Thursday, October 1, 2020

Fungi recap

Blakes Wood

I put the camera on the ground for this hidden beauty

Mellowed fruitfulness. Well to be honest I have never found a lot of mushrooms round here in Yorkshire.  Essex was the place to wander, and try, but mostly a useless undertaking to identify mushrooms.  I know we have shaggy ink caps, because each morning when I get up they lie like crumpled tissue in the lawn - the great brown slugs have been at them.  Lucy has a taste for them as well.  But what of my favourite mushroom, the Amethyst Deceiver, which you can eat but don't get it mixed up with other Deceivers because they are poisonous, so I gather my written blogs together and remember those Autumn days.

Amethyst Deceiver in Blakes Wood

The Fly Agaric, a fairly common specimen could be found up on the moor at Wheeldale, just on the outskirts of one of the larch woods, it seemed to like the starved earth underneath the trees

Fly agaric

My favourite edible mushroom was eaten years ago in a Swiss restaurant, an orange Chanterelle I think in a creamy sauce with chips, I have never been able to get the the same in this country.  Paul would always soak dried mushrooms to go in Japanese recipes, but they never appealed.  Occasionally I stuff the very large mushrooms, and no life is not too short to stuff a mushroom Shirley Conran, they are very meaty for vegetarians. But I love a creamy mushroom sauce enlivened with mustard and sherry.

Mushroom hunting and Autumn meld together,  the soft heat mist rising from the fields, the barn owl lightly cruising in the daylight, and the damp dankness of woods with hidden mysteries of these wonderful expressions of nature clinging to the woods ground, waiting to be found.

Puff balls, they nestle amongst the wet leaves promising a fried breakfast but I have never been brave enough, and don't pick the large old ones, if green inside out they are developing their spore.

Shaggy parasol

And I think this is worth repeating.............................

Fairy Ring (Marasmius oreades), are best for drying, they are not always true to their habit of growing in rings, especially where lea has been broken. But the delicate 'fairy ring mushroom' is unmistakable. They are seldom more than 2 inches across, and carried comparatively high on slender stems. The gills are deep and very regular, one long one short, like the minute marks around a clock. The top is buff, and the gills are very much paler, the slender stems are stringy and tough so cut them off.

The puff-balls (Lycoperdon); The really giant one (lycoperdon giganteum) can be as big as a football, both large and small puffballs taste exactly the same. Their texture - solid white, like smooth, white cream cheese, and the outer covering is fine as white kid. .....

Cooking; Smallest puff balls, walnut size, are best dipped in batter and fried like rissoles. Drain and serve as a pebble beach around a pool of green spinach. Medium sized, are rolled in flour, pepper and salt, then drop into an earthen ware pan with barely enough milk to cover, and simmer to cook. Thicken sauce after cooking, pour back over the puff-balls and garnish with scarlet barberries and green parsley.
Giant puff-balls are sliced, and dipped in egg and milk and then fine dry breadcrumbs. Fried in hot bacon-fat, drain on kitchen paper, pepper and salt and serve piping hot, sprinkled with cider or vinegar..

Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius); One of the prettiest of fungi. You find them, suddenly, in the autumn woods, sometimes clustered so close that they look like a torn golden shawl, dropped down amongst the dead leaves and sticks. They are all the same clear, egg-yolk yellow, the stem coming up straight, and springing and spreading stiff as a tiny fountain spurting gold. The top surface is damp and glossy yellow; the underside crinkly matt yellow; and they smell faintly of apricots.

Taken from Susan Hartley


  1. There's a mushroom expert in Sheffield. He is called Patrick Harding though sometimes they call him The Mushroom Man. This is his website address:
    I have met him and been on a couple of foraging expeditions with him (in a group). He is so passionate about mushrooms but also very wary about eating them in spite of all of his years of studying them.

    I liked your close up of the gills of the hidden beauty.

    1. The mushroom was so pretty I did not want to uproot it, so laid my camera upside down on the ground not thinking it would take a proper picture but it did. When you come to look at the vast array of mushrooms to be picked in Autumn I can imagine even the experts worry.

  2. Love your fungi photographs. Some years at the farm our fields would be thick with eatable ones - my favourite way, when the farmer brought them in after getting the cowsin for milking in the morning early, was to fry them with the bacon and make a thick tasty gravy (dash of sherry) - second fsvourite way in a thick creamy sauce (with a drop of sherry) on toast for tea. The next Autumn I would look forward to the first muchrooms and there wouldn't be a single one to be seen.

    1. Lovely story Pat, mushrooms on toast is something I have for breakfast, but don't buy cream anymore, or in fact make mayonnaise because they are both fattening!

  3. I love mushroom hunting. This year is/was good for the best of the lot - Penny Buns/Cepes/Porcini, depending in which country you live.

    1. Well it is a brave person that goes out mushroom hunting. Never seen Penny Buns, will look them up.

  4. I've never seen a mushroom like that red fly agaric, except in fairy tales.

    1. Well it is not called the 'magic mushroom' for nothing but it has unpleasant effects.

  5. You certainly have fanci fungi!! Amethyst? Wow. I agree with Joanne about the red fly; it looks like a drawing in a fairy story.

  6. I think the naming of flora and fauna, especially in Latin, is one of the finer points of the human race;) It is the colour that gives it its name and the fact that there are several species of the 'Deceivers' some poisonous.


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