Into the Woods.

Last weekend we embarked on a wonderful trip to the state forest.

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This trip wasn’t only to prance around with forest fairies and breathe in copious amounts of fresh green air; it was for the very serious business of foraging.

WARNING: This post contains pictures of mushrooms that are magically poisonous. It is not a
how-to pick mushrooms post but it IS a how-to make tasty risotto post so keep reading…

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Our foraging group was led by the wonderful Diego Bonetto. He is a wealth of knowledge and a genuinely generous soul, easily spotted in a beautifully colourful stripy scarf. With his guidance (without him we would inevitably have become part of the forest floor for life) we embarked upon a journey to discover a mushroom harvest free for all.

Watch this to get all excited about fungus (seriously):

Certain mushrooms play a very important role in the forest. Even though some are edible it is important that one doesn’t disturb or extinguish the plant by picking it. Cutting the mushroom instead of pulling the whole plant out of the ground is the way to do it. Using a basket and placing the mushrooms with stems facing down means that spores will be scattered over the forest floor as you adventure forth to find mushroom gold.

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And what a treasure chest we discovered.

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We pickled, dried and cooked our bounty and even though we didn’t munch on the red ones, we were totally on a mushroom high by the end of it all.

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Here is our recipe for a beautiful mushroom risotto.

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Foraged Mushroom Risotto
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 onion
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 500-700g mixed saffron milk caps and slippery jacks, cleaned and chopped (Or mushrooms available to you at your local grocer)
  5. 1 tsp. paprika
  6. 1 tsp. salt
  7. 1 cup Arborio rice
  8. ½ tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  9. ½ tbsp. lemon thyme leaves, chopped
  10. 1 ¼ L salt free chicken stock (heated and set aside)
  11. 1 tbsp. butter
  12. ½ cup Parmesan, grated
To prepare the mushrooms
  1. Peel tops off slippery jacks and brush off any dirt with a brush.
  2. Rinse Saffron Milk caps in vinegar water and drip dry before use.
Risotto method
  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add onion and cook till translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes without browning.
  4. Add mushrooms, paprika & salt.
  5. Cook mushrooms till halved.
  6. Add rice, rosemary & thyme. Mix till rice is coated and absorbs any mushroom liquid.
  7. Add 1 ladle of stock to the rice and combine. Allow the liquid to absorb into the rice, stirring frequently.
  8. Add all stock 1 ladle at a time (each time allowing stock to fully absorb before adding the next).
  9. When all stock is combined, add the butter and Parmesan to the rice and mix to combine.
  10. Remove from heat and serve.
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