Late Summer

A beautiful Late Summer morning here at the foot of Slieve Blooms, the sun is just about to appear from behind the mountain and it promises to be another great day for foraging.

I’ve been home in my usual patch for just a week and while I missed the bulk of the Fraughans and Field Mushrooms, I was delighted to get one good picking in a very steep mountain field, daylight hours are spent out gathering whatever is to hand or harvesting garden veg, when evening draws in it’s home to the kitchen to feast or save the bounty. Dinners these days are made up of our own spuds fresh from garden, accompanied by wild mushrooms our own beans, tomatoes courgettes and maybe a little cheese from Mossfield next door. The pleasure of eating what we have grown or picked is more than reward for the work in garden or the occasional sting or minor injury picked up foraging, (I am currently sporting a black eye, acquired on a  Blackberry picking outing.

What a magnificent Blackberry harvest there is this year,they are hanging fat and ripe from every bramble bush, the temptation is to pick and pick but I am disciplining myself to harvest and process, batch by batch, avoiding the sin of allowing berries picked to spoil. So there is a growing array of preserves for the pantry shelves, There are so many ways to use Blackberries, Vinegar, Jam, Jelly, Sorbet, Syrup, Wine, baked into Friands, etc etc….

Soon the Elderberries and Hazelnuts will be ready too and all kinds of fabulous Mushrooms are appearing, I was lucky enough to find Ceps, Millers, Milk caps and more this weekend so if  you have a little time do get out and pick it is such a pleasure. This year I will be making Dukkah for the first time.Dukkah is mix of roasted and ground nuts and seeds,then spices are added to give more flavor, the Dukkah is then used with sweet or savory dishes, eaten with good bread and olive oil or sprinkled on veg or as coating on tofu or cheese, fish or meat.

now the sun is up and it’s time for breakfast and off to the wilds to collect again.

Pickled Mushroom, Prawoziwki marynowane

This pickle recipe is from Raphael’s mum. In Poland pickled mushrooms are served as part of  Christmas Eve dinner. This is for small Ceps but works well with almost all edible mushrooms and you can add more herbs. Antonio carluccio  goes further still and pickles then preserves in oil and chillie. If using different mushrooms boil seperately at first to sterilize.

I part 10% white wine vinegar, if using 6% use two parts.

5 parts water,

bay leaf and all spice.

Clean and boil small Ceps in salty water till soft.

Meanwhile put all pickle ingredients into steel sausepan and bring to boil.

Pack mushrooms into small sterilized jars and top up with boiling pickle.

the mushrooms should be completely covered by liquid.

Seal and leave for at least a month before use.

store in cool dry place and check now and again that they are not fermenting or deteriorating,they will kepp for 4 months or so.

Lovely as piquant nibble or strained and tossed in oil for a different experience.

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