All posts tagged “mushroom

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Growing oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms

Growing mushrooms is very exciting. It reminds me of being all small in a natural history museum, yet you are at home, and can watch the process from your sofa (or wherever you choose to grow your babies). Brussels startup Permafungi collects used coffee grounds and mixes it with mushroom mycelium in order to grow oyster mushrooms. You can buy their kits to do this yourself at home. So here comes a tale of what it can look like.

Kit from permafungi

Day 1-2. I have picked up the mushroom kit picked up from Färm in St Katherine. I parted with 14,95 euros for the kit and another 50 for lavish organic products, which is why I should not be allowed in fancy food shops. The mushroom kit is basically a log made of coffee grounds, something looking like hay, and mushroom mycelium, wrapped in transparent plastic. The first step is to cut criss-crossing holes through the plastic, and soak the ‘log’ in water over night.

Day 3-6. Excited waiting. I have placed the log in a light, cool place with fresh ventilation, and spray it regularly (perhaps too regularly, I have a tendency to over-water growing things).

Tiny mushrooms Small mushrooms

Day 7. First signs of life – the white mycelium takes a less cloudy, more spongy, look, and is pressing its way out through the holes. The first picture is taken on the morning, the second in the afternoon. It feels as if they grow as soon as you turn your back on them.

Growing oyster mushrooms Small oyster mushrooms

Day 8. It’s like a friendly mushroom explosion, and everything goes very quickly – the first picture is from the morning, the second from the afternoon. I keep spraying, in an excited nervous way.

Oyster mushrooms in window

Day 9. The growth seems to have stopped. Time to eat. I carefully pick the mushrooms from the log and divide them up on a cutting. Without having rinsed them (because unless it’s strictly necessary, you should never, ever rinse mushrooms), I fry them slowly in some olive oil and butter. I add more butter, then serve them up on toast with some parmesan. I feel a bit like a scientist when I eat the mushroom sandwich, and it feels very good.

Oyster mushroom sandwich

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Mushroom orgy at Café des Spores

Tomato, watermelon and mushroom salad

Last week my best friend and I discovered a little gem in Saint Gilles called Cafe des Spores. It’s a restaurant specialising entirely in mushrooms. We thought it sounded quirky, as well as brilliant, as we are both mushroom lovers. But we didn’t expect it to be exquisite gourmet food.

Truffle soup

The meal began with three little dishes: truffle soup, fried mushroom dumplings and stuffed champignons. The truffle soup was delicious, and as expected with truffle, the smell was divine. The dumplings were nice, but probably my least favourite part of the meal – tasty, but rather simple.

Ginger and mince stuffed champignons

However, the stuffed champignons were spectacular, on many levels. First of all, they arrived sprinkled in some sort of dried fish flakes, which fluttered like butterflies in the heat for several minutes. Marianne and I were so freaked out that we asked the waitress if part of the food was alive. She just giggled at us. Having overcome our fear, we dug in and were shocked by the taste explosion. Tangy ginger, umami-fishy flakes, rich meaty stuffing and mellow mushroom mixing wildly. Perhaps that sounds weird, and it was, but it was also absolutely delicious.

Mushroom gnocchi

For starters we had a salad of watermelon, tomato and mushroom (pictured at the top of the post). It was very refreshing as the sweet and sour flavours came together with the dense mushrooms rather unexpectedly. But it was very tasteful, and we scooped everything off the plate rather quickly. We also has mushroom gnocchi, which was mellow and autumnal, tasting of porcini (although, as can be seen from the picture, it was some other sort of mushroom – I’d never tried it before). It wasn’t as sensational as the salad, and the gnocchi were a bit too soft, but it was still nice.

Duck with girolles

For mains there were two choices: duck with girolles and a salmon dish. As salmon is more staple than chicken in Sweden, we both opted for the duck, especially as it was accompanied by our favourite mushroom. The duck was perfectly pink inside, and the girolles packed with flavour. While it looks like a rather small main, it was just the perfect size at this point.

Truffle pecorino

Since neither of us are dessert people, we opted for the cheese with cherries instead of mushroom-infused sweet stuff. The truffle pecorino was very strong, and tangy to the point where it almost hurt our mouths. It was again something of a taste sensation, and a perfect finish to the meal.

Le café des spores

These unexpected taste trips coupled with high-quality house wine, friendly service and nice atmosphere meant it was a lovely food experience, perhaps the best I’ve had in Brussels so far. The bill, which came at 71 euros, felt perfectly reasonable given the high quality of the food. I will definitely be going here again.