Sunday, 6 December 2009

Shrooms number 2 - Stoke Newington organic farmers market

Over the next week or so I'll be writing about the hero of the North London markets - Stoke Newington's farmers' market run by the remarkable community project 'Growing communities' . This is the only fully organic market in the country, which takes place every Sunday on the territory of William Patten school, on Stoke Newington Church street. Whether you 'believe' in organics on not, the fact that the organisers have managed to set up such a successful market whilst keeping to their rather strict requirements is something to take your hat off to. However, more on that later, and for now let's start our little tour with...Mushrooms.

Yes, after my first glorious attempt at shroom picking a few weeks back, I was ecstatic to encounter some of the same creatures at the market this Saturday.

The stall's name - 'Gourmet mushrooms' - doesn't really describe this modest little stall and its bear-like owner with a Tolstoy-esque beard and thick wintery coat. Let's just say I felt at home, back in my childhood, a fairytale feeling of being a little girl in a big, but wise and kind forest of birches, deep blankets of snow and perhaps even a hut on chicken feet not far away (oh, the surrealism of Russian fairytales)...

Doesn't matter that my own urban childhood was only partly like this, I happily got chatted to the fungi-king. the stall has a selection of cultivated (oyster, champignon) mushrooms and some wild varieties - a tiny bag of which set me back £2.50, but I felt the price was fair, I had a bag of magic forestness with me, the last breath of autumn before the winter closes in...

And this is my little treasure collection (from the left): wood ears (they do look exactly like little leathery pig ears! soak them for some 5 minutes before slicing finely for frying), deceivers - brittle and delicate and deceptively delicious, and blewits - apparently they are in a particular abundance 'once the leaves fall down'...

Voila! he result - a super quick and easy lunch - Wild mushrooms with sage and sourcream.

How to prepare:

- wipe your mushroom clean gently
- half if necessary (I like mine chunky)
- slice an onion and a bit of garlic
- fry the lot quickly in a bit of olive oil and butter
- add a few sage leaves and couple of table spoons of sourcream and perhaps some mustard
- toast a slice of sourdough and devour with a salad leave or two

Tip: melt some 'stinky' cheese on top of your sandwich. Arrigoni's Taleggio is sensational with wild mushrooms!


gastroanthropologist said...

Love, Love, Love mushrooms! I think the best way to enjoy them is just as you described - cooked with a bit of oil+ garlic and piled high on sourdough bread.

I also love mushroom names, with my favorite being "elephant ear". Not the most tastiest to eat, but I love the way it sounds and really looks like an elephant's ear.

So great to meet you the other day. We should get together for some mushrooms on homemade toast soon!

Katrina said...

yeah, mushrooms and their favourite 'Russian' variety is 'lisichki, or little foxies:) - brightly orange colour, looking like oyster mushroom on acid:)

Caroline said...

I know that guy from Mushroom Table - he used to be at Slow Food. I bought a "mushroom kit" from him a while back - still haven't set it up to grow oyster mushrooms yet but glad to see he's back in London. The "kits" make great Xmas pressies. Must get to that market - let me know when you're next visiting. Caroline -