Last weekend I got a craving. A craving for a dish I ate once, two years ago at the top of a mountain in Italy. This dish was truffle pasta. It had some mushroom in there too but the menu wasn’t admitting to that. What I remember is that it was one of the most deliciously satisfying things I have ever eaten! Now, I almost always listen to my cravings so I took myself off to the kitchen to try to receate this wonderful dish. I don’t think I did too badly!
(NB. The truffle is totally optional, tastes great without it but I have this little jar of Himalayan truffles and there was no reason not to use one to spoil myself a bit!)
15g dried porcini
175g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
splash white wine (2 tbsp?)
100ml double cream
1 tiny himalayan truffle, finely sliced
shaved parmesan & cooked linguine to serve
– Cover the dried porcini in 200ml of boiling water and leave to soak for 15 mins then drain, reserving the liquid, and roughly chop.
– Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms, seasoning well with salt and pepper.
– Cook until starting to brown then add the chopped porcini.
– Add the wine and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.
– Carefully pour the liquid left from the procini over the mushrooms, being careful not to add any grit.
– Simmer, stirring frequently, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
– Add the cream and stir through until it is piping hot.
– Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you want.
– Serve over linguine with slivers of truffle and shavings of parmesan.
I’ve been trying to come up with a decent veggie burger recipe for a while now. I had a jumping off point, knowing I wanted it to be chick pea based but with mushrooms for ‘meatiness’. It was just a matter of trying to get that idea to taste good and act like a burger.
I wasn’t trying to create a vegetarian patty you could put in a bun, there are plenty of things in that category. I wanted something satisfyingly meaty that could stand up favourably next to the real thing. My sister may have happily given up meat but for those of us who still enjoy such things I wanted a burger that would be no hardship at all to eat alongside said veggie sister. I’m very happy to say I think I’ve actually succeeded!
2 thick slices of bread (I use the heels)
400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
200g mushrooms (closed cup, chestnut, whatever)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin
– Blitz the bread into crumbs and tip into a large mixing bowl.
– Blitz the chickpeas until just short of the same coarseness as the breadcrumbs, you want them to be all bitty, not a paste.
– Add the chickpeas to the mixing bowl.
– Roughly chop the mushrooms, you want them to be in small chunks and bits but with a range of sizes. Add these to the mixing bowl.
– Add the onion to the mixing bowl.
– Add two of the eggs and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. If it looks rather dry add the last egg. If it is moist enough to stick together in balls without crumbling then you won’t need the extra egg. It depends on how big your eggs are and how moist your mushrooms are.
– Add the ground cumin and corriander and mix in thoroughly.
– Oil a baking tray and heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C if cooking now.
– Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions.
– Use your hands to shape each portion into a round patty.
– Place on the oiled baking sheet.
– Repeat with each portion then brush a little oil over each burger.
– Cook in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. The colour of your burgers will rely upon the mushrooms. I’ve made some with very young closed cup mushrooms that are very pale, and others with more mature mushrooms that came out black. Cook the burgers until firm to the touch and, if pale to start, a golden colour all over.
– Use a pallete knife to gently unstick the burgers from the tray if they’ve stuck.
– Serve in bread buns with your prefered burger accompaniments. I’m a fan of plastic cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato.
Oh, and my top tip for any burger? Toast your bread buns once you’ve split them. Makes a world of difference!
These burgers keep well in the fridge, freeze well and microwave very well. Ideal for preparing in advance if time is an issue.