Sheila Spence, a keen field mycologist, regularly leads fungus forays throughout the Marches area. She has a wealth of experience in wild food of many kinds. If you’re interested in taking part then do visit the Gwent Fungus Group website.
The most important thing about picking and eating wild food is to be absolutely certain of your identification. Only pick produce which is in prime, clean condition and never pick rare or endanged plants or indeed uproot the whole thing. Fresh Chanterelles (Cantherellus cibarius) have a wonderful golden colour and a smell of apricots. They do not have gills but wrinkled ridges travelling down the stem from the edge of the cap. Often found in mossy woodland glades throughout the summer just a few make a glorious meal.
Large handful of fresh Chanterelles
Potatoes (see below)
3/4 eggs, loosely mixed with a fork
A little milk
Oil or butter to cook
Seasoning to taste
A quick, cheat’s recipe, for an easy meal at any time of the day
Either Wash (peel if necessary) and dice then lightly boil 2 large potatoes – or you could use left over potatoes if wished, roughly chopped – or grab a couple of large handfuls of oven-ready chunky chips
Put the drained boiled potatoes or the chips (no need to thaw if frozen) in a non-stick frying pan with a very little oil, stir in the cleaned mushrooms softened with a chopped onion and a little garlic if wished. Beat together 3 or 4 eggs (depending on size of pan and how many you are serving), season with salt and pepper, and pour over the potatoes, mushrooms etc.,. Cook on a moderate heat for about 10 mins or so, until the eggs have started to set, carefully turn over using a spare plate or tip into another frying pan of similar size, and continue cooking for another 5 -10 mins until cooked through and gently firm. Serve hot cut into wedges with crusty bread, fried bacon or maybe a green salad. Is also great served cold for a ‘picnic with a difference’.
Another way to enjoy these golden glories: Fry lightly in butter and serve with smoked salmon and scrambled egg for an extra special breakfast, or fry in garlic and butter and serve encased in a souffled omlette.