Tag Archive: wild mushrooms


I can’t find the recipe I used to make the gammon and leek soup which came third in the Charity Soup off so  here instead is the recipe for the joint first place soup.

But before that – a blanket update.

There isn’t one.

I was in Cape Town all of last week and this week my co blanket buyer and hander outer is writing her psychology masters mid-year exams so i have to wait for her before we can go spend the money and start dishing out the warmth. But this will happen next week. and photos shall follow.

 

But – back to the soup

Wild mushroom soup with sage

(only i bought the mushrooms from Pick n Pay and didn’t have sage)

You need:

25g butter

1 chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 6 fresh sage leaves (if you can find them. i couldn’t so i used parsley. a different taste but it was still delicious)

1 Tablespoon flour, 1 litre veggie or chicken stock. (I have bought a bottle of organic veggie stock which i don’t for one second belive is really organic but it is much less salty than normal stock so i think worth it)

750g of assorted mushrooms. (I used a mixture of brown mushrooms, button mushrooms and those fancy shmancy mushrooms you get at Pick n Pay now.)

120ml of white wine (like anyone ever measures the wine they put in food), 120ml double cream (i used plain yoghurt)

salt, pepper and parsley to garnish

 

You do:

Melt the butter in the pot you will cook the soup in. Gently fry the onion and garlic until the onion softens. about 4 minutes-ish. Add the flour and cook for a bit. Then add the stock slowly, stirring away. Add the chopped mushroom and bring to the boil. Here I went my own way because i was making the soup in advance. I added all but one packet of those skinny mushrooms with the little ball heads. They look like these enoki mushrooms but I don’t remember that that was what PnP called them.

 

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about twenty minutes. It is surprising that it really does take that long for the mushrooms to get soft.

Use a food processor or wand to whizz the soup up. It never gets completely smooth but whizz until it is as you like it. Ten minutes before serving I added the rest of the mushrooms  and a handful of chopped parsley, and allowed the soup to simmer. Then I added the yoghurt and the recipe asked for the wine at this stage. I didn’t much fancy raw wine in the soup so I left it out!

I know – shocking!

Once the yoghurt was added you can’t let the soup boil, so warm it through, season with salt and pepper and serve with a parsley garnish.

Was a very filling, creamy, rich and delicious bowl of soup.

 

 

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Hamster loins

so – last night was Stalk MasterChef dinner at my house. Using last week’s show as inspiration I had to feed my friends. a recap of last week may be useful here – two teams had to feed a bunch of wine farm workers on a two course meal. The Blue team cheated and made three courses. Red team leader picked three people, herself included, to go into the pressure test. the pressure test was lamb loin, lamb rack, babaganoush, pistachio nuts bread crumbs and a jus thingie.

I went to the MasterChef site for the recipe for the lamb and saw that it was only half a recipe really – and even the half was a bit weird. what exactly is 25/64 teaspoons of something anyway? so it was time to be inspired by the show rather than dictated to by it.

 

I decided to do the rack and loin rather than the platter thing of the team competition. i went off to buy the bits and pieces and got what i thought must’ve been the smallest ever lamb loin. I didn’t know that a loin and a rack are the same thing; one with bones, one without. The tiny things I got looked like a hamster loin and rack so I decided, once again to be inspired by the relevant episode of MC – and cheat. I made a starter, the hamster meat and even had dessert. I’d have hated for my guests to leave hungry and since when does 1 course, or 2 courses ever mean that anyway? Pfft to the rules, this is my game after all.

For starters I made an assortment of bruchetta, which is really just fancy stale french bread let’s be honest.

I did start with fresh r bread and did the toasting on one side thing. I made three toppings.

1. chickpeas, flat-leaf parsley, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Food process to your taste

2. peas and mint. cook peas and then blend together with mint, olive oil, salt and pepper

3. blue cheese and honey. slice the cheese, put on bread and drizzle with honey.

