Autumn has arrived, and with it, the autumnal Snowdonia mushroom foray and feast for our book project. Here’s a sneak preview of the stunning day. For more info on the book and to buy your copy in advance, head to Unbound.
The sunrise was superb, red sky reminding us that it wouldn’t last, but the sunshine carried on shining on the foragers in Snowdonia until they’d filled their baskets and travelled back to Anglesey.
Bottles of red wine and apple juice were broached as the chefs chopped and sliced the fresh mushrooms- beefsteak, hedgehog, chanterelles and ceps- to simmer in cream and add their richness to the marvellously sustaining soup.
Music bread and sourdough was slathered with butter and dipped into bowls, followed by a Welsh version of cassoulet and a fresh mushroom risotto.
Crisp green salad cleansed the palate ready for a hunk of local Aberwen cheese, homemade oat cakes and chutneys.
Then an agonising choice of puddings: warm caramelised pear and apple tartin or blackberry, apple and hazelnut oat crumble with vanilla freckled custard. Luckily there was enough for everyone to have a portion of both.
To whet your appetite for our book, here’s Roger’s recipe for a beautifully savoury mushroom soup:
600 ml stock made with a handful of dried shitake or porcini mushrooms soaked in warm water until soft.
3 crushed garlic cloves
One large onion or 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
Splash of oil
Fresh thyme leaves, Halen Môn sea salt or Halen Môn umami seasoning, and pepper to taste
300g mixed mushrooms, wild or cultivated or a mixture, cleaned and sliced.
Double cream to serve
- Make the stock, remove the mushrooms, strain the liquid and set aside.
- Sweat the onions or leeks and garlic in melted butter until softened.
- Add most of the mushrooms including the rehydrated shitake or porcini and all the herbs. Cook for a few minutes.
- Add the warm stock and cook until the vegetables are tender.
- You can blend this or leave it chunky. Season to taste.
- Serve with a few of the reserved mushrooms cooked in cream as a garnish.
We used dried shitake from The Mushroom Garden for our stock.
A big diolch to Matt Russell, Roger Williams and Cynan Jones, as well as to all of our guests, for making the day such a memorable one. We can’t wait to immortalise the mushrooms, the food and our beautiful country in our book, which will have plenty more photos from the day.