Tuesday, August 14, 2007

M is for Mushrooms

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This summer I have been allowing fungi to slowly grow in my airing cupboard and under the kitchen sink. Nestled between the sweet-smelling duvets, pillowcases and towels there is a bed of budding mushrooms. Once the grey layer of mycelium forms I move the latent crop to a cooler spot under the sink, where Freddie and Alex are checking their progress. And little by little,this web of grey morphs into small white pods. And the small white pods will in time become our mushroom crop.
The Great Big Vegetable Challenge has become more than a race through the alphabet of vegetables. We like to stop and become better acquainted with our latest new veg. (Strictly speaking, mushrooms don't belong in this challenge but we don't like to exclude)And it might sound strange but vegetables tell stories too. I remember my father growing his own mushrooms in the scullery of our Edinburgh home. At the age of 6, checking the mushroom crop was my job. Deciding when to harvest them was a fine judgement, taken by Dad. What we hadn't realised was that the cat was making a similar call each night. I came down to the kitchen one morning to a terrible smell. Mixing my animal metaphors, the cat looked a little sheepish. That was the last mushroom kit my father ever bought.
We don't have a cat and as we wait for our mushrooms to grow, we bought some from the supermarket and topped them with bacon and parmesan. Freddie scored this 8 out of 10. We would love to hear what your favourite mushroom toppings are...

Flat mushrooms with bacon and parmesan

4 large flat mushrooms
3 rashes of bacon
1 small onion
4 tbsp of bread crumb
4 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil spray

Wash and dry the mushrooms. Cut off the stalks and chop them up finely. Place the mushrooms on a baking tray and lightly spray or drizzle with olive oil.
Pour a small amount of olive oil in a pan and heat. Finely chop a small onion, bacon and add the chopped mushroom stalks and sauté for 4 minutes. In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together. Fill the mushrooms equally with the bacon and onion mixture and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan on top. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Place in a preheated oven at 180C and bake for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Don’t allow the toppings to burn. Serve on a toasted, buttered muffin.


  1. Charlotte,

    What kind of mushrooms are you growing? I have a tasty recipe for shrooms with noodles on my site but it doesn't have bacon in it (that seems to get high ratings from Fred) and is a tad spicy. What about mushroom pizza? or stir-fry with shiitakes? or grilled portabellos made into a sandwich? Was Fred a fan of mushrooms before?

  2. Charlotte I'd have to give this a great big fat 10! I love stuffed mushrooms but unfortunately they are very expensive here being imported and all...

  3. Charlotte7:19 AM

    Meredith - no he wasnt a fan of mushrooms and really still isnt - but this is our first attempt and we have foudn that the more times you try, the more accepting he becomes! But for a first try this is great. I think literally he has never felt the need to eat any mushroom before, preferring to pick it off. I like the idea of grilling them and making them into a sandwich - I could do that with a circle of mozarella to make it extra yummy.
    Cynthia - Funny - because the UK is so wet and muggy we grow great mushrooms!

  4. Oh - meant to say - we are growing very straightforward white button mushrooms.
    Though you can buy kits to grow all sorts on line. Its a whole fungi world out there!

  5. Hi Charlotte, thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a very interesting project you've got running here. I'll try and read up on it. And growing your own mushrooms! That must be faszinating to watch.

  6. I adore stuffed mushrooms! Too funny that you feature stuffed mushrooms today as I was just visiting albioncooks blogspot and she is posting about stuffed mushrooms today also! Cool that you are growing your own!

  7. Charlotte how fun! Now I want to grow my own and I don't even have a Freddie as an excuse! (Fortunately no cat either...)How long does it usually take them to be ready to harvest?
    I love this recipe. Usually I just do some thyme bashed up with a little garlic and lots of lemon zest and olive oil. Can't wait to try your recipe.

  8. Lately I've been grilling nice big mushrooms (portobellos or cremini), and topping them with a small blob of goat cheese. The cheese melts into the warm mushroom....

  9. Oh love stuffed mushrooms. A nice stuffing mix is ham and stilton, but might not be to Freddie's liking. Have wanted to try growing mushrooms here too, but I have cats.

  10. It is so interesting that you are growing your own mushrooms! The stuffed mushroom caps look good and sound delicious.

  11. Robin4:20 AM

    I don't know what products you have in the UK, but here in the states we have Stove Top Stuffing and Cheez Whiz (a fake cheese spread in a jar), I make a box of stuffing and 1/2 large container of whiz, mix it together and stuff the 'shrooms, throw them in the oven to crisp the tops and my sons devour them, great little appetizers too!! They are adults and don't have to be enticed to eat veggies, but they always ask for these little morsels when they come home.

  12. Robin - I live the idea of stove top stuffing. I think I have seen Cheeze whiz in the UK - but not the stove top stuffing - what it is it made of?

  13. GBVC,(me being American and living here in the UK I can answer the Stovetop question)it is very similar to our sage and onion stuffing mix but rather than crumbs it is more like croutons.


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