Thistle Roots, Feild Mushrooms n Bubbling Wild Ferments in Daylseford

Ok so I’m staying at a friends place for awhile in Daylesford n I’ve been eating the usual suspects everyday dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) plantain (Plantago lanceolata) n dock (Rumex crispus) greens which has been good but the other day I managed to gather a good feed of thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) the other day I knew my friends hadn’t tried them before so thought it would be a real treat for them n they absolutely loved them.

Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare )
I scraped n cut up into bite size bits then to stop them oxidizing before they were all cut up n ready for the hot plate I put a squeeze of lemon in the water, once ready I simmered these for about an hour until tender I really love their artichoke heart flavor.
The next day we drove around looking for some mushies as it had rained recently we picked a bucket of field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) n a few puff balls (Calvatia sp.). My friends Stu n Nira had theirs with chicken livers fried up for breakfast they really loved them, I’m not a fan of the feildy any more for some reason I’ve gone rite off them I had a few small buttons n some puff balls on toast with an egg.
Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris)
Also some of the fermenting projects we have done, from the left  remember the crab apple cider I was going to make into vinegar well first I had to keep my eye on Stu n Nira coz they would have liked to have drunk all the cider so I wouldn’t have anything to make vinegar with but all good they controlled themselves, I have now strained all of the solids out of this n added some of my home made vinegar with a little mother so now it is just a matter of time lucky I have good self control too.
We also made a new batch of kombucha it is sitting on they bench bubbling away n Nira n I made an apple scrap vinegar for them, we just cut up some apples you can use apple cores and or left overs we also added some grapes you can use any fruits for this that you have around, then we added a sugar syrup to the fruit in that big jar we used about 1 cup of sugar, this will become active n you let it bubble away until it settles a bit then strain the solids out and again wait for the liquid to turn to vinegar, if you have raw vinegar or a vinegar mother you can add these to help speed up the process but they are not necessary it will happen naturally in it’s own good time.

Wild ferments- crab apple cider vinegar, kombucha n apple scrap vinegar

Crab apple cider vinegar, Kombucha n Apples scrap vinegar

Well that’s it for now hopefully in a couple week we will get many different mushrooms fingers crossed. 🙂

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Mushie season in the tropics

Agaricus sp.Well I’m so surprised by the variety of fungi popping up here in the tropics! I thought the majority of fungi were temperate but no some species I have found in a temperate zones are popping up here in the tropics so I think fungi may be more dependent on rain not temperatures, very interesting.
I have found what I think is a field mushroom (Agaricus sp.) of some sort it is smaller than the ones in Trouwunna/Tasmania but taste the same I also found a small amount of tinny puff balls of the Lycoperdon genus along the road and then blow be down if yaba Mick & his mate didn’t turn up back home with two large puff balls from up around Cooktown area, he figured I would be able to say if edible or not they all think it is quite funny my obsession and excitement over mayi/wild foods and they just looked at each other and laughed when I said YES you can eat them and got all exited about it……..
Brain puff ball (Calvatia craniformis)The puff balls they found are what I believe to be the brain puff ball (Calvatia craniformis) it is the biggest puff ball I have seen so far in Australia and yaba mick said there were heaps of them so I will know for next season now.
I fried up the mushies I had found then added parsley and a white sauce, I sliced the two yaba mick bought home and fried them up in olive oil with just a bit of salt and pepper they were nice they went crispy brown on the outside but were still a gooey soft white on the inside like what I remember fried Camembert cheese to be like but not as runny just marshmallowy…..
Puff balls aren’t my favorite mushies but they aren’t bad so I will definitely harvest them next year and please excuse the pictures we all didn’t get home until later in the arvo and it was very stormy and dark, we were going to eat the mushies that night so I had to try to take pictures inside the house, not the best. 🙂

Fun With Funny Fungi Ears

Whilst walking my regular Mayi (Yalanji for food) trail the other morning I found some Jew’s ear fungi (Auricularia auricula-judae) on an old rotten log there was just enough for a feed so I took them home and had them fried up with eggs on toast with home made mango & tamarind chutney, they are not my favorite fungi but I am always happy to add something anything wild and different to my diet.

