Chestnut Mushrooms

February 6, 2009


We have lovely Brown/Chestnut Mushrooms in all our selections this week. Like all Mushrooms they are packed with all kinds of good stuff like B vitamins which are great for counteracting stress and fatigue, Vitamin D which helps keep your hair, skin and nails healthy and strong, vegetable Proteins and minerals like Potassium, Copper, Selenium and Phosphorus. Recent studies also show that Mushrooms have Probiotic properties i.e they help the body strengthen itself and fight off illness. Chestnut Mushrooms are tastier than the white button variety but can be prepared in the same ways. Perhaps the best (and certainly the simplest) way to prepare them is to wipe (never immerse them in water as they suck it up and make everything soggy so use a damp cloth to clean them) slice and pan-fry them for a couple of minutes and eat them straightup with plenty of fresh bread to mop up the juices. Or alternatively, these pan-fried Mushrooms can be added to a folded Omelette with your favourite Cheese for a quick supper. They are also great in all kinds of stews and casseroles where their meatiness adds a lovely depth of flavour. They can be eaten raw and like most things conserve more goodness this way. Try them sliced in salads with a Balsamic dressing and if you really want to show them off, try slicing and marinating them in Olive Oil and Balsamic overnight before adding them to a salad of green leaves and Goat’s Cheese. While Mushrooms are fantastic with little more than some Garlic and Olive Oil, their flavour is set off perfectly by lots of things like Cream, Crème Fraiche, Cheeses like Parmesan and Gruyere, Herbs like Chives, Oregano, Tarragon and Parsley, Onions, Eggs, Butternut Squash (also in this week’s bag), Tomatoes, Nuts and Wine (both red and white). Basically, there are tons of options and here are 2 of my

Chestnut mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms

Spanish style Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley

You’ll need:

180gr Chestnut Mushrooms (about what you have in your bag this week)

Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic

2 Tablespoons Parsley

Salt and Pepper

Clean and slice your mushrooms. Sauté in olive oil for a few minutes until most of the liquid given off by the mushroom has evaporated. Add a mixture of 2 garlic cloves and 2 Tablespoons Parsley finely chopped (or, better still, pounded together in a mortar with a pestle). Add this mixture along with some Salt and freshly ground Pepper to the Mushrooms. Turn up the heat for a moment then add a dash of white wine or sherry. Let the alcohol evaporate, mix everything together and remove from heat. Serve hot or cold with some fresh crusty bread or some toasted yesterday’s bread.

Mushroom and Porcini Risotto (for 2)

Porcini are dried Ceps, an extremely flavoursome mushroom used a lot on the continent. You can buy them in little packets from Italian Delis and other good Delis but I’ve yet to see them in supermarkets. For this recipe you will need half a packet (about 12gr./ 1/2 ounce) and they will need to be soaked in 2 cups luke warm water for at least 30 minutes before you start. Then, drain and finely chop the Porcini setting aside the soaking liquid.

You’ll need:

1/2 packet/12gr Porcini

1 Medium Onion Butter

180gr Chestnut Mushrooms (about what you have in your bag this week)

1 cup Arborio Rice (available in good Delis and Italian shops)

1-2 cups Vegetable Stock (as usual I use Marigold)

Salt and Pepper

100gr grated Parmesan

Begin by sautéing the chopped Onion in a generous knob of Butter. While the Onion is cooking wipe and slice your Mushrooms and when the Onion is translucent and starting to turn golden add the Mushrooms and continue cooking until they turn golden brown. Add 1 cup of Arborio Rice and sauté for a minute or two to coat each grain with Butter. Then, start adding your liquid (Have about 1 1/2 cups of Vegetable stock mixed with the 2 cups of Porcini liquid simmering ready for this stage) a ladle at a time allowing the rice to absorb the cooking liquid each time before you add more. After 10 minutes add the Porcini then continue adding the stock as before. When cooked (the rice should be cooked but al dente) turn off the heat, add some Pepper, half the Parmesan and knob of Butter. Stir well then taste and correct seasoning. Allow to sit covered (a teatowel will do if your pan doesn’t have a lid) then serve with the rest of the Parmesan on the table.