Now for the main course

The menu was crusted lamb rack, whole boneless lamb loin, pistachio cous cous, wild mushrooms and green beans and a red wine reduction served with a salad on the side. Impressive huh!

Crusted lamb rack

To prep: I made a spice mix of paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, organum, garlic slices and spring onion. I put this onto the inside of the loin and then wrapped it up and stuck it closed with tooth picks. I rubbed coriander and cumin onto the outside with some salt.

To cook: I seared the loin on all sides in a hot but not smoking pan of oil and then cooked in the oven at 200C for about 25 minutes.

The result: perfectly pink really delicious lamb

Crusted lamb rack

To prepare: The rack probably should have had the bones cleaned but the hamster rack was so small I thought every guest would want ever scrap of meat available. and I don’t know how to do it. I mixed fresh french loaf bread crumbs with salt and pepper and rolled the rack in the crumbs. (I just saw i forgot to smear mustard on the meat first – damn). Anyway, the crumb-coated rack went into the over for much longer than i expected. after about 25 minutes we cut into it and it was till too rare so it went back in for a bit.

The result: really nice lamb chops with a lovely crust – eventually.

Remember to let the lamb rest after cooking before serving. It really does make a difference

The sides

Wild mushrooms and beans.

I soaked dehydrated mushrooms in water and then sautéed them in the oil used for the searing of the lamb loin, and additional butter. The beans i put into boiling water for a while and then ice water. I drained them and sautéed them with the mushrooms.

Red wine reduction

I sautéed chopped onions until soft. Then i added vegetable stock and red wine and a rosemary twig or too and let reduce. I strained the sauce and reheated adding small chunks of butter and whisking them in. Added about a table-spoon of butter in total, in four bits.

Pistachio-mint cous cous

I mixed 3 tablespoons of shelled and roughly chopped nuts with 1/4 cup of mint. 2 1/4 cups of hot water went into 300g of cous cous and left to cook. Once the water was absorbed, i fluffed the cous cous up and added the nuts and mint.

The table:

One plate:

 

The verdict: I got through to the next round of Stalk MasterChef

 

 

The bf makes soup on Sundays. I am trying hard to establish this as a set-in-stone tradition because it is just fabulous to not have to cook on a Sunday. And soup seems the perfect Sunday dinner. So I shall be encouraging him – a lot!

For Christmas I suggested a family member of mine buy him a soup recipe book (sneaky sneaky) and the result has been some really yummy Sunday night dinners. Now I am back home, I reinstated the new tradition with enthusiasm last night. And got mushroom soup with sage for my efforts. I like mushroom soup but usually balk at the cost of mushrooms. On Saturday we happened upon a mushroom shop and bought a bag of stalks for almost no money and used them. They are perfect for soup as they hold their shape and taste just as good as the tops.

Bf started by prepping everything, cos that’s how he likes to cook. Then he gently fried a finely chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in some butter. When that looked all translucent, he stirred in a tablespoon of flour and cooked that for about a minute. I helped at this stage (I was actually getting more wine out of the fridge and couldn’t really say no) to pour the stock (1 litre vegetable stock) into the mixture. Once that was all added, 750g of mushrooms went into the pot. The recipe called for wild mushrooms but unless you live on a farm I think these are a little hard to find. We bought a mix of mushrooms and that was fine. We used the aforementioned stalks as well as three other types of mushrooms we found at the veggie market shop.

Anyway – I went back to the couch with my wine and he allowed the mixture to come to the boil. He then turned it down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then he added about 5 leaves of sage, chopped up.

We whizzed the soup up with a blender-wand until most but not all of it was creamy. A cup of white wine and seasoning went in at this stage and the whole lot was left to reheat through.

Served with rye bread this was a definite go-back-for-seconds meal. And using the mushrooms stalks meant it was not in the least expensive.

I think the mushrooms cost about R30 and there was enough soup for us to each have two bowlfuls last night and there is enough for one of us for lunch too.

Very nice indeed. Will keep that recipe in mind when next I see mushroom reasonably priced.