Torta Rustica ai Funghi Porcini (Fresh Porcini Tart)

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What to do with a gift of porcini mushrooms, locally foraged? A recipe that would not change the flavour of the mushrooms in any way, but that would also be a full meal. Mrs BYF came up with a simple pie that hit the spot

Porcini Mushroom Pie 

Pre heat the oven to 200 F

4 porcini mushrooms

25g butter for frying

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pack of defrosted filo pastry

100g melted butter to brush on pastry

Fry the mushrooms in the butter for a few minutes. Unroll the pastry, remove one sheet and brush with melted butter, layer with 5 sheets all brushed with butter. Heap the fried mushrooms in the centre and scrunch the pastry up around the mushrooms partially covering them.

Bake the pie until the pastry is crisp and golden and serve with a fresh garden salad.

ENJOY with  glass f home made wine!







Another Giant Puffball Mushroom ! (Calvatea gigantea)

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It was our second opportunity to taste a Puffball mushroom.  This one was a lot bigger than the previous one and after everyone had eaten we still had leftovers. The texture is marshmallowy or tofu like and is complimented well if fried in a crispy jacket of egg and unflavoured fresh bread crumbs ( Since I had fed all the bread that Mrs BYF had saved for the crumbs to the chickens she had to make do with foccacia crumbs, which were a trifle coarse). The flavour is very delicate, subtle mushroom and is easily lost by adding spices or other flavours. The breadcrumbs were considered salty enough so no salt was added. We used a bit of vegetable oil and butter as the frying medium.   Previously we made a frittata with a bit of uncooked mushroom, which was nice, but did not do the mushroom any favours. The texture was lost in that of the cooked egg and the flavour was hardly discernible. The piece of mushroom had also spent the night in the fridge and that may also have been a bad idea.

The spores of this mushroom could be dormant for 10 years and mushrooms only appear when conditions are perfect. Nobody knows what conditions are required, so we can only hope and keep an eye out for next Autumn.

Crumbed and Fried.  Enjoy!




Puffball Mushrooms


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We are so privileged that Puffball Mushrooms are growing in our friend’s garden across the road, and even more privileged that they are prepared to to share it with us for a MUSHROOM FEAST every year. So it was with great excitement that they called and announced that the puffballs are up. We went to take photographs today and will harvest them tomorrow for the feast in the evening. We shall report on recipes and results the day after tomorrow!!! How good can life be?



2014-11-27 - Largest White Truffle

Sabatino Tartufi recently had an extraordinary discovery.  The largest White Truffle in history was found on their farms in Umbria. Weighing in at 4.16 lbs, it is a world record!

The truffle is currently locked under security and it will be auctioned with proceeds given to charity.  Further details regarding the find and auction to be released soon. Stay tuned!

Low-Fat Fad Has Done Unfathomable Harm – Eat Healthy


The Curse of the Cookbooks

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I had to photograph the result of a cooking discussion or, cooking bickering, if you must.

The great thing about being self sufficient and eating from the vegetable patch is the joy of harvesting something one grew oneself. It is organic and fresh even if, at time whatever is harvested is gnarled and puny it still tastes wonderful. The bad thing is that one is held hostage by the blackbird that eats all the seedlings the chickens overlooked when they were free ranging last time. The seasons and climate, especially here in Dunedin , dictate whether things grow or not and the person in control of the garden constantly suffers arched inquiries as to why in the world so much (or so little) of something was planted

Sometimes there is a glut of something and then the search for a great recipe, or, often many great recipes of one particular vegetable or fruit depending on the amount harvested. The frantic paging through the cookbooks begin, and since my 200 plus books are all about regional Italian cooking the search can not be narrowed down to, say, Indian or Chinese, and mutterings of  ‘ it was always in this book, where has it gone’ are commonplace. A lot of time is spent getting side tracked when I see something fondly remembered or something I always wanted to try. Once the recipe is selected sudden resistance from the household to the ingredients could flare up, prompting the beginning of a new search and the hauling out of more books!

Giant Puffball Mushroom prepared and fried – YUM

We had the marvelous mushroom as an antipasto on Saturday. The weather was perfect and we had a barbecue on our deck overlooking the mountain. We peeled the mushroom and sliced it in to ‘steaks’ about 2 cm thick. It was pure white all the way through. We  fried some of it in butter and garlic and dipped the rest in egg and breadcrumbs. I added a bit of olive oil to the butter and garlic in the pan and fried the mushroom slices. The batches of mushroom disappeared as soon as it hit the table and got rave reviews from every one. Thanks to our neighbour for one of the most exiting foodie gifts of the year!

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