Jews ear fungi Auricularia auricula-judae,I am having to leave my tropical paradise in a couple of months I have to go back to Tasmania to pay off the bill for fixing my van. I can live off the land down there better than anywhere else because I know that country and climate very well.. So I will be blogging about temperate foods and fungi again from January, I am most exited about the fungi they are my absolute favorite wild food and just in general I am fascinated with the fungi kingdom.

So even though going back to Tas was unplanned and unexpected so soon I am seeing all the positives everything happens for a reason and it is getting very wet, hot and humid up here now, but I am hoping for a couple more bush foods that I have had my eye on to be ripe for me before I go so I can share about them, so not finished yet 🙂

Possum Stew

Just a quicky,  wanted to share my recipe for this Possum stew mmmmmmmmm everything in this stew was foraged or grown by me the only things payed for was the salt, pepper and oil!
I browned the Brush Tailed possum in oil then I added dried wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) , Hawthorn sauce (Crataegus sp.) mixed with water to cover, I simmered this until the meat was tender.
I then fried red spring onions, baby carrots, stringless & butter beans, baby potatoes, squash, salt & pepper in oil until just tender, I added this and a big heap of silver beet, sow thistles (Sonchus sp.) and nettles (Urtica sp.) to the meat I simmered this for several minute then I hoed in Yummmmm 🙂 sorry no picture as I’m sure you are sick of stew pictures and I don’t have time and energy tonight 🙂

The Problem With Wood Blewits

Ok I just wanted to share this important information with all you mushroom forager or wanna be mushroom foragers, I’m talking about the Wood Blewits (Lesista nuda) a gorgeous yummy mushroom that I have posted about here a few times.

Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) at the bottom of picture.

On one of my latest forays I was lucky enough to come upon a direct example of how people get poisoned when foraging for wood blewits, I say lucky here because to me there is nothing like first hand experience, you can read about it look at all the pictures under the sun which is all good but it is no replacement for first hand experience so I’m sharing mine here in the hope it will add to your collection of helpful information about this particular species.
So I was strolling around picking wood blewits with basket and knife in hand and I came across this one mushroom under a tree very close to the other wood blewits when I grabbed the cap and sliced through the stem something just didn’t feel rite it is hard to explain this feeling you get, experienced mushroomers will probably know what I’m talking about.
Foraging is an instinctual thing as much as a well researched logical thinking thing and thats why I believe when foraging you need to be very present and aware of your surroundings not just chatting away to friends or listening to music etc here silence is golden and may save your life.
This mushroom just felt wrong to the touch it was like denser or something and it didn’t have that beautiful flowerery smell that wood blewits normally have so I put it in a separate place until I got home, when I got home I put it on a piece of paper to do a spore prints I use half white and half brown paper so I can see all the ranges of color, I suggest if you are picking mushroom until you get really confident and even after that for species with toxic look alikes, you leave them over night or for a few hour on paper to see spore prints before eating them, just make it a part of your routine you can still cover with a cloth so they don’t dry out no problems.
And wow I was quiet chuffed at the result and very grateful I didn’t eat it! ….. the spore print was indeed brown the wood blewits spore print is white to soft pinkish, so what could it be I had a fair idea what it was as you SHOULD study and become familiar with all the look alikes of all the mushroom you are hunting for and intend on consuming, it was the Cortinarius violaceus, it was very simalar to the wood blewit and I can see why people mistake them, so be warned here in Tasmania they DO grow together! So be careful. See pictures below.

This is the Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) Sorry no picture of the spore print but it is soft pink or white so very different to the Cortinarius violaceus.

Cortinarius violaceus, Wood Blewit look alike, see spore print is brown, the cap is a darker, the stem is thicker, it smells and feels different to wood blewits.

Early Winter Wonderings

Hi all, well it is cold and wet outside and my body is giving me curry renforcing the seasonal change.

I sat up most of the night crocheting my eight years on and off of laboriously hand spun wool into a poncho I was hoping it would be ready for this winter and it will be in a coupler more nights finally, I just finished an alpaca wool poncho as well, I have been spinning wool on and off depending on the old body for years now, I bought an old antique spinning wheel many years ago I have two actually my antique one and a different version of a wheel made by someone out of pine, I just love spinning when I can it’s very relaxing once you master it that it, it really bring it home how hard people used to work to make everything they didn’t just go down the shop and by a wool jumper they had to make it from scratch it is very humbling and very satisfying to create something from scratch.
I still have a few more boxes of wool left and am going to try to spin a lot of it to make mats, it doesn’t have to be fine spun for this so should be easy and I will try to felt some too, these are good jobs for winter.

