Life has been very busy recently. I’ve been so caught up with seeing friends I’ve barely had time to sit, think and just be still. It’s been fantastic but by Sunday we both needed to slow it down. Mushroom hunting was the order of the day. We drove away from the city, listening to radio 4 and munching on lemon sherbet sweeties. It was nice just getting to spend a bit of time together.
On reaching the wood we pushed our way through a thicket of nettles and wild raspberries. Once inside it was truly beautiful. Natural, untouched silver birch, pillows of deep sphagnum moss and little shafts of light coming through to hit the forest floor. It was the perfect terroir. It wasn’t the long before we spotted our first chanterelles half hidden away under moss and branches. The ruse of the fallen silver birch leaves often catching us out.
|lovely looking chanterelles|
We only spent about an hour in the wood but that hour was so restorative. For me there can me few simple pleasures as wonderful as finding your own food especially when it is as tasty as chanterelles. Maybe my enjoyment of foraging is some throwback to some primal instinct but that little bit of time out helped me put a few things in perspective. I felt better.
|All our lovely "chanties"|
Chanterelle pappardelle – serves 2
teaspoon of oil
6 strips of streaky bacon or pancetta
100-300g chanterelles, trimmed and cleaned with the largest ones quartered
2 cloves of garlic, paper like skin still left on
3 sprigs of thyme
100ml double cream
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
sea salt and pepper
Add the oil and bacon to a skillet pan.
Cook until brown and crispy on a moderately high heat.
Remove from the pan and set aside on kitchen paper.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet with plenty of salted water.
You may need to drain some of the oil from the pan. You will only need about 1 tablespoon worth of oil.
Add the chanterelles in small batches to the pan, making sure there is plenty of space between them so that they don’t stew.
Add the garlic and some of the thyme.
If the pan gets too dry add a knob of butter.
Cook the mushrooms until they are pleasantly soft but coloured. This takes a few minutes.
Season with sea salt to taste.
Once each batch is cooked remove the chanterelles from the pan and squeeze a little lemon juice over them and set aside till later.
Once all the mushrooms are cooked add the cream to the pan, give it a good stir to get the flavour-filled bits off the bottom of the pan.
Allow the cream to boil and reduce down so that it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove the garlic and thyme.
Add the bacon and chanterelles to the pan for 1 minute then stir in the parsley and drained pasta.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.