Baking & Bread
Side Dishes & Canapes
Earlier this week, a colleague was telling me about a new foraging book. It’s called ‘Wild Cooking’ and it’s by Roger Phillips, the renowned horticulturalist and co-author (with Martyn Rix) of many well-respected books on everything from roses to bulbs. Roger is also a great cook and recipe writer, and he’s working with a new publishing company who have an interesting approach - they raise the first tranche of the outlay for their books by pre-selling the first edition (essentially, crowd funding). It makes you wonder if maybe this is the way more publishers will go in the future… (If you’re interested in Roger’s book, you can find out more at https://unbound.com/books/wild-cooking).
Anyway, foraging always makes me think of wild mushrooms, so mushrooms were on my mind when I was planning an edible thank-you gift to give to neighbours who’d invited me to lunch. These biscuits for cheese, made with nutty chestnut mushrooms and flavoured with fennel, were what I decided to bake for them. Rather than being crisp and crunchy, they’re moist and chewy - a texture that seems work especially well with cheese.
In a food processor, whizz together the chestnut mushrooms with the butter, chopped into cubes, and fennel seeds until very finely chopped. Then mix the rolled oats with the wholemeal flour, and the caster sugar and baking powder. Season well with salt and black pepper. Mix with the mushrooms, a beaten egg (medium size) and Dijon mustard. With damp hands, roll the mixture into walnut-size balls and flatten each one out to a disc. Cook on two baking sheets lined with baking parchment at 170C (fan oven) for 20 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin (they will keep for up to 4 days). Lovely with Stilton, Brie, goat's cheese and mature Cheddar. Good served with a bowl of soup too. Makes 18 biscuits