Weekend Bites: Anyone care for some magic mushrooms?
Mushrooms seem to divide opinion. Personally I love them, they are such a flavoursome and versatile veg.
Celebrated for their earthiness, each variety plays a different role in cuisine, from adding depth and richness to a basic spaghetti Bolognese to playing a starring role in a cream sauce.
If you've ever watched cookery shows you'll notice that chefs have a special brush to clean their mushrooms: washing them in water can dilute taste and reduce vitamin content.
Store cultivated mushrooms in a carton or paper bag, either in the bottom of the fridge or else a cool place, and wipe them with a damp cloth before using.
A natural source of B vitamins, folic acid and minerals, they're naturally low in calories and fat, with an 80g serving counting as one of your 5-a-day.
They are a good source of vitamin B5 which works in the body to help release energy from the food we eat
One of my favourite ways to cook mushrooms is in a risotto, and this filling recipe requires Arborio or Carnaroli rice to make deliciously creamy risotto.
Try using a mixture of mushrooms, such as sliced portobellos, chestnut mushrooms and button mushrooms, to make it even tastier. The addition of mature Cheddar gives adds a great flavour punch.
A great starter, or vegetarian main course, these stuffed mega-mushrooms look and taste sensational. If the mushroom stalks are quite large, trim them off and add them to the roasting tin with the onion and red pepper.
For a spicier flavour, use cumin seeds instead of black onion seeds.
Recipes from The Mushroom Bureau; www.justaddmushrooms.com
Goat’s Cheese & Roasted Veg Mega-Mushrooms
2 tbsp olive or
butternut squash, cut into 2cm cubes
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 tsp black onion seeds
8 large (or 4 very large) Portobello mushrooms, stalks trimmed
2 x 100g packs goat’s cheese, each sliced into 4
Freshly ground black pepper
Thyme sprigs, to
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, gas mark 6.
2 Pour the oil into a roasting tin and add the butternut squash, tossing to coat. Roast for 10 minutes, then add the onion, pepper and black onion seeds. Roast for a further 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
3 Arrange the mushrooms, gills facing up, in a roasting tin. Pile the vegetables into the mushrooms and season with black pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
4 Place the goat’s cheese slices on top of the mushrooms and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes, so that the cheese starts to melt. Serve,
sprinkled with extra black pepper and garnished with thyme sprigs.
Cheddar Gorgeous Mushroom & Leek Risotto
2 tbsp olive oil
300g risotto rice
2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g chestnut or closed cup
150ml dry white wine
900ml vegetable stock
100g frozen peas, thawed
100g mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the rice and cook gently over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring until it looks glossy but not browned.
2 Add the leeks, garlic and mushrooms and stir for another minute. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble, then pour in half the hot stock. Stir well.
3 Cook over a medium heat for 20–25 minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining stock a little at a time, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. The rice should be tender with a creamy texture, and retain a little ‘bite’.
4 Add the peas and most of the cheese, stirring gently to mix them in. Check the seasoning, adding some pepper if needed. Serve, sprinkled with the Cheddar.
Ask the Expert: What's a self-guided wine trail?
Dublin is getting its first ever wine festival. What's a self-guided wine trail? Wine expert Aoife Carrigy has the answer
"To help the public make the most of Dublin Wine Fest, we've gathered participating venues into four city 'hubs', which are featured in our festival map (available at each venue, or to download from GreatIrishBeverages.com).
Each venue's festival offer is detailed is on the map, and the idea is that you can go check out several venues in the one evening, depending on what takes your fancy.
So in the Green Luas hub, you could meet friends at 'aperitivo o'clock' at l'Officina's terrace for a Venetian-style Aperol spritz, or pop over to Rock Lobster's bar for a glass of Picpoul de Pinet and a tasting of Irish oysters.Next, book yourself into Ananda for a main course pairing of slow-cooked Tandoori lamb and a €6 flight of paired wines, and finish up with a tasting flight of wine-inspired cocktails at Candlelight Bar, or a port and chocolate pairing at The Port House Ibericos."
Dublin Wine Fest runs from April 20-25 across 32 venues, and includes special deals, seminars, tastings and competitions. By purchasing a €5 wristband you receive a 30pc discount on at least two festival wines at participating bars and restaurants. Learn more at www.greatirishbeverages.com.