Market Watch

Lots of you seem to be making Marmalade this year so we’ll be getting more Seville Oranges next week. We also have grapefruit if you want to try adding them in too. I know I promised to post recipes for marmalade on the blog (I have 2 from the best preservers I know) but baba is teething and I just haven’t had a moment. I’ll do it this weekend – I promise!!!!

Hope you enjoy these recipes,

Have a great weekend,



Sweet Potato and Spinach

January 23, 2009

Hi everyone,

This week our selections all feature the makings of a lovely vegetarian Thai curry- Sweet Potato (very similar to Butternut Squash and can be baked or boiled and mashed like a regular spud if you don’t fancy the curry idea) and Spinach.

If you’re worried that this recipe might be a bit longwinded don’t be. Thai curries are relatively fast to put together and don’t require nearly as much cooking as many Indian curries you might have tried. Basically, you prepare  your ingredients (in this case this involves boiling or steaming the Sweet Poato, washing and chopping the Spinach and finally, frying up cubes of Tofu) beforehand then throwing them into some Coconut Milk mixed with Green Curry Paste (this you can buy in any of the Asian markets), cooking  the lot for about 5 minutes and hey presto dinner ready and it’s soooooooo tasty (I sent out this recipe a couple of years ago and have rarely had so much positive feedback about a dish)

Thai Green Curry with Sweet Potato, Spinach and Tofu (serves 3-4)

What you’ll need:

500gr Tofu

600gr Sweet Potato (about what you have in your bag this week)

400gr Spinach (about what you have in your bag this week)

Thai Green Curry Paste

400 ml Coconut Milk

2 Limes

Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)  or Salt if you’re veggie

1-2 cups Vegetable Stock or Water


I’ve divided the instructions into stages so it’s as clear as possible.

1. Rice – Get it done at the beginning so it’s not a big panic later. I use Thai Jasmine Rice but it’s up to you.

3. Tofu – Most people I know don’t rate Tofu at all and I think it’s because it’s very rarely prepared properly. Tofu is like a sponge – it doesn’t really taste of anything but is brilliant at soaking up other flavours so it’s great in this kind of dish. When you buy Tofu it comes packaged in water and is quite waterlogged (that weird silken stuff in a box is not what I’m talking about so steer clear) so you need to squeeze some of this out to make room for the other flavours. To do this, cut the Tofu into sheets about 1 inch thick and place them on a chopping board. Cover the Tofu with another chopping board wh then put something heavy like a big pan of of water on top of this so the Tofu gets pressed and some of the water is forced out. If possible, tilt the bottom board slightly by putting a folded cloth under one side so the water can run off. Leave for about 30 minutes, then get rid of all the water that’s been squeezed out and chop the Tofu into cubes. Heat a little vegetable oil in a pan and fry the cubes until golden.

3. Sweet Potato – while the Tofu is draining peel and chop the Sweet Potato into bitesize pieces,  bring to the boil in salted water then simmer until cooked. When it’s done drain and set aside.

4. Spinach – When all the above has been set up and is cooking or draining prepare the Spinach by removing the stems, washing and roughly shredding it.

5. Putting it all together

Once you’ve got all the ingredients sorted heat a dash of Oil in a wok or pan then add 2 Tablespoons (or 2.5 if you really like it hot but please, please ignore any instructions on the packaging that says you’ll need about 3 times that amount because believe me it’ll end in tears) of Thai Green Curry Paste. Stirfry the paste in the Oil for a moment then add 400ml Coconut Milk gradually allowing the Paste and Milk to mix properly together. To this you can add the grated zest of a lime and then the Sweet Potato, Tofu and Spinach.Sesaon with a little Salt or a dash of Fish sauce iof you aren’t vegetarian. Stir for about 5 minutes until the Spinach has fully wilted adding a cup or 2 of vegetable stock or water if things start to dry up. To serve add a squeezing of Lime and eat with the Rice. Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!

Market Watch

Loads of you are planning to make Marmalade so we’ll be getting in more Seville Oranges next week. They cost 3.20E per kilo. If you’d like some just let us know. I’m not  a marmalade maker myself  but my friend Margaret who makes amazing preserves will be giving me recipes which I’ll post on the blog the next few days.

Hope you enjoy the curry,

Have a fantastic weekend,