Tuesday, 26 August 2008

boletus not into temptation

I know I seem to be bouncing between cookie news and fungal reports from the Ashdown Forest a lot lately. And I realize there isn't an obvious connection between the two -- except for, well, me. But don't I at least get a few points for consistent inconsistency?

Either way, we had a fantastic day of picking yesterday! Our friend Paul joined us for his first foray into the vegetarian version of hunting . . . and he showed us both up by finding the first porcini (boletus edulis) of the season -- fabulous!

I got a nice little handful of hedgehogs (hydnum repandum), a smaller handful still of chanterelle buttons (cantharellus cibarius) I'd hidden under leaves to mature from my last harvest a few days ago, and a bagful of bay boletes (xerocomus badius)!

In fact, after lunch at a nearby pub (mushroomer's code of secrecy prohibits me from disclosing this location), we said goodbye to Paul, who had to get back to London, and I drove kpie and poppy home, then headed back out to pick for another four hours.

Needless to say, we had a wild mushroom risotto FEAST last night! OH YAH! =(V)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

cookie chang and red mutha

YOO HOO!!! cookie has her first retail outlet! That's right, folks, if you've got a hankering for some cookie chang badges ("buttons" to my stateside peeps) and you're any where near 92 Trafalgar Street in Brighton, then git yer bum into RED MUTHA and scream, "I NEED COOKIE!!!!" You might even get lucky and meet Red herself. She's da bomb – and the shop is as chock full of gorgeous "one-off, customised, recycled garments for those who dare to wear them!" Plus loads of other great stuff . . . now including cookie chang badges! Likewise, check out red mutha's myspace page . . . hey, while you're at it, check out cookie's myspace too!

Priced at just 60p for one or 2 for £1, you can kit out your bags, shirts, hats, coats, ties,
knickers, shoes and anything else that takes your fancy with these little 1" babies.

If you're a little too far from Brighton to visit RED MUTHA and gotta get your cookie on, visit my etsy shop to buy them online! I'll be listing them all in the next couple of days . . . cookiechang.etsy.com.

Here's a peek at just a few of the designs . . .

(Shout out to Mariana for contacting Red Mutha in the first place!)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

shrooomin' august!

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!