Showing posts from October, 2010

One false move and it's curtains, not parasols

This weekend brought an amazing foraging find. Anyone who knows mushrooms will probably be able to tell that these were Parasol mushrooms. But I didn't. So I sweated and swotted and did some life-saving homework before taking them home for tea. I've been gathering mussels from the seashore for over 15 years now and I've never been ill once. I've been fishing for ten years and shrimping for 4. Still no stomach cramps. And since I started researching wild food for The Camper Van Cookbook I've been trying all kinds of natural finds. From seaweed to chickweed, winkles to wood sorrel. It's been a delicious (mostly) journey. But when it comes to fungi, I am a complete novice. And I always will be - because there is so much to learn and so many mistakes that can be made along the way. Mushrooms are a delight because they are so ephemeral but a few of the edible ones have look-a-likes that can kill you. So it's important to get it right if you decide to head out in

Something old, some kind of brew, something borrowed and something I grew

I went scrumping this week. It was a load of fun and completely unexpected. What would you do if you found an apple tree laden with fruit that no one would pick? Exactly. I lifted my daughter Maggie on my shoulders so she could pick the lowest hanging fruit from the neglected old tree. The apples were so perfect it would have been a crime to let them become windfall. They were ripe, sweet and delicious. We took what we could reach and then vowed to return to get more. I felt like a schoolboy again, with grazed knees and short trousers, heart beating as I tasted the first freshly picked apples of my autumn. The scrumper in me loves this. A day out in the van and a walk that turns into an adventure. So the apple tree is the old part of this story. And the apples, shall we say, borrowed. But what about the rest? What about some kind of brew? In keeping with the apple theme we decided to try out this pork dish using Devon scrumpy. How apt. After browning and seasoning the pork we let it