Foraging for one's food has become very fashionable with many leading chefs espousing the joys and benefits. Long before it was fashionable my family were foragers. There were the trips to pick blackberries, something not easily undertaken these days due to the blackberry eradication program and mushrooming. The mushrooms were easier and less scary, although, I am still scarred by the snake experience when blackberrying. Any fruit tree that was abandoned was also fair game.
Mushrooming was an Autumn activity. As soon as there was rain we would be out. Each child was given a bucket and a knife and told to go out into the paddocks and collect. Competition was fierce and every inch of the selected paddock was inspected, 'cow pats' were turned over in case there were mushrooms lurking underneath. The cows seemed to not mind the arrival of the pickers, although, we had been instructed to keep away from them. We ate loads of them and I can not recall ever being sick. With the very warm weather and recent rain the mushrooms have arrived, some safe and some not.
These days I heed the warnings like this that was in my local paper today
And go mushrooming at my local fruit and vegetable store
There are many different sorts of fresh, all safe
And dried including Porcini powder, one of my favourite ingredients and a valuable addition to mushroom soups, risottos and cream sauces.
A selection of mushrooms ready to cook.
Thinly sliced, cooked in a very hot non stick pan. I cook them in batches so that they do not stew.
For some extra flavour Heat a little butter and a few sage leaves cooked until the butter starts to brown and the sage becomes crispy then add the sautéed mushrooms
Serve on hot toast and for something a bit more special top with a soft fried or poached egg.