Well I can’t believe how busy autumn and now going into early winter has been, I thought it would have slowed down way before now but this had been my busiest season of foraging yet but I do think things a dwindling off now finally.
It has been over whelming at times and unexpected but I’m not complaining, we have had two really nice sunny days here and or though I was suck inside unwell for the majority of it I got out today to go for a little forage before the rain settled back in.
I picked several mushroom species three of which I believe to be new edibles for me that I will blog about shortly along with the usual suspects Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) and Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda).
Today I want to just do a catch up because I feel like everything it is getting away from me a bit, I recently receives Sandor Katz new book The Art of Fermentation, and as I expected it is great I’m only half way through and it has already inspired me to try two new ferments and one new recipe, the first was fermenting the good old Sweed and Burdock (Artium lappa) I just cleaned chopped and poured a brine mixture with a few spices and bay leaves over the veggies which were packed tightly into a big jar and with my river pebbles to hold everything under the brine they sat for two weeks or more and they taste fantastic!
The second one is Amaranth stalks, they aren’t ready yet I will share when they are and tell you how they turn out.
The new recipe which I’m really exited about is from kombucha mother candies….. these are so good, for those that make kombucha there is always the problem of what to do with all the extra scobies (kombucha babies/new mothers) even after giving heaps away to friends, I had a jar full in the cupboard so I gave this recipe ago, I changed the recipe slightly you can dry the candies once cooked but this was to much on my teeth so I added water and left mine as a syrupy desert, so chop the mother up into bit size pieces put in pot add a heap of sugar same as weight as chopped mother and I added water, simmer all this until the mother pieces are softish and thats it you could add spices if you wanted I added a very small piece of star anise, I’m so wrapped with the taste the recipe says you can soak and cook out the vinegar but I didn’t and I love it, it is sweet, tangy and a bit sharp but in a scrumptious way ! If only I had some fresh coconut cream it would be perfect…… sorry the picture is dark it was late!
I also did my first mushroom ferment ever.
I fermented the Grey Knight (Tricholoma terreum) just the mushrooms and brine again pebbles to hold under the liquid and wait until they all float, it worked but I just don’t really like the flavour, I shared picture below just out of interest, you can do this with any mushroom that is edible raw I’m not sure on whether this process can be used for mushrooms like the wood blewits that have to be cooked before eating so check if you are going to give this ago, you could start be doing some bought button mushrooms to see what they are like.
I have about five ferments that have to be feed regularly on the go my sourdough a ginger bug, ginger bug cake mix, and a flat bread sourdough that I just leave in a crock and use as I need too.
For those that have done sourdough it is a strait forward sourdough with spelt and whole meal stone ground flour and water left to grow its own yeast it sits in a crock in my kitchen and I feed it every day and from this I take some of the mixture about 2 cups full and I mix this with a heap more flour and water until it is a stiff dough I knead it a bit and put back in crock and this just sits on bench and I use when I want bread with a meal. I fry a bread to have with my duck eggs in the morning.
My ginger bug is just grated ginger sugar and water that has fermented I feed my bug every morning a table spoon of grated ginger and a table spoon of dissolved sugar. I just use this to make sodas and I add it to my kombucha and water kefir as well and for the first time a ginger bug cake mix.
I remember as a child my mother making what is called a friendship cake when I looked it up it was hard to actually find how to make the actual starter but in the recipes for the cake they were feeding it with ginger so I assumed the starter was just a ginger bug and experimented, I put a bit of my active bug in a crock and added wholemeal flour and spelt flour until it was a pancake batter consistency and then I fed this every day with a bit of ginger bug and more flour until there was a fair bit of mixture then I finally added enough flour to make it a cake batter thickness and then to this I added some stewed fejoa and apple and let it sit until it rose in a cake tin and baked in my oven for about an hour it turned out fabulous, very gingery and spicy, I have another one on the go and I think through winter I will just keep this going it is nice to have something sweet but warming through the colder months.
The other new thing I did with my ginger bug was to add it to fujoa to make a soda, this is the first time I have tried fojoa, the ladies at the bushy park market had them for sale they were locally grown so I bought some and I recon they are the closest thing to a tropical fruit we will get down here I think they are related to the guava and they are so sweet and yummy. I have bought a few more bags since then every time I go past and I’ve just been eating them but I ended up with too many to just snack on and they were ripening fast so I decided to try making a soda with them, and as a lot of good recipes that spring from just needing to utilize to much of something that is going off it turned out great. I chopped them in half poured boiling water over them and let that cool I then strained this into a nice bottle and added the ginger bug. You could second ferment this if you wanted which means just putting a tiny bit of sugar in a bottle adding liquid and capping so the fizz builds up and moving to fridge, I just drink mine flat that’s how I like it.
I killed my last rooster this week too, I made a roaster and wood blewit stew but before that I cut the breasts off marinated them in Kilkenny beer and cooked I had them with wood blewits (Lepista nuda), young chickweed (Stellaria media) and bitter cress (Cardamine hirsuta), sourdough flat bread and baby zucinni pickles, so good!
So I’ve cover my sourdoughs, ferments, cakes, soda and teased you with the idea of new mushies for the taste buds and I finally feel like I’m ready to hibernate it is getting really cold and wet now and it will be harder and harder for me to venture outside this body doesn’t like this cold weather but having a freezer full of mother nature’s scrumptious bounty to sustain me certainly helps, if I could just fix this bloody leaky roof!