You can use your existing Medical Independent, MediLearning or PharmacistCPD account to log in.


Medicalindependent.ie is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.


The benefits of registering: only registered users:
  • receive the ecCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • have automatic access to our free CPD sites.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz.

Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

Download the new Mindo app for both IOS & Android.

  • Get notified when a story goes live
  • Access Premium Content
  • Read Offline
 
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public"]

You are reading 1 of 2 free-access articles allowed for 30 days

Mushrooms- Putting the ‘fun’ in fungi

By Dermot - 02nd Nov 2020 | 23 views

Breakfast Fresh whole button Champignon mushrooms

On a fine autumn morning, I am sometimes lured from my desk and into the woods in search of mushrooms. There was a time when I had no competition but in the last few years, possibly with the growth in our Eastern European population, that has changed.

Last year, two people in Ireland came close to death as a result of eating mushrooms that they had foraged. One had picked the charmingly named ‘destroying angel’ or Amanita virosa and suffered liver failure that necessitated an emergency transplant. He did well for the first 24 hours and then rapidly declined, suffering multi-organ failure. He recovered eventually, but it took many months.

Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer, had a similar experience when he confused the potentially lethal Cortinarius for the delicious Boletus edulis or cep. I started mushroom hunting when I ran the Field Club at Belvedere in the 1970s and recall with horror that, armed with just a book, I picked parasols on the Kilruddery estate and not only brought them home to cook, but sent several fellow pupils off to do the same.

Over the years I have learned (a) to be very careful and (b) lots about what they call the choice edibles and I manage to identify and eat them without mishap, at least so far. It has involved careful reading, always using at least three books, sometimes getting a spore print, and occasionally emailing photographs to an expert.

At this stage I’m safe to pick ceps and the other edible Boletus species, the two chanterelles (or girolles as they tend to be called in Ireland) – Cantharellus tubaeformis and Cantharellus cibarius. Others include: Saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus); common hedgehog fungus (Hydnum repandum); the parasol (Macrolepiota procera); the amethyst deceiver (Laccaria amethysta); and both the field mushroom (Agaricus campestris); and the horse mushroom (Agaricus arvensis).

I suppose my favourites have to be the cep (Boletus edulis) and the common chanterelee (Cantharellus cibarius), which I wish were more genuinely common.

I want to share here two simple but rather decadent recipes. One is for cépes á la Bordelaise. Elizabeth David in French Provincial Cooking quotes Alcide Bontou, author of a 1929 book on the cuisine bourgeois of Bordeaux who comments that: “The cépe was little known in Paris 40 years ago and was not listed on restaurant menus; I was the first to bring them specially to the Café Anglais. Parisians could not accustom themselves to the oil and the seasoning of garlic; we tried to cook them in butter, but the only way to prepare them is in the bordelais way.”

I beg to differ. The only way to cook ceps is in butter. Sure, fire in plenty of garlic and finely chopped parsley, in the bordelais way, but use butter instead of olive oil.

I take my ceps, ideally small ones where the sponge-like gills are still young and fresh enough to eat, and slice them fairly thickly from the top of the cap to the base of the stem. I heat butter in a heavy pan until frothing and cook the slices of mushroom, in a single layer, until each has browned a little. This requires cooking the ceps in small batches but it has the merit of caramelising the cep juices which start to smell truly beguiling. When all are cooked add a finely chopped plump garlic clove to the pan and turn the heat right down. Soften the garlic for not much more than a minute.

Now add a small handful of finely chopped flat-leaved parsely and cook for about 20 seconds. Then return all of the ceps to the pan, heat through and add black pepper. I suppose it’s not a great surprise that a simple, straightforward claret is one of the best things you can drink with this. How do you turn a basket of wild mushrooms into a main course? Well, when I take a break from my low carb regime I combine them with rice, in the Italian manner, and cook a risotto. Or they may partner some potato as in this tartiflette (see recipe above).

Wine of the Month

Blütengarten Blaufränkisch (Aldi, €7.86)

This will be uncharted territory for a lot of people in that it’s a red wine from Germany and it’s such a bargain there’s a real danger that many will overlook it purely because of what appears to be a dangerously low price. Blütengarten Blaufränkisch is exuberantly juicy with flavours of blueberry
and fruits-of-the-forest and has a refreshing streak of fresh acidity. I have discovered that it goes remarkably well with tomato-based sauces and it will cut the richness of that tartiflette too. And, by they way, there’s a lovely, delicate Blütengarten Pinot Noir from the Pfalz at the same price.

Leave a Reply

[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]
Latest Issue
The Medical Independent – 24 June 2021

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

[the_ad_placement id="main-mpu-public"]
Most Read
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]