Wild Miso Soup

Frost clings to the mornings, glittering in the rising sun. Yet even now spring waits in the wings, ready with a prompt. Deep in the woods, wild garlic begins to poke slim green fingers at the sky, beckoning in warmer days. In the damp sheltered corners of fields and under hedgerows, diverse edible greens cluster,…

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Flavours of the Forest

The flavour of dried ceps and other boletes is altogether different to the fresh mushrooms. Deep and dusky, it speaks of forests and earth, of leaf litter and moss. To me, it is one of those special ingredients, along with things like butter or vinegar, that can transform a dish from the mundane to the magnificent.

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Winter Chanterelle Tagliatelle

It is very cold, and mist curls through the bronzing leaves of the forest canopy, turning trees into hulking shadows, half-hidden keepers of old secrets.  The feeling in my fingers is gone.  Dewdrops collect in my beard and eyebrows, and I cannot feel my nose.  I am shivering, and somewhat lost, but I do not…

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On Chestnuts, Oyster Mushrooms, and Ancient Mutants

One of the attractions of foraging is that it is possible to find flavours and textures that are unavailable in the shops.  Most wild mushrooms are so complex in their relationships to the land, to the other organisms that share that space, that they are difficult or impossible to cultivate.  You might find penny buns…

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An Autumn Lunch

After a long hot summer here in France, autumn has finally arrived. The sun has calmed its fury, and retired behind the clouds. Rain is forecast and will be relief to the wildlife and the farm animals alike. Three young roe deer flit daily across the fields behind the house, buzzards and kites fill the…

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Chicken of the Woods

Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is a startling fungus. Often bright yellow, and rather alien in appearance, it grows mostly on the trunks of oak trees, though sometimes on poplar or yew. It is a parasitic fungus, and eventually causes the rot and death of its host. It is fairly easy to identify. Young specimens are bright to pale…

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