Tag Archives: food

Shaggy Ink Cap soup – recipe

Shaggy Ink Cap soup

I think the best way to deal with fungi, generally, is quick and simple. This particularly applies to shaggy ink caps. There are two reasons why – correct me if I’m wrong – you’ll never find fresh shaggys on a restaurant/bistro menu. They deliquesce (dissolve to inky black liquid) very quickly after picking and there is a widely held belief that alcohol should be avoided for several days each side of eating. I haven’t checked the alcohol theory myself, but I’ll let you know if I spew after my wine tomorrow evening [I didn’t]. The soup’s already eaten, and delicious it was, too. A delicate, silvery grey liquid with equally delicate flavour.

Shaggy Ink Caps - Coprinus comatus

Shaggys can be found in woodland, on path and roadside verges and are commonly seen, despite their apparent fragility, forcing their way up through roads and pavements The most fruitful patch I ever found was on a bank on the edge of a Tesco car park.

Shaggy Ink Caps
Salt & pepper

First, age and condition. If you come across a growth of shaggys with firm, closed caps as above, pick and get them to the kitchen as quick as you can. Don’t make the mistake I once did and think, “Ooh, I’ll come back for those tomorrow,” as tomorrow they’ll look like the three rear bodies below, which are past their best.

Remove and discard the stems, check for creatures and flick off any earth then chop to desired size. They’ll shrink a little on cooking. Put in a small pan and pour in milk to about ½ or ¾ way up the fungi pieces. Add crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste with half your chopped parsley. Carefully bring to the boil then barely simmer for 5 minutes. Now you have a choice. Some recommend removing the poached fungi and discarding the poaching liquid. I favour serving and eating the lot as soup. Sprinkle with the rest of your parsley.

If you’re lucky, the spot where you picked this crop will yield another in a week or ten days.

Mature Shaggy Ink Caps



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Piccalilli – recipe


I adapted this from the recipe on the BBC’s Hairy Bikers site. There’s a milder alternative on the nipitinthebud blog, from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook

Traditionally, piccalilli contains a mixture of vegetables – cauliflower, courgette, small onions, maybe turnip or sweet pepper. I’ve made it with only carrots and sliced cooking onions, which are often on the supermarket cheap shelf, and am happy with the result.

500grm vegetables
2 or 3 onions
1 heaped dessertspoon English mustard powder
1 heaped dessertspoon ground turmeric
1 heaped dessertspoon chilli flakes or powder
150grm sugar
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour or plain flour
Cider vinegar

Chop the vegetables into your required size chunks. Put in a bowl in layers, sprinkling salt over each layer as you go. Cover and leave for 24 hours.

Run the bowl under the tap, swishing the salted veg around, drain then run the tap through them again. Set aside.

Slice onions thinly, put in a large pan, barely cover with cider vinegar and simmer for 15 minutes.

Mix mustard powder, chilli, turmeric and flour to a thin paste with vinegar, set aside for flavours to develop as the onions simmer.

Add drained veg to onions, add vinegar to barely cover again and return to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add spice mix, stir well and leave to simmer for final 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking (one tiny burnt bit will taint the whole batch).

Put in jars and leave for a month for flavours to develop and to take the edge off the vinegar. The above made a litre.

I made a batch 2 weeks ago, sampled it as this was cooking and it’s still a bit harsh, but I can tell it’s going to be scalp-tinglingly delicious. If you prefer less heat and bite, try the version on nipitinthebud

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Hedgerow Jelly – recipe

Hedgerow Fruits

Rowanberries 319 grms
Sloes 106 grms
Elderberries 529 grms
Blackberries 903 grms
Crab apples x 4

Above is the needlessly precise list of fruits I picked on Monday morning to make my hedgerow jelly. There are plenty of elderberries and blackberries around, the rowans are just beginning to ripen in places but it looks like a poor year for sloes.

After destalking – the above are all prepared weights – I tipped rowanberries, sloes and chopped whole crab apples into a pan, barely covered with water and simmered for about 15 minutes, crushing the fruit against the side of the pan occasionally with a wooden spoon. Then I poured in the blackberries and elderberries, returned to the boil and reduced to simmer for another 15 to 20 mins, stirring to prevent catching on the bottom, but that’s unlikely.

I poured the lot into a boiled pillowcase suspended over a saucepan, left it to drip overnight then measured the juice. The traditional ratio is one pound of sugar to one of juice, so as the above yielded 1¼ pints I added 20 ounces of sugar as it heated in the pan. Once the sugar had dissolved I boiled the mixture, watching to ensure it didn’t boil over, then checked for set after about 10 minutes. It was ready. The final quantity nicely filled a 1 litre Kilner jar.

I do like blackberry jam, but don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so the tartness of this hedgerow jelly is a welcome change. I’ll definitely be making more.

Hedgerow Jelly

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Taste The Wild on Blue Peter – autumn foraging for sweets

Click Here To Play.

Chris Bax, creator of the Taste The Wild site, takes a Blue Peter presenter foraging and produces dandelion and burdock cordial (or beer if you prefer), hawthorn fruit leather and rosehip ‘mice’.

Chris Bax’s Recipes

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Podcast 5

1 kilo of blackberries

In a decidedly unbusinesslike move, scorzonera gives away his idea for world domination of the food market.


Blackberry recipes

The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise

A delightful short film on the Rhubarb Triangle

The Glasgow ice cream wars

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Kidney Bean Dahl/Stew – recipe

Kidney Bean Dahl

1 tin kidney beans
1 tin tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 chilli fresh or dried
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
Salt & Pepper

Smash a clove of garlic with the flat of a knife, sprinkle with salt and put to one side.

Heat the pan you will be using, dry. Toss in the whole spices, move them around until the colours darken and they smell good.

Take out the spices and add cooking oil and sliced onions to the hot pan. Leave the onions on as low
a heat as you can for as long as you want, the longer the better. After a few minutes add the chopped chilli and crushed, salted garlic.

Grind the toasted spices in a pestle and mortar, or in a bowl with a rolling pin or spoon. They’ll crush easily. Turn up the heat and add all the spice powders, stir for a couple of minutes then add the kidney beans. After another minute or two, briefly run a potato masher over the kidney beans. You’re aiming to crush quite a few of them without leaving a mashed up mass.

Add the tomatoes and the other thinly sliced clove of garlic, then tip in two tomato cans of water. Add salt and pepper Turn up the heat and stir. When it comes to the boil, reduce to simmer and partially cover the pan.

This will be ready in 30 to 40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes or so. Check for seasoning.

After 10 to 20 minutes add your herbs and greens. These can be whatever you fancy. I favour chopped comfrey or nettle leaves with rosemary and mint. The mint works particularly well.

You’ll find the slight crushing of the beans creates a thick, creamy sauce.

This will give 3 or 4 portions, served with rice, bread or potatoes.

You could add a dollop of yoghurt before serving, or add chopped potatoes with the tomatoes.

As always, the spices, herbs and their quantities are there to play around with until you’re happy.

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Q: What will we be eating in 20 years’ time? A: Insects (but call them mini-livestock)


And sounds could be used to affect how we perceive taste –

“…the use of sound is even being applied to white goods. Companies are looking into the hum fridges make, as a certain tone could make people think their food is fresher.”

From BBC News Magazine

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