Mushrooms

Mushroom soup

serves 6-8 starters
difficulty easy
prep time 25mins (approx.)
total time 1hr (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Mushrooms, pine mushrooms, porcini, potatoes, thyme, mustard
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When you soak dried porcini mushrooms always use the soaking water if you can, it has so much intensity and flavour and adds a real boost to whatever you’re cooking – basically a mini mushroom stock.

Ingredients

180 grams butter
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 brown onion, finely diced
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, finely sliced
800 grams Portobello or field mushrooms (the darker and meatier the better), sliced
20 grams dried porcini, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes, chopped over and liquid reserved
250 ml dry white wine
1 litre quality chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme, picked
300 ml cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
rye bread, to serve (optional)
wild mushrooms such as pine mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, to serve (optional)
parsley leaves, to serve (optional)

Method

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pot, add the butter, garlic and onions, season and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sliced potato to the pot, season and stir to coat in the butter. Cook while continuously stirring until the potato becomes translucent and starts to break up, this will take about 10 minutes.

Add the fresh mushrooms and porcini, season and cook while stirring for around 5 minutes – this may start out a little dry, but the mushrooms will cook down.

Add the wine and simmer to reduce a little. Add the stock, porcini liquid, thyme leaves, cream and mustard, bring up to the simmer and cook for around 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally – the potato should be well cooked and breaking down.

Use a stick blender to blitz the soup in the pot – you can also ladle out about a quarter of the soup and reserve before blitzing the soup in the pot. Add back the reserved soup for a more textural dish – adjust the seasoning if necessary.

As an optional garnish, pan-fry pulled chunks of rye bread in seasoned oil to make rustic croutons. Pan-fry sliced wild mushrooms, toss with parsley and garnish the soup along with the croutons.

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Roast duck, pickled mushroom, beansprout & shiso rice paper rolls

serves makes 16
difficulty easy
prep time 30mins (approx.)
total time 1hr 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) vermicelli, Mushrooms, shiso, duck, rice, chilli, cucumber, beansprouts, coconut cream, hoisin
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Once you’ve got the technique down and a bit of a production line set up these are really simple to turn out. The trick is to make sure you soak the rice paper enough for it to start to soften (a few seconds) but not so much that it’s hard to handle, as it will soften further as you add the filling. Roasted Chinese-style duck breasts can often be bought at the supermarket (just follow the instructions) or alternately you can pick up a roasted bird (or half) from a Chinese barbecue restaurant.

Ingredients

200 grams rice vermicelli noodles
1 punnet small Swiss brown mushrooms, finely sliced
1 punnet abalone mushrooms, finely sliced
½ recipe nuoc cham
1 handful shiso leaves, shredded
2 cooked Chinese-style roast duck breasts, finely sliced
2 tablespoons toasted ground rice (toasted in a dry pan and crushed in a mortar)
2 green chillies, finely sliced, seeds in
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, deseeded and julienned
2 large handfuls beansprouts, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds, refreshed in cold water and drained
1 packet rice paper rounds
½ cup quality coconut cream (I use the Kara brand)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, heaped

Method

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, refresh in cold water and cut into approximately 15cm lengths.

Dress the mushrooms heavily with the nuoc cham and set aside for 5 minutes to soften.

Set up all your ingredients on a clean bench in so you can work systematically (vermicelli, shiso, duck, toasted rice, chilli, cucumber, mushrooms and beansprouts) leaving enough space to roll in front of you. Fill a large shallow bowl with hot water and working one at a time immerse a rice paper round in the water (do this reasonably quickly as they will soften on the bench, and if they are too soft they become hard to work with), lie the round on the clean bench and start adding your ingredients one at a time to form a line just below the centre of the round. Fold the edge closest to you over the filling and roll over, folding the sides in tightly as you do. The roll will seal on itself once fully rolled. Set aside and repeat. Don’t refrigerate unless you absolutely have to.

Mix the coconut cream and the hoisin together, sprinkle over some chilli and ground rice and serve with the rolls.