Anyway I woke up late aching and tiered to the sound of Mr crow and his mates cawing outside my window, some hate crows but I love their glossy blackness and their intelligent piecing shiny eyes oh and I just love their low pitched drawling talking as it isn’t really a song, it makes me smile. After brekie I decided to just cook one thing today and do a blog and this is it, I cooked a hot apple chutney with some beautiful old fashioned apples my friend dropped in for me the other day. I’m not a big apple eater but am trying to find ways to use them as there are so many here in Tassie they grow wild everywhere and there isn’t many yards that don’t have an old apple tree in them so they are always in abundance. I cant eat the high acid apples I like the golden delicious and the lady in the snow fresh to eat but these ones my friend gave me are an old late season apple one is high acid and one doesn’t have much flavor or I would call it savory they are both great for cooking and the chutney turned out great sorry I didn’t write the recipe down I just chucked everything I had around into it, apples, onions, chilly, tomatoes, mustard seeds, bay leaves, cloves, paprika, smoke water, seaweed,vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper cooked until soft and thickened and bottled.

My Amaranth is drying well it should be ready to blog about soon, I also will be updating my mushroom list with a new edible mushroom after this, it was a hard one to identify to 100% I knew the genus but the exact species is a bit harder I can’t seem to find much literature in relation to Tasmania on what species I think it is. I think it is Ramaria myceliosa,  it grows in rings under the Pinus radiata here and after talking with others online and researching it I decided to try it as usual I tried a little bit and the next day a bit more and then the next day a bowl full, these are really nice in flavor but are harder to harvest and very fiddly to clean  they get a lot of rubbish in amongst their branches that you have to carefully pick out. They are nice so worth doing a few times a season, there isn’t many other mushrooms out at this time of year.

Now having said all of that there are a few species in this genus that can apparently make you sick as in effecting the digestion system diarrhea and stomach cramps etc, so please be careful to Identify the species in your area and do your own research before trying ok.

Coral fungi (Ramaria sp.) lightly fried in olive oil.

My other note on mushroom is that the Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) and the Grey Knight (Tricholoma terreum) both dry well I wasn’t sure they would but they turned out good, they both rehydrate well the wood blewits are better than they grey knight which dry to virtually nothing because they are so small.

Fresh & dried Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda)

The other new thing I did recently was to cook up a Stinging nettle (Urtica sp.) and Salsify concentrated soup and then I dried it to use it like a cuppa soups or to flavor meals like a seasoning. It worked well and I will be experimenting with similar dried recipes in the future, This one was just onions, salsify root, nettles, salt, pepper and water all simmered until tender and reduced then blended, dried and crumbled up and put in glass jar.

Stinging nettle & Salsify soup stock flakes

Winter sauces

Jiminey cricket it’s cold out side, there is snow on the mountain and it is wet and blowing a gale, good day to cook all day I recon, and with the wood heater cranked I and the house were soon warm! there isn’t much space on the old wood heater it isn’t a proper wood stove I’m still dreaming about that, so I could only cook one thing at a time because if I have the heater going I don’t like to use the gas cooker as well but thats ok I was in no hurry.

I thought it was going to be ruff so I got Hawthorn berries (Crataegus sp.) and stewed field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) out of the freezer the night before, now I’m freezing in glass I cant just grab things out run under water and use in my normal last minute spontaneous way I have to let them defrost slowly so more planing but it is way worth training myself to do it this way rather than using all that poisonous plastic rubbish which I’m determined to be rid of in my life!

Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris)

Hawthorn berries (Cataegus sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lit the heater and made myself a yummy breakie,  first things first hay! my new season ducks that I bred and hatched just after Xmas had started laying and I was exited and eger to taste their rich orange yumminess, I poured my beet kavass had fried my fermented bread, fried up some wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) and left over potato and jerusalem artichokes and last but not leased I cracked the egg into the fry pan it was a double yoker I had never had a double yoked duck eggs before so I took a picture to share. YUM!

