Breakfast mushrooms

This week’s flat Irish mushrooms are a great basic. Fried up in butter or olive oil then served on toast they make a brilliant 5 minute breakfast, lunch or snack. Stick them in a folded omelette with some cheese for something a little more substantial. Add some garlic, parsley and a dash of cream to the mix and you’ve got a pasta sauce. And of course they add brilliant flavour to any stew, soup or casserole. Last year’s superwarming chunky soup/stew with cabbage could be one to try seeing as temperatures are dropping.

I’ve been enjoying mushrooms for breakfast a lot recently. Baked in the oven then topped with wilted spinach and cheese they make a brilliant start to the day. This morning I tried some topped with toasted goat’s cheese and leeks cooked down in butter. with a splash of balsamic vinegar just to give things a little bite. Delicious.

Baked mushrooms with garlic, leeks and goat’s cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

5/6 medium sized flat mushrooms or 2 large portabella with the stems removed

2 tablespoon olive oil

Juice 1/2 lemon

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 leeks trimmed of the tougher green part and washed

A knob of butter

100gr crumbled goat’s cheese

A small handful walnuts

Balsamic vinegar

Begin by mixing the oil, lemon juice and garlic with a little salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms darkside up on a baking tray then drizzle the oil mix over them. Place in a hottish oven (gas mark 5) for 12 minutes. Slice the leeks down the middle then into half moons. Heat a little butter on the pan and  fry the leeks with a pinch of salt for about 7-8 minutes til tender. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and top with the goat’s cheese. Toast under the grill til the cheese is soft with a golden crisp then finally top with the leeks, a drizzle of balsamic and a few broken walnuts. Serve hot on or with toast.

Of course you’ll need some orange juice with those mushrooms and this week sees the return of those great value 6.5k boxes of new season oranges. We’d be delighted to deliver a box with your next order so just give us a shout if you’d like some. They cost €12.

Have a great week,




We have Jerusalem Artichokes in all our bags this week. Never heard of them? Well, they are those funny knobbly things that look like a cross between Root Ginger and Sweet Potatoes in your bag this week. Rather confusingly Jerusalem Artichokes have nothing to do with either Jerusalem or Artichokes. These tubers are a variety of sunflower. Tastewise, they’re quite similar to Globe Artichokes but are much sweeter with a nutty, smokey flavour which goes beautifully with Cream, Garlic, Bacon, Mushrooms, Hazelnuts, Lemon, Parsley and Parmesan. Like all root veg, Jerusalem Artichokes can be roasted, fried, boiled and mashed. They make fantastic soups and gratins and can even be eaten raw although with the day that’s in it that doesn’t really hold too much appeal. Instead, I’d suggest a warm salad with this week’s Rocket and some smoked Cheese. Paul and I have just wolfed this for lunch and it rocks. Or, try soup – Jerusalem Artichokes make the silkiest kind and you can garnish it by pan-frying some of this week’s Mushrooms which are just perfect for bringing up the nutty, earthy flavour of the soup….

When preparing your Artichokes, it isn’t necessary, as many recipes insist, to peel them but they do need a good scrub. If they’re very mucky, a soak in some water before you scrub will make things easier. If you do peel them, be sure and put them in acidulated water (ie water with some Lemon Juice) to stop them going brown. The first recipe this week is a very simple one and it works really well with any kind of roast and it’s also the basis of the salad recipe I just mentioned….

 Pan-fried Jerusalem Artichokes with White Wine Vinegar

You’ll need: 600gr Jerusalem Artichokes (about what you have in this week’s bag)

 Olive Oil

2-3 cloves Garlic

 White Wine Vinegar

Scrub your Artichokes well but don’t bother to peel them. Slice each one into rounds about 1/2 cm thick dropping them into a bowl of Water with Lemon juice as you go. When they’re all ready drain them and dry with some kichen paper or a tea towel. Heat some Olive Oil on the pan and add the Artichokes. Pan-fry over a slow to medium heat until golden. This should take about 10 minutes and at this stage the Artichokes will have started to soften. To finish cooking them turn down the heat and cover them for about 10 minutes tossing every few minutes to ensure they don’t blacken. While the Artichokes are cooking, finely chop your Garlic. When the Artichokes are soft to the point of nearly starting to fall apart turn up the heat a little, add a little more Olive Oil and throw in the Garlic and toss with the Artichokes until soft. To finish off the dish add a dash of white wine vinegar, toss everything together then turn down the heat, cover and leave to cook for a minute then turn off the heat, season with Salt and Pepper and serve.

A warm salad with Pan-fried Artichokes, Rocket, Pinenuts and smoked Cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

 A portion of pan-fried Artichokes prepared as described above.

60-70gr Rocket (about what you have in your bag this week)

100gr smoked Cheese – Apart from the Basque raw sheeps cheese Idiazabal I’m not normally wild about smoked Cheeses but it’s amazing in this salad. I used Oakwood which is pretty readily available (Idiazabal, unfortuneately, isn’t – even in the rest of Spain it’s hard to track down).

A handful Pinenuts Olive Oil Vinegar or Lemon Juice – I used that Irish Cider Balsamic stuff which is really nice but traditional Red wine or Lemon Juice also works well. I wouldn’t go for regular Balsamic for a salad like this as I think it overpowers the earthy flavours but it’s really up to you.