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Barbecued minute steak with Asian mushroom dressing

serves 4 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) steak, Mushrooms, enoki, shiitake, chilli, ginger, oyster sauce, sesame oil
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It’s important to get your grill really hot when cooking a thin piece of steak, you want some char flavour as well as a bit of colour while still keeping the meat pink, if your barbecue is too cool the meat will cook through and still be pale. You could also use a griddle pan or grill plate on your stovetop, but, again, just let it get really hot. Turn the burner to high and leave it on for around six minutes before cooking.

Ingredients

4 large field mushrooms
salt flakes
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil
8 cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 small cloves garlic, finely grated
½ lemon, juiced
2 large red chillies, finely sliced on an angle
6 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 punnet enoki mushrooms, trimmed and separated
10 champignons, sliced
4 x 180 gram scotch fillet steaks beaten out between 2 pieces of cling film to just under 1 cm
2 large handfuls of coriander

Method

Oil and season your field mushrooms and grill for three to four minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix the oyster sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and lemon juice. Add the chilli, most of the spring onion and the raw mushrooms and toss through, set aside for a few minutes while the field mushrooms finish cooking – this will soften the raw mushrooms and infuse them with flavour.

Remove the cooked mushrooms from the grill and slice. Toss with the other mushrooms and dressing.

Season and lightly oil your steaks and quickly cook on a hot barbecue grill – this will only take a minute on each side, so make sure the grill is hot enough to give them some colour.

Plate the steaks individually and spoon over the mushrooms and dressing, sprinkle over the remaining spring onions and coriander and serve immediately.

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You can make this pie extra special in autumn when wild mushrooms (the season permitting) are abundant. Pine mushrooms would be a perfect addition to the mix, but don’t dice them till they’re unrecognisable, slice them thickly to add texture and distinctive flavour.

Ingredients

6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 litre chicken stock, hot
½ brown onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely sliced
65 grams butter
450 grams large field mushrooms (or wild), carefully cleaned, finely diced with some sliced for texture
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
40 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons double cream
2 teaspoons heaped Dijon mustard
1 handful continental parsley, chopped
2 handfuls frozen peas
1 thick piece puff pastry (approx. 375 grams)
1 egg, whisked

Method

Season the chicken thighs and brown, skin-side down with a little oil in a large pan over medium heat – about 8 minutes. Flip over and add the hot stock. Simmer gently for 25 minutes or until the thighs are cooked.

Remove the cooked chicken and strain the stock. Return the stock to the stove, skim off most of the fat and reduce to approximately 400 ml.

For the filling, in a non-stick pan add about 50ml of oil, the onion, garlic and leeks and cook for around 10 minutes over a slow heat to caramelize and soften.

Add 25 grams of butter, the diced mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 190°C fan-forced or 210°C conventional.

In a medium pot, melt 40g of butter over a medium heat until starting to sizzle, add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for one minute, stirring all the time and then add the strained stock. Cook for 2-3 minutes at a simmer whisking constantly, it should be smooth and thick.

Take the sauce off the heat and leave to cool a little. Whisk in the double cream and Dijon, add the mushroom mix, parsley and peas. Tear up or chop the chicken and add to the mix, combine thoroughly, check and adjust the seasoning – the mix will be quite thick but luscious.

Cut the pastry sheet 3 cm larger than your dish. Brush the edge of the dish with the egg, tip the filling in and drop the lid on, crimp in to seal and decorate with the pastry scraps. Make an incision in the top to release steam and brush with egg. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and puffed.

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Hokkien noodles with crispy pork belly

serves 4 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 20mins (approx.)
total time 35mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) noodles, , Mushrooms, wombok, Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts, chillies, chilli, cooking caramel
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Buy the pork belly from a good local Chinese restaurant, especially one that displays glossy barbecued meats. You can also buy cooked duck and use it in stir-fries or Asian salads or try my quick Thai red duck curry.