Yummy breakie to start the day

So after my fabulous breakie I started with the 2 mushroom sauce, 2 mushroom because yes there are 2 different mushrooms in it!  I had never made a mushroom sauce before but thought I would give it a crack, I had already stewed the field mushroom earlier on in the season so they had water, salt and pepper added to them already, I threw these in a big pot and brought them up to the boil while they were heating up I peeled, chopped and fried a heap of onions for both sauces, I added half this mix to the mushroom once boiling and then I added all the other ingredients and let this simmer for a while strained cooked again with the sugar and bottled the full recipe is below.

I started a yeast spelt bread as well I thought seeing as the house was so warm I would take advantage of that too, once I finished the mushroom sauce I made a start on the hawthorn berries I put these in a big pot covered with water and simmered until the berries were nice and soft, once cooled I put these through the mouli (hand food mill) and saved all the seedless pulp, I added all the other ingredients to this hard boiled and bottled by the time I had done this the bread was ready and in the oven.

2 Mushroom sauce recipe

  • 2 kg Field mushroom (Agaricus campestris)
  • 3 cups dried Slippery jack (Suillus luteus)
  • 1  liter water or more
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 spring of rosemary
  • ½ cup chilly flakes
  • 2 cups fruit vinegar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 table spoons balsamic vinegar

The field mushrooms I used here were stewed and frozen so they had liquid in them already about a litre of water so if you do this recipe from fresh mushrooms you need to add this water.

Add field mushroom to pot (with 1 litre water if fresh) add 2 cups of extra water add dried Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus), vinegars, soy sauce, bay leaves, rosemary, chilly flakes, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes, strain this mixture and put the liquid back in pot with the sugar and hard boil for another 20 minutes and bottle.

The recipe for the hawthorn sauce is in the recipe section of my page the only difference to this one was I added some fermented horse radish to it, my cooking is very organic and spontaneous every time I make a sauce they are slightly different thats what makes it exciting every time I cook, I don’t follow strict recipes I just use a basic recipes be it bread, sauces, muffins or what ever and add what ever is available at the time.

Well all in all it was a very productive day indeed the mushroom sauce is one of the most flavorful amazing recipes I have come up with so far, I was very chuffed with myself!

New Mushroom Indulgences

Well I wanted to share yet another post on wild mushrooms I was really exited about finding two new mushroom species I can eat that taste great this season. This has been the most abundant and varied mushroom foraging season I have ever experienced and I can only hope that the mushroom fairies keep blessing me with this abundance every year… 🙂

Lepista irina

There was a group of these above, Lepista irina growing under some desidious trees just down the road from my house they are a nice big mushroom with good texture and great taste! I don’t know a common name for these.

A little further down the road from these was the other new one Tricholoma terreum apparently known as the Grey knight or Dirty tricholoma, these are a small crisp fleshed mushroom and they to taste great as well!

Grey knight (Tricholoma terreum)

I’m so wrapped I have found more scrumptious mushrooms to eat and there are plenty of these around here in Tassie I have seen them everywhere I look for other species but the other one above Lepista irina is not so common.
Along with these on that day I picked Wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) and a small amount of Saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus) as well.
Now the process I go through when trying a new edible mushroom is that I only try a small amount and see how I feel the next day I try more and if I’m ok after this I eat as I like, this is a good idea when trying any wild food for the first time.

I don’t have any pictures of the Lepista irina as a prepared meal I like to try new mushroom just seasoned and not mixed with other ingredients so I can taste the mushroom flavor on it’s own so I didn’t take pictures of them because it just looked like a plate of mushrooms really and it is getting harder because it is nearly winter here and by the time I eat of a night it is to dark now so looks like I will have to have big breakfasts or lunches so I can keep blogging!
But I did take a picture of the Grey knights (Tricholoma terreum) tonight because I went back for another harvest today.

Grey knight (Tricholoma terreum) and Wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) with pasta, there is pasta under there!

A little bit more bragging, sorry, I also harvested a basket full of Parasol (Macrolepiota procera) mushrooms last week and have been eating them all week too. I made a free range egg and spelt pasta and added the parasols, salt and pepper, nice and plain but it tasted absolutely amazing, I only ever if I’m lucky get a small amount of these I only know of one patch in my area so I look forward to these every year….. who am I kidding I look forward to all the wild mushrooms every year!!

Parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera)

Parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera)

I will be updating my mushroom list shortly, well thats it for now I hope you have been as lucky with wild mushrooms as I have been this year, enjoy!

