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I know I’ve been pretty terrible at posting recently – partly I have got the winter blues and partly I am exhausted by hectic workloads at both of my jobs.  I am so looking forward to Christmas – I am craving that cosy Christmas feeling and a good break – and a chance to eat great food.

We have been eating a mixed bunch of food recently – some good, some crap.  A couple of Friday’s ago we cooked a killer fish pie for friends…but we ate it before I had a chance to take a photo of its golden crusted gorgeousness. 

We are majoring on sausage casseroles full of root veg, tinned beans, and other leftovers. 

Last weekend we visited my family and cooked a pheasant casserole (my brother has become a beater and comes home with pheasants often at the moment).

I am just in the middle of cooking our dinner – Salami and Fennel Linguine – which I will endeavour to post tomorrow as I’m snapping pictures while I type – of course only if it tastes good – we’ve not made it before!  I also promise to try and get the second part of our Italy holiday food posted asap.  Watch this space.

I can’t believe that just a month ago the weather was mild, the leaves were golden and crisp, and we were out in a city park hunting for mushrooms.  Led by local forager and medical herbalist Jesper Launder(www.jesperlaunder.com), a group of us were diving into bushes (much to the amusement of dog walkers and families out for a walk) and grubbing about in the undergrowth, all for the love of edible wild mushrooms. 

I find that once I get my eyes tuned in, as it were, to seeing mushrooms then I see them everywhere.  But I wasn’t having any luck this particular weekend.  Waist-deep in brambles, surrounded by knee-high nettles, looking in all the inhospitable, unreachable spots that I thought a mushroom would just love to grow in…but nothing.  As a fairly competitive person, I was a bit miffed at other people’s finds, even if they were often inedible. 

Then I came across this…yes, the big white mushroom in the middle. 

my big white mushroom :: Manchester ::

I finally got my mushroom-vision sorted, and they just started popping up everywhere.  I seem to have a knack for finding hidden treasures on the ground, my mother always told me off for picking up ‘rubbish’ from the floor (although once it was a £20!).  Anyway, the ‘big white mushroom in the middle’ is an Asphalt Mushroom, similar to the cultivated mushrooms we find at the supermarket, and so-called because it is often found pushing through tarmac in the most mundane areas of urban sprawl.   Mine (I was very protective of it) was found half buried in soil, hence its rather grubby appearance, and I had to excavate around it in order to remove it.

wild mushrooms :: Manchester ::

As you can see we ended our walk with a couple of basketfuls of some fantastic wild mushrooms – including some Shaggy Ink Caps (which N found) and were delicious fried in butter until golden and crisping round the edges.

What I love about Jesper’s mushroom walk (it’s not the first we’ve been on) is at the end, he sets up some burners and cooks up all the edible mushrooms we’ve foraged with a lot (a lot!) of butter and we all get to taste them.  It’s always a delight to see kids eating things you’re sure under different circumstances they’d turned their nose up at.  But as the most avid hunters and foragers, they forget and just want their share of the prize.

cooking the wild mushrooms :: Manchester ::

I love food and especially food that comes from distinct places – food that is specific to a place and shaped by the landscape.  I hope that Eat the Earth will be an outlet to share the fantastic food that is local to me, and local to other places that I visit.  I will also share the food and recipes I like to cook, especially with homegrown goodies. 

courgette flowers at the Saumur market :: the Loire Valley, France ::

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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