and add to
the pan, cooking until soft.
the fresh mushrooms and garlic, add to the pan and cook gently until the
mushrooms have softened and started to brown (don’t move the mushrooms around
too much in the pan).
the rice and stir the grains are coated in the oil. Add the stock a ladleful at a time. Yes I know this bit is a total faff, but who
am I to argue to with generations of Italian Nonas’.
on the type of rice you use, you may not need all the stock, or you may need a
little. Keep adding the stock until no more will be absorbed by the rice.
is time to stir in the grated parmesan.
Personally for me the more cheese the better, but this is up to your own
Don’t forget to use your left over risotto for arancini balls (you’ll love them)