Mushroom basket

I went for a little walk this afternoon the sun was out and I needed to get out of the house I had been cooking and preparing foraged foods all day and needed a break so I thought I would go and look for some dandelion and or some red clove flowers in the reserves and parks around my house.

I ended up with a basket overflowing with, yes more mushrooms, I just can’t believe the amount and variety of mushrooms around this year it is well, overwhelming really.

Mushroom harvest

Here in this picture you can see how many different ones I found, some I know are edible others I have to identify, which I will be doing for a lot of tonight!
I also picked some yarrow (Achillea millefolium) flowers and I pulled some plants to plant in my yard and I picked some dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinal) as well.

I cleaned the small slippery jacks (Suillus luteus), wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) baby puff balls (Lycoperdon sp.) and the saffron milks caps (Lactarius deliciosus) and the dandelion flowers I fried these gently until cooked and tossed them to my fresh home made egg spelt pasta, it was how should I put it, bloody scrumptious!!

Wild mushrooms and home made spelt egg pasta

Sorry this last picture is a bit dark it is getting dark earlier and earlier here now and I’m still getting used to the new winter time table.

Well I hope everyone else is lucky enough to be indulging in natures bounty as much as me at the moment, I think it is the feast before the winter hibernation period……….. 🙂

Apples, Artichokes, Wild Fennel, Mushies and basket materials.


Yesterday’s trip to the doctors turned out to be a big day of foraging on the way home as usual. I ended up with not only food stuff this time but some basket making materials as well.

First on the list was apples three different types, my aunty had told me there was an empty house down the road with plenty of apple trees in it so once I found the house I stopped grab the basket and filled it up, I don’t know what the apples are exactly but I can only eat ones that are low in acid and these are perfect.

I have actually been munching on the apples I got last time and I have been enjoying them for the first time in my life, being bought up in the “Apple Island” (Tasmania) I think I was over dosed as a child I just haven’t been able to bring myself to eat more than a few mouths full at once. I was determined to use this abundant free resource and it looks like I will use some each year now. I’m going to dry this lot I stewed and froze the last lot, I will show how that turn out in a separate blog later.

In the same yard there were several Artichokes (Cynara sp.) it was a prickly one so I had to be careful but I picked a few leaf bases and the two flower buds that were there. I got a coupler prickles in my fingers but it was worth the trouble and pain. I cooked the stems into a Artichoke and potato soup I’ve made lots of soups in the last month but you can never have enough soups in winter. I served this with  crispy potato skins, these are just the skins dried out over night and tossed through seasoned wholemeal flour then shallow fried until crispy, be careful as they burn very quickly.

Artichoke stem & potato soup

Artichoke stem & potato soup

Artichoke stem & potato soup with crispy potato skins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artichoke stem & potato soup

  • 4 onions
  • 4 potatoes
  • 8 artichoke stems washed and chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • water

Fry the onions & garlic until tender add the artichoke stems, salt and pepper fry a bit longer then add water to cover simmer until cooked, cool blend and strain then serve.

Next on the list was mushrooms, I picked a small bucket full not sure exactly what they were all I knew was they were an Agaricus mushroom of some sort, the smaller one were staining yellow but the bigger ones near these weren’t so I was hoping they were different but I tried a bit of a cooked one and they didn’t taste nice so I tossed them.

Next was wild fennel (Foeniculum sp.) another plant that is abundant that I don’t love the flavour of but really want to use I ended up making a Wild fennel and potato soup which is nice and I made a fennel and molasses candy which are scrumptious a bit soft but I’m trying to use raw sugar and I don’t think it sets as hard as when you use white processed sugar I’m still working on the recipe.

Wild fennel & potato soup

Wild fennel & potato soup

  • 5 onions
  • 5 potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt & pepper
  • a big bowl of chopped wild fennel (Foeniculum sp.)
  • water

Fry the onions & garlic in olive oil until tender add salt, pepper, potatoes and fennel fry a bit longer until very aromatic then add water to cover simmer very gently for 15 minutes then turn heat up and boil until all cooked, cool and blend serve with a fresh spring of fennel.

Last but not least I harvested White poplar and white willow stems and branches for basket weaving. I’m looking forward to creating some more baskets this winter why I’m hibernating, blogs to come.

White popular and white willow for basket making

Well that’s it for this one cheers