Last weekend I went foraging in the woods with my friend Antonio.
Antonio is originally from Italy but has been living in the UK since he was 26 years old; he married my “cooking friend” Rosetta. Whenever I visit them there is always a freshly baked cake or something delicious cooking in the oven. Rosetta made fabulous Italian taralli for me!
Antonio is a keen forager, he particularly loves wild mushrooms.. they are in fact is greatest passion.
These days I go to the woods every single day because I work in a place surrounded by natural beauty.
There is a thing called “Forest Medicine” or the science of using nature to heal yourself. Forest bathing reduces stress and can boost your immune system. A walk in the woods can help making you feel immediately lighter and much better afterwards. Nature is very powerful indeed.
I love the colours of autumn and there are so many mushrooms around, some are really beautiful but because I am not an expert at recognizing them I never pick them. You should never pick mushrooms if you are not with someone who knows them well. Looking at a mushroom’s picture on the internet it is not enough and some poisonous ones can look very similar to edible ones.
And some are particularly beautiful too but.. very toxic like this one…known as “Amanita Muscaria”.
I was fascinated by the way Antonio can recognize good mushrooms by smelling them.
Antonio prefers Porcini mushrooms, the kings of mushrooms as they are so delicious and go well in so many dishes like risotto, pasta or can be paired with meat too.
Antonio radiates happiness, especially when he finds lots of porcini!
If I am by myself all I can pick is chestnuts as they are safe; I have never found as many like this year.
Roasted chestnuts are really delicious and because I could’t eat them all I have frozen them raw. When you cook them from frozen you don’t even need to slit them. Just pop them in a pan and roast them as they are. Easy!