Ingredients

500 grams Hokkien noodles
2 pinches Chinese five spice
2 tablespoons cooking caramel (available from good Asian Grocers)
3 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
80 ml sunflower oil
350 grams cooked pork belly, cut in batons
5 cm piece ginger, julienned
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ large wombok cabbage, cut in 3 cm slices
5 spring onions, cut in 3 cm batons
3 long red chilies, sliced on an angle, seeds in
250 grams bean sprouts
½ bunch coriander, leaves picked

Method

Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for 1 minute, drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and keep at room temperature until needed.

Mix the five spice with the cooking caramel, soy, sesame oil and hoisin and set aside.

Place a wok over high heat until hot, add the oil and when shimmering add the pork pieces and fry until crisp and a rich brown colour (about 3 minutes). Remove, draining the oil back into the wok as you do.

Toss the ginger and garlic into the oil and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the cabbage, spring onions and half the chilli and cook for 30 seconds. Tip in the noodles with the reserved sauce mix and toss through for another minute.

Once the noodles are hot and coated with sauce, throw in the bean sprouts, crispy pork and coriander and quickly toss through. Sprinkle over the remaining chilli and serve.

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This is a great accompaniment to rich and spicy Asian dishes, or works really well as a starter or light lunch. Only choose the freshest shiitakes for this, if they’re looking a little dehydrated or they’re sweating under plastic, consider making something else.

Ingredients

100 ml virgin olive oil
60 ml light soy
10 cm ginger, peeled and finely julienned
2 teaspoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 clove garlic, finely grated on a Microplane
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ lime, juiced
salt flakes
15 fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut in quarters
1 green chilli, finely sliced
½ wombok cabbage, leaves trimmed
15 cm piece daikon, sliced into ribbons
100 grams pressed (dry, firm) tofu, diced
1 bunch Thai basil, picked
6 sprigs dill, picked
6 sprigs mint, picked
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Method

Make the dressing by combining the oil, soy, ginger, sugar, pepper, garlic, sesame oil, lime juice and a little salt. Then add the mushrooms and the chilli to the dressing, toss to coat and let sit for 5 minutes or so.

Remove around half of the wombok leaves and lay on your serving platter. Shred the remaining cabbage and add to the mushroom mixture along with the daikon, tofu and half the herbs. Toss through to coat well.

Pile the salad onto the whole wombok leaves, top with the remaining herbs, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and serve straightaway – it is much better fresh and crunchy.

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I made these recently for a chaotic, but successful, feast for 60 people and they were enthusiastically received. Well by the crowd at least. Rolling 180 hundred spring rolls apparently makes chefs a little grumpy. Once you get the hang of these they are pretty straightforward, and they freeze really well, so doing a few extra is probably a better bet than starting from scratch each time. You can fry from frozen, they will just take a little longer to cook.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
420 gram can of corn kernels, drained well
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
flaked salt
freshly ground black pepper
100 ml coconut cream
2 cobs of fresh corn, cooked and kernels stripped
1 punnet of wood ear fungus
1 punnet of enoki mushrooms
130 ml rice wine vinegar
40 grams goji berries
125 grams firm tofu, diced finely
300 grams Australian cooked crabmeat
25 spring roll wrappers (approx. 20 x 20cm)
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil for deep frying
200 grams plum sauce
coriander for garnish

Method

In a medium fry pan over a medium heat add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, add the tinned corn and five spice, salt and pepper, stir then add coconut cream and bubble for a minute or two. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Allow to cool.

In a medium fry pan over a medium heat add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, add the tinned corn and five spice, salt and pepper, stir then add coconut cream and bubble for a minute or two. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Cool.

In a small saucepan add 50ml of rice wine vinegar and the goji berries and bring to the boil for one minute then take off the heat.

Line up your ingredients: corn puree, corn kernels, tofu, mushrooms, goji berries and crab meat. Separate spring roll wrappers two at a time, brush three edges of the wrappers with beaten egg, omitting side closest to you. 3cm in from the un-brushed edge spread 1 heaped teaspoon of corn puree leaving 3cm space at each end. Follow with the other ingredients, keeping in mind you need enough for 25 rolls. Fold un-brushed edge over the filling and roll tightly, compressing the ingredients as you go. Halfway through rolling fold the left and right edges in and keep rolling, brushing the end with more egg before you seal the roll.