While the Artichokes are cooking wash and dry the Rocket. Chop the cheese into little chunks (about the size of hazelnuts) or strips about 2 cm long . Toast the Pinenuts on a dry pan until golden then roughly chop and mix through the Rocket. Add in the Cheese and when the Artichokes are ready dress everything with Olive Oil and Vinegar then top with the Artichokes and serve.

And finally…………………

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup topped with saute Portabella Mushrooms (for 2 hungry people or 4 as a small starter)

You’ll need:

A generous knob Butter

 1 Onion

1 Stick of Celery

2 Cloves Garlic

600gr Jerusalem Artichokes (about what you have in this week’s bag)

800ml Stock (Chicken or veg)

60ml Double Cream

1 large Portobella Mushroom or 4-5 small Chestnut ones to garnish

Roughly chop your Onion and begin to sweat in the Butter while you finely chop the Celery. Throw in the chopped Celery and after about 5 minutes add the 2 cloves Garlic roughly chopped. Continue to saute over a lowish heat until everything has softened but not changed colour (this should take about 10 minutes) while you get on with preparing the Jerusalem Artichokes. Peel and slice the Jerusalem Artichokes, dropping them into water with a squirt of Lemon as you go. When the Onion, Celery and Garlic have fully softened throw in the Artichokes along with the stock. Season with Salt and Pepper, bring to the boil then simmer for about 25 minutes until the Jerusalem Artichokes are completely tender. While the soup is cooking wipe and thinly slice your mushroom(s), heat some Olive Oil on a pan and fry until golden brown and almost crispy then set aside. When the soup is cooked, turn off the heat and blend until completely smooth. Add in the cream, check the seasoning adding a little more Salt if necessary and serve topped with the Mushrooms.

Hello everyone and a very happy 2009 to you,
If you’ve started a detox look away now. This week’s recipe is a gratin with the Mushrooms and Potatoes in your bag cooked with Gruyere cheese and Cream (just in case you didn’t do quite enough damage over the Christmas).To add extra depth to the Mushrooms I add some Porcini (dried Cepes) then use the liquid I hydrate them with in the gratin. If you can’t get your hands on Porcini (they’re generally to be found in good delis) don’t worry the dish works fine without them.
The detox starts next week(!!!)
Potato Gratin with Gruyere and Mushrooms
You’ll need:
10gr Porcini Mushrooms
175gr Mushrooms (about what you have in your bag this week)
Olive Oil
800gr Potatoes
120gr Gruyere (Parmesan also works well and Cheddar will do at a pinch)
200ml Single Cream

To begin with take the Porcini Mushrooms and leave them soaking in 120ml hot water then get on with preparing the rest of the ingredients. Wipe and slice the Mushrooms. Heat a dash of Olive Oil in a  pan and thrown on the Mushrooms and sauté until golden brown then set aside.
While the Mushrooms are cooking, peel and slice (about the thickness of a Euro coin or slightly less if possible) the Potatoes. Grate the Cheese and set aside. Strain and finely chop the Porcini then mix the soaking liquid with the Cream. Season this liquid with Salt and Pepper (you can add a little more Salt than normal as cream tends to sweeten things a lot especially when cooked down).

To put the dish together, in a square ovenproof dish about  24 cm x 24 cm place a layer of Potatoes. Scatter about a  third of your mushrooms and cheese on top and continue layering like this finishing with a layer of Potatoes. Pour the liquid over the Potatoes and Mushrooms and finally grate a little more cheese on top of everything. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees then uncover and bake for a further 15 or until golden brown.

Try this with a simple Lamb’s Lettuce and Walnut salad for the perfect lunch or add a dish of roasted root veg (the Carrots in this week’s bag would be perfect)to make a more substantial meal.
Our Mediteranean selections all have Artichokes this week and if you haven’t had them before you’re in for a treat. I tend to serve them as simply as possible to show off their great flavour. Last night I made Carciofi Fritti (Fried Artichokes) to pick on while we waited for dinner to cook and they went down a storm especially with 4 year old Dan who was appalled we were going to eat such a strange looking variety………. 
Carciofi Fritti 
First of all prepare the Artichokes by peeling off the tough outer leaves then cutting off the top half of each Artichoke (ie the tougher/pointy part). Finally, pare back the any more tough bits until you reach the heart. It’s a lot of cutting back I know and what you’re left with seems so paltry but it is worth it I promise! Discard the fluffy stuff you find there then slice the Artichoke heart into pieces about 1/2 cm thick. Place the slices in a bowl of water then add the juice of half a Lemon and a generous pinch of Salt. Leave the Artichokes to sit for about 15 minutes then drain and pat dry.
Heat about an inch of Oil in a pan and prepare the Artichoke slices for frying by dipping them in Flour then beaten Egg (you’ll need 1 large Egg) then breadcrumbs. Add the Artichokes to the oil when it’s hot but not smoking otherwise the Artichokes will burn on the outside before they’re done inside. When golden brown, remove from the pan to some Kitchen Paper then sprinkle with Salt, Black Pepper and a squeeze of Lemon Juice. Serve immediately!!!!
Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great week,