Autumn arrived here last week. One day it was warm and sunny, the next there was a distinct chill in the air. We can't complain, because we've had a glorious summer, but it's a bit early, and it was very sudden.
I've always loved autumn, and now I have another reason to love it: Mushrooms! There's a field near our house where the occasional field mushroom can be found. Coming home with a couple of these last week, I got chatting to a neighbour, who told me where he used to pick field mushrooms in great quantities, about thirty years ago. A few days later, I set off in search and sure enough, found field mushrooms. Not vast quantities, but a reasonable haul. I ate quite a few fresh and dried the rest.
They were drying pretty well on the rack in the conservatory, but then the weather changed. Surrounded by humid air, the dry mushrooms started absorbing moisture again. Luckily, this only lasted a couple of days before the sun came out again, but I didn't want to risk that happening again. Once they were nearly dry, I brought them in and finished them off in a cool oven, which only took a few minutes.
Look what I found the other day:
Isn't it a beauty? Over a couple of days I found four of these. One went on pizza (not the best way to appreciate its delicate flavour), two went into mushroom tarts that I took to a party, and one is drying.
This morning I went out again, and found all of these:
That's two more ceps, two greencracked brittlegills, two redcracked boletes, and three blushers. Not bad for twenty minutes' foraging. The ceps have joined the other one on the drying rack, and the rest I chopped and cooked with a few lentils, spring onions (I don't have any of the other kind at the moment), celery and a bay leaf. This should make a good mixture for padding out meat in stews or pie fillings. Of course, it would make a pretty good veggie stew in its own right, but my husband is not a veggie. Don't tell him I'm feeding him mushrooms, will you?