Thursday, November 30, 2006

I Fungi.

Some of the more regular readers among you, may have noticed that over the last few months I have developed a passion for fungi, particularly taking photos of my finds and scampering back home to identify them with my the aid of my trusty mushroom guide books. I am nowhere near the expert mycologist stage yet, but yesterday I realized just how much I've learnt.
On Tuesday, Pudsey and I went for a very long mushroom hunt, and to my delight I found some very gorgeous specimens, including this lovely one.
Oyster Mushroom - Pleurotus ostreatus On our return, I uploaded the clickage and set to going through the books. It looked very familiar to me, but not being 100% sure what it was, I'd left it where it was. At about 10pm, I discovered it was in fact an Oyster mushroom. Not just edible, but considered a delicacy. And I hadn't picked it. Ar*e.
The next day dawned, and as soon as we got the chance I donned wellies and we set off to the park armed with camera and a bag in the hope it was still there.
Joy! It was! So before anybody else had a chance to swipe it, I quickly snaffled it into my bag while Pudsey stood guard.
It was then that I noticed some sulphur tufts that I hadn't seen the day before, so I got my camera out and decided to format the card before snapping them
While I was waiting, a group of schoolkids with some teachers marched up towards us along the path. I looked as nonchalant as I could while standing in a puddle, wearing rainbow wellies and combat trousers and holding a camera and a bag. Sadly I was spotted and this drew the teachers attention to the large bracket fungi on a nearby log.
The teacher called the children over to have a closer look at which point I explained that I was waiting for my camera to format so I could snap the sulphur tufts, and pointed them out.
The teacher was impressed that I knew the names, and asked about the brackets. Wow! Did I know of any more fungi? Well yes I did, and showed them some nearby Jew's ears, and Violet crust.
The children 'oohed and aahed' at the fungi, but then I heard laughing. I turned round to find that Pudsey had got bored at being upstaged by mushrooms, and had decided to perform for the audience with a spectacular feat of balancing...
Pudsey, balancing! (Please feel free to applaud)
Anyhoo, the teacher asked me if there were any more fungi around, so I took the oyster mushroom out of the bag and held it up.
'Wow!' said the teacher, 'What do you call that?'
To which I replied, 'My dinner!'.

Last night I cooked them in a little butter and garlic, added a dash of white wine, sprinkled them with a tad of parmesean cheese and a smatter of parsley, and served them on toast.
Wild Dinner.
And they were delicious.