I know I should be really disappointed that the weather has been so crappy in the southeast corner of the UK, like . . . for the entire SUMMER. But I just can't be! 1.) I don't really like hot weather and get far too sticky and grouchy; and 2.) It's brought out the only thing that rivals my obsession with making art and cookie chang . . . MUSHROOMS!!!!!
So this morning when I took Poppy to the Ashdown Forest I figured I'd slog through the mud on our loop while she chased creatures up trees and rolled in any number of suspiciously stinky spots on the trail. And that's how it was going . . . until I spotted a very familiar little glimmer on the embankment to my left. CHANTERELLES!!!!
Now this is my third mushroom season here in Jolly Olde, and I have only ever found a tiny handful of these little golden nuggets. I have to face facts that it will never be the same as the deep old growth Hemlock, Spruce and Douglas Firs of Oregon where I could easily trek out with 10 pounds of Pacific Golden Chanterelles (cantharellus formosus) on my back. But I gotta make do with what we have on our doorstep here . . . .
. . . and what we do seem to have in abundance is hedgehog mushrooms -- hydnum repandum! (Sounds like something Harry Potter might say.) And they are as delicious as chanterelles -- if not a little more meaty and equally exciting to find!
When I spotted these little guys on a leaf covered knoll, I thought at first they were older, faded chanterelles. But having found my first hedgehog mushroom last year, I've since learned they are often mistaken for one another. Either way, I was ecstatic with the find -- two handfuls! "That will make a nice, nutty addition to our dinner tonight," I thought.
But as I tromped deeper into the woods, following the stream Poppy was happily submerging herself in, I stumbled upon the MOTHERLOAD! This photo doesn't even show them all. Rather than a "nice little addition" to our meal, pied de mouton will be the main course!