Empty plum sauce into a bowl and add the remaining 80ml of rice wine vinegar and mix. Garnish with the prawn floss if using. Heat fryer to 180°C. Fry spring rolls until light golden and crisp, about three minutes. Serve spring rolls whole or cut on a bias, with plum sauce and garnished with coriander. These are also delicious with chilli jam.

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Pan-seared gnocchi with scallops, mushrooms & lemon

serves 6 starters
difficulty moderate
prep time 10mins (approx.)
total time 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) gnocchi, scallops, Mushrooms
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I suggest the shimeji and king brown mushrooms because they look amazing and eat well but you can use any mushrooms in this dish.

If you need to know how to prepare the gnocchi for this dish you can find my recipe here.

Ingredients

½ batch gnocchi
50 grams butter (for gnocchi)
20 ml olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 punnet shimeji mushrooms, torn into groups of three and four
1 punnet king brown mushrooms, sliced in 4 mm lengths
2 pinches dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
300 grams scallops
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
80 grams butter
80 ml cream
1 lemon, juiced

Method

Cook the gnocchi in simmering, salted water. Drain, toss in butter and keep warm.

In a pan over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shimeji and king brown mushrooms and dried chilli and cook until mushrooms are golden brown. Push mushrooms to the side of the pan to make room for the scallops.

Season scallops well and then place in the pan and brown for 2 minutes on one side. Turn scallops then add the hot gnocchi. (If starting with cooked, cold gnocchi, refresh in boiling water for 2 minutes, then fry for 1 minute in the same pan as the scallops.) Add the thyme then, working quickly, add the butter and cream to make a sauce, stirring gently. Squeeze in the lemon juice, season and serve.

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Pickled mushrooms with chilli & garlic

serves 10 antipasti
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 40mins (approx.) + 1hr pickling
main ingredient(s) Mushrooms, vinegar, chilli
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Eat these lightly pickled, gently spicy, very moreish mushrooms with bread as part of an antipasto spread, or with roasted poultry, or tossed through pasta with a touch of cream and parmesan. They’ll keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Ingredients

300 ml white wine vinegar
300 ml water
200 grams button mushrooms, chopped in half if large
200 grams Swiss brown mushrooms, chopped in half if large
200 grams pine mushrooms, chopped in half if large
200 grams fresh shitake mushrooms, chopped in half if large
4 shallots, thinly sliced in rounds
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
25 ml sherry vinegar
100 ml olive oil
100 ml vegetable oil
5 sprigs dill, picked

Method

Tip white wine vinegar and water into a large saucepan. Add mushrooms and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then strain, draining well. Press mushrooms down gently then add to a bowl with the shallots, bay leaf and garlic. While still hot, season with salt, pepper, sugar, chilli and sherry vinegar.

Pack mushrooms into small jars and pour over a mix of the two oils. Pack the dill on top. Leave for an hour before serving or keep in the fridge and return to room temperature before serving.

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Pork spare ribs with Sichuan pepper

serves 6-8 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 2hrs 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Szechwan pepper, Sichuan pepper, pork, Mushrooms
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Ingredients

25 grams dried shrimp
200 ml Shao Hsing wine (Chinese rice wine)
300 ml oyster sauce
100 ml soy sauce
5 lime leaves
10 cm piece ginger, julienned
10 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons Sichuan pepper
250 ml water
1 onion, finely sliced
50 grams dried shitake mushrooms
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 star anise
4 red bullet chillies, split
3 tablespoons honey
8 pork spare ribs

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Pound the dried shrimp using a mortar and pestle until it’s fluffy.

Put all ingredients except pork in a large ovenproof pot with a lid. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 seconds, then drop in the pork ribs, put the lid on the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 2 hours.

Remove the ribs, skim excess fat from the top of the liquid and return the ribs to the sauce. Serve with buckets of steamed long grain rice, simple Asian greens or a fresh zingy Asian-style slaw with plenty of herbs.

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