The surf was flat and it was a rainy grey day. In spite of this we decided to pack our boots and waterproofs in the car, and brave the post Boardmasters Festival and tourist traffic. We were searching out the darkest and dampest reaches of pine woodland with the aim of finding some fungi treats.
We knew we'd find at least some wild mushrooms in this area as we had visited it many times before. What we hadn't counted on was finding a profusion of Saffron Milk Caps. We may have seen these before and passed them by, but in the dark gloom of the woods today, as the pines sheltered us from the worst of the rain, the orange glow of saffron drew us closer. The sheer brightness of them initially made us cautious, but after scrutinising both of our guide books for various distinguishing features, we knew the identification was right and that they were not only edible but quite sought after. Although they may not look that pretty or appetising in the photo above, this was after we had poked and prodded them, they had sat in a plastic bag for the journey home, and a natural discolouration had taken place. In fact this green bruising is one of the distinguishing features for identification, along with the gills exuding an orange 'sap' when broken.
We also found 3 other types of edible fungi on this foray, but decided to stick to cooking our evening meal using just the milk caps, curious as to what they would taste like. The recipe we chose to add these to was a recent 'quick meal' creation, discovered when we were out and about in Miles the camper van and using up what was to hand. It is simple, quick, filling, and tasty, with today's choice of mushroom adding a 'meaty' texture. Just what you need after a long walk, surf, or fungi foray.
Although we had not consciously sought out these fungi today, after we had returned home, cooked and eaten our meal, and were thinking of how to start this blog post, Phil suddenly had the thought that he'd seen these fungi somewhere recently. He shot off into the lounge, and came back smiling, and holding a copy of Roger Phillips' book 'Wild Food'. There on page 114 was a full page photo of Saffron Milk Caps, and for reasons that are now a mystery to me, I had left the book open at this page about 4 weeks ago!
Phil's Creamy Olive Wild Mushroom Pasta
250g dried pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium leek, sliced thinly
8-10 large mushrooms, sliced
1 100g jar green olive tapenade (we used Sainsburys)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen broad beans
1 carton Oatly oat cream
1/2 tsp vegan stock powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Get the pasta cooking according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan saute the leek in the olive oil until soft. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olive tapenade followed by the broad beans, oat cream and the stock powder, and stir to mix well. Bring back to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 6-8 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta, mix into the sauce and serve.
*Please do not pick and consume wild mushrooms if you are in any way unsure about their identity. The consumption of some wild mushrooms can be fatal.